Friday, August 26, 2011

Restlessness Settles In

I know it's a good sign, this retlessness, eagerness to get back to my life. I have had many lectures on Patience and I am trying to be a good student so as not to permanently screw up the healing that is working its magic. I look forward to getting back to normal conversations, those that aren't about me or what happened to me. It's still inconceivable to me--what are the chances??--but it did happen and it is over (or almost over). I want to get back to my duties at Aarhus and voluntering at Waterfall Arts. Curling season is coming up and I need to get into shape for that. Too disappointing to think that I might not be able to get on the ice this fall...Still taking walks to hold onto some small amount of muscle tone. Balance and strength are improving. I'm looking ahead.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Life Amazingly Goes On

KC and I finally connected yesterday by phone. In spite of how strong and positive she sounded it was a long, emotionally difficult, often terrifying, conversation comparing notes and hearing what she has gone through since impact, since being so badly injured, in the hospital for 15 days, risky surgeries that she somehow made it through. She is an AMAZING testament to the mind and body's ability to heal. We both continue to be so grateful for our lives and for our families who have helped us through. Though KC and I had just met and had talked only briefly before the crash, I was looking forward to getting to know her a little once we got to Owl's Head where I was to give her a ride to meet her daughter in Union. When we are both stronger, a little ways down the road, we will get together. I am really looking forward to that.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Back To Work!

Five weeks now since the plane crash. Bart indulged me over the weekend in a trip to Lucia beach so I could cool off and take a walk in another setting. I have been recounting the plane crash experience for someone different every day and each time it feels a little less real, I get a little more distance, though I continue to keep myself awake at night revisitng the terror, the rescue, the hospitalization...But today was a really great day as I had a chance to get into the studio and get back to work on my art. It may be crap until I get back into the rhythm of it but I don't care, what's important is that I am able to be in my studio and work again.....

Thursday, August 18, 2011

An Adventurous Life

A friend asked me the other day, "How do you manage to live such an adventurous life?" Taken aback, I thought "Surely he isn't referring to my recent close call in the airplane crash..." I got to thinking about the nature of "adventures" (dictionary definition: 1. An undertaking of a hazardous nature, a risky enterprise. 2. An unusual experience or course of events marked by excitement and suspense) as well as the last year and a half when he and I have been getting to know each other's lives.
And you know what? I really have had some adventures, until recently of the most enviable kind...In April of 2010 my long time buddy Jessica Straus and I took a three week trip to France,where we rented a car and drove around studying a detailed road map to visit outsider art sites and ended up being delayed in Paris (tough, eh?) for a few days while we waited for the smoke and ash to clear following the eruption of the volcano in Iceland. THAT was an adventure! And then if I think about all the times I've gone on curling trips out of state or to Canada with either my women's team or any mixed team, well, every single one of those trips has been an adventure. Although this summer has been an exception (we never got our boats in the water) Bart and I choose kayaking over any other summer activity; every single one of these trips has had its element of adventure. Another trip abroad this spring, this time with Bart, to Scotland to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. Driving a car with right hand drive, on single lane roads covered with sheep above steep drop offs into the ocean on far flung islands...before we left for Scotland that same volcano (or was it another one?) posed a threat to air travel. Travel is always an adventure, a risky enterprise. That flight between Matinicus and Owl's Head has been done thousands of times all year round without incident over the years. Who would have thought that a routine 15 minute flight in my own backyard in Maine would have resulted in the biggest adventure of my life? So, I have given this some thought, Richard, and you know what? I could go on. I love my adventurous life and won't stop stepping out my door or getting on a plane, big or small, to continue to live it fully.
On the other hand, I am decidedly NOT interested in doing what Bart's parents, ages 82 and 79, are doing right now: sailing the Maine, N.H. and Massachusetts coasts to get back to Old Lyme, CT. We heard only a fraction of THEIR adventures last night and I say "No, thank you!" to THAT! Something to do with my intimate experience of the water temperature, I suspect.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Getting Out

Though it's hot and sticky wearing this rig of mine in the sun it was a total pleasure to get out yesterday for a brief trip to the annual Union Antiques Fair right around the corner from us. I found a few weird items for my found art collection and we lunched on some of Chuck's fried Maine shrimp and fried scallops. It was a well attended fair--I hope people were spending money so this fair continues to be one of the biggest and best. Afterward we came home and I liberated myself from the packaging so I could take a nap, still a daily ritual. I never used to nap in the afternoon!! Too much to do!! Oh well, it's all about healing, right? And won't be for long. Four weeks down, only eight to go.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Five Focused Gardeners

