Gather around, it is time for another Tale from Griz.
It is no secret that in my youth I was a .. well had times where I was a pain in the ass. There are many things that I need to do better to shift the karmic balance. I may be getting to a neutral point by now, or maybe even positive.
In March of ’92, I was about to become a father. Wife 1.0 was a week or so from her due date and I was going fishing. Well, she was not going to be left behind, so she was coming along and she new the path to the fishing spot better than I so I (dumbly) trusted that she knew what she was getting herself into. There are a couple of tricky spots on the way down the embankment to reach the ledge were we fished.
As I will still on the fairly easy stretch, my bad (actually both knees are bad, so it was the worst of the two knees) buckled. The path was somewhat wet, so I lost traction in the process and cartwheeled into a full mad scramble tumble down a cliff. I was clawing at the air and branches trying to find a way, any way to slow my descent. In the fall, I landed on a large branch. The crease as the bottom of my butt cheeks where the back of the leg begins hit and my spine became a spring to launch me out into the river. This sounds bad, but it allowed me to not land on the rocks and since the river was up, I splashed down.
This is the North Fork of the Lewis River, which for the non-locals, this is run off from Mt St Helens. This water runs cold year round. In fact I scuba dive a few hundred meters upstream form where I plunged. Much of my gear is think for arctic use and I still have a hard time doing two tank dives due to the cold. I just do one tank, sit for an hour to warm up, then the second tank. As to the actual temp at the time, I do not know. In the peak of summer the water runs 71-77 degrees. in the winter, BRRRR!
As I broke surface, I could hear something tumbling down after me. Being concerned that it was wife 1.0 I yelled out that I was okay. Thankfully our dog had lunged out as if to safe me, causing my ex to have to grab her, reminding her that she was in no condition to come down after me.
I had set out to quit smoking when I got done with my pack and a half were gone. As I exited the water, I knew that my open pack was flooded. My sealed pack, if it were wet too, would be replaced. This was the biggest scare I had had in quite a while. There was more clattering. It was just my tackle box, which I was able to save from going over the ledge and into the drink. I got all the way out of the water, and found that the sealed pack was almost completely dry. That cigarette tasted fuckin’ good. It was hard to keep it dry as I dripped everywhere and my fingers would keep getting wet.
I yelled up that there wasn’t much reason to come, as I didn’t see any fish while I was under. Yes, humor has been a stress defense as far back as I remember.
I packed up my stuff, took a quick physical assessment of myself. I was battered, bruised, had split nails from clawing at branches, and suspected that I could go shocky if I did not tend to myself.
I climbed back up to the top of the cliff and met back up with the worried ex-wife and dog.
We went back home and got me undressed to find out what the damages were. I was limping badly and cold. A hot shower helped, but the pain in the foot was not great, but I had to work that night.
When I got up for work, I was pretty stiff and the right foot was still trashed. My Ex went in with me to work. I got my tasks complete then decided to head to the VA hospital.
I had never gone to the VA for care before. I saw my service connected injury as the source of why I was in this predicament. When we got to the hospital, the nurse did not know which one of us was the patient; The hobbling guy, or the beach ball with arms and feet. (she has said this before, so I do not think that I will in trouble for saying it as well)
They took me in for x-rays and ex-mrs pushed me in my wheelchair around the floor while we waiting for news. it must have been amusing. I am 6-2 and (at the time) 260 pounds, being pushed by a 5′-.25″ Low 100s woman.
They let me know that there was a fracture in the foot. The specific bone, if broken in one direction is just a cast job to fix, but in the other direction, it would require surgery. They would have to wait until morning for the specialist to arrive to find out. You know, we were in a damn hospital, how can there not be a F’n book to tell which way was which?
I got “lucky” it was just a cast. I told the guy that was about to put the cast on that I had my open water for scuba diving in a week or two. He could have gone with a fiberglass cast so I could dive, but he opted for a plaster cast. shiiiiiit. grounded from the water!
It was nearly mid-morning so I called the office to let my boss know what had happened and the outcome. I needed to go into the office for some reason. I parked in a nearby garage and crutched to and fro. Due to my crutch time in the army, I was very well experienced in getting around on them. It was tiring though. When we went to head home, wife 1.0 went up to get the car and bring it down to get me.
At the time, I had a Dodge Aries that HATED my ex. It could commonly not start for her. She came back down in a bit of a panic. Not only had the car not started for her, but she drifted out of the parking stall and was blocking the path out and cars were waiting.
I “scrambled” well as much of a scramble as a temporary gimp (I can use the term for myself) can muster up. I too was unable to get the car to start. It was flooded and cars were backing up. So, we had to push it back up into the stall. Like most public garages, it was uphill into the slot.
So, being the bigger, and stronger (but be-crutched) male will push while the very short, and about to pop pregnant lady to steer the car back into place.
One would expect that one of the many impatient drivers would come to the assistance, if for nothing else but to expedite their exit form the garage. After all, the longer it takes, the more that they are charged at the gate.
Sadly, there was no assistance offered.
It really dampened my outlook on people outside my circle for a number of years. I really worked on sending better energy to the world and beyond. The man I am today is vastly different than who I was then. Then… I believe that I was still just a man-boy, just an apprentice to my current day self.
Never give up on people, but be selective of who you share yourself with. You time and energy is worth more that you likely believe.