5 weeks ago today, I got up early and made my way to a Portland, Oregon climbing gym for a morning of climbing before a day out with Stacey.
Little did I know that I would fall while bouldering and end up taking an ambulance ride to the hospital. Bouldering, for those who don’t know, is where you climb with no harness, but you don’t go up very high (at least not in a gym), typically having a thick mat underneath to help if you fall.
Well, I’m not sure where I was mentally, but it felt like I was having an out of body experience at that moment in time. The last thing I remember is feeling confident about my right foot going on a hold and my foot slipping and the force of my foot going towards the hood with surety and falling with not enough time to completely curl and land the right way. The result? Me thinking Oh Fuck…. and yelping as I fell to the ground. I heard something in my body thud and knew it wasn’t going to be good. People from the gym came and helped me stay still and ambulance was called. I barely was able to get on the stretcher when the EMS arrived.
I wasn’t scared, but instead I wondered what plan the Universe had in store for me with this. I never was a fan of bouldering to be honest. We arrived at the hospital and I was heavily medicated and immediately taken to a room in the ER. I remember wondering what plan the Universe had for me with all this.
I used some deep breathing and visualization techniques and sent the breath and healing energy to my back where I knew I had been hurt. I asked for Anthony to help me in anyway he could and to not leave me. I lay on my side in pain feeling my tears run down the crevices of my face. I was so thankful this didn’t happen with no one around. I’m not sure if my back or ego was hurt worse. Ok, it was definitely my back, I started giving up on ego long ago. Also, when you have a nurse stick a suppository up your ass because you haven’t pooped in 5 days … you let go that ego.
Eventually found out I got a compression or “burst” fracture to my L1. The neurosurgeon was concerned because my L1 was pushed closer to my spinal cord and he was afraid it would migrate once I tried to walk. With that being said I spent the next three days in the hospital doped up on opiates, taking Xrays and trying to just walk, use the bathroom and be minimally mobile.
At one point, I had Stacey bring me my banana costume (it was close to Halloween, after all) and I walked down the hospital hallways with my red walker ) affectionately dubbed “Big Red” entertaining the hospital staff with quips like…”hey am I funny or am I just high!?” Or “Don’t mind me, I’m your friendly, neighborhood banana… ”
Laughter truly is the best medicine.
I was fortunate enough to have dear friends come and visit me in the hospital. One was an ERBD member, Chelsea and the other was my friend, Tom whom I had not seen in 20 years!!!! So much gratitude, also Chelsea brought me some voodoo donuts including one that was a huge penis with balls!!! I wish I had taken a picture but it got devoured… And of course for my dear friend Stacey, who drove my ass home and brought me stuff as I needed it at the hospital xoxoxo
I got released on Sunday and Monday morning Stacey and I made the long trek home 3- ten hour days in the car, padded by pillows and doped up. I had to use a walker when I’d walk and sitting or pulling down my pants to use the bathroom was excruciating. So, I wore the same dress three days in a row, Stacey calls it my broke back mountain dress, hahah. I managed to give myself a shower every night we stopped and I dressed myself too. My mind is too strong to allow myself to be a victim.
Within these 5 weeks, I have made HUGE improvements. I am now running at 80%, I have religiously gone to physical therapy and done every kind of movement I am allowed to do. I got cleared to go to the gym last week and do very light weights, so I have been going every damn day. I have also been teaching since I got back, even if I had dancers to demo the moves while I talk through it and correct students. I don’t take muscle relaxers and I immediately took myself off the oxy as soon as I got back.
It’s been a humbling experience for me to be injured. I don’t have my normal abundance of energy for much of anything. It took everything in me just to put on Urban Cabaret a couple weeks ago, which was a huge success by the way. I’ve also been feeling the change of the seasons, both literally and figuratively. Grief has been keeping me warm a lot of nights and last week I just finally slept a full night. I am confident I will make a full recovery.
Why am I sharing this? I’m not sure, I don’t want sympathy or anyone to ask me if I am ok or do I need anything. I am good and I have everything I need. Maybe someone needs to hear this or maybe they don’t. Maybe I’m just rambling into the darkness and getting this off my chest because people have been wondering. It’s been a lesson in kindness to myself. A lesson in patience. A lesson in keeping a positive mindset and perspective. A road paved with determination and mental strength. Keep on moving forward. Evolving into this new version of myself that I become every day.
I leave for India on Tuesday morning to go on a spiritual pilgrimage with my dear friend, Lauren. We’re visiting Dehli, Agra, Jaipur, Kerala, Goa and Mumbai. I’ll be gone for 1 month. It was a concern with the fall, but there was no way I was not going to go. I bought the best backpack and it feels great, sitting the weight only on my hips. I am also packing super light, minimal makeup, toiletries and clothing. I’m not scared or worried. I am excited and open to the possibilities.
Why India? I just have always wanted to go to India since I was a small child. Much in the same way I always knew i wanted to be a bellydancer.
Speaking of bellydance, I just updated my class schedule for 2020. I have some exciting classes bellydance and metal yoga in store for the new year so check them out!
SO… back to this trip I just took.
The trip started out as what was supposed to be a three week journey across the US, but became something much more meaningful as I reflecting back on it now.
In those three weeks, I did so much, connected with so many people in ways I never have. Authentic human connection, my friends. Again I ask…What Does It All Mean? Stay tuned to find out and hear about my adventures friends… to be continued soon…