Lum: Accidents around the corner

Su Lum

This time, the accident didn’t happen to me but to my son-in-law Bruce. Bruce’s accidents are rare but spectacular. A few years ago, he almost decapitated himself when a falling branch bashed his protective hard hat into his skull. Gushing blood, Bruce held his scalp together and drove to the Leadville hospital, whereupon my daughter Hillery arrived and promptly fainted.

On this most recent occasion, Bruce got up at 2 a.m. to go to the john at a house they’re working on in Hotchkiss. Bruce’s feet went out from under him as he descended the treacherous flight of stairs and he rumpety-banged all the way down, smashing fingers, tearing his Achilles heel and injuring his back — lucky he didn’t break his neck.

Hillery drove him to St. Mary’s in Grand Junction: foot in a cast, no driving for four to eight weeks, a huge impediment (so to speak) for a guy who has no time for inertia. He wasn’t told not to drive the Caterpillar, so that’s what he was doing two days later back in Leadville, clearing the deep snow off their long driveway.

His crushed fingers make crutches a serious challenge and, the Cat escapade notwithstanding, they are both stuck there with a store (Western Hardware Antiques) to try to run at the height of the season.

Meanwhile, my friend Hilary is going to Mexico on Tuesday (that would be yesterday to readers), where she can save enough on her prescriptions to pay for the trip. She’ll stay with Georgia and Andy Hanson for a week, taking with her an enormous suitcase of thrift shop goodies for the local kids.

Worried that I might die while she frolicked, Hilary made sure that someone would be with me during the nights — the times I’m most likely to have some kind of potentially fatal oxygen mishap due to equipment failures such as kinking, freezing or unlinking.

I should explain that in the beginning of May my back went out, and lo these eight months later I’m still “housebound” but — dare I say it — starting to see light at the end of the tunnel, which I hope is not an incoming train.

I look like a terminal oxygen patient, especially if I go anywhere carrying an extra tank, but I am mainly just a hurting-back casualty. Two back surgeons have refused to touch me lest they make it worse, every morning I feel as if I’ve spent the night on the rack, I do the drugs, I have a visiting physical therapist and I am usually — finally — feeling almost spry with my walker by early afternoon.

I’ve had the pain procedures, I’ve had the MRI, no one knows why it has been so bad but also wonder why it hasn’t been even worse. Kind of a half-baked count-your-blessings situation.

Anyway, Hillery was going to come for a few days but she has to take care of Bruce. My daughter Skye was going to come for a couple of days but she is up to her ears, and my friend Jack said he’d come visit for the whole time, so we’ll have fun cooking, playing gin rummy and trying to stay out of trouble.

I don’t need babysitting or a chef but hey, I’ll take all the entertainment I can get. Even audible books can get stale, and a little “Judge Judy” can go a long way.

Su Lum is a longtime local who — ta-da — went to a dinner party Sunday evening. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times. Reach her at