Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Quick Update

What can I say? I've been up to exactly nothing.
It was a busy Friday and Saturday but I found time to run 11 km after taking my car in for its oil change.  A slow, but steady run in the rain.  I was glad.
Sunday was just me and just the couch and just the tv.
It's been raining alot.
I greeted Monday with my usual grudging respect.
I was on time for work, after sleeping really well, something I don't normally do on Sunday nights.

A site meeting was scheduled to check on something.
We went to the site, two large condo buildings, just two of what feels like thousands all over the city.
All routine stuff. I'd been there before.
As I said, it's been raining alot.

We got down to the fifth level of the parking garage, where what we needed to see was installed.
One of my colleagues, walking ahead of me, pointed to a large patch on thinly-spread-out coffee-coloured mud.
The words "Watch this, it's slippery" were not even out of his mouth before I was down,
falling, and then hitting the ground, backwards, hard, my hard hat flying off, my head hitting the concrete, hard, my left elbow taking the rest of the brunt of the fall.

I lay there for exactly one second before bursting into loud, panicked tears, in front of both my colleagues and our client. Panicked does not even describe how I felt lying there. How hard did I just hit my head? What have I done? Can I see? (yes). Can I move my legs (yes, yes, thank you, yes).
My second co-worker crouched down, put her jacket under my head. I tried to calm myself.
More people arrived. The usual response, I guessed, when something happens on a construction site.
Things unfolded. I got up (covered, I will add, in mud. Me, my raincoat, my hair, my clothes, my notebook, my purse (my purse...)We walked back up (nothing was going to be looked at today). We sat in a construction trailer and I had some water.
My wonderful colleagues brought me home. I had scared, secret thoughts of Natasha Richardson. As I do with every thought that enters my head lately that I find disturbing (how much I miss my husband, how much I resent my job sometimes, how frustrating I've been finding life in general lately), I brushed it aside.
I took some Advil. I did some work online. I called my husband. I watched the endless CNN loop of Hurricane Sandy coverage, chiding myself for worrying about my situation when people's homes, cities, and very livelihoods were being threatened.
A couple of hours went by. I was sore. My condo board meeting was cancelled due to weather.
The shock that had encapsulated me wore off.
I started to cry. I felt panicked again. I watched the rain outside, watched the wind blow leaves around and I listened to the raindrops hitting my windows and felt a little better.

Fast forward to today. I awoke at 8, not a minute before, and I didn't hear anything after I went to bed last night of the storm. I text messaged my boss that I was going to work from home. I lay still on my side because lying on my back hurt.
I took some more Advil and fell back asleep. I woke up and went to my doctor.  There was, for the first time, no one waiting in his outer office. He was, as he usually is,  matter-of-fact and brisk. A strain, nothing more, to my hip, something else to my neck.  I worked online when I got back. My other boss wanted details. I didn't feel like giving them to him. My sister came by with her kids and we all had dinner. She went home, night falling. My neck starting to ache again as the ibuprofen wears off. Me, not feeling like taking anything else. Me, feeling sorry for myself. Me, calling my mom for comfort (why do I do this to myself?) Me, crying again. Me, not feeling any comfort at all.
Feeling, instead, panicked again. Crying about 'my luck' and about another physical ailment I can't seem to control or do anything about.

Me, sitting on the couch, under a blanket, alternating the heating pad and the ice pack, and just thinking about nothing.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Seventeen Months

It was seventeen months since my dad died, on Saturday, October 13th.  I didn't mark the anniversary.
I was in Maine, having the kind of fall day that everyone thinks of when they think of fall.
Meaning, I was just living my life, deep in the rhythm of a crisp, sunny day, one where you're living each and every moment, just for itself, enjoying this weird ritual we call life.
Colours on trees. Driving upstate. A small quaint town that reminded me of the one my dad grew up in.  A college frisbee tournament, Mike's niece deeply enmeshed in the competition, all sorts of young, energetic college students running around a field, in teams, supporting each other. Cheering from the sidelines. Looking around and wondering, how, and when, exactly, did that time in my life slip from me, lightning-quick.
Driving looking for a beach with a view. Stopping at Dairy Queen. Eating sundaes in the car.
Me, musing to Mike that there are still small windows of time where I do forget my dad is gone.
Buying The Economist last week I thought, oh my dad will want to read this when I'm finished with it. And that sudden upside-down thought of, oh...no.

