Falling on Ice
The farm had become a huge ice rink. The weather had been jumping back and forth from the freezing, winter cold to warm, spring-like weather that would thaw out the snow and leave mud and wetness in its wake.
That morning, it was back to freezing. Even the woodchip path from the trailer to the barn was slicked over with ice.
I had been carefully walking around while getting my morning tasks completed. I fed the sheep their hay, the last of my duties, then left the barn and closed the door behind me.
I turned around — two steps and a split second later, I felt the ground slip out from under my feet.
I landed hard on my head and back — the thud was deafening. Maybe there was even a crack. My arms immediately began to buzz all over and half my body felt numb. I was going into shock.
As I lay there, trying to catch my breath, a million worst-case scenarios flew through my head. Did I suffer a concussion? Did I break something?
Antonio wasn’t going to be back for several hours, and no one else was expected to visit the farm in the meantime.
I kicked myself for having left my phone in the trailer. All I knew now was that I had to tell someone what had happened, lest I black out and be left to wither away out here alone on the cold ice.
I was moaning in pain as I slowly sat up. Jay let out a hee-haw from inside the barn and I wondered if he knew that something terrible had just happened outside.
I stood up and slowly made my way down the woodchip path, grasping the sides of my head in agony.
The pain was getting even more excruciating and I wondered if I was making things worse by walking around. Probably. But I had no choice.
I made it inside, grabbed my phone, then rolled myself onto the bed. I was hyperventilating, crying, and wished that someone would jab a morphine-filled needle into my arm to stop the pain.
I finally reached Samantha, Antonio’s partner, at work. She picked up to hear me blubbering something incoherent into the phone.
Samantha had been a former lifeguard and her emergency skills kicked into gear. She calmly asked what had happened and talked to me comfortingly, as she called for an ambulance on another phone.
I was so grateful to have someone standing by me, even if they weren’t there in the same room.
Hospital Delivery Package
Finally, about half an hour later, I spotted flashing sirens coming down the road. A few moments later, Olive and Clyde ran down the driveway, as they barked at the paramedics’ arrival.
“Hello,” a voice called out at the door.
“Hi,” I called back weakly.
A paramedic entered, though I couldn’t see him in my periphery. My neck was stiff and in pain, and it was moving nowhere.
The paramedic, Brian, asked me a couple of questions to figure out what was going on.
He seemed a bit miffed, maybe because he had almost wiped out on the ice himself and thought he might be mauled by our two guard dogs.
Antonio arrived soon thereafter and put Clyde and Olive away. I was able to gingerly walk out to the ambulance with Brian and his partner holding me up.
After strapping me down snugly in the stretcher, the ambulance carefully made its way back out to the main road.
During the ride, Brian and I got to talking and he asked how I ended up on the farm.
Somehow, in my incapacitated state, I told him the story of my career change and how I wanted to spend more of my life in nature. I was going to try my hand at writing, I said, and do lots of travelling.
“That’s awesome,” he said.
I thought about the book The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari, which I had been reading the past couple of days. The most recent chapter had said that there’s always a learning or growth that comes out of any experience, even those that seem negative.
“Something good always comes out of something bad,” I mused aloud.
“Oh yeah?” Brian asked.
I paused. “I think.”
We both cracked up.
Finally at the hospital, the guys wheeled me in and found my stretcher a spot by a wall. I thanked Brian and his partner Adam for their help.
“No problem,” Brian replied. “Good luck with the writing.”
“Thanks,” I said, thinking about how this day would definitely become part of my story.
Running Out of Time
For the next few minutes, I lay in my stretcher, staring up at the ceiling. The collar around my neck was digging into the back of my head and I was dying to get it off.
A nurse saw me having a fight with it, and reprimanded me that it needed to stay on properly. Disgruntled, I let the collar go and continued to stare at the ceiling.
A few moments later, Antonio’s face appeared from above.
“Hi,” I said.
“Hello,” he replied.
It was nice to see a familiar face and have someone endure the long, uncomfortable wait with me. Antonio stood by reading a book, while I tried to rest.
The doctor popped by momentarily to inform me that I’d be going in for x-rays, but more waiting was to be had. It was getting close to the animals’ afternoon feeding.
“We’re running out of time,” I said.
Antonio agreed. “Clyde says he’s going to eat one lamb every hour until we get back. He doesn’t think we’re coming. And he knows to eat them when they’re fat.”
I cracked up, trying to stop myself from laughing as the pain shot through my neck.
Finally, I got wheeled into another room and a few x-rays were taken. After some more waiting in the hallways, the doctor returned and removed my neck collar.
“How are the x-rays?” I asked, praying that I was cleared.
“Good,” he said. He handed me a prescription for some painkillers and said if I wasn’t getting better, to come back.
That sounded like the last thing I wanted to do, but I just thanked him instead of divulging my innermost feelings.
Antonio and I walked out of the hospital. I felt like I had just come out of a battle where I wasn’t quite sure if I had won the fight.
“Well, that worked out,” Antonio said. “Could have been much worse.”
I agreed, not wanting to imagine if I hadn’t gotten up from the fall or — worse — if I had suffered a concussion.
“Can we go get food now?” I asked. I might have been in pain, but with me, hunger always won.
“Yup,” Antonio replied.
During the drive home, the clouds looked magnificent. They were giant, looming, and dark shades of blue to charcoal grey, but beams of yellow sunlight drifted downwards from the heavens and gently illuminated the sky.
It may have sounded crazy (I did just hit my head), but I thought about how lucky I was to witness this surreal sky painting in front of me, and that I wouldn’t have if we weren’t driving back from the hospital.
Making Lemonade Out of Lemons
So, what was the silver lining from the fall? I don’t necessarily believe that “things happen for a reason”, as though there was some pre-ordained purpose for me falling on the ice and being shipped off to the hospital.
What I do believe is that when these kind of experiences come your way, you can do one of two things: feel like you’re cursed and complain, or figure out your next move and acknowledge the positives that come out of it.
For the next four days, I recovered on Antonio’s couch. Somehow, I was still able to be productive on the computer, finally buckling down on a few things I had been avoiding working on.
I read more of The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari and took some time for deeper reflection, something that had been missing lately in the hustle and bustle of farm life.
The next week, I stayed at my cousin’s house where I was taken care of and fed to my heart’s content. I felt incredibly loved and by the end of the week, I was recovered and ready to return to the farm for some more adventures!
>> Stay tuned for the next post in the #farmlifebestlife series!: Only the Strong Survive