Road To Recovery – Road 3 – Crash Diet and Other Unexpected Benefits of Getting Into A Major Car Accident

by ど〜ら

Though I can’t recommend it, I can say it does produce results! I had been spending 5 mornings of my week at the gym exercising but all I really needed to do is be get into a car accident and become essentially bedridden for a week to lose some unwanted weight. Maybe of the sleep that I have been getting or the lack of food intake but I can at least say for me that looking a little slimmer even with my muscles atrophying as I type wasn’t exactly an unwanted side effect. Now the problem will be when I eventually do get back to the gym how exactly am I suppose to map my progress, my right legs muscle that I had been spending time working on is looking pretty weak so the loss isn’t fat but to counteract that I do have a surgical steel plate in my ankle which might tip the scales against my favor. Regardless to say it’s time to get a bit ridiculous with what has been going on.

You see, almost dying and being in semi-constant pain has some upsides.

First, that once again in my life people are simply impressed that I can get up and stand. Now I know the last time that happened was probably around the time I learn to walk but it still feels good when people are impressed by the simple things. It makes what I do all the more impressive in the long run and I can honestly say that it feels pretty good when people have that astonished face with me doing something I learned to do when I was a toddler.

Second, I have gotten into the habit of sharing my schedule with only some people so that whenever I walk into a room people are always surprised and happy to see me. Now that might not be the best use of my communication skills but it’s nice to know that just showing up can make people happy. Though this was true before, my ever-lingering presence on campus and at work made my existence a little more assured so now me showing up is a nice surprise for those around me. I am sure it will run its course of the next couple of weeks but at least for now it nice to see.

Third, people have stopped complaining around me. Now that is not something I’ve ever said or have done but it’s one of those things when someone is walking around with a peg leg and a cane most people feel less inclined to rant about the guy who was going too slow down the street.

Fourth, now that I am recovering and going long distances is a bit of chore I found that saying I am tired and want to rest get taken a bit more seriously. Though that is not to say that I hadn’t been getting tired in the afternoons like a kindergartener but now people are more accepting when I put my head down and take a small snooze for about 20 minutes throughout the day.

Fifth, I have an epic story to tell as my car accident was a standard car accident. Now, obviously not something to boast about but if you have a good story to tell about how it happened it does make the pain of it actually happening a little less painful.

Sixth, the next six to eight weeks I have a whole new realm of jokes that I previously didn’t get access to because I was more able-bodied. Though I am sure people will tire of it sooner than that I still get a kick of telling people that normally I would drive but with my driving foot in a boot I really have only two speeds, really slow and really fast so putting me behind the wheel might not necessarily be the best idea.

Lastly, now whenever I say inspirational stuff it has a bit more weight to it. Not that I didn’t say these things before but when you’re being told that you have to live your life like there is no tomorrow by a guy who could have died I guess people take that more seriously. Kind of like a near-death experience street cred. But hey, I will take what I can get.

It’s not all bad getting an injury and how much can I really complain when the response of my family and friends is an outpouring of love. Though I might have fractures and broken bones, torn ligaments, a collapsed lung what I have gotten back is the reassurance that I have chosen and been given great people in my life, and could I really ask for much more than that… though pancakes does sound really good right now.

Road To Recovery – Road 2 – Pain Management

Robin Har – https://www.artstation.com/saboteur

“These are the times that try men’s souls”

– Thomas Paine

It was there staring at the ceiling that I realized what trouble I was in. Being pumped into were drugs I’ve only heard of in news stories for their role in the recent opioid epidemic. I can be honest, there was part of me that was scared of what could happen to me as a result of these addictive substances, but at least for the moment, it made the sharp pain in my back and chest fade away. This though is the least of the pain, the one that has so much easier to manage.

When you’re hurt you become very acquainted with the ceilings of whatever room you are in. Flat, clean, colored, and pockmarked, each had to have been planned to look uniform and unoffensive to the eyes. It’s in them that I been thrust into these quiet moments, a standard silence that can turn into a mania of the mind attempting to quell the thoughts and energies that were left unspent during the day.

