I like to jump off of things, but I’m here to tell you that sometimes that doesn’t turn out well.
As I launched my body over the edge of the twisty slide at our local park late this afternoon, I was easily about seven feet in the air as my left foot caught the edge of the slide. There was a moment in mid-air that I knew this was going to end badly, but that was a very short moment, because it doesn’t take very long to fall seven feet. But, oh my word, the velocity you can reach is astounding!
I landed on my side, with my left arm underneath me, which both cushioned my fall and created more impact on my lungs. At the time, it didn’t matter a whole lot to me that I fell on a soft bed of wood chips and that those freshly spread wood chips probably kept me from more extensive injury. There was only one thought in my mind:
If you’ve ever had the wind knocked out of you, it’s a frightening experience. The human body inhales a fresh supply of oxygen and expels carbon dioxide about 900 times every hour without a single conscious thought. With one good shot to the mid-section, I quickly became aware of how much I count on that. Krista saw the entire fall, so to give her some confidence that I was okay, I immediately tried to stand up. I made it to my hands and knees before I decided that I should pass on the tough-guy routine. After gasping for 10 seconds, my breath started to come back. For some reason, the first words to stumble out of my mouth were “Jesus, Joseph and Mary,” which would have made me laugh under different circumstances.
With my first breaths, I started coughing and with that cough came enough blood to make me think I had just bought a ticket to the quality medical care that people enjoy in an emergency room. But I’m never one to rush off to the doctor without massive amounts of indications to do so, so I grabbed my iPhone and started searching for “coughing up blood after fall.” What I discovered was that I now have something in common with skateboarders, since apparently this sort of thing happens to them when they do something similar on pavement. Isn’t that great?
After further examination, I’ve got no broken ribs and no more blood, so I’ll be okay, thankfully.
As I pondered this run-in with gravity, I thought, “Aren’t I getting a little old to be jumping off the top of twisty slides?”
While I don’t like the falls, I am going to keep jumping. Yes, I’m 41 years old. Yes, my knees aren’t what they used to be. But I just can’t give up the joy of movement. I think we were made for it, and I don’t think that ends at a certain age. It’s always sad to hear of someone who has a disability which prevents them from physical movement, but there’s more to movement than just what happens in the legs.
It’s stagnation I’m trying to avoid, and that can seep down into a person’s soul as well as their body.