So that’s the name of a book. Which I’m reading. For obvious reasons.
The other day, the sound of a helicopter caused me to have a panic attack.
Yes, ’twas a helicopter that airlifted me out of the desert.
But the sound of those buzzing blades takes me back to the Friday night and Saturday afternoon when a chopper flew for hours near the area where I lay. For me, it’s a noise that reminds me of how it feels to lay helpless.
Last week, Hubs and I went back. A member of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Search and Rescue Team led us back out to the area where I was found.
The hike itself was empowering.
I can do this, I told myself again and again. And I did. I even found my little mesquite tree all by myself.
But the hard part is the now. Because with that trip came new pieces of knowledge.
For one — I didn’t realize how far off the trail I was. Nor did I know that I probably wouldn’t have been found if I hadn’t been able to yell for help when search teams were near. I was in a deep ravine in a cut. No way was the helicopter ever going to see me.
I also didn’t know that coyotes were gathering 200 yards downwind of where I lay unable to move.
Search-and-rescue teams had heard them yipping and howling all morning — calls from one family of coyotes to another. When I was found, a pack of half a dozen had assembled, waiting for the smell of imminent death that would let them know it was time to approach and attack.
I don’t blame them. Coyotes have survived by being opportunists.
This week, my medical records arrived in the mail. Apparently, my body was in the midst of renal failure when I was found.
So the coyotes were pretty dead-on. A few more hours, and I would have been oblivious to their attack.
Or maybe I wouldn’t have been oblivious. Maybe I would have been all too aware and yet unable to fight back.
Regardless. On the one hand, I feel good about going back. At the same time, I’m now subject to a new kind of panic attack. I feel like my body remains adrenalized, poised for a fight that’s over.
Right now, I cherish evenings, when I’m at home, snuggled up in blankets and surrounded by my children and husband.
Daytime finds me irritable. Why can’t people appreciate how good they have it? Why can’t people quit bothering me while I heal?
I’m not talking about those who want to know how I’m doing. I’m referring to those who can’t understand why I haven’t just snapped back. Why I’m not jumping when they snap their fingers or call me umpteen times a week.
I’m trying. I really am. But please. Give me a little more time to find the me that was the reporter — the me that wasn’t a victim.
Because right now, on most mornings, I would rather just stay in bed, huddled under the covers where it’s safe.