It was easy when I slept most of the day, where I would close my eyes and hours would drift away as my body focused on healing the muscles and bones that I disrupted when I decided to play with hunks of metal and concrete. Even when I left that sterile place, and made it back into a bed of my choosing sleeping was easy, regardless of the several hour intervals, I would be required to awake and take a dose to keep to the pain from getting any worse. I was not afraid of this pain, pain of the body I can deal with as I have all my life. My tolerance for this pain is high because I know I can always push through it. It’s in the echoes of my mind that issues arise.

It’s when sleep when not would come and that my mind wandered that this second sense of fear arose. I had beaten the drugs that threatened to hold me down but what would help me now in this time of need. In a darkly lit room, minutes feel like hours as the stimulus of the plain white ceiling would never be enough. My go to would be to reach to my phone for some reprieve, but I know that the LED screen would take more from me than it would give. The echos of pain as I had nothing else to think about would resonate until all I could feel was the bruising on my back, and the inability to breath.

I have laid there wishing that I had spent more time learning to meditate and praying that the quiet would return. In the wee hours of the morning when no one has any business being up, I would sit there staring at the ceiling, thinking about life, liberty, and where my happiness my now lies. The one consolidation is that I am crazy enough to tilt at windmills so as thoughts would come I promised myself to explore them. Once I allowed these thoughts to come and sat there with them for a while they became less painful and more pleasant. Like concentrated daydreams, thoughts manifest without the worry of everyday reality to bog it down. The ceilings drift away as my mind was allowed to paint the picture it wanted and dance as it needed. Sleep became easy because I was not worried or scared of these thoughts anymore, they are part of the process as I learned to enjoy them.

Pain itself is only a hindrance if is seen as unnatural or antithetical to the process of healing. Though some pain is immense it a reminder that my body is hurt and there is healing needing to be done. So embrace the pain as part of the process, see it as a testament of strength because each day that passes and we push forward our lives will fill the void that the pain has wrought.

I want to end with another quote, the poem Invictus about the struggles of being brought bare and not letting yourself be destroyed by the circumstances we had found ourselves.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

– William Ernest Hendley

Road To Recovery – Road One

I have been waiting to write this all week, as I have had a lot of time to organize my thoughts reflect on all that’s been going on.
Just be wary, though this won’t be overly graphic I don’t intend to spare any details.

As to what I am recovering from, well, let me tell you what I have been explaining to people all week – the accident:


It was a little after midnight last Saturday night, the roads we still busy and the rain hadn’t let up in days but for the most part nothing out of the ordinary. I was leaving my girlfriend’s house after some conference planning the night was young but all I wanted to do is get home to get to sleep. It had been a rough couple of days with two deaths in my family so life was on the mind. One of the last thoughts before actually getting into my car was “I don’t think I’m invincible like most 20’s somethings, I just know I can’t die yet.”
Off I went down the road I had traveled many times, but I would never make it to my destination.

The freeway was slippery, slipperier than usual as hydroplaning seemed inevitable. I had slowed down the car enough, to accommodate, made sure no other cars were around me but even that isn’t enough. In one especially bad patch on the freeway, my car slipped out of my control as it spun 180 degrees to face oncoming traffic. I knew I was in trouble but this next part surprised me as the car was launched over the median landing me on upside down on the opposite side fo the road.

I still remember the smell, like used phosphorus of a match mixed with a hint of melted plastic, a scent that to the inside of my nose every time I closed my eyes to fall asleep this following week. I already knew my car was in trouble as I hung from my seatbelt starting at the concrete that replaced my windshield. I was miraculously unhurt from the flip, though I knew I needed to get out of my car quickly because I was on the wrong side of the freeway now.

My airbags had gone off but my door was still working. I unbuckled my seatbelt, pushed open the door and made it out to the open road. Cars were whizzing by, attempting to avoid the accident, I made it over to the shoulder and assessed the damage from there. For all intents and purposes, I was okay.

After a moment of trying to understand all that had transpired the next action popped into my head. I needed to call 911 and turn on my hazard lights in my car to avoid any more collisions. I didn’t have my phone on me though, it must have been back in the car.

Now attribute this to panic or a daze I left the shoulder of the road to get back into my car. I crawled in to the flipped vehicle trying to make sense of all of the disorder that my car was in. That’s all it took.

