After traveling many corners of the world such as camping in the Sahara with camels, scaling the walls of the Coliseum in Rome, zip-lining in Costa Rica, and running the Boston Marathon, my traveler’s luck ran out late last month on September 27th. Finally, after all of my adventuring and evening hiking a 3,100 ft mountain the day before, a naughty tree in my driveway in Poughkeepsie, New York (Hudson Valley just 1.5 hours outside of NYC) decided to fall on me.
Yes, without a sign or warning a very large tree limb tackled me and left me unconscious to be taken to the nearest trauma center (limb shown to the left). Never in an accident previously and in basic good health, this took both myself and family for a very treacherous ride. The tree hit my head straight on and caused a skull fracture, internal bleeding, as well as a broken neck vertebra. My husband was in the ER with me for the first day where they told him I was in very serious condition followed by four CT scans.
He also had the duty of calling my parents one in Boston, one in Fort Lauderdale, and then various colleagues of mine also scattered throughout the continent. All were in shock and many in route to the hospital. I don’t remember anything from exiting the house before the tree accident until the fifth day in the hospital where I was in an immobile neck brace with beeping monitors and nurses visiting numerous times per hour to check on my pain, vitals, and the like.
Not a good patient, I was itching to move and progress to the next stages. Having never been in such a situation, everything was strange and rather limiting. But, Thursday (5 days after being admitted) was the big day in which the neurosurgeon took me to operate on my vertebra and successfully fused the broken vertebra with metal :). Since that day, I have been in recovery. The first day was without any movement, but it was a miracle that my first steps were just two days after surgery.
Although it will be a long road to getting Ms Injured Pants back to Ms Traveling Pants shape, I am so lucky to have survived such a freakish accident. It really put my priorities and values into perspective. I have always believed that you should learn each day and above all have FUN, but sometimes with the daily grind and pressures, those things loose out. So, as I make my way to full recovery through walking everyday, sporting a neck brace looking like a NFL superstar, and progressing to more challenging foods, I want to make myself a promise to remember the quote that started this blog,
“Every occasion in life can be categorized as either a good time or a good story.”
The tree falling and tackling me into a multi-month recovery certainly was not a good time, but I believe it is a good story that will be the basis of many good times in the future. It will limit my travels over the next three months, but I am certain that my daily adventures and insights will be material enough to draw upon.
To my family, friends, co-workers, and followers, I appreciate all of your support, calls, jokes, videos, flowers, cookies, and more. I cannot repay you in any other way than getting back to my happy, vivacious self that explores new places, foods, wines, and cultures with my friends, family, and unknown people that will soon become part of the gang.
Keep you posted on my walking adventures to recovery. And to all, be cautious of trees. If you own a property or rent a property, please take this month to take care of limbs, branches, and general health of your trees so that no one else falls prey to a tree tackling.