Dealing with a Downturn

By Georgie Bright Kunkel

When I wrote about falling and hurting my ankles I never visualized having it all turn into six weeks in a cast. How I wish I could turn back the clock to the time before I fell. Well, I did turn back the clock but that was for daylight savings time. Believe me I have done a lot of soul searching and revising my daily routine to accommodate elevating my right leg every time I sit and finding ways to remain productive through it all.

My goal is to downsize my file cabinets and boxes of “stuff” which I had always said I would downsize but never did. So I crossed off all my calendar appointments through the middle of March. The first few days I sat in my bathrobe feeling sorry for myself. Then I said, “Georgie, get off your duff.” I must have listened to myself because since that time I have filled a paper dumpster with discarded memorabilia, answered numerous emails and called people that I hadn’t contacted for years.

What did I toss? A collection of church, ballet and opera programs that I could never bear to part with before. Then I tackled a huge cubbyhole file that I hadn’t referred to in years. And my five closets of clothes, I kid you not, will soon be sorted so that the thrift shop purchases that I rarely wear can be returned to the thrift shop again.

Someone once said to me that if I hadn’t used something for a year, it needed to be tossed. With that in mind I can eliminate that long raincoat that I never wore when driving and the twenty purses that my doctor says are now too heavy to carry. I loved that lizard bag that was once my favorite. Since it doesn’t weigh over 12 pounds even when loaded I might be able to keep it for old times sake.

Interesting how much more I appreciate my neighbors. Many of you are probably joining in on the new neighborhood groups that are forming –not for making close friends necessarily but for being there for each other. When I got the card in the mail about joining, I immediately emailed the one who is my neighborhood contact. I mentioned that I was housebound with a cast on my leg and “voila,” he came to visit with his wife and three wonderful preschool children. They even brought a bouquet of lilies. Luckily I had two cans of miniature toys and a farm set which the two older children creatively delved into. Their little baby brother lay on his back waving his arms and legs delightedly.

Now that’s not all. Another friend came with her fellow and brought a great DVD movie. Well, we finally did watch it after my fellow put on his TV ears and I put in my hearing aids. My friend’s fellow gave up and just watched the action as he could not make out what the actors were saying even with TV ears. We had a regular movie house atmosphere with fresh popcorn to munch on. Then we immersed ourselves in the India scene of street vendors, untouchables, and a young man breaking tradition by marrying his sweetheart instead of the one his mother picked out for him.

Before my guests arrived, my housekeeper (now part health aide) cleared out my living room of all the hospital gear that littered the place and was on hand to rescue me as I popped corn sitting in my wheel chair. While watching the film I received a phone call from my daughter who had just returned home after an operation on her hand. We have commiserated with each other often but she is already healed and back to work.

Life is a mixture including both ups and downs. One can choose to whine and feel sorry for oneself or turn a catastrophe into a meaningful experience. I have decided to try and do the latter. Wish me luck.

Georgie Bright Kunkel is a freelance writer who can be reached at or 206-935-8663.

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