Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like


With Sue laid up with her broken arm, our routines are all sabotaged, and we’re in an odd transition period in which every move needs to be planned out. Going to bed—she has to sleep sitting up on a couch for a while—is now a lengthy procedure of arranging pillows and quilts and getting her up and down in the bathroom. She’s eating right-handed these days, which must be a huge challenge for her. She doesn’t do anything right-handed, whereas I do at least a few things like using scissors and playing guitar.

We did manage a nice hike on Saturday, just five days after her accident. I Googled for trails near Pollock Pines, up toward Tahoe from Placerville, and first landed on Bridal Veil Falls (above). Then we found a sweet piney fire-road walk off the Mormon Emigrant Trail and strolled casually for an hour or so. She did great, especially after we found a perfect walking stick for her, which she now calls her “joystick.”

Saw this tree on the walk … Anyone know what kind it is?

Yesterday it rained all day, pretty much unheard of in late May here in the Sierra foothills. We played Scrabble (I won only because Sue let me have “quo,” which the official Scrabble dictionary says isn’t a valid word, so I actually lost). For exercise I had to resort to throwing a tennis ball against the garage wall for half an hour. Over the years I’ve lost my curve ball, come to find out, but I can still zip my left-handed sidearm pitch in there for a strike. Must be like riding a bicycle.

Between the rain and Sue’s recovery, I’m coming to realize that our routine had been crafted into something like a fine Swiss watch, a perpetual motion machine that never even needed lubrication. You learn, at times like this, how fragile routines are. The sense that you’re in control of things is an appealing illusion.

Gotta keep lookin’ up!

Not a bad lesson to draw from an accident. But since we’re not the types to take things for granted, we didn’t really need a wake-up call to get our heads on straight.

In a few weeks Sue will be sleeping in our bed again. That’ll be nice. She’ll be eating with her left hand and pulling up her pants with no trouble at all. We’ll be walking our usual trails and probably laughing a little bit at what a klutz she was that day. She’ll wave her joystick at me and say, “Never again!”

Still, we’re already adapting to this new routine, finding ways to make it fun. You want to think you’re flexible about things, and all of us are, really, because nobody’s doing things the same way they did them twenty years ago. We changed, but we changed so subtly we didn’t notice.

It’s like how all your cells are different from the ones that made you up a few months ago.

How freaky is that?

8 comments on “Adaptation

  1. 1WriteWay
    May 27, 2019

    Glad you guys are adapting (of course, what choice do you have?). Sue is tough, but walking sticks are a good idea (or joysticks if you prefer). I have two sticks that I always carry on our hikes because for lots of reasons, the least of which is I’m a natural klutz, I fall a lot. And always stumble which, without the sticks, would lead to a fall. Lucky me I’ve never broken any bones, and I can’t say I’d be as good a sport as Sue is. So maybe it’s Greg who is really lucky 😉 Here’s to continued and steady recovery for Sue and being able to put her pants on herself.

    • Kevin Brennan
      May 27, 2019

      Thanks, Marie! And thanks for your thoughts the other day. I didn’t get a chance to hitcha back. It’s funny that we’ve been thinking about sticks lately, since on one hike a couple months ago it was super-hard to get across a stream, and we watched a septuagenarian do it in a jiffy with her joystick. So it’s on our to-do list sooner than later.

      I feel lucky not to have broken anything yet myself. The older we get, the more inevitable it seems, eh? 😳

      • 1WriteWay
        May 27, 2019

        Sticks are great. I can make like a spider going up hill with them, and they help absorb some of the shocks to my knees when I go downhill (my knees, though not broken, often feel like they are broken).

      • kingmidget
        May 27, 2019

        When I got backpacking gear a few years ago, I got a couple of walking sticks to go with it. Those are pretty important when you’re carrying 40 extra pounds on your back. But I always take at least one with me on any hike I take, whether with a pack or not. Part of it that ever since I tore my groin muscle about seven or eight years ago, I feel like I’ve lost some stability. But it’s also because you never know what you might come across while hiking and having the stick for some added balance and support frequently comes in handy.

  2. kingmidget
    May 27, 2019

    My god, throwing a ball against the garage wall brings back memories. When I was a kid everybody still had wooden garage doors. Many an afternoon was spent throwing a ball against the wall. Don’t see any kid doing that anywhere anymore. Of course, it’s not quite the same with the metal and fiberglass doors.

    • Kevin Brennan
      May 28, 2019

      Luckily we have one cement wall in the garage. Good hops, and nothing gets dented! 😆

      • kingmidget
        May 28, 2019

        How many times have you struck out Babe Ruth?

      • Kevin Brennan
        May 29, 2019

        Ha. Roy Hobbs I ain’t. 😝

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This entry was posted on May 27, 2019 by in Et alia and tagged , .
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