Distracted

Photo by Keri De Deo

OK…

I admit it….

I can’t do it all.

I am human just like everyone else.

Obviously, there was not a blog post for everyone to see on the due date.

Those ten people who accessed the site on Monday, Oct. 8 had nothing to view.

I’m sorry.

It was my turn to post, and I have to admit, I’m a bit distracted. When you hear my story, you’ll understand why.

Warning! these images are graphic! If you don’t like blood, don’t look!

My bloody toe after crushing it with a kayak.
Photo by Keri De Deo

So here’s the story: I went kayaking again the last weekend of September. It was a beautiful day & the leaves on the trees were turning all types of colors: gold, rust, red, and sage. It was the perfect day for kayaking! Of course, we stayed out as long as possible, and ended up getting home after dark. As my friend & I loaded the kayak, it slipped from my fingers onto my toe.

Unfortunately, I had chosen to use my friend’s hard kayak rather than my own inflatable. I doubt the inflatable kayak would have done as much damage.

First, I screamed, and then I tried to be brave. Eventually, the tears had to come out–as did the blood.

The bone under the nail was crushed and the skin broken: an open fracture.

I lay on the ground as my friend called my husband. “Do you want to come pick her up?” she asked.

“I think I need to go to the ER,” I said as I watched the blood ooze around my toenail and into my sandal. So much for my old Burks, I thought. (Sorry, I don’t have a picture of those. I threw them away in disgust.)

The air cast to help protect my toe
Photo by Keri De Deo

After spending a few hours in the ER with my husband at my side, I was fitted with this really attractive boot.

It’s not all that pretty, but it does the job.

I am getting tired of wearing it.

It has another purpose, though: attractive cowboys go out of their way to hold doors open for me.

I flash them my smile and then hobble through the threshold saying a breathless thank you.

The doctor removed the nail, which is when I stopped taking photos. I didn’t want to look at it ever again.

Now, the toe is healing. There’s a small red spot where the cut had been. It still seeps fluid, but it looks pink and healthy.

Eventually, my nail will grow back, the bone will heal, and I can go about my life with the memory of having a broken toe from a kayak.

At least I was out having fun and it happened after the trip, so I got in one more river float before the season ended.

Despite this small set back, I will be out there again next season!

~ K

The kayaks wait to be loaded.
Photo by Keri De Deo

 

 

 

Living on the Outside

Photo by Wendy Smith

All my life, I’ve considered myself an outdoors person. My family camped, fished, and hunted. My brothers and I would leave the house in daylight and return by dark covered in mud and scrapes after spending all day outside in the forests around our house. Even winters were spent outdoors sledding, making snowmen, forts, and having snowball fights. Even after my brothers moved away, I spent hours hiking and running in the forest by myself. At some point in my life, that part of me got buried as I moved from the forests to the deserts–where the outdoors were unfamiliar and uncomfortable.

Eventually, I gave in to the couch-potato lifestyle of remaining indoors with the comfort of air conditioning, rarely spending time outside. That outdoors person got buried. Over and over again I tried to dig her out, but getting back to the outdoors grew more difficult–especially as my size grew bigger. I feared ridicule and disgusted stares.

In August, I attended an outdoor writers’ conference, and it was difficult being the only woman in the room not a size 9 or smaller. I don’t look like an outdoors person: I don’t have a deep tan or chiseled muscles; I don’t climb or hike for days; I don’t run; I’m not hardcore, which at times seems required to belong to a crowd like that, but I do walk, hike, observe wildlife, fish, camp, backpack, and try new outdoor adventures–even if it is more physically demanding for me than for the average person. In fact, a few weekends ago, I went river kayaking for the first time.

Photo by Carolyn Kaiser

I have to admit…I was scared…not of drowning or tipping over in the water…but of failing to keep up with my companions and of what other people would think about a large woman floating down a river in an inflatable kayak.

I imagined people staring and thinking that I didn’t belong there. I imagined people laughing or feeling embarrassed for me as I struggled to get in and out of my kayak. Of course, now that I did it, it was silly to be afraid. Yes, it was a bit embarrassing falling in the water several times while getting in and out of my kayak, but seriously, I was laughing so hard it didn’t matter what others thought.

Going down that river, facing my fears and tackling the bits of rough water without dumping my gear, calmed my mind and built my confidence. It taught me that what other people think of me really doesn’t matter. What matters is how I feel about myself, and I’m pretty proud of who I am, and eventually, if I keep moving, my body will fall in line with my demands.

For now, I am learning to block those negative voices in my head, and I am learning to be who I am even if I don’t look the part. No, I don’t have the ability to keep up with those women in that conference room…not yet…but what I do have is courage and blind determination to live my life being true to who I really am.

~ K