Being a "Fallen Woman"

San Miguel de Allende has such bumpiy cobblestone streets and narrow sidewalks that it's most likely that you will trip and take a tumble sooner or later. Some folks call it the city of "fallen women."

Well, I've fallen there, I've fallen here in San Pancho, and I've fallen around the world. Most notably into a hole where a large tree had been removed in Venezuela and sliding along the icy winter sidewalk in front of an open restaurant in Barcelona.

Last summer, I fell in Puerto Vallarta, tripping over a tope, or speed bump. That sent me to Cornerstone Hospital for stitches in my lip and repair of three teeth. It could have been worse.

After getting a new knee last year, I started falling. My kneecap was not doing what kneecaps are supposed to do, tossing me to the ground in my house, in the street and on the beach.

All minor falls, although I guess I could be called a "fallen woman," San Miguel or San Pancho.

Just over a year ago, I fell in our home in San Miguel Viejo, on a step that was taller than the other steps, just a tiny bit, but enough to trip me up. Which gets me to the point of the story.

I just spent a month in Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital. I went to get a skin graft over the large hole, a hole that I had hoped would heal itself. But it didn't. MGH had done similar surgery on my other leg two years ago and I went knowing they could patch me up again.

I was admitted and treated for other problems (severe anemia, things like that) and was waiting for surgery when, in the middle of the night, early on a Sunday morning, stabbing pains in my side sent me into emergency surgery.

"If we're lucky," the doctor said, "it's your appendix."

We were not lucky. It was a perforated bowel, resulting in a colostomy. And five days in intensive care. 

Ah, yes, the next week, the long-awaited skin graft.

And then, a week in Spaulding Rehab Hospital, learning how to walk again, with cane and walker.

A few thank yous ...

I cannot praise the staffs at both MGH and Spaulding enough. Words like fabulous or wonderful aren't enough. Special thanks to a nurse named Randy--he was the one that knew something was seriously wrong when I told him of the pain.

And wonderful friends, who called, e-mailed, sent cards. Especially my college roommate, Cathy, who called every few days. Whose sense of humor and common sense kept me going. And Joe, the elderly friend who let me move in with him for a week and a half while I recuperated.

Most of all, my family. My adult children who visited and took me home and delivered me to the airport. And with whom I spent Mothers Day surroundied by all four grandchildren. And, my husband, home with the dog, worried about me, always willing to talk and encourage me.

Maybe I'm writing this for myself, maybe not for you. Sort of a way to forget the depression, the degrading feelings after the surgery. Maybe just because I haven't written anything in three months and it's a rainy day and I thought I would.

And I promise not to fall this year. In any country.

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