Kage Baker was leery of miracles. She appreciated them as much as anyone else, but her view of them was influenced by an old physics cartoon. A scholarly fellow is standing in front of an enormous blackboard covered in complicated formulae. He is gesturing at the final answer, saying “There’s the answer.” And at the very bottom right of the blackboard are the words: AND HERE A MIRACLE HAPPENS.
Too easy, was Kage’s view. Miracles take work, and often some sort of repayment. Kage was well aware of that, having been lighting candles beside her mother in church from an early age. Saying thank you to the Virgin Mary, she was taught. Her own thank yous and presents veered a little off the true Catholic norm as the years passed, but there were always candles in there somewhere. Her faith never veered at all.
Personally, I was never really a Christian, but I too knew how the system worked. At the present time, I owe a young oak tree to the Lord for the gift of my second chance at life. I’m not sure where Kimberly will want me to plant it, but I owe the debt. I will plant an oak.
Every day, as my recovery advances, I am reminded of it. Tonight, I am exhausted – because I am now walking! I arrived at my present abode on the Hollywood Memorial Medical Center campus – a rehab facility called the Chateau, la dee da – speechless, hallucinating, unable to breathe, walk or eat. Today, I walked 260 feet, wearing actual shoes, and chatting with my Physical Therapist as we went along. And I was breathing on my own.
At the moment, I have been off the ventilator for 14 hours. Dear Readers, I hope you never have cause to find out, but the joy of being able to breathe without the assistance of a machine is … miraculous. A few more expansions of my hours off, and we will be able to start capping the trach tube to see how I tolerate that. And then – I get to go home.
I’ll still have work to do. There will be doctor visits and continued therapy, and I shall be using a walker for a while. I’m already thinking of mounting squirt guns and a klaxon on it, so I can get people out of my way. Hey, I’m a crippled old lady, they can’t yell at me!
In the meantime, I rest between treatments and therapies, walk my legs off when I can, and fill my falling asleep time with prayers of gratitude. Alleluia, alleluia, thank You for this second chance.
I’ll buy you a tree, Old Man.