Monday, October 7, 2019


"Rest when you're weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work." -Ralph Marston

Gracie loves a good hotel room. Here she is holed up for the night at our La Quinta in Meridian, Idaho, just outside Boise, on the last night of our trip. 

Three days into our family road trip found us overnighting in Fargo, North Dakota. After a late Sunday dinner at a nearby restaurant, my husband and I decided to walk Gracie back to the hotel while Daughters Three and Four returned in the car.

It was a beautiful September evening, the air warm and soft, the dark settling in over the grassy lawns of the business park as Gracie and I strolled down the sidewalk. After detouring to the car to grab a chocolate bar from the cooler (yes, we do keep chocolate in our cooler at all times...doesn't everyone?), my husband unwrapped the candy as he caught up to me, and I stopped to take a piece.

Now when my 83-pound-dog is adventuring on her 50-foot leash, I pay close attention.  Though she is well trained to halt in mid-mad-dash, I never overlook the fact that, in an instant, Gracie has the potential to blast off all Usain Bolt style and send me flying like a kite in her wake. When she's on her long leash, I have great reverence for the physics working against my personal safety, and I make it a practice to keep an eye on her at all times.

So before reaching out for that bit of chocolate, I zoomed in on my dog's whereabouts and noted that Gracie was maybe ten feet away from me, paused under a street light, just off the sidewalk on a wide sweep of well-manicured grass. She was looking straight at me, obedient and focused. Feeling confident that she would remain in neutral for the next nanosecond, I leaned in for my treat.

Oh, I could not have been more wrong.

At that very same instant, Gracie bolted. My husband theorizes that she gave chase to some small furry prey in the grass. All I know for sure is that

my arm twanged violently with the runaway rope
my chocolate flew up in the air
my feet stumbled uncontrollably
my brain willed my body to fall into the grass rather than onto the cement
my body spun like a top.

I somersaulted head over heels, landed on my left shoulder, fell over onto my back.
I lay in shock on the warm grass, looking up at the stars.
I slowly pieced together what had just happened.

I was in a lot of pain.

* * * * *

Two days later, finding no relief in biting down on bullets and endless shots of whiskey, I rolled into an urgent care in Midland, Michigan, and met with a doctor. The good news: no broken bones. Only a painfully sore and hyper-extended shoulder muscle.

Rest, he said.

No driving.
No lifting, carrying, or pushing.

Don't do anything that hurts, he said.

If you work for the circus, you'll need to cut out any trapeze work for the rest of the year, he said. Such a jokester.

And for the love of God, no walks with your dog.

Just rest as much as possible.

* * * * * 

Three weeks have passed since that fateful night in Fargo.

My shoulder is much improved.
But I still have a way to go until I'm back to normal.
And I'm constantly reminded that one false move can send me right back into the fiery depths of agony.

So I'm following doctor's orders.
I'm going to physical therapy
I'm carefully avoiding any stressful activities.

And I am resting.

* * * * *

Road Trip 2019: read all about it.

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