Dad here; its been two weeks since the accident, and span seems like an eternity for someone who desperately needs to be figuring out what comes next, but the revolving door of pain, pain medication, and the general feeling of uselessness acquired from laying supine on the couch crowds any tendency towards creativity from one’s brain.
Mom’s first response when she heard of my predicament was one of pity, to have covered over two thousand miles of New Mexico backcountry discovery route only to be struck down just a few miles from the finish line in Antonito, Colorado. My own secret thought was, that as bad as it was, how much worse it could have been. We had spent many days in areas a thousand times more remote than the one where I went down; what if the accident had happened there? I no longer have any idea as to what God’s plan is for my life, but I am eternally grateful that I only had to be transported as far as I did, regardless of what may come on down the road.
I won’t go into the details of what exactly caused the accident, as I have always preached that no matter what predicated the matter, I alone am ultimately responsible for my own safety. I will say that we were traveling at a decent clip down a remote gravel road when I was forced to make an abrupt change in direction; this caused my rear tire to break traction and slide out from under me, pinning and twisting my right foot under the bike like a pretzel. When the dust settled, I found myself laying flat on my back with my right foot flat on the ground beside me; one glance at my right leg was all it took to convince me that I didn’t want to look at it any more.
Now, there was a time that the foulness of my language was legendary, and I was actually a big proud of my ability to curse like a poet. But when mom and I started having kids, I determined to clean my mouth up as much as possible, and have been somewhat successful in sticking with it for years, as I knew how I talked would be reflected in their choice of words. Besides, I love the peculiararties of the English language, and view excessive profanity as sort of a crutch; whereas a word here and there might add emphasis, a constant barrage tends to lessen the overall impact. This is much like a drummer that spends an inordinate amount crashing on his cymbals; in music, as well as cursing, a bit of subtlety and discretion goes a long way.
Laying there on my back that grotesque position, any subtlety and discretion was immediately evicted from the premises, and I reverted to the bad habits of a previous lifetime. I remember my subconscious hearing myself howling vile imprecations and thinking “you sound like an idiot; I’ll allow one more barrage and you need to shut up”. Of course this had no actual effect, as I kept right on ahollerin’, until a certain level of shock set in and a particularly merciful first responder showed up and took measures to get my foot in bit more comfortable position. Of course, he is also the one that initiated cutting my riding pants off; there is something particularly humbling about laying in the middle of a gravel road in a pair of underdrawers when it seems like every LEO and EMT in the southwest is determined to show up for the occasion.
Fast forward ahead, and I’m now back home at the Casa, two days post-op and the hospital drugs have leached from my system. My right leg is now immobilzed in a cast, and it is a supreme understatement to say that I dislike casts. Compounding the problem is that evil concoction Hydrocodone, which, while being godsend as as a pain reliever, can also serve as a catalyst to transform my mild claustrophobia into a full blown panic attack. This is usually not an issue during the day when there are other things to occupy my hyperactive imagination, but at night, when the rest of the world seems to be blissfully unaware of another’s suffering, it can hit like Thor’s hammer; what if I need to scratch? What if I DO scratch and the cotton wadding gets bunched up like maladjusted sock and drives me over the edge into raving lunacy? What if, unseen inside that cast, my stitches are getting infected? What if my calf muscle is becoming atrophied and will soon be hanging from the bone like rotting fruit? What if, what if, what if?
And the anxiety did set in; of course, I was fully aware of how ridiculous I was being. I mean, people of all ages deal with confining casts all the time, so what was MY problem? But as in the case of my screaming profanities in Colorado, no amount of rational thought could stop the negative behaviour, or drive back the wave of panic. The more I told myself how ridiculous I was being, the more self loathing I developed, which made me feel even more ridiculous and resentful, and the downward spiral continued.
But it did cause me to pause and reflect on the millions of people who are beset with a plethora of afflictions, whether they be addictions, idiosyncrasies, foibles, disorders or just mere quirks, places that they are fully aware of the embarrassing, even destructive, effects of their behavior. But the more that they(I) fixate on the problem, the more critical the problem becomes. I remember my dad falling prey to this pattern towards the end of his life. As the dementia caused his small problems to become leviathan in the wee hours of the morning, he would call me or my sister seeking solace. Of course, we had no answers, but more often than not, just fifteen minutes of human interaction would talk him off of the edge, so to speak, and he wouldn’t even remember the evening’s sense of angst and doom the next morning.
This is just a thought, but what if this is the direction this page has bern heading? The world is full of lonely people looking for assistance, but more importantly, looking for a way to assist others, for service to others is one of our prime directives in the first place. What if we could make ourselves available to other followers of this sloop tory in their own particular time of need?
What if this is the true meaning of the title “Charlie’s Angels”?
Of every creed, color, country. religion or lack thereof, we were all brought together from around the globe by this incredible story of a once emaciated but now beautiful dog, but towards what end? I don’t know either, but we’re all exactly the same in at least one way: we all desperately want our lives to have made a difference in those of others; think about it and tell me what you think. It may just be part of the painkillers talking, but I can’t help but think that there might be some truth to it as well.
And the stories; it’s all about the stories…
We be of one blood, ye and I.