the longest flight…

trying to relax, amid all the chaos

When I felt my feet muddle and trip during that last launch from Kobala, how could I know what it would mean for me now. I had blown a launch badly during training once, but other than that my launches were all fine. I lay on the ground knowing that my leg was broken wishing that the pain would make me faint, I wanted no part of what was happening.

I saw from the corner of my eye that my glider had been broken – so many thoughts about it went through my mind while my friends arrived and started to unclip me. Then they took off my harness I began to be handled, to be moved by others, I had then to relinquish my control over me.

not the sort of flying I was expecting...

Things began to calm with the flight to the hospital – people became more focused and calmer, I was asked many questions but before too long I was in a bed and feeling comfortable. A lady said “go to sleep now” and a mask appeared over my face, I breathed and breathed yearning for peace for some darkness to wake me from this nightmare…

Consciousness would find me in a ward full of nurses scuttling this way and that – I was getting a wash while they were talking to each other in words I could not know. I simply did what I they seemed to want. My leg felt odd but it was under many layers I was happy I could not see it days would pass before I finally did.

comprehensively buggered

Seems that I was a fairly complex case and my surgeon had had to fix a miss routed and damaged vein. This would need me to be under observation for some days until it could be observed with ultrasound that the vein had healed. The sense for time would swirl and distort, there was a quiet rhythm to which I surrendered myself…

All the while the nurses would pump me full of fluid, morphine so many things I lost count. I tried to hang onto the fact that the last few days in Slovenia had been by far the best in my life, they were so peaceful and beautiful. I could not quite understand why it had come to this, it felt like punishment, that I was not allowed somehow to be as happy as I had been, it felt desperate, I fought hard with me to realise it meant nothing more than what it was, a bit of bad luck. My time in Slovenia would always be sublime.

It would be more than a week before the arrangements to get me home could be made, in this time the insurance company flew Theresa out to help me. She was great, staying with me all day and going to the shops at night. Little things make a big difference in these moments. Although I found all the talking was tiring compared to simply quietly waiting as I had done before.

In those last days I would get up on crutches and be wheeled around on a chair the nurses made for me. I would get to know and like a lot my surgeon and all the nurses who took care of me while a variously felt good and bad was comfortable and would be wracked with fever overwhelmed with thoughts.

Finally on Friday morning at 04:00 I would begin the journey home. The final flight taking more than a week. It would only be the beginning of a longer journey. I began to dream about the next time I would begin that run for flight I imagine just how I will feel… how much my heart will sing when next my feet miss the earth and I fly once more.

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