As a journalist who has been to some dangerous places, I felt a certain sense of letdown at being felled at Jones Beach on Long Island, while wading in knee-deep water and watching my little nephew swim with a paddle board. But that's what happened three years ago when a surfer rode in on a massive wave and hit me with the force of a truck, breaking my leg in half in a tibial plateau fracture — a typical skiing accident hit that can mean a permanent inability to extend one’s leg.
27My Life in Ruins
My doctor didn't sugar coat my prognosis. “It's a bad fracture,” he said. “Some people never fully recover the ability to walk normally.” I kept positive and kept thinking of being at the top of that hill with all of Athens below me in the blinding white sunshine of a Greek afternoon.
Finally, my cast came off and I found my way onto Cunard's lush and lovely Queen Victoria with cane in hand, a little unsteady, but game for the challenge of trying my sea legs on the actual sea. The minor challenges I had of moving around on board were helped by a new discovery: Cunard's spa has physical therapists on board. I signed up for special sessions every day before our Athens excursion and swam in the ship's heated pool for extra credit.
I saw a sign that said, “Steps are sometimes slippery, take care,” which made me wonder for a brief moment if I could get all the way to the top.
“Hold my cane, I'm going up,” I said, trying to be a good Greek Amazon.
I went slowly… creeping at first but gaining confidence, up the ancient stone steps one at a time. My legs were finding their balance and strength as I got higher and higher.
Finally, at the top, facing the graceful goddesses on the Erechtheum, I felt like I'd made a pilgrimage, just as the Greeks of long ago must have felt coming here to lay their offerings at Athena's feet.
Basking in Greek sun at the top of the Acropolis.
The cramped muscles in my unused leg relaxed and I saw that my leg was extending normally — a miracle?
After the cruise and a follow up MRI my doctor said it was indeed “a miracle.” He said, “I've never seen a fracture like this heal so completely.”
I told him about my Acropolis climb.
“You might need to go back and make an offering to the goddess just to say thanks,” he said.
I think it's time to go back to Athens and do just that.