Well, a sports injury was probably the last thing on my list of expected events this year. Well played 2020, well played.
It seems I may have been a little exuberant in my approach. The discomfort of the afternoon persisted into the evening. I did manage to fall asleep easily enough, but found myself waking throughout the night with a low grade, but unrelenting autonomic dysreflexia. Sleep was liminal, never quite there, but just enough for some dreams to creep through.
… Breaking developments, sweet Vanessa has fallen ill, headache and nausea and thanks to the grace of Nova has gone home for the evening, hopefully to recover swiftly and completely…
Nova is now gloved up and decontaminating any vulnerable areas.
Meanwhile, back to our story…
As the early morning hours crept in, my mind wandered with inquiry around whether I have broken or strained something to the point that I would need medical attention. I was pretty confident that it wasn’t a UTI, but I couldn’t rule out skin breakdown. More bodily injuries are something I fortunately don’t have a lot of experience with in my paralyzed condition, so my curiosity was up in that arena.
Nova came in to get me up for the day and found me in the curious state.
First order of business was a full check of the visible body for any bruising, swelling, or skin breakdown. Good news and relief when none of those showed up under review.
Next was gentle squeezing of each area… Just above the left ankle, the gentlest of touch produced an acute autonomic response. A painful discovery, but discovery nonetheless. Ahlea was fortunately available on the phone and guided me to some clarity around getting the foot wrapped and a little Tylenol to take the edge off.
I had been concerned that the day would find me either on my way to the hospital, or in bed for the duration and I was relieved to learn that I would in fact be able to fulfill Ms. Nova’s request for coffee and sunshine in the garden.
I made it up and about not too late into the morning, thanks to a couple of expired Tylenol. Nova had class and I settled into the morning email and easing into the day with the waning discomfort.
Mother Mary happened by (really it was planned) to help with the fountain repair. It’s been about a year since the death of her husband, Ahlea’s father, and my good friend, Rich and we had a sweet time talking about her new life experiences and challenges since his passing.
I showed her my financial accounting spreadsheet which she strongly urged me to polish and make available to others for a fee. I have thought of this before, but this was the first real feedback I had on the subject.
We headed for the garage and I drafted her to install the new wall button for the overhead door opener. The old one broke many months ago and we’ve just been enjoying the MacGyver version of touching two bare wires together whenever we needed to operate the door. With the house coming up for sale, it seemed reasonable to complete the repair with something more conventional.
The task was easy enough and satisfying, I think, for both of us.
Mary had encouraged me to warm the injury area so, in my black pants, I was situating myself in the late morning sun while we chatted and worked. To my delight we found Eliana in the garden, though she was on a tight time budget, so busy, friendly, but not very conversational.
We moved to the fountain repair, today would just be problem evaluation and solution design.
After some careful inspection and investigation we came up with a plan to use a rubber stopper and some epoxy which sounded like a good idea to the both of us. We sat a while longer in the garden, now talking about the state of the world until Nova happened out encouraging us to move inside for lunch.
Mary and I spoke a little longer, now back to some of the more tender and touching memories of Richie’s passing. He had, in my estimation, a very good and beautiful karma on his way out, and I said so. All in all he made a very good death for himself. The fitting end for a very good life.
Nova and I found our way out into the garden again for that promised cup of coffee and some conversation.
Though old friends, it has been many years since we’ve had much interaction and through some good grace of fortune, we have found each other just now when each of us in our way could really use the help that the other seems particularly well-suited to provide.
We had a vulnerable talk and then back to work. I had some research to do on fountain parts and an application to complete for a possible alternate housing situation, as the current petition seems still held up in confusion with the property manager, landlord, and their contractor and attorney around signing a lease with a quadriplegic.
I must say, I grow less surprised every day with the state of humanity as I recognize more and more intimately the fragile nature of our tenancy here on planet Earth. I’ve grown fond of the saying, “human beings are far less than we think we are, and so much more than we imagine.”
My body is now sweating and shaking a bit from the dysreflexia. I should’ve taken the third round of Tylenol an hour ago. At least they are in now which gives rise to a hopefulness for the comfort yet to come.
I’ve started (last evening) reading Liberation Through Understanding in the Between, a title more commonly referred to as The Tibetan Book of the Dead. Notable today and happening upon the reflections of kind Richard, as well as my own fragility. I am barely a chapter into the book, and already find my relationship to the subject in a state of more active transformation.
In the last we tend to think of “flatline” as the end of life. A reasonable perspective no doubt. My own experience on that threshold corresponds to that of countless others… That death is more of a new state, rather than the absence of state so often imagined on this side of the veil.
I have, already, a new appreciation for the gift of this life, regardless of discomforts, threats, and indignities, though they may be aplenty.
Time now for dinner, and bed near thereafter. I will likely take something stronger for the pain on the way down in hopes of sleeping through the night. With luck the side effects will be lesser and perhaps even discomfort as well tomorrow.
God gets to know things, we just get to ask questions…