Falling

Outside my classroom door.
Outside my classroom door.

It’s over.  It’s time to suck it up and get back to school.  In case you missed this post,  I’m an art teacher at 2 elementary schools in the county:  a total of nearly 700 little artists.  I am here to reflect about fall of the year… As a time of beginnings and new horizons for teachers everywhere. I must take a deep breath and jump right in.

Jump? Sorry, Freudian slip.  And a sidetracked ADHD brain veering crazily.  Sigh. Looks like we may be here for a while…

Looking Back

IMG_2915Anyone who knows me is aware that I had a major accident April of last school year .  It was so extreme an injury that it kept me out of my classrooms for most of the remainder of the year.

It was April. Friday the 13th. Our AMP team (Art, Music and PE) were there for Mr. P.E.’s annual fundraiser: Jump Rope for Heart.  It’s a cool event that involves about 15 different jumping -type activity stations for all our students. It’s a great cause and it earns money for the school’s PE department too. There’s the single ropes station, double dutch station, hula hoops, mini-trampolines, tinkling sticks, twirl-n–jump… and this year, a new addition: pogo sticks.

I found out early on that I had a knack for the pogo. Weeks before the event, I practiced pogo-jumping, and could stay in motion for a good long while.  Never mind that I am over fifty years old.  I’ve always had a good sense of balance, and an unnecessary amount of daredevil in me. Besides that, the pogo sticks are fun!

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I guess you can see where this is going, huh?

Anyway, I chose to be in charge of the pogo stick station for our Jump Rope for Heart event. I was there to briefly stress technique and safety. We had a great time with fifth grade, and I could stay in motion on the pogo longer than any of the rough-tough athletic boys in the classes.  They were grudgingly respectful.

Then.

One quirky downstrike of the stick’s piston. Slightly off-balance crazy art teacher launched suddenly skyward… Upward.  Slow motion thoughts racing through my brain Great. I’ll probably hit the floor. and This will be embarrassing… and Ok, I AM going to hit the floor but I’m going to get up,  joke about it and we’ll have a good laugh and get back to it. 

Wham!

I lay there. Embarrassment more than pain.  And I thought I think I’ll stay right here for a minute.  Moments passed, curious crowds. Ok, so  I’ll lie right here for a few more minutes… 

I stared up at the big people looking down at me (they had shooed the curious fifth graders back to class) shaking their heads, sideward glances, concern. This must be worse than I thought. 

My next few thoughts were something like: Why the hell isn’t anyone calling an ambulance? and I need drugs!

In about 48 hours. (It was really only about 30 minutes) The ambulance appeared.

Probably a broken femur, the EMS medic predicted as he skillfully slid a razor up my jeans pants leg up to my thigh. I watched the big people who were circled around me try to keep the shock (disgust? revulsion?) from their faces.  My leg was bumped out at an alarming angle as my broken bone tried desperately to seek the light of day. The EMS person asked me several questions. And I had one for him: “Can I have something for pain?”

A shot of (insert name of strong narcotic here) helped, but even with that pain medicine in my system, it still hurt like nothing I had ever experienced.  Pain was redefined right then and there. A new benchmark from which to measure all other painful events up to that point.  Then when I was transported to a stretcher — well that  then became the new benchmark for pain… Followed by newer, more intense benchmarks for pain..,

Emergency surgery was performed to repair a completely broken-in-two femur.  A steel rod was inserted into the femur, along with a pin and a surgical nail.  Then heavy medications to follow…Most of the hospital stay is a blur to me.

From Pogo Stick to Walking Stick

I painted my cane in an Outer Space/Alien type design.
I painted my cane in an Outer Space/Alien type design.

My husband was there with me almost every minute of the 4 days/ 5  nights at the hospital. Through surgery, physical therapy, then re-acclimation back home as I learned how to walk again — and so many new challenges to overcome. And now, 4 1/2 months later, still so many more challenges to put behind me.

Detail of the cane I painted. It started with this alien. I had to make that adjustment latch be a working dimensional feature. It's the alien's tongue.
Detail of the cane I painted. It started with this alien. I had to make that adjustment latch be a working dimensional feature. It’s the alien’s tongue.

Fall. Falling. Not leaves, not a season.  But that which is now a part of my living history. A new blip on my personal timeline that is part of who I am.

I know what you’re thinking.  What a great story to encourage me to slow down: to start acting my age. To ask myself: Am I going to give up “fun” stuff for sedate, “safe” activities? Am I gonna quell the daredevil within?


I can answer that with unblinking alacrity… 

HELL NO!

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