word craft


A writer in rehab

My wife and I live in the high Rocky Moun­tains, at about nine thou­sand feet up. That means that win­ter can be severe with five or six feet of snow at a dump. It makes nor­mal liv­ing hard­er. So, to escape the snow and ice we go two hun­dred miles south/east to Den­ver. There we have 630 square feet in a two-room town house to avoid all that bad weath­er underfoot.

Last week it had been cold in Den­ver (not always the case) leav­ing patch­es of snow and ice. When snow began to fall I thought I’d beat the worst of it by going on my reg­u­lar walk about. Three quar­ters of my way I slipped on ice, fell, and—I could bare­ly walk.


I had my cell-phone with me, called home, and my wife gath­ered me up.

Doctor/emergency room fol­lowed where I learned I had giv­en myself a hair-line hip fracture.

Good news—no surgery. No pain unless I put pres­sure on my left leg. Which I don’t.

Not such good news, I was shipped off to a rehab hos­pi­tal. The hip will heal itself, but I have to learn how to get about. I shall become the hop-scotch king of the world. Or maybe move into the world of hip-hop.

And what—in my case—does rehab mean? It’s learn­ing to con­nect my mind with mus­cles that I don’t nor­mal­ly use. That way, for instance, I can get out of bed. Or get into it. In new ways. It’s actu­al­ly a very curi­ous process, prob­a­bly some­thing like how an infant learns to be ful­ly human.

But aside from phys­i­cal ther­a­py ses­sions I’m con­fined to a hos­pi­tal bed. What does a writer do when con­fined to bed? This one puts his lap-top on his lap and writes. There are a cou­ple of projects under­way, and I work on them. I do won­der how it influ­ences the text. No idea.

I also read a lot.

Call fam­i­ly and friends.

Try to be cheer­ful, upbeat, not com­plain­ing. Sort of.

But yes­ter­day I real­ized that at some point my watch had stopped run­ning. Per­fect metaphor.

I’m rewind­ing it.

23 thoughts on “A writer in rehab”

  1. I have been think­ing of you late­ly, remem­ber­ing your writ­ing encour­age­ment (which has meant so much) and your Cincin­nati vis­it when my girls were lit­tle! I am think­ing of you in this rewind­ing time and send­ing heal­ing prayers! Gerry 

    Keep in touch.

  2. Avi–sorry to read of your acci­dent. Don’t know if you remem­ber but, after I retired from teach­ing (final years I was an elem. school librar­i­an in Jef­f­co), I opened a chil­dren’s book­store in Lake­wood. It was on So Wadsworth near Jew­ell., I called it Bo Peep Books. (My maid­en name is Lamb). I owned it for 15 years. You and crossed paths many times. I often sold your books at var­i­ous loca­tions, con­fer­ences, schools where you were speaking.

    Hope­ful­ly you can use your recov­ery time to write anoth­er nov­el or two!!

    Take care!
    Shirley Sternola

  3. Wish­ing you a quick recov­ery, lessons learned and time to enjoy your writ­ing life albeit in a dif­fer­ent loca­tion. Falling on the ice and snow is such a wor­ry. We live here in the snow­belt by Lake Ontario.

  4. Bless you my dear man. Hip-hop and hop scotch, you make me smile. I’m at home with my mom who just had her hip replaced. Every time she gets up, she gets bet­ter at it. May it be the same with you 🙂

  5. Hey Avi, YES! Rewind that watch, and it will step by step, spring for­ward and get you back on your roll to enable you to do what you do so well. Keep plug­ging away and thanks for shar­ing this impor­tant kind of sto­ry with us. It affects so many peo­ple in sim­i­lar ways this time of year. I wish you a safe, speedy, and com­plete recovery.

    Best wish­es,

    Sharon O. Blumberg

  6. I am so sad to hear about your acci­dent. We are of a sim­i­lar age so… relate much?! I am hap­py to see that you remain in good spir­its and con­tin­ue to write. You have and always will be one of my favorite authors. I am a school librar­i­an and some of my stu­dents have had the priv­i­lege of hear­ing you speak over the years. You have inspired so many to take up the pen and fol­low in your foot­steps. And your books are well-loved. May your recov­ery be speedy!

  7. So sor­ry you had to go through this. So glad you are going to recov­er. My hus­band had much the same expe­ri­ence here in the moun­tains of cen­tral New Mex­i­co, except we are too remote to have cell phone cov­er­age so he had to drag him­self the 1/4 mile home. He, too, is recov­er­ing. Wish­ing both of you well.

  8. Dear Avi,
    Please do get well! I am sor­ry this has hap­pened to you. I am sure you will have more sto­ries to tell from this adven­ture or it will spark new ideas! Prayers for 100% heal­ing- phys­i­cal­ly, men­tal­ly and spir­i­tu­al­ly! Prayers to your wife too as she tends to you and all that your home­stead requires.

  9. Thanks for shar­ing this, Avi! So sor­ry this is part of your “sto­ry”. I’m impressed with your abil­i­ty to make lemon­ade from lemons…and pic­ture you writ­ing at your new “lap desk”. I think you’re right that some new mate­r­i­al may come from this expe­ri­ence. Dub­bing you our new “Hop­scotch King”. Wish­ing you a speedy recovery!

  10. Dear Avi,

    I’ll let you bor­row my Kah­toola MICROspikes the next time you want to go for that kind of icy and dicey walk. Sor­ry to hear about all of this, but I am glad to know you’re still in your usu­al good spir­its. Heal well, my friend!


  11. So sad to read this, but as I was, I thought of my ever opti­mistic grand­fa­ther. What would he have said about this sit­u­a­tion? Hmmm! While your sit­u­a­tion is annoy­ing and incon­ve­nient, it gave you more time to write, with maybe dif­fer­ent dis­trac­tions, but use­ful ones — and you weren’t going any­where! Per­haps in the future, you will need details for a char­ac­ter need­ing to con­nect brain with mus­cle or how some­one who has had an acci­dent needs to adapt, or even the work­ings of a rehab facil­i­ty. Would it have been sim­pler to just research, sure, but you have first-hand expe­ri­ence which involves all the sens­es. Any­way, speedy recov­ery and I hope you are pam­pered well!

  12. It was hard to hear about your fall. Hop­ing that Lin­da’s care and your own resilience gets you back on your feet very soon. Look­ing for­ward to read­ing your next blog that shows you feel­ing better.

  13. Just returned to read about your fall after read­ing your lat­est blog. Care­ful out there on the ice. Glad you are not in pain. Hope you heal quick­ly. I have an excru­ci­at­ing pain on my hip and I did not even fall. Going to the doc­tor today to find out what is caus­ing it Get well soon!


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