How many times have I been warned by friends to take it easy? I couldn’t count. Compared to my normal pace, for five weeks I had the illusion I was on a physical hiatus of epic proportions. Doing the BIG EASY. I did not run. I did not swim. I did not sail. And I did not climb on my bike and ride the levee. Being busted up is not easy. So I did physical therapy with great vigor.
Week six, when my bone could be mended and certain I, being in such good shape prior to my crash, was healed, I gleefully added activities. I swam. Dipped into the pool with a davit it was liberating to the point of bringing me to tears. The neutral buoyancy freed me from pain of a terrestrial existence with a broken pelvis. While my body floated, my spirit rose. I went swimming three times in three days, taking care not to push off the wall with my sore leg. No big deal. It felt great. Wheee!
Able to bear weight as tolerated I walked using my crutch. First around the neighborhood, a few easy blocks. Then I got a lift to Audubon Park. I walked a bit too far enjoying my triumphant return. My body rebelled as I climbed in the passenger seat for the ride home. I didn’t pay it much mind. I walked again, farther the next day. I pushed for distance.
Then sitting on my porch at the end of the week, contemplating my overgrown, ratty garden, I made the poor decision to pull a few weeds. In the cool of the next morning I started. Taking my time I brought out a seat to rest on as I cleared the overgrowth. I worked up a slight lather to my body, sweating for the first time since I laid on the hot concrete six weeks ago waiting for the paramedics to lift me on a backboard. I though of how much I had progressed and felt — great.
Unlike most folks, I like to perspire. Dewiness is a fact of life in New Orleans and I am good with it. Natives are astounded when I declare I enjoy the summer days with 80 percent humidity and 90 temperatures. The saltiness dripping from my brow developed when my garden was about a third cleared. I continued, enjoying myself and feeling satisfied with progress towards my fall garden. One fully stuffed lawn-sized bag later I stopped and sat on the porch with sweat beaded on my legs and arms. Bits of vegetation clung to my calves. There was still a splatter of stubborn weeds that could be hoed and a swath where the ground was surely somewhere down there but invisible under a thick green tangle. No vegetation of machete density remained. As I surveyed the small unfinished plot I felt my quadriceps tighten. Then my abductors twinge. Then my side tug. Then my back pull.
I should quit. Take it easy.
A neighbor, called to me as she unloaded her car after (as food shopping is called here) making groceries. “How ya doin’?”
"I’m great. I weeded my garden."
"Ohhhh my. It looks real goooood but you should be takin it eeeasy."
"I felt so good and I got most of it done. I may need to call you tomorrow though to lift me out of bed." I joked already knowing it may be closer to the truth than I wanted.
"Oh let’s hope not. But sure honey, I kin do that." She smiled broadly waving goodbye while lugging a bag with celery jutting out the top inside.
Maybe I’ll plant celery.
I didn’t have to call her to hoist me out of the sack in the morning, but it was close. For four days I’ve languidly sat to recover. Read. Sat. Painted. Hobbled to the fridge to grab an ice pack. Laid sprawled across the bed with a heat compress. Felt sorry and stupid.
How can I live in the Big Easy but so not get it?