Friday, 6 April 2012

Guest Post By My Mum: Another Angel Story, or How An Accident Could Change Your Life

This is the 2nd guest post my Mum has kindly agreed to write for me (and of course, also for you!); in case you missed the first one, it is here

Again, I have not altered much except for a very few spelling or grammar errors my Mum asked me to correct for her (keep in mind that her English lessons took place in the 1950s, and I think it is amazing how good her grasp of the language is - she reads almost as many English books as I do, and is never shy to speak English when the situation requires it).
All pictures are, of course, my Mum's property and were chosen by her.

And now, without further ado, here it is - "Another Angel Story", in my Mum's own words:

Another Angel Story- or how an Accident could change your Life

I promised to write another guest blog, and here I am:

12 years ago, on Easter-Monday, my personal guardian-angel (or maybe 2 of them...) had to work hard for me.
We spent lovely Easter-holidays in southern France, in a mountain region called "Cevennes". We were staying at a former silkworm-farm, called "mangnanerie", in an old stone-cottage, at a very remote and beautiful site. There were eight of us, my elder daughter, my husband, friends of us (also the owners of the cottage) and me. 

We decided to go for a long hike through the mountains and woods, with big backpacks, containing our drinks and meals, supposed to be on tour for the whole day. The weather was fine, sunny, not too hot (at least in the forest). 
 
It was in the year 2000, when mobile phones were starting, and I was quite proud to have gotten one from my mother, to be always reached by her, because she was blind and needed help very often.
So I let pass all the others in front of me and phoned Meike (the librarian with secrets ;-) to hear what's up at home and if Grandma is well. We chatted on, but suddenly I stumbled over a root, and I couldn't get my balance again, so I came to fall and fall and fall. I just could cry out to Meike: "Help, I am falling down", then the call was cut off. 

And now the work of my guardian-angel began, and I must say, he did a very good job: The mountain was rather high, I dropped head over heels down, I could have broken my neck, but fortunately I came to a stop on a bush, over a big rock (my backpack was rather heavy, that pressed me down also). I heard my elbow cracking and felt pain, but I had to call my friends for help.
They rushed to me, helped me up, and at first I asked them to call my poor daughter and tell her, I am still alive, some more blessures (nose, knee etc.) were not grave, because I could imagine her fright, mum's crying: I am falling. 

One friend gave me his T-shirt to make a sling for my arm out of it, and we climbed down to the very next little village (about 1 hour away). The path up into the mountain was so narrow, no car could reach it.
There I sat in the shade of the cemetery wall, my husband and a friend went back to our cottage as fast as they could, fetched the car and then took me to a small policlinic nearby. They x-rayed, then shook their heads: This fracture ist too complicate for us, we will call another doc. 

It was a holiday, Easter, and the doc arrived in a black leather-suit on a big BMW-motorbike, not very amused, he came directly from a barbecue. But anyway he looked at me and gave me what he called "a little plaster", that meant a plaster from fingertips to shoulder. And the next day, I had to go to the University Hospital in the City of Montpellier. And that was good luck again, because he was a very famous Doctor, his operations were always successful, even people from Paris go down to him. I had to dig out all my school-French again, but it worked rather well.

So he fixed my elbow, the OP took 4 1/4 hours, afterwards he said: It was like a jigsaw puzzle, many little bits were to be set together, also many screws, nails, silver and steel were worked in.

They gave me morphine against the pain, but this was really a horror-trip for me, I will never understand how people could take this drug voluntarily. I had bad dreams, but no pain at least. After a few days they cut off the morphine and after one week I went home to Germany with my family. 
It was a bit too early, the threads had not been pulled from the stitches yet, but I wanted to go home. From my room in the hospital I could see the seagulls fly and heard their cries, and I knew: out there is the Mediterranean, and I am stuck here. 

