The Touch: To Homeless and Back

It took just one second – well, maybe two seconds – for my disease-free, chemical-clean, well balanced body to move through space from the booth’s platform to the Diner restaurant’s floor. With some instant clarity on the way down, I remember saying to the space I was moving through, “no, No, NO.” Then BAMM. The length of my right side connected with the floor, my shawl sweater and new Liz top settling over my pencil form like a shroud.

Not in any normal moment of any normal day could I have reproduced the primal childbirth shrieks that I let go on the 911 gurney. But there they were, unfettered, full volume, shattering appetites right and left as we left the restaurant on wheels.

That step into space with its full stop on the floor, was the Moment, the hallmark two seconds when I bridged from health to helpless, from serene to surreal, from known-home to no-home. Weird, I know.

Fast forward to day 2 after surgery: the fuzz of post op is gone. Surgical success is evident. Now the ball is in my court to get it all back together again with the recovery game. I get that. But buried deep down inside and among my scattered thoughts is a renegade that says that somewhere there’s a loose screw that has disconnected, left me afloat in the Universe. Over these couple of days, my thoughts have plunged to a strange place I’ve not been to before. Never ever have I felt so not belonging, not able to visualize a place that is mine in the big scheme; a place where me fits. Never before have I felt so unattached, so unseated, so weirdly dock-less. I’m thinking that I don’t belong  in this hospital room; I won’t fit in skilled care where I’m headed; I’m not good  for home. Therefore I’m homeless, right?

Without warning I melt into silent tears. No seeming cause like self pity or fear, just an unstoppable surge from a widening crack in an inner dam. They flow. In a moment in between tissues, I sense someone in the doorway of my room. I blot, look up and it’s Jamie, my beautiful, compassionate day nurse standing motionless, framed in the light of the corridor, watching me. When our eyes meet, she moves into the room, kneels down beside me and places her hand on my shoulder. With that touch her warmth moves through me like an infusion; with that touch I am given an anchor. I’m drawn out of limbo back into peace.

I begin a spill-over babble of sorts. She listens, then at the right time Jamie tells me about how at age 17 she had been in a crash that in a heartbeat (like mine) had destroyed both her current world and her career dream. She was devastated, depressed, on the bottom rung. As she talks I’m visualizing. I get her message.

The deep, dark place I had gone into, is at this moment offering me back to where I belong…where I fit. I’m sensing that I’ll morph back to my centered self before long. That this event was a customized crisis intended to remind me that I am still a work in progress, that I still have places to go and things to do for a Higher Cause.

Best of all, that a broken 96-year-old femur in the early Twenty-First Century, isn’t an automatic two-step through pneumonia to death as in generations past. Au contraire.

Furthermore, this event is to be forever classified as a SPACE WALK, not a FALL!

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