Landing on My Feet

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December 9th, 2016, an anniversary like none other and one that I’d been anticipating with increasing gratitude as this day drew closer. This past year has been a healing journey, one that not only allowed my body to heal, but brought more ineffable gifts for which I will forever be grateful.

On what was an unusually mild December afternoon a year ago, I went searching for my cat, Angus. He’d been missing for what was an over-long time, and I was very worried. A favorite place of his was the upper floor of the barn and I strode hurriedly across the ramp fearful that when I slid back the haymow’s heavy door he’d be lying inside injured or worse. It’s in moments like this when you forget caution. Dangerously near the edge of the ramp, I tugged on the handle and felt my feet begin to slip on the damp wood. My body tilted away from the door and I knew I was going to fall a long way down to the ground ten feet below. Instinct told me to relax, to not struggle against the inevitable, and I fell backwards in the oddest slow-motion flight landing on my back. Woomph. No pain. I was conscious. I lay looking up at the sky and leafless branches above the barn, uttered a primal yell or two, willed my breathing to return to normal, and then calmly began to assess”what next”.

Feeling no pain (yet) the “what next” was checking myself out very cautiously, discovering my right leg wasn’t about to hold me up though my left leg seemed okay. My neighbors weren’t home, that I knew. So there was nothing to do but to slowly crab-crawl to the house. No cars passed on the road as I made my way oh-so-slowly across the lawn, hoping I wasn’t doing myself too much further harm. Shock is a helper of course, and I got myself up the four steps to the kitchen door, scrabbled slowly to the phone, and called for help.

Over the next twenty-four hours a marvelous retinue of medical helpers saw to my aid. First the marvelous and caring local EMTs who fetched me for my first-ever ambulance ride to the local ER and then a second to the Cooperstown Hospital an hour away. (mildly disappointed that no siren was necessary either time) The bigger concern was possible internal trauma, lesser focus was the quickly-discovered severe fracture to my sacrum (tail bone) and badly bruised right hip and leg. Angels work in all these places and I was blessed to meet and be cared for by a dozen or more. My son, Justin, was with me for all of this, a most comforting presence. We were told again and again that I was very lucky not to have sustained a paralyzing injury and that time would be the healer. A year’s time….I must allow for that, said kind Dr. Diaz.

So many lovely folks, family and friends, came to my aid as I convalesced at home. Such an outpouring of concern and support came via the internet, especially in that sweet cyber-neighborhood of Facebook. It’s a special place as many of you reading this know.

I was unable to drive for several weeks, navigating slowly about the house with a walker, determined above all to regain my self-sufficiency. Winter’s natural hibernation-option let me slumber a lot and receive deep healing. And it was actually a bonus to have all that wonderful reading time. Blessings come in all sorts of ways if you let them.

It was a banner day in mid-January when I drove out for groceries for the first time, made it into the store with my walking stick, and maneuvered about the aisles on one of their electric carts. This and other signs of returning agility and stamina slowly arrived as winter gave way to spring and spring to summer. But I had to learn new levels of patience at many turns, especially when over-exuberant gardening on Memorial Day triggered a set-back to my right knee. Aarrgh.  Time and again I reminded myself of how fortunate I was to be upright, getting about slowly but under my own power.

My daily woods-rambling was restricted to shuffling about the yard, so it was an emotional day indeed when I at last made my way slowly over the path at the pond’s outlet and stood beneath the trees, weeping at their welcome. It was late August before I was able to take a cautious hike up to the top of the hill…again such a triumphant and gratifying accomplishment.

As cooler days arrived…and oh what a glorious autumn we had…I became keenly mindful of the nearly eleven months gone by of this required healing-time. Apart from an occasional grumble of pain, nearly everything about walking or climbing steps or being able to practice Tai Chi again announced I was nearly completely healed. Often now when I walked in the woods I was conscious of the blessing it was to put one foot in front of the other, to feel my connection to Mother Earth, to be navigating this beautiful land under my own power.

It has been an extraordinary year and I am beyond-grateful for the gifts this healing journey has brought me. I’m not quite sure I’d do it again if I had the choice…but musing over this recollection this day, very likely I would give it careful consideration.

11th of December 2016 :: Lightspring Glen ::