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Old Memory Stays Fresh

Today is a day in my history I cannot forget.

It sticks in my mind like clay at the bottom of a potter's wheel. You might laugh that this is such an "important" day when you learn the situation. But, it is just one of those things that when the day comes up, I automatically realize.... "Oh, it was this date that happened."

My hair all blonde, teased and sprayed in Marilyn Monroe style, I walked with my new date, Jeff, recently returned from Viet Nam, when my new pair of high heels caught on a rise of the sidewalk where a tree root had lifted it.

No big deal for the average person, but this fall caused me to do a split in the worse way possible. I had only been out of the hospital a few days after my Internal Hemipelvectomy surgery and the three months it had taken for me to recovery and heal sufficiently that I could actually walk again and go home. All I wanted to do was start my life all over again, and leave those haunting cancer memories behind me.

My mind set the incident in slow-motion re-play. I felt the heel of my shoe catch on the sidewalk, saw my body going down, tried to catch myself as my legs, betraying me, slid out in opposite directions. Then, the split of the incision pulled apart deep within me, and the hot blood seeped into the area where bone cancer used to be. It had not happened in a slow motion dream but in a blink of the eye, and there I was sprawled on the sidewalk.

Jeff had been a Medic in Nam, his flight or fight reaction were instinctual. When I fell, an odd look came across his face, something empty and desperate. His automatic response was to get me up, and hurry me off somewhere. Anywhere, to take me away from .... what? Enemy fire?

While writhing on the sidewalk, I had to convince him we were not on the battlefield, certainly not with my high heels. I told him there was no place to take me, no place safer than where I was. I had remain calm as I instructed him to go into the nearest restaurant and ask them to call for an ambulance. Because of my cancer history and the familiar physical symptoms I was experiencing, I knew I would not be able to get up and walk any time soon on my own.

I never saw Jeff again. He didn't follow the ambulance to the hospital. Perhaps he was as traumatized as I was?

Long story.....short. I spent another two months in the hospital.

So, today I look at this forty year stretch and pause. Many other things have occurred in my life with even more intensity. Today I no longer dream of falling and tearing myself open. Today I can smile about it. Maybe it's the ludicrous-ness of it all; blonde bombshell, soldier boy, romantic walk to restaurant; it was something out of a movie, and then, the twist...

Jeff, if you are reading this, I understand and I hope you got good treatment for your PSTD. Sending you love and healing.