My friend and I carry her partner’s ashes to the shore of a Solstice River – more accurately, we brace and stumble our way down a slope to what we hope is the shoreline. It is raining. What might have been shoreline is muck. There is no way to get to the water. “No good,” she says. “Let’s go back up to the bridge in Camp Verde.”
We start up the slope we’ve just descended. It’s nearly dark. I step up on the sandstone and feel my foot sliding in mud. My friend has my arm, but it’s no help. I crash down on my left knee. I seem to be watching all of this. I’m surprised at the intensity of the pain.
Two hours later, a kindly Emergency doc with worried eyes says, “I’d hoped it was just a bad bruise.I’m sorry. It’s broken in three places. We’ll have to keep you here and you’ll need surgery.”
“But it doesn’t hurt unless I move it,” I say. “I don’t want surgery.” I don’t tell him that I’m terrified of general anesthesia. I’d had it twice when I was a kid and the memory of the cold, dark, pain-filled galaxy I’d found myself in has never left me. “YOu don’t really have a choice,” he says. “If you want to walk again…”
I write here six days later. There are metal staples, two metal pins and a cable in my knee. I’ll be on a walker for weeks. No driving. And, I have finally learned what it means to really be a friend. (To be continued.)
When and how were you jolted awake? Tell us so that we care. ms
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