To begin with, it was a simple matter of carrying a tub of compost to the cucumber plant, which was beginning to look a little scraggly. It was a beautiful Sunday; we finished our toast, listened to some Ry Cooder on the iTunes, and figured on a lazy day. Cell phones were on chargers, the lawn sprinklers had finished their duty for this sunny July Sunday morning, and we had no commitments other than to investigate the vagaries of the world as presented to us on the computer screen.
I gathered up the coffee grounds and an apple that was getting past its prime. All those lovely red worms in the compost would be delighted with the treat.
“I’m just going to take out the garbage,” I told him. “My phone’s not charged yet, but I’m only going as far as the compost.” He smiled at me and went on checking out his buddies on the antique radio forum; he knew perfectly well that I couldn’t ever stop with just a minute or two in my urban garden.
It was about seven o’clock, I suppose, and the grass still shimmered with the remains of the earlier watering. I dumped the coffee grounds and turned the pile with a manure fork. At the other end of the pile, rich, dark compost sat waiting to be put to use. It would only take a minute to fill a bucket and put the lovely stuff where it would do some good. The cucumber plant was in need of a little TLC, and maybe the roses, before I went back inside for one more cup of coffee and the morning ablutions.
It doesn’t pay to tempt fate.
If we hadn’t turned on the music. If I’d taken the cell phone, as I always do when I go outside. If I’d stayed to commune with the worms a minute longer before I carried that compost toward the garden…
It only took a moment, and a tiny misstep, and I found myself lying in damp grass at the far corner of the yard, with compost scattered all over the sidewalk and my right leg not happy at all. In a matter of seconds, I went over all those “ifs” in my mind, but it didn’t make any difference to the situation.
“HELP!” I called.
Surely the neighbors’ little girl would be out playing in the yard this beautiful morning. Nope.
“HELP!!” I called.
Surely the gentleman farmer who lived across the fence would be tending his crops (as he did every morning) and picking a few oranges for the breakfast juice. Nope.
I wasn’t in a lot of pain. As long as I didn’t try to move—at all—I could sit fairly comfortably, if somewhat damply, on the grass. It was just a matter of waiting until someone found me.
“HELP!” I called.
The little girl slept in, the gardening neighbors went out to breakfast, and Hubby listened to music just out of range of my voice.
It wasn’t more than about fifteen minutes, I suppose, before Hubby passed the sunroom windows and spotted me sitting on the grass. Not too long after that, with a little help from our kids, I was in the hospital, nicely medicated and waiting for the orthopedic surgeon to insert a plate and several screws into my femur.
Okay, none of this is particularly remarkable. A lot of old ladies break bones. My recovery is going as planned, except for a couple of things having little to do with the broken bone. After surgery, I had no appetite at all for several days. Those who know me will find this hard to imagine, but it’s the truth. Little by little, the appeal of food came back, though, and now (a month later) I have to be careful not to overdo the eating. It’s hard to use up many calories with a leg stuck straight out in front of you.
The oddest thing, though, is that the mind doesn’t function the same way following trauma to some distant appendage. I, the constant reader, couldn’t focus on the printed word for at least two weeks after my fall. For a few days, that might have been influenced by painkillers, but after those stopped I had no idea why my brain wasn’t behaving normally. I couldn’t write a word; any creativity was completely gone. My handwriting was unreadable. I could claim that I didn’t fill out all those hospital forms and anyone would believe me in a second.
How can this be?
It’s all coming back, slowly. The Kindle has resumed its place in my daily routine. This post is proof that words are starting to stick together in some sort of order, although I think any logical fiction may take a while.
I’m afraid the leg immobilizer, the wheelchair, and the walker are going to be my constant companions for quite a while yet. “Non-weight-bearing” seems to be the doctor’s favorite phrase. But I can exercise my brain until the rest of me catches up. I have high hopes for full recovery in every area.
I’ll see you again, after the commercial.