And why did this event change my life? 
Well, before, I always worked, rushed around, was always and for everybody available, never thought of myself, neither in my job (librarian, what else...) nor in my private life. Suddenly I had a lot of time to think things over, and to learn that some things are going also well without me or my intervention. 
I could not work in my job for a few months, because I had to have another surgery a few weeks later, to remove some of the steel bits inside my elbow. I had to do a lot of (very painful) physio therapy and was not able to do all my housework the way I had been used to. 
So my husband reduced his working-hours as well (he always worked up to 12 hours a day), and he also learned that it was alright and the world did not stop turning when he was not at work. He helped me a lot.

And then, when I went back to work at the library, I reduced my hours, so I had more time for myself and for things to do I wanted to. Still I had to look after my blind mother, but while I had the plaster, we employed a cleaning-woman for her, and we kept her, that was a great help for me.
So I made the best of this accident.

And now, I wish everyone a healthy, happy and accident-free Easter!

- - - End - - -

I do remember that fateful phone call so well! Can you imagine what it was like, one moment I was talking to my Mum about her lovely Easter holiday and how things were going back home, the next moment I heard her cry out "Help, help, I am falling!" and then - silence...! I must have been sitting there, holding the phone in my hand, staring at it with huge eyes, saying "Mama? Mama??!!" several times, until finally one of the friends rang back to tell me that she was "alright" (little did I know then that she had managed to split her elbow into a thousand pieces, and that this event was to change a lot in all our lives).

And when my Mum says she had to undergo all this physio therapy and couldn't work for months - well, I don't think I know anyone braver and more courageous than her! She went to this therapy every day, putting all her strength and effort into it, knowing full well she was in for another few hours of excruciating pain. And the result is that, today, if you don't know about the accident and do not happen to see the long scar on her left arm, you won't suspect that this is the same woman who, for quite some time, was not even able to lift her arm high enough in order to comb her hair.

46 comments:

  1. This is such an interesting angel story... At first I wanted to say, "well, a better angel might have removed that root." But maybe not, since so many good results came from what seemed like a calamity.
    Please thank your Mama for writing this for your blog. It gives me a lot to think about. I am at a point where I could slack off with my physical therapy now, but I know it will be better if I don't. Maybe MY angel wanted me to read this and take it to heart.
    I love that your mother is also a librarian. I often think I should have been too!

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    1. Kristi, you definitely should not slack off with your physio, and I hope you won't. If my Mum's experience was of any help, then I am glad that, by providing it on my blog, we did something good.

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    2. Thank you, Kristi, for your kind comment. As you said "a better angel might have removed that root", I had to smile- I never thought this before, but it could have been a possibility! But anyway I am quite content with the job, my Angel has done...;-)

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  2. Hello Meike, Hello Meike's Mother:
    How splendid that you should combine together to write this most absorbing account of an event, partially life changing, which happened some twelve years ago. We are, of course, in reading this delighted to learn of the happy outcome - wonderful care, excellent surgery and a full recovery. But we can also appreciate the horror of it all at the time but could not help smiling at the arrival of the doctor on a black BMW bike! Some style!!

    And if, as you say, all of this brought about a change in your approach to work - necessary but not an end in itself - then we are so pleased. We wish you both much joy and happiness this Eastertide.

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    1. Yes, the doctor in black leather on his BMW must have been quite a sight!
      A happy Easter for you, too.

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    2. His name was Fr├ęderic, he wanted me to call him so, and in hospital he looked at least twice a day after me and my broken arm. It was a great and positive experience for me, for here in Germany the docs always change, in the morning quite another than in the afternoon, the next day again a different one and so on.

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  3. Another wonderful piece, Meike's mother! That loss of control in a fall is so very frightening, and for you, Meike, to have heard it. Oh, it makes me shudder. Such a good outcome though, and I admire the way you learned something really important from it, and even changed your life. Please come back again, and often. Before you know it, you'll have your own blog! :<)

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    1. Nan, I know my Mum will read this, and I also know she likes to write, so I hope to have many more guest posts from her. With all the kind comments she received on both her first and now her second guest post, I am sure she will write more.

