Well, I managed to splatter myself face first on a perfectly benign sidewalk. And contrary to popular belief, my life did not flash before my eyes. It was nevertheless, quite a spectacular fall. Due to extenuating circumstances, it is beyond my capacity to relate the entire sequence of events leading up to my pratfall in the length of time I might reasonably expect an audience to follow the thread of my story. So, I shall be as brief as possible, leaving out the parts relating to a rainy-day tour of the Biltmore and my blistered left toe, the lack of alternate footwear, the shortage of black socks-with-no-holes at my disposal, the previous days of travel and hop-on-hop off old time trolley touring, an evening of doing laundry with an obstreperous washing machine, the cacophonous pseudo fire drill, and the Birkenstock fallback shoe reliance. In short, it happened like this …

On our second day in Savanna, two blocks from our hotel, I tripped on a mislaid brick and did an inspired impression of Icarus flying toward the sun.  Leaving my Birkenstocks behind, I took a fling at stunt diving. From my horizontal airborne position, I recall thinking, “This is really going to hurt.” And I was not wrong. However, given how much it hurt, I am amazed nothing was actually broken. Aside from my dignity nothing was crushed. Even my glasses and my purse had no scratches. In fact, the only evidence of my fall were the empty Birkenstocks several feet behind me awaiting my return, and the small audience I had collected. People really do love an accident, especially if it doesn’t result in death or disaster. It also proved that there really isn’t much one can usefully say beyond, “Are you hurt?” Although in this instance one bystander felt compelled to ask, “How long have you been in Savanna?” So, what was that all about? Was she attempting to strike up a random friendship and it was her opening line? Or perhaps she was someone from the local chamber of commerce looking for a quote? Hard to say. In the end she didn’t leave her card so I have no way of knowing what motivated her question. And luckily it all happened so fast there is no video to go viral. All in all, I was incredibly lucky.

I justify my fall with extenuating circumstances and a good story line. However, there is a part of me that is still a bit wary about my capacity to withstand pain. It has taken quite a long time to get beyond the memory of landing boob-first on an old brick sidewalk. And my internal rib muscles twinge now and again as a reminder to watch my step.

Years ago, I recall having a dream about being in an auto accident. It was an interesting dream because I felt no pain. In fact, in the dream I blacked out upon impact, and woke up in a hospital bed. It was as if the dream was a lesson in understanding the human brain’s capacity to tolerate trauma. I guess if there had been any real acute bodily damage from my encounter with the sidewalk, my brain would have shut down and the random crowd might have had something useful to do … like call an ambulance for instance. But as it was, the trauma was bearable, and I stood up, reclaimed my Birkenstocks, and continued on with our tour.

By now I live with only the memory of pain. I understand recovery is difficult and inflicted upon us as a reminder of just how bad things might have been. I mean, I really don’t want to live my life at a shuffling pace, so I will go forth trusting I shall not fall if I pick up my feet. And if I do fall, I will either feel the pain and endure the recovery, or die trying.  It is really amazing to realize how old I am and how young I feel. As my eyesight fails, I look younger and younger. The fretwork pattern that has shown up unannounced on the skin of my inner arm does not belong to me, it was my mother’s. In fact, now that my ribs don’t creak at me when I get out of bed, I am once again amazed at my body’s capacity for healing, my brain’s capacity to forget, and my own reluctance to assume the mantle of being elderly. Walk On!

2 Replies to “OUCH!!”

  1. So sorry that you had this accident while you were enjoying a trip! I forget your age but both Bob and I are 78 and he just had a blood clot in his lung and wound up in the hospital and now we can’t travel for three to six months. I recently had a second cortisone shot to combat pain in my left hip and now there is pain in my knee and ankle; it took months of tests to identify the problem and now it is still not solved. So, we have to “chalk it up” and realize our limitations. Retirement was great while it lasted but now physical problems are interfering with the possible enjoyment of travel and activity. Accidents of course will happen as well. So, there we have it. Take care of yourself and keep traveling and enjoying sights and activities as long as you can.

    1. Coffee is the best until 10:30am and afterward keeps me bright eyed and bushy tailed thru the night. Not good!

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