This is a commentary about the slow lane, about the slowing of time since I suffered a severe brain injury while skateboarding with my dog. This is a blog about recovery; about our '82 VW Westfalia. It's about writing, surfing, camping, married life, bleeding ulcers that make you feel old at 32; about family, friends, and my dog Artie; it's about cruising in fourth gear, getting passed by every car and learning to appreciate every second of it.
It's been a month since my fall, since my dog Artie turned into Buck from The Call Of The Wild and pulled me through the streets until my wheels stopped in a crack and I flew through the air while holding onto the leash, landing on my head. Of course, it didn't help that I quickly got up and got back on my board for another spill minutes later. And despite not remembering most of the previous month, I am beginning to deal with the ramifications of my fall, of my coma, of a damaged brain. Just as the doctor had informed me, with every new day will come a new symptom; that as my brain healed I would feel more pain. Unfortunately, for me he wasn't as inept as I had initially thought.
For example, when I was in the hospital, two days after waking from my coma, I had a dream that the staff wanted to amputate my right arm. I remember feeling an intense pain in that arm as I begged them to leave my arm where it was, as I fought my way through their restraints. Up until yesterday it was just a dream, albeit a scary one, but a dream nonetheless.
Fast forward to yesterday when I tried to lift something with that same arm. A shooting pain shot up to my bicep and jumped to my tricep, shooting back down to my wrist. I told Aimee and my brother about my pain. They told me that when I was under I had a blood clot in my right arm. The medical staff said it was "superficial" and despite the black and blue bruise nothing was wrong. My brother also said it was the same arm that he held down as I tried to free myself from the restraints one painful night. He said my strength surprised him. He said he had to use all of his 200 pounds to keep my arm from getting free. The news made me realize the amputation dream wasn't just a dream, it was real; left over pain from an injury incurred at the hospital.
Pain like this has turned mornings into reason to mourn. A contradiction from when I was recovering at the hospital, drugged up on anti-depressants and painkillers. Then mornings meant something more than they had before the accident. They meant a fresh start; a new beginning; they meant hot tea and an appreciation for life. And now that I'm back at home, as my brain heals, each new day is spent lying in my bed trying to remember the intricacies of my life, details from my injury, and cataloging the newest pain in my body. If it's not my arm, it's my knees, or my back. The pain, the confusion have turned waking into the hardest part of the day; the hardest part of my life.