BAM.

I find myself rolling along the highways, out of breath, gasping for air. This time I can’t get up, my right foot feels strange. I look over, my car has shifted and behind it, another car smashed. Almost like a movie, I found myself crawling towards the shoulder in the rain. All I felt was the cold and the pain.

A black pickup truck stops, two men in orange vest’s get out and start asking me questions. They are polite, trying to help, start to set my foot and check for injuries. Off in the distance, I see the police lights stopping the flow of traffic. The two men splint my foot, check for broken bones, give me a neck brace and hand me off to a set of paramedics to cart me off in an ambulance. It feels like forever sitting under the rain but once I get inside I realize how much everything hurts. Sitting my back hurts, breathing my ribs hurt, moving my legs hurt. There I am getting to the hospital, moving from bed to bed being poked, prodded, examined, and kept awake.

I hadn’t lost consciousness that whole time, eventually staring at the ceiling of my medical room at 5 in the morning breathing straight oxygen feeling my bones ache. I was eventually transferred to a better hospital who could take better care of me in my condition. That first day was hard, not being allowed to drink water in the event I would need surgery (which I ended up needing).

Over the next couple of days, I had been carted from room to room, had emergency surgery on my ankle, more x-rays, CT scans, and IV’s than I could count. I was hurting but at least I could move through the pain. I was weak but at least I was getting stronger day by day.

I could barely get up on my own and spent most of my day in bed but by the time Wednesday happened I was already on my way out of the hospital. End count: 5 fractured ribs, 1 partially deflated lungs (that needed draining), one broken ankle, and a large back bruise.

In the end, I was lucky, it could have been so much worse. I am out of the hospital but it is not over yet, this road will be long, and recovery both short and fast but I am going to do the best I can to catalog the journey so that you can learn the lessons I am having to learn the hard way.

I will recover because there is so much more that I need to do.

A Strange Thing About Death

I’m sorry I missed my post last week, I don’t write because my grandmother had died so I decided to take people’s advice and rest to process all that was going on.

I’m really happy that I did, it gave me time to really sit and think about the relationships in our lives and how the dynamics will change with the loss of our families matriarch and give me a much-needed respite from the stress of my everyday life.

Now, I had been fortunate up to this point in my life not to have lost anyone close me, some family but not a grandparent. This though meant that I really didn’t know how exactly this news would hit me. It had be several weeks preparing for the what would become the “inevitable”. The waiting I think was the worst part, knowing it was going to happen but never knowing when. The conclusion I came to after all of this is that death, quite frankly, is…strange.

It’s not a gradual thing, even when it process happens over the course of a lifetime. Despite the metaphor of being ‘half dead’ there is no halfway with death, it’s one moment that you are living, and the next you are gone. Even when death comes with a slow weakening it only at the moment when the body finally shuts down when living gives way that death comes.

Death to me is just a fact, though one that sends ripples through the family and friends centered around it. To know that death has come is weird, because it doesn’t hit you all at once, at least not for me. It just is, or was when it happened. Life has to carry on for the rest of us still here but this new fact carries a cloud that follows overhead.

It makes you ruminate on memory, reminisces of the times with that person but like with the end of many relationships you think about all the missed opportunities the future will never bring. That there are things you did with that person that you never knew would be the last time you did them. An unfulfilled see you later or next time hold this weight make you wonder of how many of these we have in our lives.

Ultimately our relationships will change as the pillar that we derive some of these relationships from is now gone. The stings the bind us to each other become lax waiting to be pulled taught. Some of these relationships will fade away, others will strengthen but there is no doubt in my mind that they will change. Without that person, they will have to learn to carry on, without that person, we will have to learn to do it on our own.

What I thought of last is legacy, when someone dies their ability to manipulate the world personally falls away and so those around them must become the arbiters of their will. Even outside of the thoughts of heaven comes a true death, at least in this world. It is when someone is forgotten, their name uttered for the final time, or when the will becomes waves and then ripples and then still. She lives within me because I carry a part of her within and I am much stronger for it.

What is left is what is what I will carry with me, the words that she always spoke and resounded in my heart of hearts.

“Remember you are loved”

Thank you for the memories, the lessons and the love, both of you.