Based in Texas, Words is a blog by Kari Lynn Collins. Her posts explore life, mostly through laughter.


That rock wall stuck to my ribs

That rock wall stuck to my ribs

I woke up New Year’s Day feeling like I had been kicked by a donkey in my ribcage.

And for the record, ‘donkey’ is not a code word for alcohol.

After initially being really irritated yet again with what 2018 left me with, I finally remembered the why of my rib pain. It was a rock wall climbing incident over the weekend in Las Vegas.

Now, I could stop here and let you believe that I am a fierce woman in my 50’s who still seeks adventure as I glamorously trot the globe. 

Or, I could  stay in keeping with my 2019 intention of honesty and admit to the world it was an accident that occurred on a plastic six-foot rock wall on a playground in air force base housing.

I am in my 50’s, I still feel hardcore, but my definition of risky adventure has curved toward making sure my grandboy doesn’t  fall off of a plastic rock wall. I’ll trot a globe for him, but it rarely looks glamourous.

For the record, I would never choose to climb a rock wall on purpose because I am scared of heights in a very meaningful way. My three and a half year old grandson, however, has no fear gene. He eats heights for breakfast.

It was cinematic, the way the whole rib thing went down, now that I think about it. 

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon in sunny Las Vegas when Eli was game for going to his fourth playground of the day. It was the big playground - the one with tall slide and big green plastic rock wall, or what I will now call the Wall of Certain Pain. 

Bobby and I, Eli’s subordinates, carried his snacks and drink, and sometimes his Little Tykes vehicle to each of the four playgrounds with this one being the last.

Eli wanted to climb the wall. Being his encourager and again, subordinate, I went up behind him to make him feel safer. Thinking back I don’t think a grandmother whimpering from fear in a child’s ear would make him feel safer, but lesson learned.

Eli was scaling the wall at a faster rate than me, and he was out of my reach as he made it to the first flat part of the six-foot summit and kept going, ever higher. I freaked out completely and in my final attempt to save him, I reached out with my left hand toward him which caused my right rib cage to make an unfortunate noise as it traversed a plastic rock. 

Luckily, Poppa saved the day by grabbing little man before he went off the wrong side of the wall. I lay half on/half off the top of the wall and performed triage on myself that involved deep breathing and creative cursing. 

I was pretty OK for the next two days and forgot I was even injured.  Then the whole three day rule thing set in wherein the pain is always worse on that day, for some nefarious reason. 

I woke up New Year’s morning back in my own bed in Texas wondering if I would ever car dance again. Or even sit up without looking like an upside-down turtle on methamphetamines in slow motion. 

What happens in Las Vegas rarely stays in Las Vegas, I’m telling you. I have a feeling those playground shenanigans are with me in Texas for a while.

But even with my son back at his home in Wisconsin; my son-in-law on deployment in South Korea and my beautiful daughter and their son staying home in Las Vegas - the stabbing pain in my right lung reminds me of the time I got to spend with all of them, even if the time with my son-in-law was via FaceTime. 

And although I wasn’t the one to save Eli, he is always the one who saves me. 

Girlfriend, we're going to Mardi Gras!

Girlfriend, we're going to Mardi Gras!

Girlfriend, I made some resolutions

Girlfriend, I made some resolutions