The subsequent swelling on my upper shin made it look like I had two knees. Within a couple of days much of my lower leg was a lovey shade of purple and yellow. Of course, I sought medical treatment. The advice: rest, ice, compression, elevation, and seek more medical advice if needed. I complied.
By Friday, the colors had deepened and spread. At work that day, I suddenly felt hot and lightheaded. I asked my co-workers if they felt warm.
All replied, "No."
I took a deep breath, hoped the feeling would go away, and continued working. Or should I say, tried to continue working. I had that, I want to lie down because I might faint feeling. I really do like my life, so I spoke up.
When my coworkers/friends/family (yes, they are all of those) heard about my symptoms and saw my leg, I was rushed to the hospital.
I underwent much testing and much waiting.
At one point, I was resting in a hospital bed in a closet of a room "waiting" for an ultrasound. I thought, What if this is it? I knew it wasn't, but there's something about having internal bleeding at a hospital while on a blood thinner that makes you think such thoughts.
I began reminiscing about my life. If this was my final moment, what were the things that had brought me the most happiness. I gave myself one minute and brainstormed. Here's what I came up with:
I'm glad I experienced love. As painful as it can be when people disappoint, it also brings incredible joy, a fierce sense of commitment, and the best kind of warmth when it wraps with you with a hug.
I'm glad I had children. Some want them so baldy, and it never happens. I got lucky with two healthy sons. In exchange for all those ear infections that came with piercing cries, for all those early mornings and late nights at the hockey rink, for all those missing homework notices on report cards, for those turbulent teenage years, I was given cuddles during story time, puddle walks after a rainstorm, noise that evolved into music from a garage band, phone calls with deeply concerned voices when they sensed something was wrong in my world now that they are adults, and so much more.
I'm glad I published my book. I had been told to query hundreds of literary agents until someone fell so in love with my story that they would miss a bus in a rainstorm because it was so riveting (I've yet to miss a bus in a rainstorm for any book). I was told to keep writing novels until I found a traditional publisher who would give me an advance for it when less than .05 percent of unknown debut authors are finding such deals. Sitting on that bed with my purple leg, I realized what bad advice that was. If my time was up right there and then, I'd leave the world with my treasured story tucked between a beautifully designed cover with my name on it. And in the end, that's what would matter most.
I'm glad I was kind to people as often as possible. Sure, there were times I was a little too busy, a little too grouchy, a little too PMSy, a little too under weather to share a tender word or a gesture, but many times I did anyway. Waiting on that hospital bed, I was glad about that. Now, my sons and husband might disagree with the above statement. In fact, they might be laughing out loud, which brings me to another "glad." I'm glad I have a home and a family where I can let my gruff billy goat out of its barn when I feel like it and not be banished forever.
I'm glad I have a mom that I still call when I'm sick and who, at 80-years-old, still rushes over to be at her daughter's side, the second she hears the word hospital, even though her daughter firmly instructs her not to.
I'm glad I immersed myself in and appreciated nature. Oh the things my senses have experienced: the sun rising out of the ocean accompanied by an array of colors; the scent of cold air while skiing in a winter wonderland; the symphony of bird's singing as I kayaked down a tranquil river; the feeling of a refreshing breeze on a hot day; a view from the top of an Adirondack high peak; the artwork of clouds; the grace of flowers.
My minute of glad was up, and I needed another. I didn't even get to friends, fun and health.
If my life were to end right now, I would leave in peace knowing that I did my best, that I enjoyed those special moments, that I took risks, that I accepted and moved past those painful times realizing that they were all part of this journey on earth. So this week you are reading the musings of a very grateful woman. A woman who had the opportunity to sit in a hospital with a purple leg and count her blessings.
By the way, in case you're wondering, I'm fine. Just need to be a little more careful while I'm on blood thinner for a clotting thing going on in my body. Oh yeah, I'm glad about the miracles of modern medicine.
Take ten seconds. What "glad moment" popped into your head? Please share.
KICK BACK BOOK OF THE WEEK:
The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom:
From Amazon: Told in Albom's signature spare, evocative prose, this remarkably original tale about Father Time will inspire readers everywhere to reconsider their own notions of time, how they spend it and how precious it truly is.
KICK BACK SONG OF THE WEEK:
I'm glad I'm able to still feel like a kid, probably too much of the time, so here's to John Denver (one of my favorites, and I really miss him) singing The Garden Song in the Muppet garden. Click on the arrow. It's fun.
A LITTLE SOMETHING EXTRA:
A passage from my novel, A Stop in the Park, that will be published in 11 days (WooHoo!). Character Rufus Williams gives his view of how he spends his time on earth:
Rufus sat back and clasped his hands behind his head. “Are you ready for a crash course in fun?”
Michael’s smile widened. “Bring it on.”
“Here goes. It all has to do with how you view your time on this planet. You see, I pretend. Now, pretending is fun,” Rufus said with a nod. “Anyway, I pretend that before I came to earth I had a conversation with Saint Peter or God or Jesus or Buddha—don’t matter who—and whoever said, ‘You’re going to earth for one hundred years, at the most. I’m going to put you in the United States, so you’ll have a lot of opportunity. I think I’ll make you black, as that may give you a bit of a challenge with some in that country. It’ll make you stronger. I’ll give you a special talent—up to you to find it. Pay attention, and you’ll figure it out. Now go and have fun. It’s a real neat place—some problems, but always solutions too. Again, up to you to find them. Remember, you’ve only got one hundred years, at the very most. When you come back, I’ll be waiting, and I’ll want to hear all about your trip.’”
Rufus whacked his knees. “And off I go. Michael, I often think about what I’m going to report when I go back home. Ya know, what kind of fun I had. Did I solve some problems or just sit around and complain about them? Did I ever find that talent? Makes me think about how I live from day to day. Now, what would you say if your time here was up right now and you had to make your life report to God or one of his assistants?”