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    2. Thank you, Nan, for your kind comment, I am quite surprised about that positive reaction! I promised Meike, to write some more guest-posts, when ever I have an idea for a subject, which could be interested.

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  4. Another excellent post from your mum. It's a wonderful example of how to turn a bad thing into a good thing and a bit inspirational. It makes me think of that wonderful poem by W E Henley, do you know it? It ends

    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.

    I do love that area of France, and I can imagine the horror of falling down those steep slopes from rather narrow footpaths. And perhaps almost worse is to have a phone call like that. I can hardly imagine the shock and anxiety.

    A great post!

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    1. Of course, for a while I was convinced my Mum's fall was partly my fault, because she had, after all, been talking to ME when it happened - maybe I had distracted her too much, when she should have watched her step more carefully. I know people stumble and fall without any distraction, but in this case, I felt guilty.

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    2. Thank you, Jenny Woolf, and thanks for the poem of William Ernest Henley, I just had a look at his biography and other poems. I like them!
      And dear daughter, you must not have felt guilty, it was only my own fault, I did not pay enough attention to my step!

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  5. A very interesting and telling story which could open up so many lines of discussion.

    I always used to say 'whatever is is best' (until FWKTM - Friend Who Knows Too Much - questioned my approach and pointed me to Voltaire's Candide) and to the extent that we make the most of our misfortunes (or good fortunes) that is exactly what this story demonstrates.

    It also shows and demonstrates the strength of character and willpower of the writer.

    Jenny's quote from Invicta is so apt. I used to have the poem in my 'Book of Thoughts and Writings' in fact, of course, it's still there even though I don't write in the book any more. A line I used to use quite often was 'My head is bloody but unbowed'.

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    1. It could, Graham, couldn't it! And of course, this was only the very briefest of summaries; there was a lot more to it, but my Mum feared it would become too lengthy a post and nobody would want to read that much.

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    2. Hello GB, you are right in everything! But why don't you write any more in your "Book of Thoughts and Writings"? Is it like a diary?

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    3. My Book of Thoughts and Writings was where I wrote things like poems and thoughts for myself many years ago. It wasn't really a diary. Now I tend to do everything on the computer. It's not the same but it's just the way things have developed for me. I still go back and read my book occasionally though.

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  6. Dear Meike,
    Please let your Mum know that I think I held my breath as I read this. What that must have been like for you on the other end of that phone...I can't imagine.
    Of course, you look on the bright side and realize it could have been worse, but doggone it, I hate that such a thing had to happen to your nice Mum!
    Thanks again for the the post from your mother and with photos too! :-)

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    1. Dear Kay, she will read your comment (if she hasn't already done so), and probably reply to everyone herself :-)

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    2. Thank you, Kay, you really have understood the situation! You can see, how much this impressed me and Meike, that we can remember every little detail, 12 years later, as if it had been yesterday!

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  7. This is my first visit here, and I have been very moved by this story. I too, have been to areas in France like this (even driving! Brrr!) and I also have been told something has happened to someone very dear to me, but unable to get the full story until after a delay.

    Sometimes very good things come out of not-so-good things. Our lessons through life can come from anywhere. The trick is to be open to them. For some, this would have been only bad.

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    1. Hello Katherine, thank you for stopping by and welcome to my blog!
      You are right, some people would have kept going on about the bad bits and never saw the good. What a loss to them!

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    2. You are absolutely right, Katherine, thank you for your comment!

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  8. I'm glad it ended well. I agree with Katherine - our lessons through life can come from anywhere. Sometimes things can be really bad but still at the same time make us aware of good things that we might never have discovered if everything had stayed the same.

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    1. True, and while changes (especially those not brought about by us on purpose, and the very sudden ones) can be frightening, they always offer a chance to make something out of that particular change. It is on us to grasp that chance.

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    2. DawnTreader amd Librarian, how true that is! And as you could read, I took my chance....

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  9. Fantastic, amazing, moving, and chair-gripping story! Thanks to you and your mom for posting it.

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    1. Yes, thanks to my Mum! Glad you liked it, Mark.

