Almost a bust…


Venturing to a cottage for our anniversary celebration, my husband and I intended to relax, enjoy kayaking, have nice meals overlooking the water, go for evening walks, explore nature, take scenic photos, and spend quality time together.  We accomplished some of that until I found myself in emerg.

During my seven-hour visit to the hospital, I had plenty of time to reflect.  It would have been much more productive to have my laptop with me, but instead, I had my foot up on the wall of the emergency department, waiting over two-and-a-half hours just to be triaged, before finding out that I just sprained my ankle.  No big deal, my ankles are pretty chunky as it is, so having a swollen foot, a few days on crutches, and having to elevate my leg on several pillows, is not the end of the world.

I learned, once again though, how interesting the emergency department can be.  From the boy with a bone protruding out of his skin, to a man with something sticking out of his forehead, wrapped in a blood-soaked cloth, to the elderly man pacing the halls after waiting over seven hours to get bloodwork, to a distraught individual who called an entire list of people loudly on the wall phone.

I tried to mind my own business most of the evening, worrying about my poor husband spending hours hauling kayaks, boogie boards, coolers, food, clothing, and lawn chairs up several stairs to the vehicle, while I was at the hospital.  Knowing I wouldn’t be able to navigate stairs to get back to our get-away, we needed to make our way back home in the middle of the night.

I still learned that the hospital is short on nurses and that staff members are overworked.  I learned that this past week the hospital has been hopping with patients, and it is difficult for all of the departments to keep up.  I learned that security guards spend a lot of time dealing with patients who are struggling with mental health issues and that I could never be a nurse or doctor.

In the end, my husband and I still had delicious meals, two kayaking trips, including over three hours on the water, enjoying beautiful weather, two swims in the lake, hours of sitting on lawn and Muskoka chairs, watching boats pass by, listening to the loons, taking a ton of photos, napping, watching a movie, talking about travel, and just being together.

The excursion may have ended with me laying on the ground next to a stone path, where a single rock gave away and sent me tumbling over onto my ankle, almost passing out, instantly nauseous and sick to my stomach, trying to figure out a way to get up 53 steps to a vehicle, breaking my phone, and agonizing in pain, but the hours that we did spend together were still worth it.

In the end, we cut through a neighbouring property, to avoid most of the steps, an x-ray confirmed that my ankle wasn’t broken, our nature pictures were awesome, and I was reminded how helpful, loving, caring, and attentive my husband is.  It was so romantic that he tried to carry me (which was short-lived, as I didn’t want him to break his back and be out of commission too.)  I told him it was the best anniversary yet, as he laughed, with a perplexed look on his face.

I also ended my hospital visit on a high note by chatting with a fellow who was also waiting for his ride.  He explained how his severe health issues were affecting his quality of life.  I kindly suggested that he spend as much time as he could sitting outside in nature.  Even if he couldn’t handle walking or exploring, he could find places to sit on benches, or bring his own portable lawn chair and watch the birds, sit under a tree, look at the waterfront, visit a park, or find every bench near his home.  If he had to be inside, I advised him to look up nature videos and watch them as much as he could, due to the healing properties of nature.  I felt that we became fast friends.

If you are confined to your bed, indoors, in your home, in a strange place, or not able to get into nature, I also encourage you to find nature to watch or listen to.  If you are able-bodied enough to get outside, please do that.  If you can explore, adventure, travel, walk, hike, or roam, then I hope that you are able to find as much joy in the outdoors as we do.  Even with a club foot, I have been blessed to sit out overlooking our property, hobble around, enjoying some visits with my grandchildren, watching hours of nature videos on the big screen, and healing up as fast as I can.  I have more exploring to do this summer, and I can’t wait to get out in full force again.

Have a great week ahead and challenge yourself to watch or visit nature.  The moments are worth it, even if you fall flat on your face.

“I wish travel therapy was covered by health insurance.” ~ Author Unknown

Some Additional Links:

More of Julie’s kayaking and adventure photos here.

Links to scenic/nature videos here.

Julie’s archived articles here.

Another of Julie’s emergency department articles from 2016 here.