One bright and shiny Winter Wednesday morning, more than a dozen years back, I was picking my way carefully from car to front steps, arms hung with plastic shopping bags full of Household Necessities, and my (at the time) ever-present open 20-ounce bottle of soda in my right hand, when Something Went Wrong.
The precise date escapes me, but it was a Wednesday, no doubt. I wasn’t at work, had been shopping, and was unaccompanied by any member of my brood, so it wasn’t Sunday. The house was empty, and would be all mine for the next few hours.
Maybe that’s what was on my mind as I rounded the corner – spending a bit of time in silence before the Invasion of the Teenagers. Maybe I was making mental lists of the things that needed to be done (I do that a lot). Whatever it was, I never got to it. My next conscious thought was, “Why is my arm wet?”
My soda was still in my hand. My arm was still at a right-angle to my body. My body, however, was no longer at a right-angle to the ground. The brown, bubbly cola was spilling out, running down my arm and spreading over the snowy, slushy path my feet had been planted-on, moments earlier.
It took what seemed like a long time to get my brain to re-engage enough to even put the bottle down, much less to assess the possible damage. “Oh, I seem to be lying on the cold, wet ground. Perhaps we should do something? Hello? Brain? A bit of assistance? Muscles – how about you?” I have a vague recollection of rolling over, getting up on hands and knees and crawling to the wooden front steps a few feet away. I’m pretty sure I actually walked through the front door, surprised that It Didn’t Hurt.
The doctor said I had small fractures in 2 vertebrae. No treatment, other than take it easy and here’s some pills if it gets too bad. I called my boss, said I’d be late, and asked if someone else could please set-up the seafood case the next morning. No problem. It still didn’t hurt that much.
Then came morning. Oh. My. God.
The muscles in my back, which had tried so valiantly to keep me upright, were frozen. Never in my life had I felt anything like that…and until last week, it was consigned to the Dustbin of Memory.
No dramatic fall this time; just a wiggly granddaughter being lifted out of a grocery cart. Twingy at first, then full-on frozen. Sitting down hurt. Standing up hurt. Lying down flat was impossible for three days.
I have a renewed appreciation for those who struggle with chronic pain. God Bless you, people who live with that, and still live your lives…
I’m better, if you hadn’t guessed. Not all-the-way healed, but better enough to sit at my desk, or grab the camera for a beautiful sunrise.
Or a drab 4 O’Clock.
Time to tackle those things that were left behind while I mended! That Christmas tree has overstayed its welcome…