In Valid

Oct 21, 2011 by

My pal Edie called me after the conclusion of last week’s Saints’ loss to the Buccaneers and chided me for ending the winning streak. She is, after all, convinced that my presence at her house during Saints games determines the teams’ fortunes. Superstition is a powerful thing.

I couldn’t head to her place because my current injury makes heading up and down my 24 stairs a painful prospect. A trip to the orthopedist two days after my broken ankle and broken elbow was an exercise in torture that my husband just didn’t get, thinking I could scoot myself down and up my stairs again later that same day to schlep out to Metairie with him to get a platform walker to aid my hobbled motions instead of struggling with the asinine crutches the Touro ER gave me to get me off one of their beds and out of their sight (“Where were you this morning?” I asked my well-meaning husband when he happily suggested this outing. Turned out our insurance had to clear before the walker could come home, anyhow. A trip out there would have been an exercise in pain and futility.). I suggested she and her daughter head over to my place but was not taken up on the offer…so I was all by my lonesome watching the TV when Sean Payton sustained HIS injury on the sidelines.

If you are in the path of a NFL player these days, it is a crushing experience. Anyone who remembers the collision of Courtney Roby with sideline official Al Nastasi last season knows that. Timing – and padding – is everything when it comes to getting out of the way of players with momentum on their side. Payton had neither last Sunday and it got him a torn ligament and a broken knee. But it was still the first half, and he had a job to do, so there he was. On the bench. And his team knew what to do, too: Give that man some room to do his job. It was funny seeing this sudden canyon on the sidelines with Payton at its center on the bench, injured leg up and braced, still calling plays, but just ’cause you get injured doesn’t mean responsibilities automatically fall off right that second.

At the same time, I saw him with that leg propped up and started giggling about it. I kept giggling all through this past week, even though such injuries are ultimately not very funny to deal with and recover from. I could blame my own meds, for certain, but some of it was an attempt to try not to think of the gravity of my own situation. Aside from my having fallen on my rear end in sustaining my injury, and his coming from having been hit by a tight end, I could relate some.

It must have killed him not to be able to go up to the coaches’ booth to keep calling the game after halftime. It’s probably tearing at him right now, this having to make the transition from being in control to having next to none until this thing heals up. Of all the pains sustained in an injury, having to take the time to heal is one of the toughest to adjust to. This doesn’t just go for Payton himself, but for everybody around him. At least he has two assistant coaches and a quarterback he’s more-or-less mind-melded with to take up the slack. When it’s a family that, say, no longer has mom as chauffeur ’cause she’s on the IL, that’s a stressful situation.

We must indeed be mindful of those who don’t have the same range of motion that the majority of the human race does, and not just because it’s the thing to do. If you live on an upper story, try making it up your stairs without the use of an arm or leg. Even a single step or two can stymie one’s best efforts to get around. Things as basic as keeping a house clean, doing laundry, making meals, going to the bathroom, or walking the dog can get very difficult. I have been very, very grateful for the support of family and friends in these past couple of weeks. It helps a great deal physically as well as mentally. Even the simplest thing such as getting a favorite food or telling a funny tale is pretty damned good.

The mental thing, though, is the toughest to get adjusted to – you’re not supposed to be doing the things you once did that came as naturally to you as breathing. It’s something I, who never suffered a broken bone up ’til Tuesday before last, and Sean Payton, who never suffered a major injury even in his time as an NFL player, never really understood until now. Your validity suddenly has a huge question mark above it. Only thing left is possibly your brain, and, even then, who knows what effect the painkillers might wreak on that? An inherited tenant my husband had in this house when he bought it was horribly addicted to the painkillers she had once been prescribed for back pain. Some of that even hangs over Payton himself. Ascribing your recovery to powerful drugs is all too easy a trap to tumble into when the pain is some of the worst you’ve ever experienced. It’s even more troublesome when your livelihood is tied to your physical well-being.

Reading reports about Payton’s injury not affecting the workings of the Saints is kind of loaded when you put the above in perspective. Those workings are a testament to how much hard work Payton has done in making the Saints a winning team, the years he’s put in, the relationships he’s built with staff and players. To say that not having his presence on the sideline won’t affect the way the team plays, however, would be a mistake. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him trying to putter around out there on a golf cart or some sort of modified Hoveround in order to stay in with what he’s worked so hard to build. Being stuck up in a booth calling plays isn’t his style – but it will have to be. A full recovery depends on it.

Feel better, coach. My own recovering ankle and elbow salute you.


Related Posts


Share This