“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Saturday evening – A phone conversation with a friend
After she tells me how much she enjoyed my last blog entry I say, “…but I don’t know what I’m going to write next. I want some adventure in my life, something to write about!…”
Sunday afternoon – A Skype conversation with YouTube John
I mention to John that I can’t sit up from a lying position. I tell him I watched his video, but I wasn’t successful when I tried his technique on my bed. I’m so incredibly lucky that the last time I fell, I had collapsed into a sitting position on the floor. Otherwise I don’t know how I would have been able to reach the phone to call for help. John shares with me that at one point he couldn’t go up the stairs leading with the left leg; he persisted stubbornly and finally managed to. “You just have to push yourself, you can do it!” he encourages me.
Monday late morning – Lying in bed, deep in thought
Three weeks of vacation have just flown by and I haven’t worked as hard as I should. I really should push myself more! Why, I wonder, is it so hard to stick to a proper exercise routine? I remember in my early 20s how I would get up every day at the crack of dawn to go jogging, and the immense pleasure I felt at witnessing the neighbourhood slowly wake up from silent darkness to birds chirping, dogs barking, store fronts opening, cars rumbling by and the smell of freshly baked bread wafting through the air. I would finish off with an intense sprint, pushing myself to my limits. After work I would walk to the gym for an additional hour or two of physical activity. One year I even joined an exercise class led by a football player who had established a gruelling routine of squats, lunges, jumps, Pilates-like ab work and weights. I was able to rise from a cross-legged sitting position to a standing one without using my arms and I could give my 6’3” trainer piggyback rides for fun. Those were my strongest days. How I relished the feeling of a blood-pumping, muscle-straining, sweat-dripping, vigorous workout. Oh I wish I could feel like that again!
Monday evening – The universe conspires
I just poured boiling water over the couscous, which I’m going to eat with the salmon-kale-tomato-onion medley I cooked up. As I’m about to cover the bowl with a plate, I take an awkward step backwards, lose my balance—oh no! this can’t be happening!!—and tumble to the ground. My first thought is one of wonder at my quick reflexes—somehow I’ve managed to lift a hand to my head, cushioning it as I crashed down. I’m lying sprawled on the kitchen floor with just a little bump on my chin and a bruised elbow. Thank goodness for yielding vinyl floors. My second thought: “If only I had managed to cover the couscous! I wonder if it will cook properly now?”
For the first time after a fall, I’m completely calm (inside and out). I do wonder how I will get out of this predicament, and because I want everything in my life to have meaning, I reassure myself that there must be a reason for this accident. Maybe it’s a test…to show me that I can get up by myself? Now that would be the perfect adventure to write about!
I twist my body so I’m lying on my side, then somehow manage to prop myself on one elbow, and with the other hand I push with all my strength against the floor, trying to raise myself to a sitting position. My palms are beginning to sweat and I start sliding. I take a little break, twist a little more, and push, push and struggle harder. I know I have no choice. I talk to myself out loud, words of encouragement that I can do it. My whole body is straining, and finally, I force myself up into a sitting position!! John was right; I can do it!
Once I’m in a sitting position, it’s easy for me to scoot over to the dining area. I don’t want to call anybody just yet. If I can drape myself across a chair maybe I’ll be able to get up by myself. I rock on my legs to get into a kneeling position, but I keep falling back after a few attempts. So I grab the cushion on the chair, slide it underneath me and rock again. I’m finally on my knees, precariously balanced with my arms pushing against the floor. I try to swing my arm over the chair but my muscles are exhausted, and I fall back into a sitting position. I rest, and repeat the whole process again, and again. It’s not working; the chair is a little too high. So I try to kneel on a cushion to give myself a little extra height. Somehow I manage, and I experiment with different ways to hoist myself over the chair. I feel like I’m almost there, I hug the chair, one final exertion, a push, and suddenly…the chair topples over along with my head, which lands with a big thump on the floor.
I’m lying flat on my back, with a banged up head and a sprouting seed of panic. I rub my eyes and they start to burn and tear. Oh no! It’s the onion juice that’s still on my fingers. Comic relief, just what I need. While waiting for the sting to fade, I lie on the ground, drained. Maybe my adventure will be more like one of a castaway waiting to be rescued. I don’t know if I have the energy to try once again to go from a lying position to a sitting one. I wonder what it would be like to be stuck here until Friday, when my parents and aunt are dropping by. I’m so tired that the floor actually feels comfortable. Maybe I should spend the night here and try again tomorrow morning. But no, a short break is all I need and once again I make another huge, strenuous effort to get myself to a sitting position…and I’m successful a second time. Yay!
Now it’s time to play it safe so I call my friend K.. In good spirits, I ask him what he’s doing tonight.
“Why? Do you want to go out?” he asks.
“Well, I’m kind of sitting on the floor right now.”
He’s completely baffled. The last time I called him after a fall, I was barely audible for all my sobbing. “But you’re so calm! What happened?”
I take a few minutes to give him the details of my adventure, I mention the couscous, then we talk about dinner and the conversation turns to French fries and how the smell of deep-frying oil can really stink up your home.
After our leisurely chat, which I enjoyed thoroughly from the rare position of sitting on the floor, he says he’ll be over in half an hour.
My friend K. really is wonderful. He’s coming all the way from the other side of the city to my rescue. What would I do without you K.?
While I wait for him, I drag myself over to the living room and exhaust myself further in a final attempt to get up independently. I’m not able to, but I can’t complain. After all, I did get everything I had wished for: an adventure to write about, the opportunity to get up from a lying position to a sitting one, and the exhilarating feeling of a vigorous workout.