Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The bigger they are...

Yesterday, I had was granted a rare opportunity.  I got to experience what it feels like to be a cartoon klutz.  I got to feel the unparalleled experience of being parallel to the ground, with only air under my body.  It was like briefly skydiving, but without as much altitude.

This is a position you've seen Fred Flintstone in countless times.  Wile E. Coyote assumes this pose at least once per "Road Runner" episode. But yesterday, I was the unwitting doofus and a slick piece of ice was the stand-in for the obligatory banana peel ("exhibiting a strength and unflappability rarely hinted at by banana peels in this role," Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times). 

Has this ever happened to you?  First you are upright, legs securely supporting your torso, and the next second you are laying prone in midair, looking forward at your snow boots, toes pointing skyward.  Time stops, you have a second to hope for levitation; the next second you realize that this is going to hurt, and then boom! gravity remembers you and reunites you with the icy driveway, posterior cranium first. 

To add to my confusion, I spilled the drink I was holding, which is my new favorite concoction, fruit punch Crystal Light with a splash of diet Dr. Pepper.  So while gentle canaries circled my head, I looked around and saw, not my spilled drink, but lots of uncharacteristically pink and bubbly blood fizzing all over me and and running in freezing rivulets down the driveway. I may have yelped as I scrambled to my feet.  (Thankfully, there was no real blood.)

Classic disorientation had kicked in within seconds of my landing.  And then a few seconds later, everything goes blank.    Oh, I was standing, talking, walking, going on about my business, but I have no memory of this time.  My best guess is that I lost about 10 minutes in this state.  Evidently I had an incoherent phone conversation which fortunately led to more phone calls, summoning my neighbor the nurse, and my husband.  I don't remember any of these goings-on.

My memory resumes with me sitting on a chair, crying to my nurse/neighbor/dear friend, trying to remember how she and I got to yet another neighbor's house.  The next few minutes are still blurry, but everything came into sharp focus when we stepped outside, where it was 20-something degrees.  It was quite bracing, and just what I needed to wake up my brain.

By the time Eric arrived, I was pretty well restored to normal functioning, which wasn't all that reassuring to him.  I protested about a trip to the ER, since I could walk and talk and openly confirmed I'm not really married to Colin Firth in another dimension (please don't tell Colin I said that).  But my Eagle Scout, son-of-a-nurse husband wasn't about to rush all the way home from work early and not have a hospital bill to show for it, so off we went to the ER.

Let me say that St. Joe hospital (whatever the formal title), is a beautiful, efficient, brand-new facility and they processed me with no waiting.  Everyone was unfailingly nice, young and clean.  The admitting nurse was more like a restaurant hostess, politely ushering me to my table and assuring me that the waitress, er, doctor, would be right with me.  And he was.  And even though he was very young, he was at least seasoned enough to play along during the exam so that Eric got to work in several wisecracks about the contents of my skull.

So the outcome is that I'm fine.  Extremely lucky, extremely blessed and apparently, extremely hard-headed.  I have some thank-you notes to write, because I am surrounded by awesome, caring people who look out for me. I'm utterly humbled by the concern expressed by everyone who saw the facebook postings, and count you all as individual blessings in my life.

After fielding inquiries into how I'm feeling today, I came up with this scale of relative debilitation.  On a scale where 1 represents a mild hangover and 5 represents giving birth without anesthesia, I'm feeling about 2.  I can do most anything, but I don't feel like doing anything.  Blizzard or no blizzard, I'm not shoveling snow this morning.  But I did make Eric's lunch as usual, so I still get to be a martyr about that.

Fortunately, the offending sheet of ice is predicted to end up smothered by a foot or more of snow by tomorrow.  Serves him right.  I'll be doing what I usually do when the weather outside is frightful:  I'll be watching movies while I iron, mend, cook, do crafts or all (or none) of the above.  Just another enviable day in the life of an glamorous housewife. 

But for just one moment, I was the star of my own cartoon.  And that one moment was quite enough, thank you.