Yesterday, May 15th, 2005, was the one-year anniversary of my having gotten creamed by a car while I was minding my own business tootling around town on Laura’s scooter.
Everything has changed for me, and nothing has changed. Today, I can walk, run, jump, hop and climb pretty much as I could before the accident. I got in as much snowboarding this past season as could realistically be managed, given the abysmal conditions. This past week in Utah I probably walked at least 30 miles over broken ground.
On the other hand, though, I’m pretty sure there hasn’t been a single day since my accident that I haven’t been aware, in some way, of my injury. The IT band in my leg still snaps across the top of my femur sometimes, and my right hip and knee ache when I push them hard. My leg gets stiff if I sit for too long, and the area where the largest bone chip is floating around hurts under pressure. Although I don’t imagine anyone could tell by watching me walk, my right leg still doesn’t feel quite right, at least some of the time.
Also, my outlook is different. I feel more fragile, and older. I’m aware that my body will never be quite the way it was, even if I have it cut open again to remove the titanium rod and four screws that have been holding my leg together. I’ve learned that medicine is only approximate: there’s no way to really make you “as good as new”, only mostly so. And, of course, there’s no way to get back lost time, or to choose to not go through the experience of a hospital stay, being confined to a wheelchair, using a walker, crutches, canes, etc.
And then there are the other reminders. Laura’s mangled scooter is still stashed in our garage, waiting for legal wranglings to conclude. There’s still a placard for disabled parking in our car, even though it’s expired. I still have the REI cane / walking stick I used in the last phase of my recovery, in case it comes in handy on hikes.
But then there’s the fact that the accident made me realize how important it is to experience each moment, since you’re never quite sure what will happen next. In fact, I think my takeaways from the accident so far boil down to:
- Don’t worry
- Also, be happy
I pass this wisdom on to you, no charge.