Every day has its highlights. My healing process can't really be measured in daily visible improvement to mobility, as the back brace feels just as snug, hot and restrictive today (no, I am not complaining!)as it did yesterday. Yes, the pain lessens and of course I gain some strength from physical therapy. My longtime (29 years!) good friend Antoinette came up this week from Massachusetts to help out for a few days and these precious visits from my buddies from near and far are truly the silver lining to the accident. Yesterday's highlight was the arrival of a team of gardening friends, Tracy, Nancy, Rosalie and Sharon who joined Antoinette for most of the afternoon to take care of all the deadheading and weeding I have been lamenting in the kitchen and shade gardens. While I of course could not participate and had to take a break to lie down they carried on cheerfully and energetically. Afterward I had the vicarious gratification of seeing the difference it made to have five focused gardeners at work for several hours. Low maintenance my gardens are not! But then, that has always been for me the pleasure of gardening, that mix of sensual experiences: the warmth of the sun, the subtle differences in fragrance of the plants up close, witnessing up close the insect and bird life, the physicality of the process. Like making art.
Bravo to Eva for her article in yesterday's paper! What a good writer she is: funny, irreverent, to the point. this was one of the best. I agree that our rescue had little to do with a miraculous event, it truly was the Matinicus Island Rescue Team (which basically includes everyone on the island as well as the flying service in Owl's Head who wants to get involved) From my perspective, it may not have been a miracle to have survived, but it was dramatic. In and out of consciousness after the rescue, I can recall only snippets of this part of the drama while the entire stretch of time we were in the water, including the moment of the crash, is etched in my memory. To know that I was in good hands when the islanders in their boats arrived is an understatement. While I do not live on Matinicus, I have known most of these people all my life, many since childhood, when our family first began to spend summers on Matinicus. For those so inspired there is a fund called the Matinicus Island Rescue, and as long as there continues to be a Post Office on Matinicus (that's the next story) a check could be mailed to the Matinicus Island Rescue Fund, Matinicus Island, Maine, 04851. This fund is used to buy the equipment necessary to carry out the kind of rescue the islanders recently so successfully carried out. Eva, please correct me if I am wrong in any detail, or have missed any crucial aspects of this! Truthfully, it had never occurred to me before to contribute to this fund, but of course that will now change, as soon as Bart and I sort out the insurance and financial aftermath of all of this.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My body needs to catch up

My body needs to catch up with my spirit! I really, really just want to be where I was physically on July 16...I know I am making progress but now I'm at the stage where I want to tear off this apparatus and go for a jog. The physical therapist is due any minute; I am going to request some more advanced exercises. Yesterday I walked two miles, steady and confident. More visitors last night, more good food (especially that chocolate mousse, thank you Ella and Deborah!), more laughs and normalcy. Can't get enough of that. Oh, the pt is here. Will be back later.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My Dearest Husband Bart

I realize I have said very little about Bart's role and support in all of this. That is not because I take him for granted! He has been ownderfully attentive to me and is the only one I want to put on and take off my back brace; it feels so intimate. He stayed with me in the Trauma Unit in Portland for the first four nights, then when I ws transferred went home to get some sleep and prepare for my homecoming. I could not have dreamed of a more loving life companion. We celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary this September 5, and when we first talked about how to mark this milestone months ago we thought PARTY but then thought well, maybe use the money for a trip...we opted for the trip and spent two and a half weeks this last May and June in London (four days) and Scotland, mostly the Outer Hebrides and Isle of Skye. The weather is supposed to be at its best in Scotland in May, less wet, no midges. It was a great trip in spite of the rain (plenty of it!) and we're so glad we went when we did. Now because of the accident we are getting visits from all our friends far and wide and that is MUCH better than a party where you feel afterward that you didn't really get to see anyone! In the middle of this life altering experience Bart started a new job after having been unemployed for three months. He has just finished his first week working at Fisher Engineering (a division of Douglas Dynamics) in Rockland where they make snow plows and he is Continuous Improvement Manager. He likes it! (And we'll soon have a snow plow on my trusty truck no doubt.) While he has been getting used to a new job my best buddy and former colleague from Concord Academy Jessica Straus has been here catering to my every whim and taking over in the kitchen garden weeding, watering, harvesting, replanting and deadheading where I left off three weeks ago. Talking, laughing and reminiscing with her all week kept my mind off the horrors of the accident. I am so appreciative not to have been left alone for Bart's first week of work...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Busy, Happy Days

For some reason, when I first got home from the hospital, I pictured unbearably lengthy days ahead of me, painful and lonely. The reality has been anything but that! Yesterday was so busy I didn't have time to post. First taking care of e-mail, picking some blueberries for breakfast, exercises. The PT came at the same time as soem friends arrived to drop off dinner, a nice reunion, as all these visits are. Then at lunchtime a visit from My sister in law Elphie and my niece Madeline and nephew Henry. We almost finished the tail end of all the beautiful healthy whole grain salads people have been bringing. Such healthy food--I am sure this is why I am feeling so strong again so soon! After lunch my generous neighbors Debby and Heather brought their children over to do some gardening for me--it was getting sad for me to see my gardens get weedy again after all the vigilant attention we'd given them for the garden tour on July 10. Carol arrived for a visit after I'd gotten the gardening crew going and then it was time to lie down for awhile so I could have a break from the brace and just lie quietly for a little while, a little internal naval contemplation. Another visit from long time best buddy Dory whose other good friend KC was also in the plane crash as we had decided to fly off the island together on the 17th so I could give KC a ride to Union to meet up with her daughter after her very first visit to Matinicus. I am so happy to report that KC is back home finally and will also mend completely, I am told, even after the double whammy of heart surgery AND back surgery. Dory is caling the three of us passengers "plucky." I think it took more than pluck to get us through that ordeal, a convergence of luck and miracle but I like being called plucky. Kind of a combination of lucky and...pleased? fiesty? I am certainly more than just pleased!
I was exhausted by nine and had the best overnight rest so far. Bart and I have learned how to get back to sleep quickly after our one and a half hour intervals getting up during the night.
My love to everyone!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Another Beautiful Day

Of course, every day is a beautiful day now. My friend Jessica is here for the week to take over for Bart while he starts his new job, which he did today. I got out and did three significant walks, with my new hiking poles--very effective for balance and confidence. We walked along the waterfront in Rockland, along the boardwalk and sat outdoors at Amalfi's to watch the boats. Later we went to Perry Pond so Jess could swim, where we ran into other Appletonions Heather, Lisa and Jan. It is so good to see everyone! I still have many thank yous to write, not the least of which are to my rescuers Clayton and Robin and others who came to get us in their boats and talk reassuringly to us en route to Pen Bay. I don't really know how to thank them but continue to embrace every get well wish that comes my way so for them to know I'm doing well is important.