— Falling Into Fate? —

THE FOLLOWING is a PERSONAL ESSAY


 

Memoir excerpt, Falling Into Fate (2015)

“Cam, you need to get on this path, you can’t walk there,” he said.

“Dad, it’s fine!

“You’re going to lose your balance and tumble all the way down.”

“That sounds cool!”

“No, it does not. It absolutely does not. Please get out of the creek.”

The next thing I remember is a blur of brown, blue, brown, blue, brown, blue, tires. Dirt, tree bark, sky, dirt, tree bark, sky. If I think hard enough, I can still hear my dad screaming, “Oh, oh Cam!” as he tried to grab onto me before I fell. I landed in a seated position at the exact spot where we began our hike, with the Suburban’s rear tire directly in front of me. It was the only time I’ve ever truly been in shock—the kind of shock where your body freezes and your brain leaves your body. I remember the fall in two ways: in first person and from afar, almost as if I was watching myself from above. It was truly an out-of-body experience. 

I could've been at the bottom of that mountain for ten hours or ten minutes, it seemed like my father took a while to reach me but it's unclear how long. Once he finally arrived, he frantically checked my body for wounds. To our surprise, there wasn't a single cut, all my bones were in place, I could stand and walk, and as far as we knew at the time, I walked away from the devastating tumble, scratch-free (I didn't even lose my Swiss army knife!). That is, until weeks later when my left shoulder began to swell. It looked like I had stuffed a softball just below the skin. Kids in class would call me Popeye, because it looked like I had one gigantic left bicep. Then I developed flu-like symptoms, with fevers ranging from 102° to 106°, and my left ankle developed nodules similar to the one in my shoulder. At first, it was, "just the flu." Then doctors believed I had contracted Lyme Disease from playing outside in Prescott. I was treated, unsuccessfully, for both ailments, however, neither diagnosis accounted for the cysts that had developed in my shoulder and ankle. After months and months of constant searching, in and out of hospitals, a doctor at the Tucson University Medical Center, Dr. Yokum, contacted my parents and diagnosed me with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. 

Copyright 2015 Cam K Johnson