June 5, 2019 I’m laid out on the cool floor, taking deep meditative breathes. The river, just outback, is in early summer flow. It is just a trickle over mossy rocks. A restorative and time killing nap is a possibility. There are not a lot of options. The fall was sudden and I’m wriggling around checking for breaks and blood. An effort to rise creates a staccato beat of tremors in my left arm and leg. A moon landing is more likely than a kneeling position. I’m an industrial-sized sack of flower with a beating heart.
I hear downstairs neighbors moving about. My mobile phone rings from another room. Could they be curious about my crash? I go back to deep breathing and muscle relaxation. Slowly, very slowly, I push myself backwards, sliding along the floor. It is really just something to do. Regardless of the endpoint, I’m not getting up. My intermediate concern is wrecking a new Syracuse University sweatshirt. These things aren’t cheap.
I have crossed an ALS divide. For the first time, there is no workaround, no plan B. Not a single quadrant of my body can contribute to the cause. Still, there is a mite of humor. My underwear are relatively clean. I’ve had breakfast so not likely to starve. And the dogs demonstrate their worthlessness with a “nothing to see here” attitude. I need Lassie, not these worthless curs.
For the first time, reality replaces the hypothetical. A cavalier attitude about handrails and medical alerts, is combined with an overall underestimation of all that can go wrong. And that list is pretty fucking long. I lie there on the floor scrolling through these considerations. The hopelessness of the situation sparks a proactive resolve. Isn’t that the normal reaction? We become encased in a predictably nasty situation before considering preventive measures.
These contemplations are interrupted by the sound of my name. Gary, my good friend and downstairs neighbor has arrived. He is a thoughtful problem solver. Ethan, our 18-year-old also arrives on the scene. Together they get me to my feet, restore the elemental bond with my walker, and determine that all is right. With head and feet in proper alignment, I head for the refrigerator. It’s lunchtime. All that other stuff can wait. Until next time.
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