went for a hike with a friend on Friday on a nearby trail. it was her first time on it. as the day went on, she kept getting better and better. her performance surprised and impressed me. we topped out on our hike and headed back down
about .8 miles out, she slipped off a trail supporting log and crumpled. after about 10 minutes, she got up and tried to walk, after about 20 yards, it became obvious that the answer was “no dice”. I asked if she wanted to try to hobble along or go for help. shortly thereafter, I headed down the trail to get help.
my first concern became the time. I figured the ranger station would close at 5:00 pm and the time read 4:30. better get a move on, I thought. i sent Mary a text to update her since she expected us for dinner.
I made it to the ranger station only to see the sign hanging in the window, “closed”. Hearing rustling in the office, I worked up the courage , knowing I had to, and knocked on the door. An elderly gentleman, a volunteer with a big bushy gray mustache, answered the door. he heard my story and called over to his daughter, another volunteer, to gather anything that might work like a crutch.
We loaded the supplies into the gator, a glorified golf cart with a dump bed. this ride got us 1/2 mile closer to my friend. We got out and walked the rest of the way to where my friend waited.
we didn’t have a good crutch system, not unless a shovel handle qualifies as a good crutch. my friend began to drag herself forward. shortly thereafter she said,” this feels a little too much like the revenant.“ After 100 yards or so, it became obvious this wasn’t going to work. The volunteer called back down to the office to inform that we needed search&rescue only to find out s&r were on their way. at this time, we truly had no idea who called s&r, knowing that s&r were on the way, we thought it would be silly to struggle on.we sat down and waited.
s&r arrived shortly thereafter, and loaded her up and strapped her into the orange rescue basket. next, s&r mounted a fat large wheel to support most of the weight for the trip down. my friend didn’t mind the six s&r people working the basket on the trip down, especially nathan.
in no time, we had made it to the parking lot. as my friend got ready for the ambulance ride, I counted the aid vehicles: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. well, nine if you count their gator! the park volunteer told us the s&r sometimes get board and they jump at any opportunity to get out of the station. i guess that proves the point.
we headed to the hospital, me in my friend’s car and my friend in her private red chariot. While traveling there, i finally got enough charge on a phone to call Mary. I gave her and update on the situation. I her told that someone had called 911 but we weren’t sure who. She said she didn’t know what to do, so she called 911. they gathered enough information to make the decision to send out the cavalry. mystery solved.
i got to the hospital with the ambulance right behind me. I hurried to the ambulance to go in with my friend so i didn’t have to ask what room she was in. she expressed her concern about potentially getting separated and she felt like she wanted me in the er. with a rather jovial mood x-rays were taken, time past, and prognosis got delivered: a sprained ankle. my friend was given a new, shiny set of crutches and some very incomplete instructions on how to use them. We headed to the car and then my house where dinner waited.
Mary had made soup and sandwiches and my friend and i recounted the tales of the day and even though Mary and my friend had only met that morning, they continued to hit it off. the mood remained jovial and light. I received a text from her mom and responded as requested with a vague reply. The day finished and my friend headed for home. All seemed well.
The next day, I started by sending a “How are you doing?” text. It felt strange when she did not reply as our communication had been rather timely in the past. Throughout the day, i pinged her with a couple of short text. by the end of the afternoon i sent her a text basically saying, “i care about you but i can’t make you let me help you. contact me when you can.” as previously agreed to, I also sent her my pictures from the day. i use a dlsr so, i have to load my pictures from the camera to the computer. then, i had no choice but to sit and wait.
the next day, i checked my phone far more frequently than i normally do, wanting, hoping to see some sort of reply. morning and the afternoon came and went and i stayed wanting for something, anything, even a leave me alone because ten i’d know where i stood.
early evening, the phone rings. it is my friend. i answer. we talk. she talks of her struggles with her ankle and with life. she admits to isolating. we have our normally good conversation, challenging at times, in a good way, mind you. she tell me she’ll be following up with her doc the next day. we part ways. i’m left feeling satisfied and fulfilled. Maybe things might return closer to normal.
the next morning, i send her a text saying I’d appreciate an update after the doctor’s visit. I received no text from her all day. In the interest of fair disclosure, truthfulness and the american way, pretty much the entire day, mary and i were outside the range of cellular service. the moment we hit the first tower, a message pops through. Her doctor’s appointment is now the next day and let’s talk later. i suggest 8:30 and she said that works for her.
8:35-i call. her phone rings and dumps to voice mail. 9:10, the same thing and similar results and 9:40. one of my core struggles, one of my nemesis, abandonment takes up residence in my psyche. I sent her a text, letting her know i’m riding a kiddie’s roller coaster compared to the adult coaster she’s been riding. I am also able to show her empathy since I have had to serious mobility injuries. I also show her some compassion and myself some self-compassion. the art of self compassion had its birth from a challenge she gave me. That challenge, though only a week old, has truly changed my life.
what are my hopes? that she calls me after her doctors appointment and we get back on track. it’s already happened once.
what are my expectations? that may not happen.
what are my desires? to find a way to detach. she’s offered me many things but i think i’m wound too tightly.
what are my apprehensions? as someone who struggles with depression, the trap of isolation has snared her.
what are my fears? that i’m acting too much like an overbearing boyfriend.
btw, this may seem like a lengthy post, but the first version was on track to have twice as information, hence twice as long.
Normally I struggle with long post, but your story grabbed me and held on until I was done.
I hope you have heard from your friend and she is doing alright. I could read your worry, when you could not reach her that night. I hope you have a great friendship with her, she sounds like she may be an isolater too. So just relax she may just need to have her alone time, so don’t take it personal. Don’t worry, you are a great person.
man, you must be clairvoyant or something. i’m working on a follow up as we speak. if nothing show up in a couple of days, do rattle my cage again.