May 29, 2012


This past weekend marks the 10th anniversary of that split second decision I made that changed my life.


 It seems so long ago that I grabbed that vellum and pencil and headed down from my office in the Pinnacle to East Bridge so I could drop all the electrical outlets into the site plan I had just drafted. Then, just one more spot to check; and despite knowing I was teetering on the edge of the brick, I took a step backward to get a better view of that wall behind the waterfall.  And as they say, the rest is history.


Or at least I wish it were history!  Those first years were awful, of course, with pain pills and walkers and lots of physical therapy…from traditional  to  Pool Therapy with pain worsening, not improving.  Then, to be saved by the miracle worker neurologist that finally diagnosed the injury correctly – 12 months after the accident.  After pain-blockers and a delay of three months for an opening with the therapist that specialized in my injury; and most of all, no income and the horrendous bills  (which meant tapping into a significantly deflated 401K due to a recession caused by 9-11), we finally started to see some improvement , and I “graduated” from therapy and was on my own 30 months after the fall.   


Early on, I kept thinking how lucky I was I could walk at all…but as I emptied the 401K and then counted on friends and family to support me with loans, it became harder and harder to look at the future with any optimism. 


But somehow, I made up my mind I could conquer this; a reunion with a friend from my early incentive house days led to a little income trickling in as I worked for her part time and daily wondered how I was ever going to recover.  But finally, a full time job in late 2006; a return to full time Creative Events in 2009, and my two best years financially in 2010 and 2011…when finally, I could pay back the last of the doctor bills and loans, get rid of my 16 year old Jeep, and say with confidence….yes, I have some pain; yes, I have some limitations on what I can do physically, but I won the battle.


So I returned to the city and the river, filled with hopes that I had, indeed, persevered and conquered the monster.


Maybe that is why these last seven months have been so difficult.  New symptoms have appeared based on that old injury; the return to physical therapy for three months, pain, the lack of work, and with no 401K to fall back on, the constant worry about money and how am I going to pay for all this…one more time.  It feels like the matching bookend to an awful decade!


But, determined to keep going, I have pushed to get back to my daily walks around the river…which may have triggered my mini-memorial day weekend meltdown. 


 A few weeks ago,  I was headed over to Surdyk’s  to pick up some wine to share with an old friend visiting from Hawaii, and for some reason, as I came off the Hennepin Bridge, I made a detour….and walked through East Bridge.  As I reached the waterfall, I started to feel sick and my legs began to shake.  Good heavens, why did I not leave well-enough alone!  Since then, I keep thinking about the fall, and the hardship of the recovery, and what a bad position I am in because of it once again…both physically and financially.


By this anniversary weekend, I had sunk deep into the doldrums.   I made it through Saturday all right because I had plans all day with a good friend.  But, despite the beautiful days Sunday and  Monday  and tentative plans to head to Rochester, visit the cemetery , then see my siblings, I have not budged from my perch up here on the 14th floor.  Instead of celebrating the triumph, I am sad…and so afraid I am headed into a repeat of those first awful years.


What should be a celebratory time, has become a worrisome time for me…and I am not sure I can muster the determination to fight it off one more time.


So here’s hoping that with the anniversary now behind me, so too will the pain and the worry disappear, and I can start to move forward…one more time…with my life.  After all, I have too many unread books and too many things left on my “to-do” list to give up now.


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