I saw the most beautiful sun rise as they carried me to the car to take me to the hospital.
It was the first morning of my retreat. I had gotten up early to write morning pages and drink coffee before morning yoga practice. My alarm went off at 6. It was still dark and my roommate was asleep, so I tiptoed through our room to go to the bathroom without turning on any lights. Feeling my way along the walls for the bathroom doorway, apparently I missed it, walked right past it and stepped into a void that was the stairwell to the first floor.
It was pitch black.
There was no floor, there were no walls that I could find.
Completely disoriented, I lurched in the dark, reaching out for something to hold onto, but wasn’t finding anything. By the time I realized I was falling, I had dived to the right, past the landing halfway down and tumbled over the steep edge to the lower stairs below. I banged my head on the stone stairs, and then just kept going. I have never hit my head so hard. I felt my teeth break.
HOW FAR DOWN DOES THIS GO?
Finally, sometime before I stopped I told myself to make a sound, to yell while I still could so someone could help me. I honestly wasn’t sure I’d be able to yell when I hit the bottom. I yelled once and then finally hit the bottom and called for my roommate and next door neighbor.
They both came quickly, probably as terrified as I was. They got me to a bed and ran to the kitchen for ice and help.
I burst into tears when my teacher came and held me. All these beautiful women in their nightgowns, ferocious in calling for help and calm in taking care of me, reassuring me. FULL ON mama bear mode… for me. And I cried harder for their tenderness.
My dear retreat-mate accompanied me to the hospital, interpreting from Spanish to English and back again, filled out all my paperwork for me, asked all the questions and stayed with me for hours while a parade of on-call doctors SLOWLY made their way to the hospital to check me out. The hospital’s dentist-on-call refused to come in on a Sunday. I saw an orthopedist, an neurologist and a maxillofascial specialist. I got x-rays and a CT scan. And once they assured my by brain was ok, I let them give me some anti-inflammatory drugs and started to feel better. They checked me out of the hospital and the myofascial doctor came back to get me and take me to her clinic so her dentist and orthodontist could fix my teeth.
Just nine hours later I was back in my bed at the hotel.
I’m observing the yoga classes rather than taking them. I’m surrounded by heart strong women doing their own deep work while taking care of me. I’ve only ever felt this kind of collective nurturing when my mama died. As as they came out of shivasana yesterday, I thought to myself, “I didn’t die yesterday.” I might have. But I didn’t.