Saturday afternoon, while my husband and I were in our backyard busying ourselves with the installation of a gazebo roof, life shifted just a smidgen and took on a luster all it’s own. However, it wasn’t the soft, gentle glow that permeates our dreamscapes and leaves us feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. No, this was the stuff of nighmares…at least for someone getting to that age where she’s prone to the snapping of brittle bones with the simple flick of the wrist.
My world was instantly colored with a murky sort of haze…the kind of sooty smut that cloaks Los Angeles on any given day (sorry, City of Angels…). As I stepped back on the lawn to admire our handiwork, I took a backwards tumble over a cast iron patio umbrella base. As I began falling in slow motion, a smattering of thoughts raced through my mind:
What the f***?!? who you calling old
If I impale myself on this thing, it’s gonna hurt like f***!
Where the f*** is Jimmy Hoffa?
My fall, as you may have gathered, was as utterly devoid of grace as one would reasonably expect. My imagined finesse failed on a monumentally miserable level and I lay on the ground in stunned silence, having twisted my body at least ninety degrees. If memory serves me correctly, nary a scream, yelp or cry of surprise escaped my parted lips.
“Babyareyoualrightareyouokaydidyouhurtyourselfareyoualright?” my husband asked in rapid-fire succession. It came out as one long word. I was more embarrassed than I was hurt. I mean, there I was, a spry youngish 53-year old woman, sprawled out on her back lawn after having clumsily tripped. In my defense, however, the eyes in the back of my head were apparently closed shut.
Within the space of a few hours, my lower back felt as if someone had taken up residence therein, manipulating sinewy muscle fibers with their proficient liliputian digits. I was not a happy camper. Over the next 12 hours, I feared for myself (yes, I was being totally selfish). Would my sleep be punctuated with fits of restlessness? Would I be able to walk upright in the morning? Would the pain be so crippling that I would have to resort to crawling about the house like a ten-limbed crustacean?
One of the many joys (flights of fancy?) of getting older is the prevailing thought that, no matter the injury, no matter the pain, no matter the inconvenient truth, our bodies will recover…eventually. No, I never expected to spring back like an unaffected twenty-something, shaking off the pain as I would a bothersome but insignificant gnat. I figured it would take time, and lots of it. However, not once did I ever doubt that recovery would occur.
So here I sit today, on my back deck, inside of the gazebo with the new roof, sipping on a large glass of Yellow Tail Sangria (my second, by the way…), and marveling at the fact that a mere 24 hours ago, copious amounts of pain killers, thoughts of being in traction and Idris Elba filled my head. Why Idris? Well, besides your mate, who else would you want to be standing in front of you, shirtless, nursing you back to health?!?
There’s power in positive thinking. There’s also power in a well-placed heating pad and a couple of doses of naproxen. I more than half expected to still be a prisoner of my bed, unable to roll over on my own or even sit up. Visions of calling my doctor and wimpering for prednisone didn’t seem all that far-fetched. I was ready to throw in the towel, accept my role as one of the infirmed masses and marvel as my husband waited on me hand and foot. That didn’t happen.
Now, I’m cured! who you calling old
Okay, I’m being silly; I have osteoarthritis, so that whole ‘cured’ thing is a bit melodramatic. I am, however, able to sit up in a chair, walk up and down the steps, fold laundry, cook Sunday dinner, play with my pooch, shower without the aid of a chair and get the hell outta bed all by myself. And relatively pain-free, to boot.
Yes, I’m getting older. And yes, shit happens (as it did to me). And yes, I realize that the petals are falling off of my bloom as we speak. But I’m not so far gone that there’s no hope of bouncing back. Am I old? Well, old is relative. I’m older than Beyoncé, but not as old as Judi Dench; I’ve got a couple of years on Viola Davis, but I have some catching up to do with Oprah; I’d call Miley Cyrus a young whippersnapper, but Betty White would refer to me as a baby.
A few creaks here, a couple of rusty spots there, but all in all, I’m doing well. However, if you feel the need to label me as ‘old,’ have at it. Hey, I survived a fall in my back yard, and I’ll survive the name calling, too. who you calling old