Wednesday, January 23, 2013

So, how did you fall?

I've been thinking about perceptions a lot the last couple days and was thinking again about them this morning.  I tend to be a bit of a control freak (not in the "the house has to look nice" because I'm too busy for that - and not in a "I have to do everything at work" because with this new job I'm learning so much stuff I'm about as low on the totem pole as you can go).  But when it comes to what's going on around me I'm a control freak - I feel like I need to be able to see what's going on around me 360 degrees at all times and be ready to run or fight at a moment's notice.  There are probably reasons for this that I could write a novel about but I prefer to not spend a lot of time rehashing the past but dealing with how I relate to the here-and-now.

That said, I've been thinking a lot about how we humans don't really have a lot of control over how we relate to the here-and-now in many circumstances.  For instance,  yesterday at my follow-up with the orthopedic doctor he asked me, "So, how did fall off your horse?" and I started rambling on about, "Well, I tried to get on her bareback with just her blanket on and she'd never done that before so she spooked ..."  and he interrupted me and asked, "No, I mean how did you land when you fell?" and I had to say honestly, "I'm not really sure because I wasn't watching myself.  In my perception of things I came down on my butt and then slammed down backwards."  Which is probably fairly accurate in that it kind of happened like that.  But there are telltale clues that I landed on my right side and not at all on my left (a big bruise that has appeared on my right arm but not on my left). Although then there are signs that I don't know anything about like where the bruise on the inside of my left wrist came from?  So, I find it interesting that even though I was there and experiencing it I couldn't actually tell the doctor how I fell off the horse.

Trainer K. had a similar experience with a bad fall off of Gemini last summer (thank God both she and M. who was simulateously thrown off Favio were not seriously hurt!).  Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for my own sanity) I did not see them fall, I just heard it and ran to the arena door and saw them lying on the ground and the horses on the other side of the arena.  But a big mystery was "how did Trainer K. end up facing the opposite direction while lying on the ground than the direction the horse was going?"  We finally figured out that the propulsion of her being thrown caused her to flip over in the air.  Once again - thank God for good helmets because Trainer K.'s head hit the ground so hard it bounced three times, but she did not have a concussion.  Yet even though she experienced it, the whole situation was the talk of the barn over the next week or so of "what happened exactly when Trainer K. and M. got thrown? How did they land like that?"

M. and I were comparing notes on when she fell off a horse and broke her back (a much worse accident than mine - she actually fractured the body of her vertebrae and had to be in a back brace for a long time) and we were talking about the EMT's coming in and taking us to the hospital and riding in ambulances and such.  She - like everyone else I've talked to - is not claustrophobic so the whole being strapped down thing didn't bother her.  In fact, she said she liked being "contained" because it made her feel safer with her injuries.  Good point.  I think I had a similar experience when my neck was broken.  Well, and I had a horrendous concussion so I was only semi-conscious. 

Anyway, we were talking about some of the questions that the EMT's asked me when they first got there.  And one of them that amused me was "So, you feel faint and nauseous. Did you feel like that before you fell or did it come on after you fell?"  To which I said to M., "Seriously? Would people not make the connection that they had the stomach flu before they got on the horse so obviously they have it a little while later after they fall off the horse?" to which we started joking "Well, come to think of it I fell *off* the horse because I was faint and nauseous".   But I guess once again it is a liability question.

But the perception thing stretches so much further past just accidents and injuries I'm sure.  I've often thought that I look at the world through the lenses of my own personal experiences and expectations.  I've been trying for years to have an open mind to not assuming I know what people are thinking/feeling just based on my own insecurities but I imagine that it would be impossible to see the real truth of the world and everyone's intention because we have too much of our own experiences clouding what we see/experience. And I imagine we would not be who we are if we saw everything purely as it is without any influence by our own beliefs and perceptions.  I guess that is part of what makes each individual unique is that there probably is an actual truth to what is real and what is not, but none of us will ever see that absolute pure truth because of our own perceptions of the world.  And if we did all see it that way -purely as things are - then we would all be the same and that would be very dull.

Sometimes I think animals are so much wiser than us because these truths either don't cross their minds or are accepted as "just the way it is".  And maybe going into life knowing that is just the way it is and it's good to have it that way is a much wiser place to be.

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