I have mentioned before my fight with chronic neck pain as a teenager from fibromyalgia. It took a warp drive increase after a Senior retreat weekend as a result of a “Only Lori” freak accident.
I went to a private Christian Academy my entire life. Mainly because the schools in my area were not very good, and this school had a rep of being very difficult. My dad was obsessed about school and education. And this school was tough. An A was a 94 and above. I graduated with a 3.8 which is a 4.0 in any other school. Stupid grading system.
Anyway, my small grade was together our entire school life. And at times we were a little sick of each other. Twenty-five of us locked together crawling up each grade looking at our slowly changing faces. My class was extremely good-looking. And I was not. But I was funny and got along with everyone–my MO today as well–so I survived. I was voted most likely to succeed due to my writing skills. At least I think that was why. Honestly I have no idea why. I was also Treasurer. Thanks to Game Theory. The competitors all had clicks. I had none, and I got along with everyone. Hence my victory. Actually it was a pain in the neck. Counting our money, sitting every day in the cafeteria, bookkeeping. Blech.
The good part of belonging to a small group who knew each other so well was our senior trips. We travelled out to the hills of Pennsylvania for our Fall Retreat. It was a perfect weekend. Pennsylvania is Da Bomb in the Fall. Pennsylvania is so very green, and when the trees turn, they do it with flair. I took it for granted until I came out to the Midwest. The last time I went back to PA, I could not open my eyes without the green actually HURTING. We spent the weekend at a beautiful farm, frolicking in the apple trees and enjoying the freedom of perfect weather and beautiful surroundings.
When it got dark, a group of us decided to go to the barn (which looked just like the one) and tell ghost stories. We all trooped in, and while they were gabbing I was mesmerized by a huge green tractor. I was imagining it was a sleeping dragon, its scales gleaming in the moonlight. I vaguely heard Johnathan climbing up and saying, “Watch this everyone.” I didn’t look, after all, a dragon was much more interesting than a mere boy showing off.
It is a good thing that I did not look up. Johnathan fell 6 feet off the ladder and landed on my head. Of course I wasn’t expecting anything, which may have saved my life. Johnathan was 6’1″ and around 160 pounds. His back hit me when he fell. Without my head to buffer him, he would have been severely injured.
I remember seeing a blinding flash of white light and pain so intense I dropped to my knees in agony. I remember people screaming, and asking if everyone was ok. I remember rocking back and forth, anything to stop the pain. I remember the silence when they realized not everyone escaped. I remember Jonathan carrying me to the house. I remember me saying drunkenly, “Don’t tell, we will get into huge trouble. Just act normal.”
Unfortunately I couldn’t act normal. Nothing worked right. I behaved like I was drunk. I couldn’t walk. My speech was weird. I was completely uncoordinated. We were all in a large entertainment room in the basement, and I tried to behave normally. But one of the boys thought I was drunk. And went into the longest laughing spell I have ever heard. He literally couldn’t stop! Ticked off, I told Jonathan to take me upstairs and tell Mark to SHUT UP. Johnathan told him what happened and his laughter stopped like a plugged toilet.
I fell asleep. Stupid move. I could have died. I had a terrible concussion. The fall bent my spine. I should have died from the impact. But I did not.
The next morning I woke up, but my body wouldn’t work right. I had tremendous dizziness and a feeling of intense pressure in my head, like my brain was trying to bust out. I tried to go downstairs, and ended up crawling down on my butt. Or course, the adults found out about it, one can’t hide not being able to stand without falling. I was taken to the hospital, and they told me it was a miracle that I wasn’t seriously injured. My concussion would heal, but I may have dizziness for a few months.
I didn’t fall down, I just decided to examine that spot on the floor a little closer. 🙂
I had dizziness and trouble focusing for almost two years. And terrible neck pain that lasts to this day. But I survived. Jonathan of course felt terrible. He was a great artist, and made me a huge picture of a unicorn in a forest to go on my wall in my unicorn themed bedroom. I loved that picture. And I am glad that he wasn’t hurt.
But there are moments, even 25 years later, when the pain and migraines make me cry, and I wish that I hadn’t been imaging dragons and paid more attention.