On July 15, the day after that last post, I took the boys on another amazing bike ride. We waved at train conductors, truck drivers, and shipmates, and I marveled at how cool it is to live in a port city. We rode for a very long time, passing dozens of cyclists, as it was a weekend. Once we arrived home, I was about to write a post about yet another day of my life that seemed to come from the pages of a child’s picture book all about an idyllic summer. And then Liam pushed the reset button on my computer several times in a row, and froze the thing in sleep mode. I lost my connection to the world.
I had to write an article, one that’s being published in an ABA newsletter, and get it sent in by Friday. I asked the Professor (out of town, with our laptop) to write and tell the guy it would be late. Then I borrowed a laptop from a friend over the weekend, typed my article, sent it in, and then put the kids in the car and drove over to the friend’s house to return her Mac. It began to pour rain, and so I left the kiddoes in the car, covered the computer with a bag, and dashed into her elevated house to return it. I thanked her, told I’d see her later, and then walked through her screened front porch area to the 6 tiled steps down to the street level.
On the third step, I lost my footing, fell backwards, and broke my back on the third step from the bottom.
Holy shi*balls, people, never have I ever hurt so much or been so frightened. Although I immediately thought that I could possibly have broken a vertebra and become paralyzed, I immediately flipped over and began sort of scrabbling around on the ground, in that way that you do when something hurts so bad you just can’t keep your body still. In the back of my howling mind, I thought to myself – oh good, you’re moving all your parts. That means you aren’t paralyzed. In another section of my brain, I was thinking of my husband’s uncle, who (I believe this is true) got up and walked around after being thrown by a tornado, and aggravated a back injury that ended up leading to paralysis.
Despite the uncle story hovering in the back of my mind, I just really wanted to stand up, brush off my pants, and walk over to the car and pretend I was just fine. If I did that, then I WOULD be fine, right? My friends had heard my cries, and were on the porch encouraging me to come in the house and rest a while, go get the boys, just take a minute and see if I was ok. Three parts denial and two parts embarrassment kept me from doing so. Instead, I got in the car and drove the boys home. The drive was about a mile or so, and over the course of the drive my back muscles did some interesting things that made me (a) know I was not fine, and (b) unable to exit the car once I got home.
Long story short, I took a horrifically painfully bumpy ambulance ride to the hospital, had an X-ray, and discovered I broke off one of the spur things on a vertebra on my lower left side. No surgery, no back brace, no nothing. Just some pain pills and instructions to walk, sit, stand, and do everything else I normally do as soon as possible, in order that it heal properly. The Professor changed his train ticket and came home early, and in the 24 hours between my fall and his arrival home, we had neighbors and friends stop by to help me with the boys. I did have to pick Liam up twice when no one was around, and that was agony. But I’ve avoided that since, and I think I’m on the mend. Getting into and out of cars is a nightmare. It hurts very, very much. Getting into and out of bed is not much better. But standing, sitting, and lying down (in certain positions), I feel no pain at all, for the most part. If I move wrong, though, I get these awful twinges that just take my breath away. I’m having them less and less, and the back muscle spasms less and less, as it’s now been a week.
I’m very lucky I landed to the side of my spine. But I’m still really, really mad that this happened. Our house was getting put together, all sorted out for the start of the school year. I was exercising and eating well, doing yoga, feeling on top of my game in the body-health-fitness department. Now our house is a wreck because I can’t bend down or pick anything up, and I’ve gained back every damn pound I lost because of my lessened activity. I can’t hold the kids, or put them in and out of their beds, or put Jack on the potty, or play with them on the floor. Argh. It is majorly, majorly frustrating.
There is one thing I could do, however. I was able to put on a black cocktail length dress, black (very low heels), and carry a bundle of pinky-red tulips down the aisle just in front of my baby sister, as she married her charming young man in a small Tennessee church this past Saturday.
And that’s a post for tomorrow.