Naturally, I never, ever text while driving, and I can't fathom why anyone else would dare do it.
But I'm here to tell you that driving is not the only thing you should avoid while texting. I recently noted in the fine print for one of the training events for my 3-day walk that cell phones are prohibited during all official walks for Susan G. Komen, both during training and during the November event. The reasoning behind it is that cell phones are a big distraction and a safety hazard for walkers.
"That's kind of silly," I thought when I read the rule. "I talk on the phone all the time while I'm walking. It's a good way to pass the time."
Now I know better....
Because I came down with a nasty cold a few days ago (a story I'll have to share with you another time), I missed two morning walks in a row. Last night was the first night I ventured out, and I felt amazingly better after a brisk eight-mile walk. So I was looking forward to a morning walk today, though I was not keen on getting up at 6:40 on a holiday.
Since I had overslept last Saturday and left four people waiting in my front yard at 6:00 in the morning, I wasn't taking any chances this time. I set the main alarm, and then I set the alarm on my cell phone and put it on my nightstand.
At 5:45 this morning, I jumped out of bed when my cell phone chirped. It wasn't my alarm, but a text message. I hurried out of the bedroom to keep from waking Bill and Allyson, who had sneaked into our bed during the night. As I stumbled into the hall, I read the note; my walking buddy had to cancel because her daughter was sick. At this point I was still more than half asleep, and I don't know where I thought I was walking, or why I didn't just stop right outside the bedroom door.
But I kept moving and somehow veered toward the TV room. Just as I slid out the keyboard to reply, my right foot hit empty space, and I lurched to the side. What?? I was already tumbling through the darkness when realization dawned in my foggy brain. The stairs! I frantically reached for the banister, but I had no idea where it was as I cartwheeled sideways.
Just like in the movies, I experienced everything in slow motion. I felt each terrifying bump of various body parts against the stairs, heard my cell phone clatter on the hardwood down below and clink into three pieces, heard and felt the slam of my body against the wall, and then heard the dull thump when I sprawled on the landing.
I lay there for several seconds, absolutely still and silent, waiting for Bill to run to my rescue. But there was only the sound of my own breathing and the crush of the carpet against my cheek. I deliberately moved my fingers and my toes. Ah, maybe nothing was broken.
I lay still for another 30 seconds or so until my breathing slowed to normal, and then I released my grip on the edge of the landing; I'd been holding on for dear life even after I thudded to a stop. I pushed myself onto my knees and gingerly pulled myself up using the banister for support. That's when I became aware of the pain in my right knee and ankle. "Uhhh," I muttered as I stepped down onto the hardwood floor.
I flipped on the light at the bottom of the stairs and started searching for my phone. I didn't spot it at first, but I did find a hole in the Sheetrock! What made that hole? I wondered. Maybe it was my phone. I started to reach inside the hole, but it hurt to bend my elbow. My elbow, I thought. It was my elbow that made that hole.
I found the phone underneath the couch, next to the staircase. I put the battery back inside and snapped it together; good as new! I sent a quick reply to my friend Lori and climbed back up the stairs and into bed.
I shoved Bill over and tried to find a comfortable position, but every time I moved I discovered a new sore spot. There was an ominous throbbing low in my back, between my hips. My right wrist was smarting, and so were my right knee and hip and ankle. My left elbow was tender, as well as my left shoulder. And there was a wicked carpet burn along the inside of my left forearm.
But the most important thing was what wasn't hurting: I felt absolutely no pain in my head or neck. Thank you, thank you God, I repeated over and over. For some reason I've always had a premonition about falling down those stairs, and every time I pictured myself with broken bones, maybe even a broken neck. But now that my worst fear had materialized--even worse than I'd imagined, actually, because I never thought it would happen in the pitch black--all I had was a few abrasions and bruises. Maybe I fared so well because I'd been half asleep and totally relaxed.
I never did fall back asleep, and when both alarms went off at 6:40, I decided to get up and go on that walk. Part of me feared that I should take it easy with that pain in my back, but another part of me thought, "No way I'm missing ANOTHER walk this weekend." Plus, I reasoned, getting out and moving would probably be better than lying still and getting all stiff.
So I popped an Advil, taped up my feet with moleskin (to prevent blisters on the hot spots), smoothed Body Glide over all the exposed surfaces of my feet, slid on my Five Finger shoes, and filled my water bottles.
I ate a slice of peanut butter toast, stuffed a frozen bran muffin in my pocket, and stepped outside at 7:10, only 10 minutes behind schedule; this time no one was waiting for me, so it didn't matter. Wonder of wonders, I actually had to go back inside for a jacket.
The weather was glorious, probably around 70 (21 Celsius), with a nice breeze. I clutched the jacket around me and lurched down the sidewalk. At first I felt a little twinge in my lower back with each step, but after about a mile my muscles felt much more relaxed.
I figured I'd go three miles and then head back, but it was such a beautiful morning, and the pain wasn't any worse, so I kept going for three hours--only 9.67 miles out of my scheduled 14 miles, but not too shabby considering.
The best thing is the peace and comfort that I felt. There was no one to walk with me but Jesus, and He was all the company I needed. All my senses were heightened, and I stared in wonder at the delicate shapes of individual green leaves and the play of the shadows over the sidewalk in front of me.
|One of the Trees I Admired|
An old hymn came to my mind and rose to my lips: "Holy, holy, holy... Lord God Almighty! Early in the morning my song shall rise to thee. Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty, God in three persons, blessed Trinity."
Tears rolled down my cheeks. I felt so fragile, yet so protected. Another fragment of a song played in my head, one I heard at church yesterday: "You go before me, you shield my way." I pictured my strong guardian angel catching me as I fell.
"I am yours, God. Take all of me today," I whispered. "Help me hear your voice so I can obey you."
After about seven miles, I ran into my friend Maria, the leader of our prayer team at church, and her husband. I walked with them for another mile or two, and then at her urging I turned back toward home. "Take it easy today," she advised. "You can make up the miles another time."
The moment I stepped through the door, Allyson asked, "What happened to the stairs, Mommy?"
"What do you think happened?"
"Let me guess," Bill said. "You fell down the stairs?" I nodded. "How on earth did that happen?"
"It was pretty stupid, really..."
After I finished my story, Allyson said, "You have to tell this story on the blog, Mommy. And you have to take a picture of the hole in the wall."
"I will," I promised. "As soon as I finish this French toast Daddy made."
Now that I've stopped moving, I'm tender all over--except for my feet, thanks to the moleskin padding. I hope I'll be able to move when I wake up tomorrow.
Please join me in rejoicing that I didn't break any bones or hit my head when I fell. And please, please learn from my mistake. Don't text while you're walking, and especially when you're walking in the dark. And while you're at it, don't text while you're driving either.
As for me, I've banned the cell phone from my bedroom. And maybe I'm going to give up my title of Texty Texterson. Nah....
Update 9/6/11 8:15 A.M. - Yesterday evening, my mom, my sister Amy, and Allyson laid hands on my back and prayed for me. I woke up this morning with no back pain! Praise the Lord!