Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Crushing Blow

me in 2008

It was a Saturday evening. I had spent the day sewing Christmas gifts for my family and it was time to make dinner. 

An old tin watering can was sitting on the kitchen counter, waiting for me to place it atop the kitchen cabinets, where I had other decorative items on display. Rather than set it aside, I chose to take a quick minute to put the thing where it needed to be and then get on with dinner preparations. 

I pulled out the step ladder from its place between the refrigerator and a cabinet, opened it up, and positioned it in front of the kitchen counter just to the right of the stove. I had done the same thing countless times over the previous twenty years, ever since we started buying houses with high ceilings and open space above the cabinetry.  I was adept at walking on the kitchen counters, had never had a mishap, and thought nothing of it.

But this time was different. I got myself to a standing position on the counter and was reaching to grab the rim of the top of the cabinet but lost my balance.

I tried to grab the adjacent counter to break my fall. I was unsuccessful and in the process did a complete mid-air turn, smacking my head on a lower cabinet door and crushing my left shoulder upon impact with the wood floor.

Stunned I lay there for a moment before pain set in, thinking that the hit to my head would surely lead to a visit to my chiropractor for another adjustment to my neck.

However, that turned out to be the least of my problems. Pain in my upper arm came upon me and when Beloved rushed over from his recliner in the family room, he said my arm might be at an odd angle. He asked if he could help me up but I had to just lay there for a bit, trying to collect myself. When he did help me to sit up, the feeling of nausea that comes with extreme pain washed over me in waves.  

We talked about what to do next. I was bewildered, shocked, and at a loss with what to think. I told Beloved that I needed to go to a hospital and he said he would help me to the car. But I was so dizzy, so sick feeling and could hardly move due to the pain that I asked for an ambulance. He quickly dialed 911.

Sitting on the kitchen floor, leaning against a cabinet in excruciating pain, nausea, a dry mouth, and waiting for that ambulance, I wondered where God was. I really did. I spoke to Him often, all through my days, and had done so for many years. Where was He? Did He take His eyes off of me for a moment and this happened as a result? I had never been so baffled in my life. Other events had blindsided me on some occasions in the past, but this one took the prize.

The EMT fellows came into the kitchen with the gurney (yes, it fit), took my vitals and after my blood pressure got back up to a normal rate, administered some morphine.  I was feeling some better by the time we were en route to the hospital. 

X-rays were taken and it was determined I would be spending the night in the hospital with probable surgery the next day to repair the damage. 

I was tucked into a bed in a private room.  Late that night Beloved had to leave me there to go home to let the dog out. I felt safe and in good hands, so I encouraged him to sleep at home and come back in the morning. 

Left alone with my thoughts, I gazed out the large window that overlooked the freeway.  The car lights sped past in the inky darkness.  I thought about all that had happened in the previous few hours and marveled. 

I still wondered about God, but at the same time, the Christian training and experiences I had with Him over all of my life told me He had not left me at all. This was an experience He deemed necessary for me to have.  How many times had I surrendered myself to Him and His plans for my life? Countless. 

I began to pray. I told Him that I knew He was in control and I thanked Him for the excellent care I had received thus far. I reaffirmed my trust in Him and then drifted off to sleep.

The next day, a Sunday, during the afternoon I had surgery for a shoulder replacement. The impact of the fall had crushed the top of the upper arm bone and destroyed most of my rotator cuff. The surgeon later explained to us that he salvaged what he could and replaced what was no longer useful. He went on to say I would need months of physical therapy and would never regain full range of motion due to the extent of the injury.

It was six years ago today that the adventure began. I don't spend a lot of time wondering why this experience was necessary to fulfill God's purposes in my life. I trust Him that it was for good reasons.

I do know that He has shown Himself to be more than sufficient to meet my needs and to help me with the adjustments I was forced to make. My level of compassion for people with disabilities has increased and I have a better understanding of how they may be feeling.

These things I know for certain: whatever comes my way is never a surprise to my Lord. He has it all under control for good purposes that far exceed anything I can imagine.  He loves me and He never leaves me. He is all I need.


  1. OH, Barbara didn't know about this. How awful and glad you didn't have any worse injuries. But, I do know about shoulder pain and its some of the worse. I will have to remember this when we get in our new house and I have high cabinets. Happy weekend!!!!!

  2. WOW! Such a scary story. Yes, we never know do we what might lie ahead that the Lord is going to allow in our lives. I am glad to hear that this is 6 years behind you now. But sorry it happened in the first place, and that you have lingering repercussions from it as well. But rejoicing with you that our God is ALWAYS there for us, and ALWAYS has a plan, and ALWAYS has everything in control. Hope your having a good week-end!

  3. I always feel that when something like this happens, Barbara, it may have saved us from something worse! I'm glad you had such good care and that you have recovered as well as possible!

    My nephew was a NYPD detective and his career ended in a similar injury when he was chasing a perpetrator. He also cannot no longer raise his arm over his head--he has a "frozen shoulder". He has 5 children, and early retirement was not on his mind when this injury occurred. I hope it saved him form something worse happening to him though. We have to have faith!

  4. I remember seeing you start to fall. At that point, things became slow motion. However, there was no way I would get there in time to help. SO glad that you were not injured even MORE seriously!!

  5. It is amazing how life can change in a quick instant. Your story is amazing, and a wonderful testament to faith. Thank you for sharing this!

  6. Barbara, this exact thing happened to my daughter's MIL a few weeks ago. She had to have two surgeries on the shoulder and is now enduring the agonizing therapy. God does allow the strangest things to happen sometimes, doesn't He. It is obvious that in your case, you allowed Him to make you stronger and better equipped to be His messenger to others. This also is my friend's desire.