Rain dancing.

“Life isn’t about surviving the storm. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” -Unknown author

Mother’s Day 2017 was yesterday.  My mama stopped by and gave me a bracelet with that quote on it. 

Rain dancing.

We’re not touristy at all. (after hospital stay)

I didn’t realize until I read the bracelet that I have gotten pretty good at rain dancing.  I know that in general I am a glass half full person.  It is just who I am.  I can’t dwell on the difficult or the Hard for too long. Sometimes that isn’t the healthiest choice but I’m working on it.

One of the last photos I took before the accident.

Sometimes it catches up to me.

Sometimes I watch others get frustrated, angry, sad, infuriated; and I feel myself get frustrated because when do I get a turn to feel that way? But that is my choice. I am trying to learn to allow some anger, some sadness, some frustration into my emotional arsenal. 

But rain dancing. That I can do.

But I don’t realize I am doing it until later.

In front of a volcanic crater lake. NBD.

So we went to Iceland. My outdoorsy, mountain loving, traffic hating, lovable hunk of a husband talked me into a week long trip in the most sparsely populated country in Europe.  And I was so glad, and continue to be glad that we went.  #icelandisstillnice

For the ten of you who read my blog who aren’t family and friends- here is a brief synopsis of what happened on Day 5 of our trip.

We had reservations to take an one hour horse back tour with a guide across the countryside of Iceland.  Our son receives hippotherapy twice a month and I have always loved horses.  Todd had never ridden and knew it would be special for me so we booked it.  We dressed in these huge rubber trousers that were similar to what fireman wear, and we set off on our beautiful thick-coated horses with our young but experienced guide.  About 5 min into the trip, we both commented how well trained the horses were, how easy they were to ride, and how much fun it was.  We all stayed in a nice line – the guide, then me, then Todd.  The guide asked if we minded doing a slight trot with the horses and of course we said sure, so we trotted a bit.  It was fun but when we slowed down, I could feel a difference in my horse.

He wanted to keep trotting. He was very close to the guide’s horse and if I tried to pull the reins back, he tussled a bit with me.  We stopped to take pictures and then my horse started walking off to the side a bit. I tried to lead him back over, and for a split second it seemed like he was going to obey but then something just changed.

No loud sounds, no strange movements by me, the horse just started to run.  My first instinct was not to use a calming voice like she had suggested because of course I was startled and frightened. But then I remembered and I tried to use the techniques she suggested.

Terribly unflattering photo of my first time sitting up in a chair at the hospital

He wasn’t having it.

He took off like a shot and the rest is history.

History that changed me.

History that brought on more rain dancing.

What followed was a six night hospital stay at one of the two hospitals in Iceland, in the beautiful town of Akureyi.

I received/suffered/endured (not sure what the right wording is) five fractured ribs, a punctured lung with a pneumothorax, and a broken sacrum.

Five broken bones that cannot be put in casts. Cannot be set. And the sacral bone is what I make contact with, every time I sit down. 

View from my hospital room

It was scary. I’m not gonna lie. Lying on the ground after being thrown from the horse, coughing up blood. I couldn’t turn either way because my broken bones are on opposite sides of my body.

It was scary. 

But I knew I would be okay. Something kept me calm. Something told me that it wasn’t going to be fun, but it was going to be okay.

The handsome Icelandic EMTs who sat with me in the ambulance, telling me how much time was left until we got the hospital, they told me it would be okay.

The nurses who greeted me, who sat beside me in the ER while they tried to figure out what was broken, and how serious everything was. They kept me calm. They talked to me like everything was okay.

They know how to rain dance.

Helga, the young nurse from a nearby town in Iceland who had attended nursing school in Chicago. She gave me a foot massage and chatted with me about every day things, just to keep my mind off the pain.  She helped me brush my teeth and wash my face myself for the first time after being hurt.

She knows how to rain dance.

Skyping from far far away…

“Take a car ride to Iceland?” said Evan one night when we Skyped. My heart broke but there was also a part of me that felt such joy that my little guy missed me so much and wanted us home. We have worked so hard on keeping him engaged and connected to us- and he really missed his Mommy and Daddy. 

It was very hard to dance in the rain when I thought about my kids from my hospital bed- but my friends and loved ones kept texting, emailing, calling, sending cute little videos so I could hear their voice and see their smiling face. (I’m looking at you Talia!) In times of strife, you really do realize the love and light in your life. 

And then we finally came home. After a 5 hour car ride to Reykjavik and a six hour flight home, we came home to a clean home, and sleeping, very loved on children. Thank you Mimi, Pappy, Gran, and GrandRich!

Chilling with my girl

For the past 2.5 weeks, I have been setting up shop in my bed, regularly icing my fractures, trying to stay comfortable, and walking around when I can.  I went from a wheelchair to a standing high walker, to crutches, to a slight limp.

Rain dancing was really hard the first week I was home when I couldn’t sleep because the pain was so intense. When I had to get an elevated toilet seat because I couldn’t bend over at all. When my son only wanted to climb on my lap and no one else’s so his behavior became erratic and he acted out. 

