New Year New Beginning New Day Every Day

Happy New Year to You and Me!

As this day marks my 10th anniversary it is extra special to me. Ten years ago today I awoke from a coma in a small hospital in a foreign country.

I’d taken my kids for the week to an intensive language school in Veracruz, Mexico. We left home the day after Christmas and I was exhausted. My fatigue was nothing unusual for this holiday time of year. A single mother hosting extended family, playing Santa and preparing for an international trip would tire the most sturdy.

By the time we got to our destination, I was done for. On the schedule was a walk through el mercado. I couldn’t make it. I could not make myself persist. Insisting to my guides my incapability was for real, we returned to the school and I promptly fell asleep. I kept thinking, “If I could only rest, I would have more energy.” However, my energy flailed over the next few days.

Our quarters in the school were located to a spacious upstairs loft. One day, after lessons, I walked up the stairs and as I did so, I recognized a familiar feeling. I was shutting down. Two years before, I’d fallen into a very hot fire after clearing cedar all day. My level of denial as to the extent of my injury was very high. I’ll chalk that up to shock. I was not thinking clearly at all. After calling my friend who also happens to be a nurse, she said to me “Tina, you’re going into shock. Call the doctor.”

That was the same feeling I was having as I ascended the staircase. I barely recognized that I was not thinking clearly. My body had that same “I quit” sensation. I was going into shock. I asked to go to a doctor. We did.

A nurse came into my cubicle and asked how long I’d been diabetic. I said I didn’t know I was. That news was worthy of alarm, but my brain was still thinking groggily and Spanish was my weak second language. Hospital is recognizable in either language, but the medical vocabulary was beyond me. Ok, they gave me some pills. I went back to the school. I got worse.

I recall lying on the bed wondering what I was going to do while being incapable of “doing” anything. Thankfully, my kids were old enough to dress themselves, had classes with adequate supervision and the school was feeding us meals, but I wasn’t functioning. And, I barely knew that. In walks my daughter and says, “Eric [school owner] thinks you need to go to the hospital.” Thank God.

“Just hold on for eight blocks,” I told myself. And, I did. Got into the wheel chair and the last thing I recall was someone saying something about taking off my shoes and my thinking, “I hope they don’t loose those shoes, I really like them.”

I awoke in a small cubicle with windows on three sides. Lights were flashing and machines beeping all around me. I started to put a few pieces together. Doctors surrounded my bed obviously delighted to see me awake. Later, I learned they weren’t confident that I would (glad I was awake when I got that news). Then, in walks my sister who brought me up to date on the miraculous evolution of events.

January 1, 2008, my friend, Deb, made a New Year’s resolution to avoid her computer that day. Later, she told me, “I kept finding myself at the computer despite my intention, so I gave in and opened it up.” There was an SOS from Eric and Linda, the school’s owners. Since Deb had recommended the school to me and they knew her, they reached out via email. She took the reins to alert folks and get a plan going. Hence, my sister arrived to escort the kids home. Being in intensive care and not ready to hop a plane, I would miss their scheduled flight. Later, my brother would arrive to aid my return.

It’s been ten years. Every day is an extra for me. I wake up and know that no matter what happens today, I’m alive to have the experience. Coming so close to loosing out on these last ten years, I’m profoundly grateful every day. I’ve seen my children graduate from high school and one from college; watched them grow into self-directed young adults. During this time I got see my son play tennis and my daughter travel the world. I’ve joined friends for bike trips; gathered with girlfriends, a sustaining delight, and hosted more Christmases. Helping my sister in her post-surgical recovery was a privilege. I’ve watched younger friends have their children and my friends become grandparents. Thousands of times I’ve put on my make-up (about as often as I’ve mopped the floors) and spent more hours than I can count figuring out the new ways of technology. I’ve listened to people with whom I am privileged to work. And, I’m glad to be alive.

My grandfather was born on January 1, 1900. That fact always seemed significant to me. So many new beginnings with the day, the year, the century and his new life, that’s cool. I think of him on January 1 and for the past 10 years, I’ve thought of my new life as well. Happy Re-birthday to me. Happy New Year to you. I’m glad to have this time together.



Posted in acceptance, coping with change, detour, flexibility, holiday strategies, inspiration, self-help on 01/01/2018 01:12 pm

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