Turning over a new leaf?

I saw a cute sign that would be perfect for my 8-year-old granddaughter, Caroline, a voracious reader.  It said, "Life is Short.  Read Fast."  Of course, "Hurry Up" is my mantra.  Ed is constantly berating me for doing everything too fast.  He says the reason I'm accident-prone does not evolve from some physiological impairment; it is just because I'm trying to move too quickly and I don't pay attention - with which I completely and sadly agree.

Of course, I was reminded of this at my annual physical this week.  Alas, I had to enumerate the many ways I had suffered injuries this year, including hitting my head on the corner of the bedside table which necessitated a trip to the doctor for a heavily bleeding scalp laceration; hitting my head on a bathroom drawer that was at hip level (long story); and, the most embarrassing of them all, how my head collided with a giant cabbage.  The latter happened when I had returned home from the grocery, was putting things on the counter in the kitchen (including the monstrous cabbage), leaned over to get more items out of a bag on the floor and the huge cabbage rolled right off and smacked me with great force on the back of the head.  (Well, at least I have an excuse for my senior moments.  My brain has been undoubtedly damaged.)  At least the cabbage story was a little funny.  We went at it head-to-head.

This is only a small sampling of my accidents through the years, the major one of which was burning my face with fire starter gel and in the process, setting fire to the curtains in the room and having to be taken by ambulance to the burn center in Portland.  They also include having a sewing machine needle break and pop in and out of my eye, years after having another sewing machine needle jam into my finger as if it were a piece of fabric, bending inside when it hit a bone.

In my defense, however, I must mention that my job demands speed.  I am a medical transcriptionist, sit and type all day transcribing dictation, and I get paid by production.  The more I transcribe, the more I get paid.  Once I start the work day, I'm at breakneck speed until I leave.  Even at lunch, I walk to the cafeteria too fast and eat my food too fast.  I'm on a roll.

And the toll all this speed takes on me is evident from all the above mishaps.   When I race through my 40 hours of work a week, it's hard to slow down for the rest of my off-work hours.   This tendency reveals itself to Ed and me, for instance, in our walking styles.  When I go out to walk/exercise, I like to walk at about 4 mph and get it over with.   Ed likes to stroll, and, gasp!, try to pay attention and enjoy nature.   I'm a hare and I married a turtle.

With all my sticky notes tacked up on every available surface, my to-do lists and calendar appointments, I think the Slow Down sign above should be probably be the top priority reminder for me.  My family already winces when they see me with a needle, knife, or scissors, as well they should.  They flinch when I'm around an open flame.   They even get nervous when I am negotiating around a sharp corner on a piece of furniture or an open drawer.   I think, though, I have hit rock bottom in my addiction to speed.  You know something has got to give when you have to relate to your doctor the story of a massive cruciferous vegetable inflicting head trauma.  I'm already not allowed in the cooking implements aisle, or the office supplies aisle, but I certainly don't want to be banned from the produce section.   Sigh.  Yeah, it's time to slow down.