Tree Falling

The offending tree. 

Tree Falling

We just bought our first home a few months ago, so I have been experiencing all the associated joys. We have been almost giddy as we fixed a leaking shower, laid new flooring, and filled nail holes in the new baseboard.

It's pretty exciting to finally have something you've worked so long and hard for.

It's been brought to my attention that I often think I'm capable of tackling a task that I don't necessarily have the skill for. I'm not sure if this is indicative of overconfidence and egotism or "go get 'em" positive attitude. I, of course, prefer the latter.

I spent a few hours getting covered in muck as I tried to snake out a clogged pipe from several different directions. First by pulling apart the trap. Then by going outside and entering through that overflow thing that is outside. (Do you have to know all the vocabulary to work on plumbing? Let's hope not.)

I tried numerous backing soda and vinegar combinations.

Nothing worked.

I finally kissed my hippie devotion to chemical free living and bought Draino. That stuff is pretty incredible even if it kills Mother Earth.

I bought two old-fashioned maple doughnuts when I picked up the Draino.

Because: sanity.

A few weeks ago I realized that the tree out back needed trimming.

How hard could that be? I totally solved that clogged drain problem!

Surely, not very hard.

It's not like tree-trimmers have to carry exorbitant amounts of insurance "just in case" they fall out of a tree. It's not like they make special equipment to ensure that they don't fall out of a tree.

Yes, there was that one time when my dad fell out of a tree and broke his pelvis in three places and was in the hospital and my mom called me in a panic because they were feeding him through a tube into his neck.

But that wouldn't happen to me. Anyway, my tree wasn't very tall.

So my husband was gone for the morning and I proceeded to begin my work. (He always tries to talk me out of doing stuff like this. I have to proceed covertly.)

I made sure the girls were outside with me.

Kids need to learn how to work!
They were busy sword fighting with the tree limbs that I cut down. There was a lean-to built in the side yard with trimmings.

There was moaning and groaning from the pre-teen about having to rake up leaves. (Which, is apparently one of the worst things that can happen to you when you are 10. Just a heads up. I know you read my blog for parenting advice.)

I was feeling pretty accomplished, having singlehandedly trimmed my tree with a pair of shears I use to trim my roses. (Trimming my roses, by the way, really makes me feel like a full-fledged adult. It's a way bigger milestone than voting.)

Trimming was going great. Kids were having fun and working. (Well, not the 10-year-old, but that's been established.) It was kind of a good mom moment.

I had even changed out of my Birkenstocks and put on some running shoes because - SAFETY FIRST! You have to think ahead.

I had gotten all the branches I could reach with the ladder and I thought, "Hey, I could reach more if I climbed into the tree. I'm so clever."

So, even though I haven't climbed a tree in 30 years, I got up in there and got the farther branches. The tree wasn't very high, so even if I fell, it probably wouldn't kill me.

This worked for a while.

Until it didn't.

I'm not even sure what happened but I must have slipped. I was in the tree and then I was falling- No joke, in SLOW-MOTION. (It was like a movie. That's why they do those slow-motion scenes.) Then I hit the ground.

It knocked the wind out of me. As an aside, this happened before, when I was a kid and it just scared me and then I got up and walked away. My mom would always use the phrase, "You'll break your neck!" when we did something dangerous. I remember vividly when I was a kid and fell out of the tree because it knocked the wind out of me and I couldn't walk for a minute and I was pretty sure that mom's prophecy was true. I had done something dangerous, and just like she said, my neck was broken.

That was actually the last time I climbed a tree.

Ironic. Or something.

Well, falling out a tree when you are a few days from 38 DOES knock the wind out of you. It also felt like it knocked a bunch of other stuff out of me. Like my 20s and good health.

I landed on my back.

I scared the living heck out of all my children.

By now my husband was home, and he comes running out. I can't get up. I'm struggling to breathe. There is this TREMENDOUS pain in my ribs on the side I landed. I'm trying to breathe but moaning. The children said later, "I didn't know that falling out of a tree made you sound like a zombie."

Yes. Yes, it does.

I'm so glad they learned something from my mishap.

The girls are crying, my husband has forgotten all of his medical knowledge briefly because he loves his wife and is so scared.

After 10 minutes or so he manages to lift me and we go to his office for some treatment.

Suddenly, all that money we invested in chiropractic college comes in real handy.

He fixes me up and I get the chiropractic treatment of a lifetime. My poor children are so frightened for my safety that they actually sat silently the entire time. For hours. This NEVER happens. They are generally pretty feral.

Friends, I really thought I was pretty tough. I hate to admit it, (my ego again) but I always figured I had a decent pain tolerance. I had four babies with no pain meds. The last one was gigantic and posterior and it was not a huge deal.

This tree falling incident made me think otherwise. 

There were moments where the pain was so intense I almost passed out. I have never experienced anything like this in my life. Never.

I suddenly realized why people get epidurals. I would have gotten an epidural. I wanted to go to a hospital and just get on a morphine drip and go to sleep for a week.

Will they do that? I would have looked like a pill addict, had I gone to the hospital, begging for their good stuff.

But I got X-rays and I appeared to be fine. Nothing broken. A-OK.

I have never wanted to see something wrong with me before, but suddenly I wanted something to look wrong. I wanted some justification for my pain level. "Surely, Doc, isn't there a shard of bone floating around and stabbing me in the lung? Can you look closer?"

Alas, no bone shards. No broken ribs. Nada.

I broke all my personal rules. I took Aleve. know, I know. I just lost all my crunchy credentials.

I had to get help from all kinds of people. So many dinners were brought over. So much help with kids. All the while I sat around and did almost nothing.

It's funny how much I just wanted the ability to complete mundane tasks, like do my dishes, or sweep the floor. Or drive my children to school.

All the "chores" that make life something of a drag were the only things that I really wanted to be able to do.

I felt proud of myself when I could successfully tie my shoes.

It was like being five again.

It's a few weeks later and I feel almost all the way better.

Ironically, I have a sink full of dirty dishes.

I'm not sure why I'm sharing this story, or what it has to do with, "Mama Birth," or becoming a mother. I am coming to realize that life is one constant humbling moment. There are lots of lessons, some of them painful. Often the painful ones stay with you the longest and teach you the most.

I sure feel a lot more empathy for people when I find out they fell out of a tree, or heaven help them- a roof.

I feel grateful, though unworthy, of the service rendered to my family. And so grateful for my health. What a blessed life I have been given that this was the first time I had experienced intense pain, and what a reminder that it could change in an instant.

So thank you to my loved ones, my friends, my community, and all who helped and thought of me. And a thank you for a life that takes the time to literally knock some sense into me when I need to learn a few things.

On another note, if you got my Tom Petty reference with the title, we are officially friends.
The end.