October 5, 2009 seems like an entire lifetime ago.
In reality, it was five months ago.
Five months ago that I drove home from school feeling generally *okay* about the miscarriage for the first time in a week, and celebrating my first day without breaking down in tears by listening (and poorly singing to) oldies on the radio.
As I pulled up to the house, I looked in the front window as I always do when Chris has been on an adventure that day. I saw him sitting at the table by his computer, as I usually do, and sighed a quick sigh of relief that he was home -- until I spotted the crutches propped up against the table next to him. I zoomed into the garage, took a deep breath, and headed into the house only to see Chris at the table not willing to turn to face me. I greeted the ever excited dog and walked around to the table to see him sitting on the phone with blood shot eyes, a bloody eyebrow, and a look of shock. I'll never forget what he said when I asked what happened -- "you're going to be soooooooo mad at me!"
As he told me the story of being caught in an avalanche and being pretty sure he broke his ankle -- all while waiting on hold with Kaiser to find the cheapest place to get immediate treatment -- I couldn't believe what I was hearing. There was no room to be mad. I was extremely grateful he was alive and I quickly took over the task of waiting on hold, packing up items for an evening at the hospital, and whipping up some portable food.
As we drove the hour to the cheapest after-hour care facility down near my parents' house, we both were in a state of shock. Sometimes giggling from nervousness, sometimes being silent, but never once letting go of the death-grip each of us had on each other's hand.
As I sat with my head between my knees in the doctor's office as the brutal nurse wrapped the clearly broken ankle, fighting the urge to pass out, I remember thinking that things could've been a lot worse.
As I drove a writhing-in-pain-Chris home, I knew these seven days would change both of us somehow.
As I spent that night staring at his chest, willing him to self-heal any possible internal injuries that the doctors didn't check for, popping him pills every hour, and fighting visuals of what had happened, I hoped he'd return to his usual adventurous, excited-self.
As we spent the next two weeks sleeping maybe two hours at a time, I found myself feeling irritated that he somehow couldn't find a way to heal quicker. He seemed to be thinking the same thing.
As he accepted the invitation to ride the Iditarod Trail Invitational in Alaska at the end of February, and as he ordered his new fancy-dancy custom single speed snow bike, we were both excited, but both apprehensive that he'd even be in shape to do it. Both of us were running on pure faith at that point. How else can we justify, looking back on it, spending so much money toward this adventure when moving from the bed upstairs to the couch downstairs was an event in itself?
As Chris started having doubts and talking about backing out of this race, I told him not to decide anything until the very last minute. "You never know where you'll be in a few months, maybe you can do it! Or, well, at least maybe you can just go and enjoy a trip to Alaska..." We both could talk a good game at individual points in time, but to be 100% honest, did either of us consider that he would *actually* be able to do it? The whole thing? I don't know. I know I hoped he could.
So here we are today, five months later, to the day. Today, on March 5th, 5 months after that crazy, ankle-crushing accident, Chris is inching dangerously close to McGrath. The finish line. He could finish late tonight. It could be tomorrow. Only time will tell. He will have ridden/walked/slogged/pushed his singlespeed through really tough conditions for 350 miles.
I can't wait to hear his story. I know the ankle will play a factor. I know that when he returns from his trip, that limp will be there -- probably more prevalent than the last few months.
But really? FIVE months later? To be finishing (quite well might I add) arguably the most brutal winter bike race in the world?
I am bursting with pride.
There will be a lot of tears when he returns, there always are after a big adventure like this. But tears of pride and joy will be mixed with tears of relief. As my belly starts to pop with a new baby, and Chris tells tales of the Iditarod, I think we will finally be able to leave that awful week behind. We won't forget the lessons we learned from those two terrible Mondays, but we can move on.
Happy 5-month-breakaversary darling.
And a premature, but very proud, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!