I fell in Felton, but not because of fires, COVID, or protests. Walking a nice easy trail in Henry Cowell Redwoods Park, I veered like Frost uphill for more sylvan adventure. Defying safe summit roads, I lingered on fading trails until nightfall made me choose railroad tracks. I crawled until I hit a strange metal plate then leaned for earth--falling into complete darkness. Yes, I should've had a partner, flashlight and cellphone but I foolishly depended only upon 40 years-experience hiking and desire to prove fearlessness from isolation without family.
I woke up in a ditch feeling like I was buried alive with my arm painfully set between two redwood branches. It wasn’t motorcycles! Sure of a broken back and frozen legs, I didn't know how far I had fallen or when I be rescued? I could've just gone to sleep never to wake from the cold. But I could still write my novel and articles for the Press Banner, help others with finance, and, yes, I could still share pleasures of marriage. Friends are amazed at a positive attitude which started with push-ups all night long to keep my warmth and free my arm from crushing branches.
After ten hours, a noble marathoner yelled “Do you need any help?"; I responded “Yes, it's a matter of life and death." She quickly directed the ambulance to me. The ambulance crew dug me out and secured my head to a board. They rolled me down the hill to a helicopter which lifted my broken body to Valley Medical in San Jose.
Doctors quickly scanned me in tubes and prescribed immediate spinal surgery. I could barely sign the release. I woke in a respiratory unit with a pipe going down my mouth into my lungs and my hands tied down. Dreaming of orange juice, my drugged self imagined life in a slave ship heading down the Volga River. Relief came when they moved me to ICU; I then drifted in bedrest until my blood pressure and thickness improved sufficiently to enter rehabilitation. Waking, my girlfriend in mainland China carelessly stated she wouldn’t take care of me; calls ceased. My best friend angelically stepped in with powers of life and death to get me the best medical care. Friends and Ben Lomond neighbors, banned from a Covid hospital, massed online to end my isolation. While training arms to sit straight, I consider a new world of bathroom modifications, wheelchair vans and bed turning challenges.
I have set aside guilt for foolishness, but still encourage others to venture. I risk entrepreneurship with leading edge ideas in financial life planning, politics and religion. Doctors say I have a 20% chance of recovering legs, so I simultaneously live accepting myself and hoping. Medicine has done its part, so I turn to meditation--transformed.