Monday, April 2, 2012


     For the past 6 weeks, I've had a serious blockage. A writer's block, that intangible web that wraps around your brain and squeezes your mind so tightly that you can't think outside of the moment.  A huge blank page stares at me each time I open my computer to write, and as I begin to type...nothing. I can't get started, can't focus enough to complete a sentence, much less a paragraph.  I look at the keys, stare at the luminescent screen, glance back down to the keys, type a few random letters, switch to Solitaire, play a few hands of Spider, check Facebook, read my email, check the weather, check the local forecast, the hourly forecast, the extended 10-day forecast,  click  back to Solitaire, read a few online newspapers, scan the photos on People magazine, surf through eBay, play Words with Friends, flip back to the blog and.... nothing. 
     "Have you written anything lately?" my mother asks, as she flips through the weekly paper.
     "No," I reply, "I've got a blockage."
     "Oh look!" she continues, "Miralax is on sale at CVS! Do you need some Miralax?"
     "I don't take Miralax, Mom."
     "But maybe you should, it's on sale."
     "It's not that kind of blockage," I mutter, all the while thinking I might give it a try anyway and see if it helps.
     I'm not sure why I have a blockage. It started the night of the accident, the night the french professor got hit by a hemi-truck while leaving the library. Somehow, by some centrifugal force, all the thoughts and words and ideas that had previously meandered through my wandering mind got smacked right out of my head at the same time as Dr. Davaut collided with that truck; and  while watching and waiting as she underwent six operations and thirty days in intensive care, I just didn't have anything else to say at the end of the day.  My meager words seemed worthless and uninteresting when in the midst of the reality of watching someone fight for life, fight through unbelievable pain, fight back to a life of normal.
     And so, I have had a blockage. 
     But this weekend, something extraordinary happened.  We drove to Charlotte with a vase of  white  virburnum, pink camellias, and blush hellebores, hoping to bring a breath of spring air into the fourth floor room of the rehab facility where Dr. Davaut had been transferred. With a gentle knock, we opened the door to her room, expecting to find her lying quietly in the bed. To our great surprise, she was sitting upright in a wheelchair, hair washed and brushed, playing Scrabble with her mother in French. She had real food on her lunch tray-- a pork chop, petite green peas, broccoli.  She was dressed in real people clothes- a coral colored T-shirt instead of a drab and shapeless hospital gown. She had a windowsill full of flowers and cards and balloons. 
       Her parents had wheeled her outside for her first glimpse of blue sky and fresh air in over a month. She had seen the brilliant  blooms of spring in the garden by the parking lot and had felt the warm March sun shining on her face.
       She displayed a stack of photos from her most recent doctor's visit: x-rays that showed all her new hardware-- plates and pins and screws and rods, enough titanium to build a rocket ship, an impressive collection of metal. She told us she was learning to transfer from bed to wheelchair almost by herself and had started to regain movement in her left leg.  It had been almost two months since the accident, but it all seemed to happen overnight--she was slowly, slowly, slowly starting to make progress on the long road to recovery.
     And best of all, she had a huge smile on her face!
      It was a healing moment to see her that way,  and I think my blockage is starting to move. 

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