Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The whole story

Okay, my dear friends, the one who know me personally, please do not freak out. I am fine.

Last weekend, a man fell 45 feet as he climbed up a steep trail at Triple Falls near Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge. A rescuer climbed down to him in time to see him take his last breaths.

Right now, a hiker is lost on Mt. Adams. He inexplicably left his sleeping bag on the ground near his car in the trailhead parking lot. This will have been his 3rd night up there. He is dressed less than ready for snow and cold.

And I, in the midst of pain, think about this. I think about all the time I have spent in the high country with my horse. How I did not fall and be injured or die up there.

My nephew said, when he called right after my injury, "Aunt, how many thousands of miles you have been through the wilderness alone, and when you get seriously hurt, you are only a few yards from your house!"

But, I, in the midst of my pain, think of those people who die on the mountain. And I think it's not a bad way to go. I mean, it really isn't. To succumb within minutes of falling to the effects of your head bouncing off of rocks, is that really bad? To perish in the beauty of the high country, with hypothermia overtaking your mind and body (I have experienced this and remember it very clearly. It's very euphoric), ah, there are worst ways.

And to not have to undergo recovery, treatment, pain that never ends, stares from people in the grocery store (today, I went thru the market, and as I rounded a corner in my CTO vest, I surprised a young mother in the middle of the aisle with her young son in the basket seat. She surprisingly jumped and said, "Oh, I'm sorry." Over what? No one jumps simply because they need to move their basket a foot for you to pass. I know what happened. She turned around and saw me in the vest and it spooked her.) To not have to endure surgeries and added pain, not have to go through fears of "will this surgery fix me or make me worse?" It's not all bad.

Of course, my reasoning tells me truthfully that every tiny second I survive to be with my husband, the love of my life, is worth it all. And to be here to have seen my son married. Yes, it's worth it. But to avoid all the years of battling pain, battling the brain, it's not a bad thing. It didn't happen to me, I am grateful for that, but I am also cognizant of the fact that someone perishing in the woods, there are worse things, far worse.

I'm sorry if this is hard to read, but the story is not honest if it does not include all of the reasoning, all of the thoughts of the one going through the journey.

I am better today, I took a bit more meds after a really bad morning, and got to feeling better. This is the deal. I need to learn to be someone new. Someone who is just happy not to hurt. That's it, pure and simple. I need to remember what that pain feels like and then not do things that causes that pain to flare up. I need to be the person who will save my energy and create pain-less (not free from pain, but having LESS pain) days to take drives with my husband. I need to somehow fashion someone new. Someone who is not worried about her weight. Who will not give into temptation to climb a ridge, clean a carpet or try a leg lift on the floor when I suddenly am overtaken by the "old me."

I can do it. I have to do it. With the grace of God, I will do it. If I'm here, then I will work the hardest I can to make it endurable.

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