Have your ever read "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" by Judith Viorst? It's a great book! One day last summer our son, Daniel, had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. In an effort to cheer him up while he was in the hospital, I retold Alexander's story to fit the circumstances. With respect to Alexander and Judith Viorst, I will share it with you.
I went to sleep with my radio on and now the batteries are dead. When I woke up I heard the garbage truck coming and I knew if I didn't get outside before our crazy neighbor stole our garbage cans it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
No time for shoes. I stuck my feet in the flip-flops by the door - I think they are my dad's. I flung open the door and ran across the yard. The flip-flop on my foot got twisted or something and I felt myself falling on the hard, dry ground. Oh no! The crazy neighbor came out to steal the garbage cans and I couldn't get up. I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
He asked if he could help me up, but I knew if he tried to do that we'd both be on the ground. I sat there wondering what to do next. I could yell for help, but you-know-who would just come out again. Not good. Maybe if I just waited a little while I would be able to get up. All right, that settled it. I was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. I couldn't stand up, I couldn't crawl, I couldn't scoot. I was stuck on the hard, dry ground.
Finally the other neighbor came out. The one who just had hip replacement surgery. Was this an omen? "Who can I call?" she asked. My brain was frozen - who could she call? "I'll call 911," she said, and the next thing I knew, a policeman was standing over me.
"What happened here?" he asked. It was all too stupid to explain, but he could tell I was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. An ambulance came shrieking up the street, and pretty soon I was being lifted - OUCH! - onto a gurney and I found myself racing down our quiet street inside an ambulance, with lights flashing and siren blaring.
Just your average terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
When we got to the emergency room, the paramedics rolled me out of the ambulance and my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day got much worse. I had to explain at least a thousand times what happened. No, I wasn't bungee jumping or parachuting. I didn't fall out of a tree or off a roof. I fell off a flip-flop.
I was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, and I am never wearing flip-flops again. Other people can fall down and get right back up again. If they break something it is something small. Like a toenail. You want to know what I broke? Something big. My hip. In two places, and dislocated it. I told you I was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
Somebody said something about surgery. They put me in an ugly gown with a really ugly hat on my head and wheeled me away. When I came back I hurt even more and I knew a trip to the bathroom was out of the question. Could this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day get worse?
It could. When they gave me something to eat I hurled it right back up again and I was confined to a liquid diet for three days. I used to like cranberry juice. I NEVER liked jello, and I hope I never see another can of ginger ale.
Now that I am healing I have more bad days. Torture in the morning. They call it therapy. Torture in the evening when they change my bandage and poke a needle right in my stomach so I won't get a blood clot. Can a blood clot be worse than a needle in the stomach?
I have to learn to walk all over again, and do all those other things, like going to the bathroom. It looks like it's going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week. When I get better I think I'm going to Australia.
(Thankfully he did get better, although he now has a large metal plate and six enormous screws in his leg. He didn't go to Australia either, that was just for Alexander's benefit because in the story he was quite convinced that people in Australia don't have those days)