A couple of Phoenicians living temporarily in Roma

Crash Landing


This blog post has been sitting open on my computer for a week now. In my mind it’s not completed. It’s not like me to send something out into the blogosphere without obsessively editing it first. But I seem stuck telling this tale, so I think in order to keep writing, I just have to let this one go, with all it’s imperfections.  Thanks for your patience and understanding.



You know how sometimes when flying the landing is smooth and you hardly feel a bump as the plane’s wheels hit the ground? And other times, you find yourself gripping the arms of your seat until your knuckles go white, all the while praying that you’ll make it safely to the terminal and then home? Our landing back to Arizona has been the later, not quite a crash landing but, boy some parts feel that way.

Upon our arrival on Monday evening, we headed to our home in Sedona. It took a few days to get over the jet lag and sort through the 9 suitcases we had brought back with us. By the time we had gotten through sorting and sleeping, we realized that our car wasn’t big enough to get our clothes down to Scottsdale, 2 hours away, in one trip. Yes we could have taken less stuff, but at the time, the decision about what to take and what to leave felt so overwhelming that over the course of the following days we made 2 trips back and forth shlepping our stuff. Over the weekend, I unpacked, shopped for food, which by the way seemed incredibly expensive compared to Roma, and gathered supplies.

Monday I flew to Chicago, drove 2 hours and spent the week helping a dear friend who had a large surgery. I was so grateful to be there to support her and her family through this rough time, but it was pretty tiring emotionally and physically. (My friend is recovering nicely, thanks!)

A week later I returned home to Scottsdale. The furnished townhouse we rented is lovely and in a beautiful golf course community, but it’s pretty far north from where we used to live

and it takes about 20 minutes by car to reach civilization. That may not sound like much, but when you’d gotten used to walking 2 doors outside your apartment building to reach a pharmacy or grocery store, its a long way to go.

Scottsdale/Phoenix felt so big to me at the time, so overwhelming, that I decided to retreat by myself to Sedona, which is much smaller and easier to negotiate. Plus, having lived there over 18 years, my dearest Arizona friends are there and I longed to ground myself in their company and to hike in the red rocks. I enjoyed several wonderful hikes, great dinners with beloved girlfriends, the ease of shopping in the smaller health food stores up there. Then Sunday morning, I decided to take myself on a hike up Cathedral Rock. It’s one of Sedona’s most photographed sites, has wonderful energy, and offers a challenging climb to reach the saddle of the mountain. It’s a hike I’ve done dozens of times, many by myself. I lived in Sedona before the forest service put in an “official” trail up the face of the mountain, so my preferred way to hike is up the side through a canyon area.

Cathedral Rock - photo by Rusty Albertson

Cathedral Rock – photo by Rusty Albertson

There is one part of the hike, where you have to hoist yourself up the rock, with few places to hold for either your hands or feet. It’s much easier for someone of such demure stature as I, ok, I’m 5 feet tall, to get up when you’re hiking with someone who’s taller and they go first and offer a hand to help you up. I found myself at that point trying to get up, and not succeeding, and I stopped. I realized I was feeling afraid that I might fall and hurt myself, but I was determined to get to the top. Once I stopped, breathed and acknowledged the fear I was feeling, I easily hoisted myself up. I also recall during this hike looking down at my hiking shoes and thinking it was time to get a new pair with better treads on them.

I made it to the top of the mountain and enjoyed hanging out up there taking pictures of the views and meditating. I decided it was time to head home and started down. I lost my footing in a slippery area, couldn’t recover it and hit the ground. As soon as I stood up and looked at my arm, I knew I had broken it as my hand was bent in a funny direction and I could feel myself going white. I sat down on a rock, called out and looked around for help. A couple who I had seen while up on the saddle were heading down and came to assist me. They called 911, Michael who was still in Scottsdale, and waited with me while the Fire Department paramedics arrived and climbed up to meet me.

I wouldn’t recommend breaking your arm, but it sure was nice to have five young strapping fire fighters come to my rescue! They started an IV, gave me morphine and made a sling for my arm. They were prepared to carry me down on a stretcher, but I was determined to walk back down, which I was able to do with their help. They took me to an outpatient Emergency room in Sedona where I was treated by an orthopedic surgeon who did a “reduction”, which means to set the break. My radius totally broke into two pieces below my wrist and the ulna was cracked a bit.

I made the decision to return to Scottsdale, with Michael’s help, and seek a second opinion at the Mayo Clinic, my former employer. At my first visit to the surgeon, he indicated he was on the fence about doing surgery to repair my arm and wanted to see if it would heal properly on it’s own. After the second visit, he saw that it wasn’t healing correctly and I was scheduled for surgery the following day to have a titanium plate screwed into the bone to hold it in place, so it can heal. I ended up spending two nights in the hospital, and it’s taken a bit of time to get back on my feet.

I haven’t returned to work yet. I’ve been talking to my former employer about returning, and looking at other opportunities, but now I have to wait for my arm to heal. It’s been difficult for me to reconnect with old friends here, and I have spent a lot more time staying in touch with the friends I made in Roma. Hmm…maybe I need to look at this more. The Internations group here in Phoenix is not very active, especially compared to Rome, but we’ll attend a get together next week, their only event for the month. I’ve reached out to volunteer at the Scottsdale Arts Center, and look forward to hopefully meeting some new people there.

Transitions can be bumpy. Stay tuned for more of the ride.

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One thought on “Crash Landing

  1. Oh Gerri, I had no idea that this all happened. So sorry to hear about the broken arm. You are one lucky lady, that’s for sure. I hope the new year brings smoother transitions and that everything and everyone is happy and healthy again.

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