I am always in a hurry. There’s no explanation for it. It’s part of my make up. Ever since I was a child I had responsibilities heaped on my head and I’ve learned to multitask. As a working mom I often juggled a baby on one hip and while holding a toddler by the hand packed lunch for my husband, did dishes and straightened house, checked the freezer for dinner and got myself ready to leave for work and drop the kids off at the sitter – all before 6:00 am!
Now that I’m “old as dirt” or so my grandchildren like to remind me, I like to think maybe I’ve slowed down a little. Of course, that’s all just the pretty picture my mind paints. In reality I haven’t done a very good job of it. My husband constantly puts a gentle hand on my shoulder and whispers “settle down” meaning I’m in danger of teetering off the edge. He always recognizes it and it’s his calm demeanor that causes me to stop what I’m doing and breathe deep.
However, I had a little incident recently that brought this problem home to me in a big way. I fell. Oh, not your usual stumble and “pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again” kind of fall. No, I took a headfirst tumble right into the pavement. Here’s the rest of the story.
Hubby and I took the bus to order my new glasses. Since we have no car we routinely use the bus system in Mexico and don’t budget much for cabs. We got off the bus, found the lab and the fitting went without a hitch. We decided to walk across the four-lane busy traffic intersection to reach a grocery store that was close. There is a median and we crossed the first two lanes just fine. I was a bit ahead of my husband and I honestly have no idea what happened and don’t remember much of it. All I know is that I stumbled and fell headfirst onto the concrete.
Two kind Mexican women reached me first and it was apparent to them and to my husband that I needed medical treatment although my first inclination was to refuse. Blood gushed from my head, my husband had to extricate my clip-on sunglasses from my forehead, and my eyeglasses were shattered. We tried to stop the bleeding while one Mexican woman noticed an ambulance in traffic and flagged it down. Two very nice attendants rushed to my side, loaded me up and sped me off to the Red Cross.
I do remember saying I didn’t want to go to the hospital because there is a new law here now that without insurance you must pay all fees up front (in cash) and my checkbook would not accommodate a huge bill. I arrived at the Red Cross where two very nice nurses began to clean the wound and a doctor saw me immediately. (No matter that the doctor looked to be about fifteen years old – I was sure I was hallucinating at that point). The nurse cleaned and stitched me up; the doctor gave me instructions to go home and rest and told me to take Tylenol for pain.
Immediately I began to turn black and blue and I was so nauseated and dizzy I could hardly stand. Every time I stood up blood gushed from my nose. I finally went to sleep but at 4 in the morning we had to call my friend (who is a nurse and the Director of Hospice here in Mazatlan) and she came right over and took my vitals. After another day of icing the area the swelling went down a bit but the headache and dizziness remained. I spent a tough weekend resting and hurting (after the fall my knees and arms ached like mad from bracing myself).
Yesterday was a special day. Two of my girlfriends walked over to visit me and helped buoy my spirits up. Another couple came over and brought me beautiful flowers. A friend from church brought over two Levon Helm cds and I spent the afternoon enjoying the music. I had phone calls, Facebook posts and emails – all from my wonderful friends. Someone from church brought over dinner. More friends called. (Boy, am I Iucky to have so many friends!)
A friend took me to my primary doctor on Monday (the accident happened on Friday) and he was aghast at the stitches on my forehead. He assured me they would leave a scar. He was not happy that I hadn’t been put on an antibiotic and he did so right away and also added meds for the nausea and dizziness and something for pain. He explained patiently that I had “shaken” my brain and it would need some time to heal; to go back home and rest totally until the symptoms subside.
I began to think about writing and how this incident correlates. Are you in a hurry? Do you allow readers to grasp the situation or do you rush them into the next scene? Do you take time to slow things down so your reader gets the full impact of the drama? I think we can all learn a good lesson here about enjoying our journey through life by slowing down and about building a good readership by giving the public enough information to keep them riveted to the story we have written. Here are two good links on slowing down the pace of your writing. The Writer’s Magazine The Learning Spy
My new motto: Take Time to Smell the Roses. I will be consciously taking slower steps and watching where I walk. I also intend to dissect my book scenes to be sure I haven’t rushed over important points that leave the reader confused and wondering. I also intend to remember to thank my friends every day. Even a share on Facebook or Twitter or a note will make them feel good.
Oh, and there are a couple of other resolutions I’ve made. I picked up a set of walking sticks and intend to use them faithfully for support while walking in Mexico. (I don’t want to wear a helmet, but I REALLY don’t want another concussion). I will not be swayed by fashion but will ALWAYS wear my cross trainers when I’m walking (I was wearing a pair of sloppy sandals when I fell).
How about you? Have any of you taken a fall like this? Have you realized you left something important out of your writing? What are your resolutions?
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