The road to weariness

I like to think of writing as good for me, body and soul. But once in a while, I write too much and the result is that I find myself stuck in bed with a nasty bug. This time, it was the sneezing, coughing, aching kind of flu bug.

That long, long list of to-do’s that I shared prior to leaving for Nepal had to get done, eventually. For the past month, I’ve been researching, writing, revising, . . . and not attending to some necessities like sleeping or eating food that doesn’t come packaged with plastic utensils for dining on the road.

It’s times like these that make me recall, at least momentarily, the way in which breast cancer creeps up and changes, in a second, a survivor’s point-of-view. The deadlines, the dirt lingering on the family room rug, the stack of student papers that beg to be graded–they don’t matter a whole lot when you’re feeling sick and tired.

As the girls and I were on our way to Oak Mountain State Park yesterday for a glorious day of paddleboating, volleyball on the beach, and some much-needed downtime, our plans were abruptly put to a stop. I was peering into the rearview mirror to see if all was clear to turn onto the highway when a guy in a compact slammed into our car from behind. The girls got a strong jolt, and I hit my forehead smack into the corner of the car door. Police and paramedics were called, and the girls and I took a ride in the ambulance to a local hospital where the doctor determined I had suffered a concussion. My head will heal and the girls will gradually (I hope) forget how scared they were when their anticipation of a fun-filled day turned into something quite unexpected.

It’s all a part of a life, though: the good, the bad, and the surprising. “Who would have thought that we’d get into a wreck?” I find myself marvelling, as though I’m supposed to receive a signal that something’s coming that might just shake me up.

The first thing I noticed as the paramedics approached the car was that they were all decked out in bright pink in honor of breast cancer awareness month. I didn’t have the energy or focus to comment on their shirts, but the irony didn’t escape me.

I wonder if any of them saw my op-ed in The Birmingham News this morning: I wonder if they were surprised that the woman they hauled to the hospital wrote it and must have been fixated on their unique uniforms the entire time.


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