Always — Always! — Wear Your Helmet

I write from the seventh-floor room of a local and highly regarded hospital as my husband of less than three months lies in bed with a cheesy hospital gown, one of two neck braces he alternates throughout the day, and an IV attached to his arm. (We’ve affectionately nicknamed the IV “Car-rrrl” after the kid on The Walking Dead. “Where’s Car-rrrl?!”)

I’d rather hoped I’d get to enjoy several more years of marital bliss before having a scare like this, but here we are, about to spend our fifth night in the hospital. 

The man broke his dang neck. His neck! The year wasn’t eventful enough with our getting married. No, he had to go and break his neck. And by some miracle — and that’s exactly what it is, a miracle — he is going to be OK. For one, he managed to swerve into the grass, thus avoiding the asphalt. For another, he wore a helmet. This helmet:

 this is the helmet that saved my husband's life

He had had a normal ride and was heading home. And then something darted in his path. He thinks it was a small lizard or something. Instinctively he braked. Hard. Flipped over the handlebars and right on his head. All six feet four inches of him. On his head. Those cracks on that helmet could very well have been in his skull. One of the nurses saw his helmet and said, “Whoa. That thing saved your life, dude.”

It wasn’t the call I’d expected to get as I made my way home, him telling me he had had an accident and the ambulance was coming. And of course nothing prepares you for stuff like this. I thought he would have some scrapes and bruises, so that wasn’t too much of a surprise. But when the doctor came out after the first CT scan and said he’d fractured his neck … well, you fear the worse immediately. 

Thankfully there’s no danger to his spinal cord. Just (heh … “just”) a fracture to his C1, with a side order of bone fragment disrupting the merry flow of blood to his brain. It’s that fucking fragment that has kept him in the hospital for the last four — soon to be five — nights. Until the blood thinners have his blood in the acceptable range, he stays. 

And so I stay. Because I can’t sleep in our bed knowing he’s here in this room alone. He doesn’t need my help, really. He gets up and walks the halls even while I’m sound asleep. But I need to be here. He is my world, and if it weren’t for grace — and that amazing helmet — my world would be gone, taking me with it.

Ren (or, Life’s Cruel Ironies)

Disclaimer: This post may come off as narcissistic since I’ll be focusing on how someone’s health is affecting my life. Don’t think for a moment that I don’t see the bigger picture here or that I don’t have sympathy and empathy for my beautiful once-vibrant friend who has succumbed to age-related dementia. I’m not a monster.

That said, if you do still have thoughts about that, please refer to the title of this blog. It is not a blog on Life’s Big Questions.

Onward.

I’ve mentioned my lovely friend Ren a few times. Do a search — she’s come up a lot, including what felt like a final conversation. While that conversation proved to be far from the last, it might have been the last in which she was there, full of fire and passion and all the things that have made her such a force in so many lives. This is a woman who once said, “I am so grateful to our Supreme Maker for putting me on the same Earth as you.”

As she has said many times, she does not compliment — she acknowledges. So when she tells you things like that up there? You now it’s meant with every fiber of her being.

I’ve known her going on 24 years. Basically half my life. From the first day, that woman has been in my corner, pushing me up, making me feel love, making me believe in myself. Making me want better for myself. Imploring me not just to dream but to dream big and go for those dreams. Part of her dream for me was that I would find someone like her Terry, the love of her life and husband of many years.

After I moved from VB, rarely a visit or conversation would take place that she didn’t ask my about my love life. I’m not going to lie — sometimes it annoyed me. While I knew her intentions were good, that she wanted nothing but the best for me, I sometimes felt that my worth as a woman was only in that I was with someone. After all, that’s how my mother and most people in my family felt. That’s what many people I worked with thought. And don’t get me started on my parents’ friends, who kicked it old school with the frequent question “Why don’t you have any kids yet?”

I digress.

My usual retort was that I was waiting for someone like her Terry, that I wouldn’t settle till I met someone who looked at me the same way he looked at her in their photos. It always made her chuckle. She knew what I was saying.