But somehow we got through it. And one day I looked to my left and both kids were in bed with me. Melody in the crook of my arm and Evan lying next to her.  He looked up at me and said, “Hi mommy! Can I go in Mommy and Daddy’s room? Can I cuddle you?”

He asks questions that he already knows the answer to as a way to communicate and stay engaged with me.

It hit me all at once. Without realizing it, I had been enjoying my time with both kids immensely. Take out the responsibility of keeping up with housework, teaching, and all that was left was a focus on my recovery and the time spent with family.  I felt guilty that I couldn’t do the dishes or walk down the basement steps to do the laundry. I hated not being able to take the kids were they needed to be.

Enter rain dancing.

All that was expected of me was a focus on my healing and when I felt well enough to sit with the kids in bed- this awesome thing happened. They both figured out ways to spend time with me in bed.

Evan reading with his head in my lap (ribs protected by a pillow)

Mother’s Day music time

Just last night, Melody snuggled up next to Evan and just said to herself, “I love you, Evan.” and closed her eyes and smiled. 

Those moments are hard to catch when I am caught up in cleaning up after the kids at night, making lunches, laundry, and my mind is 153 different places.

I want to remember this.

I want to remember what it feels like to just focus on family. Just focus on the kids, my husband, my mom.  Whomever is with me at the time.

I know that will become difficult all over again when I go back to work in a few weeks and more responsibility is back on my shoulders. But I do hope that I can remember what it felt like to dance through the raindrops these past few weeks.

**Update:

after writing this earlier today- Evan had a seizure, after having one last night. He had four in one day last week.  I felt myself tense up all over. The worry is back, the concern over if we are medicating him correctly. The neurologist is talking about more aggressive meds, new tests….

Rain dancing is really really hard when these things crop up.

Just being real.

But tonight Evan put his head on my stomach and listened to the digestive sounds it was making and we had a huge laugh about it. I used to do that with my mom growing up, and it cracked me up. He likes to play with the word and pretend to say the ch sound at the end so he kept giggling and saying, “stomach (with the ch digraph sound)” and then “how are you?” with a big grin on his face.

I’m going to think about the stom-itch sounds instead of the seizures.

At least for a little while.

 

 

12 Comments on Rain dancing.

  1. janet
    May 15, 2017 at 9:27 pm (3 months ago)

    Love the way you write, Erin. You always have a way of seeing the silver lining. Sometimes it takes time before we realize why “bad” things happen…. I love that your bed has become the playground for you to enjoy your kids as you recover. 🙂 Praying for you and Evan as you each go through this rough patch. Please let me know if I can do anything!

    Reply
  2. Erin
    May 15, 2017 at 10:13 pm (3 months ago)

    Janet I love the analogy of my bed as a playground!

    Reply
  3. Jessica O.
    May 15, 2017 at 10:54 pm (3 months ago)

    Erin, first–beautiful writing. Second, so sorry to hear this!!! Third, please continue to take the slow road in the months to come with your recovery. Your time for yourself, your husband, children, parents, etc can never be regained once lost. Your body (and your mind) need room to HEAL after this trauma. Dance in the rain, but wait for the healing sun too. Let them all love you back to health!

    Reply
    • Erin
      May 17, 2017 at 9:39 pm (3 months ago)

      Thank you Jessica. I truly needed to hear that reminder as I have pushed it too hard for a few days in a row. My body is telling me that it’s not ready for that activity level yet. Thank you again for reading.

      Reply
  4. Carol
    May 16, 2017 at 7:41 am (3 months ago)

    Beautiful Erin, no words for this ❤. Thoughts to you as you heal xo. I can’t imagine your fear (and pain) when you were first hurt! Love to you and your beautiful family always.

    Reply
    • Erin
      May 17, 2017 at 9:39 pm (3 months ago)

      Thank you for your kind words, Carol. I really appreciate it.

      Reply
  5. Eilenn
    May 16, 2017 at 10:16 pm (3 months ago)

    the heart speaks. So beautiful Erin. Sending you more healing love tho it sounds like u are surrounded by it ❤️❤️❤️

    Reply
    • Erin
      May 17, 2017 at 9:39 pm (3 months ago)

      I need all the healing love that can be sent. xoxoxo Thank you.

      Reply
  6. Sharon
    May 17, 2017 at 6:14 am (3 months ago)

    You are a force, and I appreciate every. single. word.

    Reply
    • Erin
      May 17, 2017 at 10:40 pm (3 months ago)

      Thank you so so much. xoxo

      Reply
  7. Kim Smith
    May 18, 2017 at 8:12 pm (3 months ago)

    So beautiful, so authentic. Thanks for taking the time to pour yourself out for us. Continued healing to you and Evan and of course joy. Always joy!

    Reply
    • Erin
      May 19, 2017 at 3:16 pm (3 months ago)

      Thank you Kim. Thank you so much.

      Reply

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