Kill The Pain

Doc wrapped my hand with an elastic bandage himself, a little more roughly than I thought to be necessary. But I wasn’t foolish enough to complain; I just bit my tongue and tried to think happy thoughts.
 
“While I am pleased to see you travelling down a new career path,” he told me with a hard tug on the tape, “I cannot help but wonder, for rather obvious reasons, whether it might be better for you to take a different road.” Another sharp yank. “In order to remove yourself from the temptation to do really, really stupid things.”
 
“It’s a long story,” I said, flexing my fingers. “Will we be able to do the x-ray before I leave tomorrow afternoon or will it have to wait until we get back?”
 
“We’ll do it on Monday. I’ll be with you this weekend to make sure you don’t do any further harm and the drugs should keep the pain to a minimum. Take one anti-inflammatory each day and two painkillers every six hours, at most. Got it?”
 
I nodded, grabbed my prescriptions, and made my exit with Alex. He hadn’t said a word since Doc had started working on me and he remained silent as we trooped down the stairs. I was in too much pain to worry about what he was thinking so I slipped into the pharmacy on the bottom floor to collect my bottles. I had to get Alex to open them for me before taking the pills with water from a tiny paper cup that the pharmacist was kind enough to hand over. I’ll admit it: I was disappointed when I didn’t feel immediate relief.
 
“Take the rest of the day off,” I told Alex when we reached the sidewalk. “I’ll meet you at the gym around ten tomorrow morning; we’ll go over a few last second details, grab lunch with Bomber and then head for the ferry.”
 
“I hope you will rest as well,” he said, worry creasing the skin on his forehead and around his eyes. I nodded and sent him on his way before turning for home. On the way I was continually flexing my fingers and turning my hand this way and that, impatient for the pain to recede. By the time I got home I had managed to increase my discomfort, so I took one more of the green painkillers before storing it in the medicine cabinet in the washroom. It was kept company in there by a half-empty bottle of ibuprofen, a decomposing box of band-aids, a solidified container of eye drops, and Cara’s new feminine supplies.
 
Returning to the kitchen I filled the sink with hot, soapy water and began the arduous task of one-handed dishwashing. It took almost an hour but I was reasonably satisfied with the end result. At least there were no crusty pieces of food anywhere in sight.
 
I surrendered into my chair in the living room and channel surfed for an hour or two, unable to find anything that kept my attention. When the ache in my hand intensified I took two more green pills and decided that night qualified for a break from cooking. As I flipped through the phone book I realized that the drugs were making me a bit woozy but at least the pain had receded at last. After a minute or two of indecision I decided on pizza and placed an order with the shop up the street and asked to have it delivered around the time I expected Cara to get home. Normally I would have just picked it up myself and saved on the tip but the mere thought of leaving the apartment made my head spin.
 
I took another shot at TV roulette but came up empty once more. So I closed my eyes and let my mind go where it would, dozing on and off until the buzzer announced the arrival of our Hawaiian dinner. Cara came bouncing down the hall just as I finished fumbling the change out of my wallet, her eyes and nostrils wide like a baby gorilla. For a moment it looked like she wouldn’t be able to choose between hugging the delivery guy or me, but thankfully I won out.
 
“What’s the occasion? Did we win the lottery or… what did you do to your hand?”
 
I nodded my thanks to the delivery guy and kicked the door shut. I deposited the fragrant cardboard box on the kitchen island, Cara stepping on my heels the whole way, before slumping onto a stool and facing her. She was giving me such a good impression of a worried mother that I had to laugh.
 
“This is not funny. What happened?”
 
I did my best to explain but my mind was so foggy that I probably forgot a detail or two. I could see that she was torn between anger and understanding but she ended up punching me hard on the left shoulder before grabbing a couple of plates and dishing us up. With a piece of pineapple hanging out on her upper lip she told me that basketball practice had gone well, the girls hadn’t given her too hard a time about her period, and something about music.
 
“Sorry, what was that last bit?”
 
“I found the perfect song to use for Alex’s entrance on Saturday night,” she replied, finally discovering the stray pineapple and popping it in her mouth. “You’re going to love it.”
 
“Excellent – put it on then.” Cara had been my official music DJ for all of my fights for the previous five or six years and it was a job she took very seriously. It hadn’t occurred to me that her duties would extend to my trainee but I was thrilled that she’d taken the initiative. I certainly hadn’t given it any thought.
 
As the opening guitar riffs emanated from the stereo a smile came to my lips and it only grew wider as I listened to the lyrics.
 
“A good Canadian band to help get the crowd on your side and the song applies to both you and Alex, don’t you think?”
 
“Yeah, it does kiddo. Great job.”
 
She smiled triumphantly and danced around the living room for the remainder of the track. By the time she’d stopped twirling I could feel the pain coming back so I told her I was having an early night, popped two more of the green pills, fell into bed without getting undressed, and allowed unconsciousness to take me.

The End

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