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.
I used to consider myself a deep thinker. I believed I understood life, death, our place in the universe. I focused on philosophy and acted like I understood what I read. I looked for any opportunity to bring a relatively unknown philosopher's name into conversations as a way to impress people. I did the same with music, books, and movies. I thought it gave meaning to my life.
Years later, I embraced the darkness. I emulated authors such as Bukowski, Hemingway, and Carver. I believed awkwardness and ignorance filled our lives, that we were all on our own personal journey to eternal darkness. And I felt we could never truly understand that journey.
Now, coming up on three weeks after waking from a coma, after initially telling the paramedics that I didn't want to be treated and only wanted to go home and sleep; after they forced me in the ambulance; after nurses and doctors prepared to tell Aimee and my family that I wasn't going to survive my first night in the hospital; after a three week coma and after my throat closed up from Stridor and doctors were forced to perform an emergency tracheotomy, my views on life, and death, have drastically changed.
They say that one of the symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury is an inability to process the present. For the first two weeks after waking from the coma, I told myself I wasn't the same. I said I was different, in better condition, able to think as I had before the fall, before I head-butted the concrete twice in under ten minutes.
Three weeks later, the fact that I almost died on more than one occasion during the past month is just now beginning to sink in. I find my mind trailing off, picturing Aimee reading my journal, tears streaming out of her big, brown eyes and down her soft cheeks. I think of her going through my belongings and giving them away to those in need. I picture her, my brothers, sister, mom and dad, nieces and nephews, in a living room, talking about me, recounting the memories, and remembering the laughs that we shared.
Now, I realize that I am unable to process the present and I see how close I came to death. It sounds so cliche, I know, like it was said in Reality Bites, or some other "deep" nineties movie. It was something that before the fall I wouldn't have uttered, and possibly after I recover, I might not utter again, but for now my philosophy, my one deep thought is that I need to appreciate all that I have, and take nothing for granted because no one really can account for all the cracks in life's sidewalk.