A Case for Noncompliance

I heard the ping of the text while I was in the doctor’s office – assumed it was a response from the message I had sent out earlier to my daughters – and chose to ignore it.  I did the same when my phone vibrated a few seconds later to let me know someone was calling.  My children, after all, have become accustomed to instant responses from me since I had to quit working two and a half years ago.

After the appointment, I hobbled (with the aid of my walker) to the elevator and rode down one floor to the exit where Ric was to be waiting for me.  No sign of our vehicle prompted me to pull out my phone to check the time.  That’s when I saw the text:

I’m at the hospital.  Broke my foot.  Waiting for a cast.

The call had been from Ric, too.  “What?” I said out loud.  I tried to call him back.  No answer. My mind tried to make sense of what was happening.

Ric had gone out-of-town that morning, and was going to pick me up on the way back.  Was he back in London, or still away?  The appendage he had injured two days before was his driving foot – how was he going to get home?

I texted him back:  Want me to come to the hospital?

Still no response.

I called a cab and headed home.

Ric showed up a while later with an air cast in hand.th-3

“I had to drive home somehow,” he explained.  He placed the cast on his foot and we were officially grounded once again.

Just weeks ago he couldn’t drive because of a triple bypass surgery.  We’d had to hire extra help then and relied on others to get us to appointments.  The day before he injured his foot, we had informed the company we were once again independent.  Only now we weren’t.

Ric didn’t leave the house for the next few days.  We both felt numb.  How many things can a man endure?  First it was Stage III cancer, then a torn quad tendon that required surgery (seven in all as infection set in), then my illness, two heart attacks and subsequent bypass, and now this.th

“I’m going to tell the doc I need a driving cast,” he told me the morning of his follow-up examination.  “If not, I’m going to rig my own.”

I felt my blood pressure rise – my husband suffers from acute non-compliance syndrome – but I didn’t say anything.

He came home from the appointment with a slipper cast.

“What did the doctor say?”

“I told him I had to be able to drive, so he changed the cast.  Said he didn’t want to know about me driving.”

A few mornings later, I saw the cast and Ric’s solo canvas shoe on the table.  Ric had gone to pick up groceries.  I greeted him at the door.

“So now your slippers are a cast?”  I said looking at the sagging moccasins on his feet.th-1

He laughed it off and said he hadn’t noticed.  The cast sat on the table for most of the day.

I might have been really angry with him, but here’s the thing:  in light of all he has gone through, what is one little fracture?  The man has been inundated by medical procedures, spends the better part of his week at doctor appointments, has been in pain for as long as I’ve known him, so really, I can’t blame him.

As I mentioned before, compliance is not in his nature.  So his foot doesn’t heal properly.  With his gait, who’s to notice?

What I would like to know, however; is how to get this target removed from his back.




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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

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