Sunday, December 09, 2012

Meanwhile, on the Ground...

Sorry that's it's been so long between posts.  I've been in a coffee stained frenzy at work, work, work.   I don't think I'd get any jumps in even if I hadn't smashed my arm and leg in my infamous 75th jump.
And speaking of that jump...
...something puzzled me:  Where were the nightmares?

I have nightmares all the time.  You'd think a young David Lynch was directing them: Creepy things.  Gory things.  Mutilated things.  If I find something unpleasant, I'll dream about it.
Where were the accident flashbacks?  Wasn't that supposed to be the norm?   It wasn't like I was having fun in freefall with the streamer arm.   I wasn't whistling a happy tune when I was drifting towards, the freeway,  under a canopy I could barely control.  No nightmares about that?  I don't get it.
It's not like I never get traumatized.   In my late teens my neighbor's lunatic dog tried to eat me.
 I held my purse between myself and his teeth, so he "only" trashed the purse before his owner pulled him away.  I wasn't able to walk by his house for years.  Even after the dog died I'd cross the street to avoid passing to that home.

I did find time to visit the drop zone.  The observation rides are almost was fun as the "jumping out of the plane" rides.
It's funny how brains work.  Even when I knew I was staying on the plane, I still thought "Yikes, here I go again!" as the plane took off.  When the it slowed for jump run, I felt the familiar jolt of nerves.  The part of my mind that decides what's scary and what isn't doesn't take reality into the picture.
I also heard from people who were on the load where I broke my arm.  I remember striking the doorway, but I didn't think others noticed.  They did.
I also heard that early internet reports of my crash landing had exaggerated the extent of the injuries.
Back in September, the surgeon who fixed my breaks estimated I'd be healed (and presumably, jump worthy,) in four months or so.  That meant I'd be jumping again in January.  That didn't sound too far off...
My local orthopedist had other ideas.  He said to stay on the ground until March. 
As if I wasn't getting rusty enough as it was!
Still, it's probably wise to play it safe.
I also used the money I was saving on gasoline and jump tickets to invest in  equipment.  Soon I had a canopy, a rig,  a reserve and an AAD (okay, some of it's still at the shop, but my name's on it.).

Maybe, since I'm on the ground, can teach myself to pack- something I've watched a million times and still can't quite do by myself (shame!)
It will be cool to get back in the sky, but I can talk tough since it's many months off.  Maybe I'll get more nervous as March gets closer.
In the past, the longer it was between jumps, the more unnerving it was to get back in the air.  And this was just skipping a few weeks.  What was going to happen after six months on the ground?  


Wolf River Joe said...

I'm not all that surprised that you aren't having nightmares. First, it wasn't really a "skydiving accident" as much as an accident while jumping (very subtle, but very important difference). And, mostly, you handled it as well as you could have. You realized there was a problem, kept calm, maintained awareness of what you could and couldn't do, maintained altitude awareness (you couldn't see your altimeter so you used your jump partner), pulled on time, maintained situational awareness under canopy and overall, did pretty good. You DIDN"T panic and do nothing. You know, like in a nightmare where you can't move.
And the "jump run feeling" even when you aren't jumping is normal. I even get it when I am flying the plane. When I definitely don't plan on jumping.
And don't forget that some of us take a several month break every winter. You will be nervous on the first jump back. And the second...
Don't be "afraid of being afraid."
Good luck.

Namowal said...

Wolf River Joe,
I'm sure if the accident was upped a notch, things might be different in dreamland. After all, while I was fully aware that I was in danger, there was no "#%@!! I'm gonna die!" moment to torment me.
That's funny about the "jump run feeling." I read recently that neurons in the brain fire in pairs, so the "oh noes!" probably neuron fires along with the "hey, we're at jump run" neuron. Probably the same thing happens when I smell rubbing alcohol and I'm suddenly three years old and about to get a shot.
You mention you fly the plane. How tough is it to learn to fly one of those things? Or does it depend on the plane?

Anita said...

Jennifer, I'm always amazed at how calm and in control you were, after breaking your arm and skydiving at the same time. Lemme tell you, you are definitely the person that I want around in a crisis! The one not screaming, freaking our, or crying will be you! And by the way, I will keep the story about giving the crazy dog your purse to chew instead of your hand, in mind. Now, that's a great tip!

Namowal said...

Thanks! Now if I could only keep my composure when my computer crashes or when I lose my keys... ;)

Linda Davick said...

I agree with Anita. Great drawings!!! And such an interesting piece.

Namowal said...

Thanks, Linda!

stray said...

These are just looking great.

Namowal said...

Thanks, stray g. :)

Digolgrin said...

I think the reason you felt like you were still getting ready to jump even though you knew you were staying aboard was because... well, you still had to wear a parachute in the cockpit, didn't you? USPA regulations and things like that? Familiar stimuli create familiar reactions. You might be a duck, but Pavlov's dogs certainly rubbed off on you.

By the way... I know it's been a while since you posted. Have you given up on skydiving, or posting here for that matter?