Two Steps to Getting Knocked Off Your Feet

Falling stairsMost of the time, the thing that changes your life forever is not even something you spent any time worrying about. One small step can lead to a disaster.

Thirteen years ago, on a particularly beautiful spring day in early May, I attended a community-wide tea for ladies. I took along a teenage “gangbanger,” a young mother I was mentoring for an agency in our small town in the middle of the Rocky Mountains of Montana. On the way home we stopped at a greenhouse and bought two flats of Marigolds. We decided we would plant them in my backyard after church the next morning. I told my teen charge I would pick her up in the morning and headed home.

I pulled into my driveway and opened my back gate, anxious to set my new yellow and orange starts onto the patio table on my back porch. In Montana, it’s still rather risky to plop things in the ground in early May, but we were going to try it anyway. After opening the back door leading into my kitchen, I let out my bearded collie Annie and headed upstairs to change my clothes.

Those ugly stairs had been the “bane of my existence” since we had moved in two years earlier. We had methodically gone through the 135-year-old Victorian cottage with paint, wallpaper, and carpet, starting with rooms visitors would see. The stairs had waited their turn. That very weekend, my husband took decade old carpet samples off of each stair tread, and yanked out commercial staples from each one. He also took the banister off the wall. But his work had been interrupted when he got an emergency call from his mom in California requesting he drive out there after she had fallen and broke her hip.

Upstairs in our bedroom, I changed into a velvet velour sweat suit and socks. I planned on cuddling up on the couch back downstairs with popcorn and a movie. I heard Annie scratching at the kitchen door, so began to hurry.

I took two steps down from the top of the slick wood of the staircase and instantly began to fall down the stairs. I hit feet first about two stair treads down and slipped right off again. I remember thinking, “I’m falling down the stairs!” I kept expecting to start tumbling, like a movie stunt person, but that’s not how it happened.  Every stair or so, I landed again on my stocking feet and then slipped again as I headed down. I got about four treads from the bottom, when momentum pitched me forward. I hit my head hard on the door frame opposite the stairs and crumpled to the floor.

Without even a thought I immediately stood to my feet. My first thought was that I had broken my right arm. It dangled uselessly, and the entire right side of my body felt like I had been shocked by a jolt of electricity. Annie, who must have heard the fall or sensed something was wrong, was barking frantically at the back door. I stumbled over and let her in, and then looked around for the phone. I thought I was going to pass out.

Within seconds, my portable phone began to ring, so I followed the sound and found it on the couch. My sister from California was on the line.

“I just fell down the stairs!” I said.

She tried to talk me into calling an ambulance, but I thought that was overkill, so I stumbled next door to a neighbor’s home with my sister still on the other line. I remember being surprised that I could still talk to her even from inside my neighbor’s living room.

My neighbor eventually bundled me into the car and drove me to our nearest emergency room. First an x-ray was taken. Then a CT scan.

“I hate to tell you this, but you broke your neck,” the young ER doctor told me.

The next day I was given a prescription for Oxycontin and sent home to recuperate, only I never did really recover. I became horribly addicted to Oxycontin and eventually had to survive opiate withdrawals. I prayed for the Lord to kill me. I was filled from head to toe with chronic pain. It seemed all my dreams for my future broke right along with my neck. I started thinking of a way out. I didn’t want to kill myself, but I didn’t want to live and hoped it would be taken out of my hands somehow.

Then I began to hear a voice in my mind, sometimes once or twice a day. It was just one word, and at first I tried to ignore it. But it just kept coming. And when I finally listened, everything began to change.

Stay tuned!





9 comments on “Two Steps to Getting Knocked Off Your Feet

  1. Great cliffhanger!! Can’t wait to see what happens next… can’t say you haven’t lived a life of adventure… you my friend!!

  2. Great story. Waiting for next installment

  3. OMG, you had me gasping while reading this! I hope you have healed from this – first, the broken neck and then the painkiller addiction, I hate to say I enjoyed reading this because it involved so much suffering. But I must admit that I really do want to know what happened next.

  4. linda.h on said:

    It’s coming Darlene. And it made the difference between wanting to live or die. ;o)

  5. Renee A Davis on said:

    Omgosh Linda, I was horrified & riveted by your story. I am so saddened for what you have suffered & gone thru. I can relate to a degree with your pain, I had neck surgery & have suffered a lot of physical pain in my body…I know what it feels like not wanting to live, but not wanting to die also. Please tell me that God has healed your body & that you are not in pain….I cannot stand to see people in physical pain, chronic pain. I pray God’s complete healing & that you will be healed of all pain….cannot wait for more!! ;0)

  6. linda.h on said:

    Hi Renee, Thanks so much for your comments! I am so anxious to tell what ended up happening that I almost want to write it now (two days after the above! But…alas…I have a day job. LOL. I’ll be posting it by the weekend. Many blessings to you, Renee!

  7. My brother recommended I might like this blog. He was totally right.
    This post actually made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time
    I had spent for this info! Thanks!

    • linda.h on said:

      Thank your brother for me, Tabitha! I hope you will take advantage of the free eBook and read the rest of my story! I am working on the book version now. Take good care of you! Linda

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