Roller blading on the Sea Wall

Unexpected gifts can come from unsolicited events. Roller blading recently, I suddenly found myself laid out flat on the Sea Wall.  Unsolicited event.  I was enjoying my second trip this year, and everything was going really well.  The weather was beautiful, the path was smooth and clear, no rough spots or obstacles in sight, so I was going at a reasonable clip.  All of a sudden and for no apparent reason, I was splatted flat on the ground.  Abruptly, harshly.  

Happily my knee braces and wrist guides did their job…scarcely a scratch, and I didn’t hit my head.  I started to get up as usual, (I have fallen before, and it has never been a big deal), but right away I noticed that something had happened to my shoulder.  A sinking feeling came over me.  This was not just a fall, but was going to need attention.  

And from there on in, I received unexpected gifts from every imaginable quarter.  Many people stopped to see if I needed help, and I said no, but thanks…I was OK.   But two women refused to move on.  They insisted on helping me up to a comfortable sitting place, took off my skates; helped call my husband and waited with me until he came, loaded me and the equipment into the car, and waved as we departed, wishing me well.  Donna and Jen: guardian angels for sure.  I was in some pain, didn’t yet know what had happened to my shoulder, whether anything was broken… but it seemed clear that I needed to go to emergency.  

Simple dislocation, no complications

And now unexpected gifts started to roll in: the Emergency Room intake was all but empty; the staff at reception were efficient and helpful; I was promptly ushered into the acute care area;  the team there was friendly and supportive; we joked, and there were numbers of thumbs up about my having been rollerblading :-); the x-ray team was terrific.  The images showed a simple dislocation, no complications, no breaks.  What a gift!  

Next the team came to hook me up to the proper equipment so that when they sedated me to restore the dislocated shoulder to its proper place, they could monitor my vitals.  Smooth as silk, no major waits or difficulties.  More gifts.

And here the whopper 🙂 I had my first experience of ketamine.  The “trip” probably lasted 20 minutes, and it was a wildly beautiful, flowing kaleidoscopic, roller-coaster experience of beauty and wonder and pleasure and colour.  It is a gift I will remember forever. I was hippie age, but never was a hippy and have rarely done recreational drugs.  So this was a very special trip for me!  When I came out, they jokingly wagged their fingers and said now don’t go have another accident so that you can do this again!  :-).

Sobered, but relieved that nothing was broken, and set up with very manageable guidelines for self care until my follow up appointment with an orthopedic doctor the following week, I settled into my new normal.  

Unexpected gifts from unsolicited events.  And the unexpected gifts kept coming.  Standing in my bedroom, I noticed deep gratitude welling up, to the point of tears, at my good fortune, for our incredible health care system and caregivers, at how much I could do, and for the space I live in and the partner I have;  appreciation at what a left arm and hand are capable of; and a kind of soft glow and field of perfectness, OKness.  

unexpected gifts

Of course as time went on, I was annoyed, angry, frustrated…at the unsolicited event and its implications for the coming weeks.  Still, it is a gift to allow such feelings, let them flow through, accept the ups and downs, the vicissitudes of life. There was, and is, a quiet joy, a still fullness at simply being, being alive, safe, OK, even with my shoulder in a sling.

While I don’t recommend dislocating your shoulder, it’s true that our Mindset Matters. And I highly recommend looking for the many unexpected gifts that can be found, from and within, unsolicited events in our lives. 

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, andgrowth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Follow me on Twitter, let’s be friends on Facebook 🙂

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