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    2. For me it was good, to write it down, and to learn again some important things!

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  10. How scary! I can only imagine how terrifying that must have been for both of you!

    Glad that your Mum ended up being okay & it gave her some time to rest & think.

    Best,
    e

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    1. It was terrifying indeed, Elizabeth. But as you say, my Mum is OK now and things have changed much for the better since that day 12 years ago.

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    2. Yes, all in all it ended up being better than before! (Except my left arm, it is still stiff, but it doesn't matter that much).

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  11. Hello Meike and Meike's Mum... This is such an amazing story. I remember going on a walking tour myself and jumping from a rock and... there was a bush just in front of a steep drop. Had the bush not been there I would have fallen. I want to acknowledge how lucky you were on both counts - to fall the way you did and also to find a doctor who knew his business. It is good that stopping and thinking can change much.

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    1. Hello Christine, your short account of the bush saving you from the steep drop just gave me the goosebumps!
      Yes, that doctor truly knew his business, the one who performed the 2nd surgery on my Mum to take out some of the steel bits commented on his work, saying that they had done a really good job in France.

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    2. Hello Christine,
      so you had a guardian angel as well....

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    3. Indeed I did, Meikes Mum... we can be lucky.

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  12. Harrowing story. The pictures do give such a sense of the isolation of your holiday house. I can see why you beleive your angels were there, with all the good luck of such timing with doctors and your and your friends determination to get you help! And Meike, I can well understand the angst and nerves of waiting for a call to find out what happened to your mom! Have you been back?
    xx
    julie

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    1. As far as I know, none of my family have been back, but I guess that's not due to the accident but more a general shift of circumstances and other things to do, other places to see and other friends to visit.
      And I have never been there in the first place, but I imagine it a great place for a quiet holiday with a lot of hiking!

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    2. That's true, we never came back to that place. We had been there before in different seasons (in autumn it was really as pretty as in spring!), but never after "my" accident. I am afraid, the mountains don't like me, and I must admit, I prefer the sea, so we often went to a Danish island with long beaches and soft sanddunes.

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  13. Dear Libby, what a scary story that is and I am so grateful for you and your family that your Mum is alright. I know, I have taken advantage of family and friends when everything is smooth in our lives but it can be taken in just an instant! I myself have been blessed with my sons life even though he will suffer all his life from his accident of 10 years ago. A car accident that left him in a coma for a month and in a semi-coma for 2 months. Learing to walk and talk, eat and do all the things I have taken for granted. I look at him today and can't imagine life without him even though he still struggles from his accident. I hope you had a wonderful safe Easter! hugs to you...across the seas...

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    1. Dear Linda, that must have been a scary and difficult time for your son as well as for everyone around him.
      Yes, experiences such as this one do teach us not to take anyone (or anything) in our lives for granted.
      Hugs back!

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    2. Hello Linda,
      I try to imagine, how hard this time was for you and your son, and it shows me, that always a sudden event can change everything in our life, but every experience, good or bad, could make us stronger.

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  14. Hello again!
    I know I already left a comment but I forgot to say that Meike's Mum looks like a model sitting there with her arm in a sling and I love the protective look on the dog's face beside her.
    Love,
    Kay

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    1. Dear Kay, thank you - and you know you are welcome to leave as many comments as you like; this happens to me, too, that I send on "publish" when writing a comment and then remember something I wanted to say. I often wish we could edit our comments (especially when I make a typo).

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    2. Hello Kay,
      thank you for the compliment, but you can be sure, I felt anything different than a model at this moment. ;-) The dog's name was Peggy, she belonged to my friend and really watched me until they came with the car.

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  15. Self publishing your own book will position you as an expert in your field, make you money from book sales as well as promote other products and services that you offer your clients through the credibility you achieve by being an author. So today, going straight to business,

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    1. You've lost me there... what does this post have to do with publishing "my own book"? I have not written one, nor do I intend to start on one in the foreseeable future.
      So your comment looks very much like spam to me.

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