Back in the Saddle

Where, you might ask, does the phrase “back in the saddle” come from? You might not ask because it is rather obvious but I am going to answer anyway. When you are riding a horse, or breaking a horse as the case may be, and the horse throws you off a significant amount of pain and damage is likely to ensue. You may not want to jump right back up and get ‘back in the saddle.’ You may instead prefer to pursue a different line of work, or perhaps take an extend holiday in order to heal, or something other than getting back on the creature that just caused you all that pain and trauma. But we value perseverance here in America, and elsewhere of course, and so we encourage people to get back in the proverbial saddle if not the literal one, and to face those things that present us with challenges.

I don’t like flying for a lot of reasons, but flying is something I have to do if I want to remain gainfully employed. Since I am not independently wealthy I go ahead and fly to where my clients are. I could take a train I suppose, though that would be substantially more expensive and a whole lot longer than jumping on a flight. I could also take a bus, which would be cheaper perhaps but not at all efficient. Anyway, I don’t like to fly but I do fly and I just acknowledge the fact that I don’t like it and move on. Today I am sitting on a plane, high above the earth time travelling from west coast (best coast) to east. All of a sudden I realized that I was up in the air and I thought to myself, ‘look at me, back in the saddle.’ And then I remembered that flying wasn’t the problem so I felt slightly less proud of myself, though happy to be alive since this was something of a test case.

About seven weeks ago my lung collapsed. Not independently. It was encouraged in that direction by a rogue needle related to some acupuncture. That was a Monday. I was supposed to be up in the air on Friday. The doctor in the emergency room laughed when I shared my plans. Between chuckles he said, ‘oh you’re not going anywhere for at least a few weeks, maybe several, it’s hard to say.’ It’s hard to say because what they do is mostly fix you and then suggest you should just ‘take it easy’ for a while and see how you feel, and after a couple of weeks or whatever you should be fine to fly. If you’re not fine you’ll find out fast because once at a high altitude your lung will re-collapse and you will stop breathing. But as long as you aren’t going far you should be fine to get to an ER once you land. So it turns out I am all better. That’s the good news.

Truthfully it didn’t even occur to me until the second flight of the day to say to myself, ‘hey look, I’m flying and I can breath!’ But certainly I am plenty grateful. I just got a little disappointed with myself when I realized that it isn’t being on a plane that is getting back in the saddle, it wasn’t a plane that caused the lung collapse. It was the acupuncture. And despite the dear friend who wanted to refer me to her person while I was still in the hospital, I have not been really actively pursuing finding a new provider. I don’t think I have to go back to the same person to qualify as getting back in the saddle. But I guess I do have to go back to someone, at some point. And I want to, I really do, mostly. I always really loved acupuncture until that one time. Maybe sometimes it’s okay to watch the horses from the other side of the corral, I think that for now I get the credit for getting back out in the yard at least!

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