But even musing to Mike didn't bring me back to the reality of the date, how much time has gone by, how much has happened, and, as Mike put it how time seems to feel like it's 'speeding up.

I've exchanged emails with a close friend lately about exhaustion, the onset of fall, the frustration of running injuries, how hard it was for me to sit out of the half marathon I worked hard to get to, and accepting the limitations of the body as it ages, as it heals, as it mends itself. I was actually glad to be out of the city while the race was going on so I didn't have to encounter it, see it, hear about it. Sad, huh? Self-centred.
But that's just how I feel.

Writing. As evidenced here, I haven't been doing a whole helluva lot of it.
Reading has been my balm lately, nights after work when I get home, even the tv doesn't really tempt me. I leave stacks of unopened mail. I don't look at my computer much at home. But my pile of library books gets dealt with every week, without fail. Seven day loans are not a problem. I sometimes take out more than one. And I read them all.

My latest discovery is a writer named Lisa Genova. She has a book out called "Still Alice" about a woman with EOAD. Early-onset-Alzheimer's Disease. She has a PhD in neuroscience from Harvard, so she has the research and knowledge to back up a book like this. But the book doesn't just cover the robbery of the mind for the protagonist, an professor. It tackles her relationships with her adult children. With her husband. With her colleagues--as the disease strips away her confidence and awareness. The notes she writes herself, questions about her memory. If I've ever wondered how to quantify memories, as a tangible...this book exposes this for me.
I just finished reading another novel of hers called "Left Neglected". The storyline seems tidy at first. Another high-achieving wife and mother. Her car accident on a slick, wet stretch of the Mass Pike. Her traumatic brain injury known as "left-neglect" where she is unaware of her left side. Of having a left side. Of seeing the left side. Her type-A personality goading her on to recovery, but realizing that she is unable to return to her six-figure job as a juggler in the corporate world. The support of her husband and children and her new skill of learning how to just 'be'. Re-connecting with her estranged mother. Illustrating how often in life, when one thing happens, other things often happen at the same time. It was a good read for someone like me, who, for the last five months since this head thing happened (five months ago today), I have really been unaccepting of the situation. Acting like not doing anything about it would somehow make it disappear. How slow the real healing has been. How much the little things mean when there is some advancement. How amazed I am to look back on three years of running, two of them during some of the most tumultuous times in my life, and be unable to get back to that right now, where I let running help to sustain me, because I simply can't.
That's where the reading comes in. My fallback when I'm not 100%.

So that's where it's at on this fine fall Monday. It's grey, it's cloudy, I've been up since 4:30 am catching planes to get home, I still want everything and more, and ever so slowly I keep trying to wake up.
Time speeds along.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Life Plan (or lack of)

My friend H. pointed me in the direction of this amazing column by a National Post writer,
Jane Macdougall.
I thought about life plans (and thought about how it's never really occurred to me to have one).
And then I decided to respond.
Enjoy! And think about your own (or lack thereof)!


Monday, October 1, 2012

A List about a Run

1. Running again. Without my head getting in the way, both literally and figuratively.
2. A wrong turn, a trail, a sense of having to get the hell out of there.
3. Getting the hell out of there, running fast, to the stairs at the base of the bridge where Queen Street arcs over the DVP, just east of River.
4. Running up said stairs, practically a sheer vertical, 3 flights, at least 10 steps per flight, two at a time, feeling like a running animal. A gazelle. Something much more graceful-looking than my form allows.
5. Finally getting it: THIS is why you save it all up for that last 5 km.
6. Getting to the top of the stairs, staggering against the bridge railing, knees buckling from exertion.
7. Drinking my water (okay, finishing my water) while simultaneously wondering if said water would stay down.
8. The nausea fading.
9. Looking down King Street from my vantage on Queen and just...starting to run again.
10. Running downhill on King, pounding downhill on King, feeling taller than I ever have.
11. The clouds.  Rushing to meet me.
12. The solitude of a quiet Sunday.
13. Lucky 13. (13.1 to be exact). On the 14th. Wish me luck.