A Broken Back Means Your Dead, Right?

The last blog I published talked about writing, and I finished it before I had my accident. I went ahead, posted it with the idea that I would address the accident on this blog.

A week ago, a potentially life-changing occurrence happened to me. I walked outside, lost my balance, and fell on the brick steps to our home. But, I do remember bits and flashes. The bits were colors, and being a long-time gymnast, I remember how things looked as I fell, twisted to save myself, and landed. The flashes were visual sparkings of when I landed on my side and back.

The thing I remember most was this: muscle memory works, but I also have limits. I could not help myself the way I would have twenty years ago. After the ambulance came and I found myself in the hospital, I still felt like I probably bruised myself significantly with a possible rib fracture.

I have no idea how bad the bruising was as I did not look at first because I couldn’t, and I didn’t think about asking anyone else. The doctor said the most feared possibility of internal bleeding did not occur. That statement both surprised and relieved me. The surprise came from the pain I had in my side. The relief was self-explanatory. What happened next took me back.

The doctor continued about how my head was not traumatized (thank you, gymnast), and I didn’t have a broken rib. Yay! But I did have two fractured vertebrae L1 and L2. He checked with a neurosurgeon, who said there was nothing he could do. I was to go home and rest and wait for it to heal. That’s right. He figuratively patted me on the ass and told me to go home, have a nice day. Oh, he did give me some pain pills, but somehow, I expected a little more.

Arriving home I began trying to heal in my easy-chair. I did try to follow up with the VA. After a tense conversation with them, we settled on me going that afternoon, Monday. That doctor told me it would be two weeks before I’d be able to walk. They sent me home, but in fairness, they did kick the system in the ass to put a ramp and railing on those steps. I’d asked for them four years ago, by the way, and if they had installed them when I first requested and the system authorized, the fall wouldn’t have happened. Also, the VA will pick up the tab as I am already a disabled vet because of my lower back.

I spent the week lying back, watching the kids and thinking.

Meanwhile, I received word on both of my books. The metaphysical book failed to elicit dollar signs in the publisher’s eyes, and they took a pass. The fiction submission gave me some useful feedback. The publisher saw things they did not like that are integral in both The Sigma Factor and the new Factor book I’m currently writing.

Now, with all my newfound convalescence, I had time to think. Do I ignore that publisher? How about scrapping that novel that I sent off and the current one? Should I change the current one and proceed? Do I need to stop writing?

The last question became the focal point. Did I need to stop writing? Had I guessed wrongly at what should be in my novels?

This conundrum came at a horrible time, as I was already a bit off-kilter. This mental debate could bring blood. The thing was, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and the more I did, the less I liked where it headed. It was similar to jumping with a bungee-jump and then, after airborne, deciding the idea of it was absurd. However, like bungee-jumping, I did get snatched back into the dispute again when things started to go awry. I questioned my writing abilities, my sensibilities about trying to publish, and my determination to succeed.

The week was brutal.

Then, yesterday I woke with a determination. I’m a writer. It is not only what I do, but it is my way of life. My wife thinks it is a hobby because the field is so challenging. It is not a hobby to me. Like I’ve said before, I may never sell another book, but I know I won’t if I quit. Besides, after I’m gone, someone may stumble on them and pick up one. If that person likes what I wrote, then my spirit will be happy.

I’m a writer, author, and novelist. That is what I am and what I will be. That’s how my brain works, and it won’t shut off. Trapped, I am, in a world where my mind continually comes up with plots, twists of plots, dialogue, witty repartee, and ribald humor. Isn’t that lucky? To paraphrase an old advertisement: for the US Army, I have more fun before nine o’clock than most people have all day.

It’s too bad everyone can’t be like that. It’s mighty entertaining. Anyone have any popcorn?

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