It’s the kiddy pool for me

Since my shoulder surgery, I have become best friends with my brace. It seems our relationship will continue for a few more months.

“No.” My surgeon’s physician’s assistant shook her pretty head. (Not only was she smart, she looked like a fairy princess in her cute scrubs, so clearly, she’d won the gene-pool lottery.)

Still, I couldn’t help but argue my point. “But I’ll only dive off the shore, so I won’t have to go on a boat where I might encounter currents or rough water.” I smiled hoping to persuade her. “And it’s the Caribbean, which is calm, like glass.”

Okay. My conscience niggled at me, since I’d certainly been scuba diving in that beautiful sea when a storm popped up out of nowhere and wild water made maneuvering tough, but mostly those things didn’t happen.

She stared me down.

Sensing a need to negotiate, I said, “How about snorkeling?” Now, I really don’t like that sport, since once you’ve had the freedom of tanks, anything else seems rather bland. But I was ten days out from heading to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands and I hadn’t been diving in almost two years, a gift from the pandemic.

“And what if you felt the need to use your arm?” she said, eyebrows raised.

“I’ll wear my brace. How about that?” I sounded like I was begging, which of course I was.

A life spent participating in sports has left me with a lot of broken parts.

“Twelve more weeks,” she said. “And this is usually the time when patients re-tear their rotator cuffs,” she added for emphasis.

I froze. Six weeks earlier, I’d undergone my second rotator cuff surgery, a miserable operation with a seemingly endless number of restrictions and long, painful rehab. I really believed I had a lifetime warranty after the first one, but I’d learned—to my despair— that Mother Nature has graced us with three rotator-cuff parts, any one of which can fail, especially for someone like me, since I spent 60 years participating in sports: ice skating, skiing, lap swimming, scuba diving, and officiating amateur sports—football, baseball, ice hockey, soccer, and basketball.

When my sweetie pie picked me up from the doctor’s office—no driving allowed—I told him I was restricted from diving. “That’s too bad,” he said.

“Maybe I could just bring my mask and fins,” I said hopefully. “I’ll just paddle around near the shore. How could I possibly get into any trouble?”

I hovered in shallow water above a rocky field of sea urchins and, for a time, was unable to escape.

He glanced at me. “Remember the sea urchins?”

I sucked in a breath. On that day, Ryan and I were snorkeling near the Fredrikstad Pier on St. Croix’s west end. The sea was completely calm, but suddenly a whoosh of water dropped me down, where I hovered a few inches above a rocky bed of sea urchins, their needle-like spines poised to impale me…well…in the boobs. I would have gasped had I not had a snorkel in my mouth. I tried to back out, to get into deeper water, but the surge kept me pinned in place, bobbing dangerously above thousands of pointed spikes. Note here that while sea urchins are rarely poisonous, I guarantee you will never forget should you be unfortunate enough to be stabbed by one of them.

“What would you have done to get out of there?” Ryan asked.

“Point taken.”

As I prepare to head off on my Caribbean vacation, I realize this is as close to the water as I’ll probably get.

“You would have used your arms, right?”

“Of course.” In fact, that is exactly how I scuttled to safety that day, gently moving my arms backwards, easing myself away from the prickly creatures, all the while hoping another surge wouldn’t impale me on those lethally-sharp spines.

“Do you really want to bring your mask and fins?” He asked, keeping his eyes on the road.

“I guess not.” I hung my head, dejected. For no apparent reason, I pictured myself in a kiddy pool wearing my brace and mask and snorkel, which is probably as close to the water as I’ll get this time around.

“We’ll be going again soon,” Ryan said, trying to cheer me up.

And they’ll be good food and wine and pretty sunsets and beachcombing, I reminded myself. And that will have to do.

For now.

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Published by Liaison – A Next Chapter Imprint

Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.

Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.

Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?

Order your copy here:

2 thoughts on “It’s the kiddy pool for me

  1. Michelle Famula says:

    I feel certain you and Ryan will have wonderful walks beach combing! Have a great time resurfacing from COVID. 🥳Stay safe!


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