The Universe is Knocking Again. This Time On My Head.

Remember when I said something about slowing down? Well, this time the universe didn't break something, but it came awfully close.

This past weekend was promising to be pretty busy--we had agreed to watch our friends' two kids while they were busy at the hospital having their third, had a dear friend finally coming to visit from out-of-town, and our library was having it's long-awaited annual book sale blow-out during the local arts & crafts fair, a family favorite that cannot be missed! We had plenty of plans on our plate and were looking forward to a fun and active weekend and then life stepped in to make sure that we weren't taking anything for granted.

Saturday is karate day. Fortunately, both our kids and those we were adopting for the weekend all take karate classes together and so it wasn't too much to gather the troops, dress everyone in gis and belts, and pack the SUV full of snacks and gym bags and haul the lot of us off to the dojo together. The kids were great, I got to man the play room between classes, and even had coverage so I could take adult class without worrying that something (or someone) would blow up and send Legos flying through the shoji screens without my parental supervision. All was copacetic until the often-fated last five minutes of class.

Our final bout of practice was to pair off for ground-fighting. Ground-fighting is one of my least favorite drills, but having been endowed at an early age with long, strong legs and a larger-than-average stubborn streak, I manage to do okay even when I'm outclassed. In fact, I always learn something when I'm outmatched and so I was actually looking forward to being paired with an ex-high-school-wrestling partner in order to see what moves I could anticipate on the mat.

What I could not have anticipated was the WWE.

Later, after the pretty winking lights had cleared, I learned the correct term for what had happened is that I had been "cradled" and "stacked" and then subsequently "dropped." I, being unfamiliar with World Wrestling Entertainment other than it no longer competed with pandas for the WWF title, hadn't been quite sure what had occurred beyond "Ow!" But here's how I understood it: in the scuffle, my partner--a muscular guy with wresting experience and seriously impressive upper body strength--slipped his arms under my neck and knees and hugged me into a loose ball ("cradle"), then he lifted my knees and hips up in order to separate me from the ground ("stack"), then dropped his body weight down and smashed me into the floor ("drop") which looked something like this:


While it reminded me of whales wanting to be friends with the planet, what it sounded like was "Snap!"

That sound was the back of my neck meeting floor with the combined weight of two adult karate ground-fighters atop it who were no longer ground-fighting. I quickly tapped-out and he quickly released me and I found myself on the floor going, "Ow!" Instructors came over to ask if I was okay and I asked for a minute while I took stock that everything was, in fact, still attached. It was a strange sensation; something between being simultaneously floaty and dipped in lead. I tried to sit up...and couldn't. I failed to lift my head that fraction of an inch in order to get proper leverage to lift myself the rest of the way. Don't know what I mean? Try sitting in a chair and have someone stand in front of you and touch a finger to your forehead--now try to stand up. You can't. The body needs to shift itself forward in order to make that transition happen and, flat on my back, I couldn't do it. My husband helpfully lent me a hand to pull me up but it was quickly obvious that this was NOT A GOOD IDEA. I shifted my legs and tried to roll to one dice. My shoulders, back and upper arms had locked and I couldn't curl myself enough to get momentum that way, either. I started to laugh. Here I was stuck on the floor because of a mere inch in any direction. It was humbling, odd, and more than a little scary. My husband leaned close and said that I was beginning to worry him. "In one more minute either you can get up or I'm calling an ambulance."

You want motivation? That'll do it.

With the help of many hands, I got pushed onto my side and lifted sideways, one hand holding the back of my neck. The weirdest thing was that I had never realized how *heavy* my head was before; my neck and back muscles were having trouble supporting all that skull and brain matter! I tried to think less. This was helped by the fact that I was having trouble finding the words I wanted and often switching them, spoonerisms being one of my favorite side effects of concussions because the results are pretty funny! (The fact that I *have* a favorite side effect of concussions ought to tell you something about my life's many adventures, but I digress.)

So it was obvious I was off to the hospital. Well, we figured if we were going off to a hospital anyway, we might as well be the one that had the new baby in it so that all the families could be together! Great plan! But in the many hours that followed, I have to say that I never once got to meet the baby or say "Hi!" to my fellow Mommy-in-residence and was left in a neck brace, flat on my back (again) but this time on a gurney awaiting a CAT Scan just to make sure I hadn't broken my neck and I was left inspecting the hospital's very clean ceilings while my husband went home to entertain and feed four small kids. (Guess who was the lucky one in *that* scenario?) Lucky for me, I had my computer and my cell phone to keep me company and wisely chose not to interact online while still concussed until after I had a prognosis and before any serious drugs were administered.

Fortunately, my Fates were with me again as my life seems to be a steady stream of wild and wacky accidents that often hurt, singe, or ding but rarely maim or destroy, often just enough of a reminder that my life is rarely boring and that having a wry sense of humor is my saving grace. I went home that night with nothing fractured or broken, some mild painkillers, and a soft neck brace to use in case I needed it for extra support (although I most often find that I'm using it to hold up my head when my eyes start drifting down as gravity takes its toll). My recovery was punctuated by finishing my chapter-by-chapter outline due to my agent just as my long-shot interviewee for an upcoming YA pinged back to say "Yes!" and I received my line edits with a due date in two weeks.


I'll be taking a little hiatus. See you in a few weeks!

Stop blogging and do your edits or I will be a sad panda.


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