Five months have passed since I slipped and fell on rocks in Provincetown. I’ve been off work all that time and I will be for a couple months more. It’s been an extraordinary adventure. Not one you’d wish on anyone. But one which has taught me so much. Not least how magnificent and exquisitely calibrated our bodies are and how I have taken mine for granted. My diary these last few months is filled with notes such as the first day I could hold a fork again. The first day I could touch my face. And the first day I could hold a pan with my left hand while using my right hand to spoon out vegetables (only this month). My arm is still mending and I have another operation coming up to fix a few things. Fortunately I have the help of a great team at HSS who are kind and compassionate, and are dedicated to my healing. But it’s only when you get close to losing something, that you realize what you’ve had all along. Just reaching out to touch something, to feel through my finger tips, to write this easily and painlessly requires so many things to be working right.
And there is something else. Something I’ve experienced for the first time. How extraordinarily kind people are. Yes, I’ve experienced many, many acts of kindness in my lifetime. But so much all at once is awe-inspiring. It started the first day when I was in hospital, alone and scared, and lying in a cupboard in the ER at Mass General in Boston. It was the day of my accident and I was just waiting and waiting to be admitted to a ward. There was no room in the hospital for one more patient. So they put me in the store cupboard. Nurses and doctors came in and out all night long looking for supplies. I was terrified about my arm and the pain was awful. So around 1AM I called my friend Lisa in LA, who I hoped would be up (due to the 3 hour time difference). Lisa kept me company on the phone. chatted and joked and put her kids on the phone too. And the next day, she sent two of her friends, Nathan and Kate, to sit with me. Two people I’d never met before. Two angels in human form. They lent me their phone charger and they organized four friends of theirs to do the most heroic tasks. Eric and David drove 200 miles round trip to Provincetown to rescue my rental car and bring my bags to the hospital. And Dieter and Azra drove 100 miles roundtrip to Denis to pack up the Airbnb where I was staying and recover my luggage.
And it only got more amazing from there. After my sister (who is kindness incarnate) quit her job in the UK to look after me for 2 weeks, a procession of friends came to help. People came to chop food, bring flowers and clean my apartment (at first I could barely stand, having also broken my foot). One of my Tai Chi students, Marjorie, who shall henceforth be known as Saint Marjorie, helped me bathe, re-bandaged my busted up arm and walked me to the hospital the day I had 40 metal staples removed. Afterwards we went to the Candle Cafe to celebrate, me with my arm propped up on two big hospital pillows.
This is a shout out to all the dozens and dozens of people who have helped cheer me on this journey. To every act of kindness. To Brook, Roger, Terry and Sophia who all sent maids to clean my apartment. To Judy and Pat who helped find my medical team. To Tom who wrapped me in cling film so as not to damage my bandages and cut my hair off in one go. To Liz, Terry, Joan S, Joan M, Richard, Pawel, Sarah, Jo, Cathy, Hope and Karen who jumped in fearlessly to help me cook the weird things on my diet. To Emily who’s a miracle worker at HSS and Dr Helfet and Dr Osei and their teams who are going the extra mile to heal my arm and hand. Every act of kindness has touched my soul. And changed my relationships in profound ways. It’s funny, I thought after Laura and mum died that the main sources of love in my life had gone. I was so wrong.
Here’s to you dear friends and family who’ve kept me company on this adventure: to Andrea, Dad, Lisa. Liz, Jo, Terry C, Joan M, Terry H, Paul N, Pawel P, Emily, Sarah, Hope, Anjali, Richard, Karen, Sandy, Mike, Marjorie, Andy, Judy, Larry, Pat N, Brook, Roger, Tom L, Tom D, Denise, Joan S, Sophia, Patrick, Pat P, Claire, Cathy, Julia, Katy, Carol, Patsy, Mary R, Susanne, Loredana, Mike S, Deo, Luz, Gracia, Kathleen, Jen, Ashley, Julena, Matt, Sam, Alexis, Marion P, Joan Y, Pat H, Nathan, Kate, Eric, David, Dieter, Azra, Bart, Christopher, Ave, Sas, Sukie, Issy, Cal Simon, Nic, Rue and all those who offered to help (Stevie B, Lyn G, Pearl, Banford, Steve D, Susan, Ron, Beth, Blythe, Marion H, Gary, Toni, Jill). Dr Slavin, Dr Esposito and the nurses at Mass General who looked after me for 10 days. Dr Helfet, Dr Osei, Dr Strauss, Dr Bockman, Dr Kupersmith, Dr Glickel and their teams. And to mum and Laura who keep whispering encouraging words in my ear. THANK YOU!!!!!!!