Life In The Slow Lane...
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San Diego, CA, United States
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.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What Woods?

I'm back on the beat, sure I might have missed a step or two, or my strides are a bit uneven, but nonetheless, I'm back writing. It feels good. My confidence has taken a beating, but it feels good. Today, I was speaking to someone whose best friend and roommate had been hit by an eighteen-wheeler while riding his bike to work. He was pinned under the tire, and dragged for twenty feet. He is now in the hospital, shattered pelvis, intubated, sedated.

Turns out he is at the same hospital, the same ICU trauma room I was in. Over the phone, as his friend cautiously explained his condition, I pictured that room, that square room with beds running the perimeter and the nurses station in the middle. I pictured the beds, the curtains used for privacy. As he spoke, I pictured walking through the ICU after getting my head screwed back on. I remembered the beds, the people in them. I saw old, young, I saw grieving family members crying near their loved one's bedside. I saw legs and arms suspended in mid air by slings. I heard heart monitors and moans, the slurping sounds of lung suctions.

After the interview, I visited the blog that the injured man's sister started. In it, she wrote her brother's condition was improving, though doctors had told her family that he was "not out of the woods."

I stopped at those words in quotations. It's the same phrase those very trauma doctors used for me. The same phrase my family, my wife, and my friends had to take home. It upset me to think that's the reality of it all. That even the doctors, however equipped and knowledgeable they are, are never sure how things will turn out. It bothers me to think that I exited those proverbial woods, albeit a bit weaker, more irritable, and with a battered libido, but others won't exit the same woods. It bothers me that other people, other families will see the same experience, hear the same sounds, process those same cliches, and pray for an exit from those woods that the doctors refer to.

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