It’s not enough!
I am engulfed in pain. I am fixated on the morphine clicker. It will only deliver a hit every few minutes and I can’t handle the wait. It is not a good situation. The morphine is making me very sick but I am adamant in my desire for more. The nurse intravenously hits me with an additional painkiller. It’s not enough!
The nausea is overpowering. I am unable to move myself. It’s like I’m glued to the hospital bed. Maneuvering the remote to raise and lower the mattress is not a good solution. Every time I try this, the nausea increases. I can’t read. My vision is blurry. I can’t watch TV. It makes me more nauseous seeing the images moving around. The morphine keeps me breathing but has robbed me of all activity. I glance at the clock after what seems like four hours . . . 2 minutes have ticked away.
Noah has been in the hospital room for a few days uncomfortably sleeping on the floor. He jerks awake with every tiny sound I make. He wants so badly to help but there is nothing he can fix right now.
I was hit by a car. No fault of my own. An unfortunate circumstance.
A broken sternum, damaged ribs, collapsed lung, punctured wrist, damaged knees, and a plethora of other major injuries I will discover in the following weeks, now define my body. It is a mess. My tool. My work equipment.
I’m too drugged to give this much thought right now. I’ll ponder how I’m going to support my family when I get home. After a few weeks the impact will hit harder than the young girl’s car.
I am an athlete and an artist. I have never in this lifetime known anything else. Never worked a “regular” job. I cannot even fathom it.
“Hello, May I take your order?”
At home I find myself back in a hospital bed. My mom purchased it for my homecoming. I hear my kids buzzing around in the morning.
I am in a haze. The Percoset causes slightly less nausea than the morphine but I cannot interact with my family. The kids chirp, “Bye mom, we love you. See you after school.”
“Bye schildruun, my toe is shpeaking to me . . . .” I have no clue what I have just said. It doesn’t matter, I’m just part of the furnishings in the family room.
My corporate agent calls. She is a good friend. I have some kind of conversation with her that ends with, “I love you Annetta, we’ll cancel the bookings . . . “
My commercial agent is new. I like her a lot. She sends her best wishes for a speedy recovery and I know I have just missed the window of opportunity for the stunt job on the television series Hawaii Five-O.
My dance choreographer writes me a message, “So sorry to have to discuss this, but what the heck do we do about the job in June?”
I write back. I have to replace myself with a student.
I abandon negotiations I have been working on with a network TV show.
I receive an Email from Cirque Du Soleil Special Events: “Are you available for a job in Dubai on May 23?”
I’m not even available for a topical conversation about Dubai.
The pain in my chest has just increased by a million. It has nothing to do with the broken sternum.
I auditioned and was selected by Cirque Du Soleil in 1998. I was finally made official in late 2010. I waited patiently for my spot for 13 years.
It is excruciating writing my reply.
“I have been in a serious car accident. I am unable to perform . . .”
I stay in bed and cry for the rest of the day.
Where are my drugs?
Who am I?
Is there some super hero who can come and save me from this disastrous life?
Am I not the very same person who claimed, “I am NOT what I do?” I’m sure that was me.
I believed it when I said it. It was a huge revelation when I was smashed in my car waiting for rescue. It was a life altering epiphany.
It is an obsolete mantra at the moment.
I’m just going to lay here and cry.
Time marches on.
It’s Mother’s Day. My kids make me cute cards and I read all three of them with pride. Last year there were 4, but that’s another story.
I’m doing OK. A bit hazy but I can physically take my own shirt off today and that is something to celebrate.
Noah insists I call my friend and mentor, Lilia. I love Lilia. She is wise and beautiful and talented. She is a healer, humanitarian and deep soul. I like to call her a Shaman. I don’t want her to see me like this. Noah picks up the phone and dials. Lilia will be here soon.
“Ciao Bella!” She greets me with her thick accent and gentle hug. She is very aware of my physical fragility. She is here to help me with the pain.
We retreat to my private room next door.
“Bella, where is the most pain?” She inquires.
My answer throws us both for a loop.
“Cirque Du Soleil offered me a job in Dubai and I had to write to tell them I am injured. I am a worthless failure. My life is a series of failures. I am poor and I have no way of supporting my family. ”
Lilia’s eyes twinkle. She can’t help it. She is not aware that she is smirking. She knows more than I do right now. I am broken and my perception is warped. I do not see myself as others do. She knows this. Lilia and I discuss many profound things as she gently taps on my broken bones. I am still lost in my own inadequacies.
“If you could have what you consider success Bella, what would it look like?”
“I would be able to have an international audience so I could reach people with messages of hope. I would create shows and acts with Noah that could touch lives and make a difference. I would do something credible as an athlete and artist. I would be recognized by Cirque Du Soleil. I would be able to finish building my house so my children could flourish. I would write . . . “
Lilia is smiling and begins to laugh. It is contagious and I laugh too although I’m not sure why. I look out the window at the nearly completed construction on my new bathroom. My son Jake rides by on a unicycle and I smell the aroma from the dinner Noah is preparing for the children. I glance to the left and see my Cirque Du Soleil badge hanging on the wall. Two old batons are propped in the corner and personal circus photos adorn the dresser.
“When will it be enough Annetta?” Lilia says through the laughter. “You have never allowed yourself to be satisfied with who you are. We laugh because it is absurd. Everything you just stated, you have already accomplished.”
That feeling I had while crushed in my car washes over me.
The revelation makes sense again. I am NOT what I do.
“Lilia, I see it. It is my warped perception that drives my dissatisfaction. I can feel the truth again. If I can never return to performance I am still whole. I may find just as beautiful a path in other areas.”
Lilia sees my path more clearly than I do.
“You already do other things. You are a writer and an artist and so many other things. You will heal Bella, entirely. You have an amazing opportunity to rest now. You haven’t slept for many years. Sleep and heal and prepare for more beautiful things.”
The weight has lifted. The self-doubt has been chipped away a bit. The fear and insecurity are at bay.
I hug Lilia goodbye. She drives off but her presence lingers. Her words echo in my soul.
I will rest.
I take half the dose of prescribed narcotics and climb back in bed. I am suddenly overcome with gratitude for all that my journey has been. I don’t know where I will go next but I am not afraid.
Sometimes I doubt myself, my choices, my abilities, my value, but now and then I can clearly see it for what it really is . . .
This life is a gift.
It is enough.