I have finally met that man, and I can’t celebrate with her because she doesn’t remember who I am.

I hurt my back a couple of days ago, so I’m in a fair amount of pain. E has, of course, been tremendous, taking me to the doctor the other day, helping me with my socks, and even sitting on the floor to take off my boots. And all this while making me laugh and not allowing me to feel lame, physically or emotionally.

There I lay curled up beside him this morning, enjoying the last few moments before he got up to turn on the shower for me. All I wanted to do was to call Ren to tell her, “I finally found him!” and for her to celebrate with me.

Don’t get me wrong: I’ve certainly told her that I’m getting married. But if she doesn’t even remember me, of course she doesn’t remember meeting him.

This woman’s life was made for the movies. Born in Hungary, she served with the allies in WWII; her home is filled with reminders of her code name from those days. She worked and lived in Hollywood before meeting the man of her dreams and becoming an accomplished artist. She was so gorgeous that filmmakers implored her to be on the screen instead of behind the scenes. Heck, Zsa Zsa Gabor once refused to pose in a photo with her unless she removed all her makeup. (Ren still outshone her by a mile.) Her life has been one of creation and of sharing life’s beauty with others. She had so many wonderful experiences. It is a cruelty that she has forgotten them.

Five Months, Four Days, and Fifteen Hours

Happy New Year!

This will be a short entry, and who knows, it may well be my last, at least as far as “veronica’s day in the life” is concerned. With school (rockin’ a 4.0 so far!), a recent promotion at work (LOVE it!), and, of course, life with Es (it only gets better), I don’t have time to write much here these days. The next incarnation will, I hope, be less of a secret shared with only a few carefully selected people and more of a chronicle of my new life in —

Wait. I’m getting ahead of myself. Before I even discuss yet another move — this time to a whole ‘nother country! — I would like to announce that in five months, four days, and fifteen hours, I’m getting hitched to the man of my dreams. Actually that’s not true. He’s beyond anything that I could’ve ever dreamed, and the life I get to live with him is nothing I ever imagined for my life.

And I get to marry him!

He is worth every lonely Valentine’s Day I ever spent. Every guy who didn’t call. Every one who cheated. He is worth my having to go through the insanity of my home life with my parents. Every lesson I learned, every prayer that seemed to go unanswered. Little did I know that my prayers weren’t going unanswered. No. Something so much greater was coming my way, and I was being slowly prepared to receive it.

Funny how life works out.

What a Difference a Year Makes

A year ago today I was still reeling from a Cinco de Mayo kiss that concluded a spectacular day and knocked my socks off. Today? Still reeling from that moment and the thousands of other moments — before and since — that I’ve spent with that man. Who knew back then that our parents would meet? That I’d fall in love with his kids — and they with me? That I’d be a few short months away from going to Norway for his daughter’s wedding?

That I’d be preparing to move in with him?!

It’s all been the stuff of dreams. Evidently they do come true! It might take a while for things to come together, but when they do? It is so much greater than you could ever imagine.

And So It Begins

Today is my first day of school. I. Am. Freaking. Out. Here I am at 46. Starting school. Have I taken leave of my senses?

For a few minutes the other night, while I was getting a jump on some optional reading before tonight’s first class, Bad Voice kicked in and asked me just what the hell I thought was doing. Told me, Why don’t you just quit? You don’t have to do this, you know. I know what’s going on: I’m scared I will fail, so why bother trying?

I’ve heard that voice before; it has kept me from doing many things. In fact, it almost kept me from applying to this program. But I did and I got in, so I need to see what happens.

Would I rather be pursuing something I’m truly interested in? Something creative like making jewelry? Yep. You bet. But that’s something for another time. (And my employer would not have helped pay for that.) So it is what it is.

And to be honest, I’d rather play with Es, the Mizar to my Alcor. Our relationship, nearly six months old, has only gotten better as time has gone by. But this is a story for another day. For now? I’ve got a long day of work ahead of me followed by class. Ciao.