It was bed changing morning at Shady Acres. Saturday. It was also the morning that Certain Man, Middle Daughter, Only Granddaughter, and Certain Man’s Wife were planning to get into Certain Man’s pick up, and go to Ohio for the adoption hearings for grandsons; Simon, Liam and Frankie.
Now we had been planning for this journey for a long time in general terms, but ever since the end of the July, it has been specific: September 8th @ 9am. Of course, this is the week when the weather had been very warm on Delmarva and our chickens will be five weeks old by the time when we get back, so Certain Man was concerned about their well-being. I meandered through the last few weeks with some specific goals in mind that I wanted to accomplish before we had go leave. It took me a while to connect that nobody accomplishes much while meandering, so I kinda tried to get it in gear before it was too late. And I pretty much got the major projects finished up and when morning arrived, all that was left was to finish up the packing. We had even gotten to bed at a reasonable time.
The morning was an immediate flurry of things getting done. Only Granddaughter had spent the night and she was up early enough that I was able to get an early start. The beds got stripped and remade, morning meds given, several loads of laundry sorted and the washing machine was purring away. I had Cecilia on the potty and was ready to give her her shower when I needed to use the potty that she was sitting on. That was fine, since she was ready for her shower, so I started the water in her shower and got it regulated.
Then I remembered something. It was Saturday morning. Friday night, Nettie always cleans her bathroom, using copious amounts of cleaner. It is not unusual for her to use half of a large can of bathroom cleaner to accomplish this task. A great percentage of it is used in her shower. This makes for very, very slippery conditions in the shower. Even with the mat in place, when Cecilia steps into the shower, even the mat will slip like it is on ice. This is especially so if no one tamps the mat down into place, making sure that the suction cups are engaged. However, even when it has been secured, sometimes the rubber mat still slips, at least until someone picks it up, rinses under it thoroughly and then re-tamps it down securely.
So herein was the dilemma: I was really in a hurry to get Cecilia into the shower so that I could use the porcelain convenience. I hurriedly tamped the mat down with my heavy foot and then actually stepped onto the edge of the mat, hoping it was firmly in place.
What happened next happened so fast that I didn’t have time to think. I was holding the grab bar with my right hand, but both feet went sliding out from under me in one blinding, unbelievable cataclysmic split second. I didn’t even have time to register what had happened when I landed outside of the shower, on one dreadfully sickeningly solid left sided bottom thump. It felt like an electric current jolted through my lower back and my first thought was to make sure my legs worked. They did. I hauled myself up and was grateful to note that, not only had I NOT wet myself, I no longer needed to use the potty.
I stood outside the shower with a thousand emotions crashing over my heart. We were only hours away from leaving on an important, milestone marking trip. I knew that whatever had happened could have some implications as to the many miles we needed to travel. I don’t travel very comfortably under the best circumstances, but this weekend was especially a challenge already. Our Silver Chariot had developed serious issues and was in the shop, being repaired, thankfully under warranty, but still out of commission. We were planning to take Certain Man’s pick-up, but many of the amenities of the newer vehicle were glaringly lacking. The biggest concern was space to stretch out if I needed to.
I needed to get Cecilia showered. I picked up the mat from the bottom of the shower and rinsed it thoroughly. I washed the floor under the mat until it was no longer slippery to my touch, and put the mat back down firmly, making sure the suction cups were not going to move. Bending over was clearly a problem, but it seemed like it was not as bad as I thought it would be. I got Cecilia into the shower and washed her. As I washed, I started praying while the water ran down and anxiety plied its nasty trade.
“Oh, Lord Jesus. This is no surprise to you, and I bring it before you. Could you please use this for my good? Could you somehow work what has happened to the betterment of traveling today instead of complicating things? Please give me wisdom and endurance and help me to know what is best to do. Above all else , if there is something really seriously wrong, could you please make that very plain before we leave?”
I finished the shower, aware that both of my feet were experiencing a strange sensation– that of being “almost half-way” asleep. My toes were tingling in a strange way, and there was definitely some kind of trauma to my lower back. But it didn’t hurt when I sat down, and it didn’t hurt too much when I stood up. But getting from sitting to standing, and from standing to sitting was a reminder that something had happened. And I was not moving as quickly as before.
I decided not to tell my family. If I could get ready to go and not tell them, I was probably okay to go. I truly lumbered through the rest of the morning, calling upon Middle Daughter for some assistance. She helped incredibly much without asking questions. Sometimes I would go and hide in another room to try to stretch things out and to relieve that ongoing tingling in my toes. How was I ever going to make and eight hour pick-up ride?
I decided to tell my family. I went out and started a conversation that I could “lead gently into” the account of the fall, but it never would develop easily. I decided to not tell them.
We finished packing, got the caregiver for the ladies informed and we were on our way. I settled into my seat and suddenly realized that, somewhere along the way, my toes had stopped tingling. That gave me renewed courage and excitement for the miles ahead. We had a book on CD and we listened to James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small as the miles pleasantly passed. I was increasingly aware that I had almost no distress or pain. Whenever we stopped, it was a little hard to walk normally and it was pretty hard to get in and out of the vehicle, but I began to believe that the pick-up was probably the best vehicle for me for this trip. Yet another provision for me in spite of all my clumsy misadventures.
And so we came safely to Ohio. Somewhere on the PA turnpike, I told my family about the fall and how grateful I was that it seemed things were going so well. Middle Daughter was concerned. Certain Man was highly indignant that I hadn’t said anything before we left. However, I was glad that there was no turning back at that point. It sounded like he would have probably insisted that we delay departure.
And everything truly is okay. I’m pretty sore, and it still doesn’t go very well to go from standing to sitting and sitting to standing, and my right arm appears to have experienced some sort of wrenching. But all in all, it is surprisingly insignificant. I was able to walk a half a mile today, and for the most part, things are good.
The best part is that we are all together at Raph and Gina’s house:
My heart gives grateful praise.