What a stunning 365 days of agony, despair, elation, and frustration.
Most seem to recognize their mortality with a very small percentage of their total "life" left.
I know when I worked in the Emergency Room in Washington DC for those years that I saw lots of people die... and usually their families were stunned by the persons death. If their death was stunning, I thought, then probably the person that passed on was even more surprised.
As today is my first anniversary of being run down by that horrible driver "Mr. Chen" ... I look back on the year.
Today I find myself in a much better situation than I was sixty days ago - I haven't used crutches for weeks (except when traveling far distances ... like airports or train stations) and my pain is to a much more tolerable level. Yes, I still have a lot of pain - usually in my hip area, frequently in my knee, as well as in my foot, and occasionally about 3 inches above my ankle (where the bones must still be healing).
"But I'm alive"
My mantra is a good one - and IMO a positive one. Yes, I certainly am alive. The pain (grin) reminds me of that.
My bones have not completely healed - apparently that will take about two years from my last surgery (June 2009) - and I've got the damaged hip to deal with (some of talked of doing a hip replacement... I'm of the 'grin and bear it' school myself).
I've only fallen to the ground four times... which probably reads as either hysterical or horrific - depending upon your imagination. I'm 6' 1" (187 cms) and 215 lbs (99kg) ... and the 'falling' to the ground is much more like 'catastrophic failure' (think the World Trade Towers collapse) ... versus a slow "ooops - owww - ahhh - aiiiii- bannnng - boooom".
The first time was when I stepped backwards while in a bookstore in Hong Kong and a little child was there. When I felt his foot under mine, I tried to react (pushing with the bad leg to move myself away). My knee buckled, the books in my hand went flying, and I twisted like a cat falling from a tree branch in an effort to NOT land on top of the 18mo old. The child was fine, the mother laughed a nervous grin, and I sat on the floor in agony, yet happy that I'd not hurt anyone but myself.
The other memorable time was the day after my HP Laptop DV9550 was repaired. I was carrying it ... and my knee buckled, my laptop went flying, and I landed on the ground in agony. Unfortunately, the screen of my laptop didn't fare as well as the little kid in the bookstore. One word = Shattered.
I'm making headway paying for it - yes, still paying for it. There were, after all, more than twenty hours of surgery (the normal operation lasts around an hour). I think I only owe around US 7,000 now....
In almost every way I wish I had the accident in the USA - as I'd be a multi millionaire twice: once due to the accident itself, and once due to the medical malpractice performed by the Director of Orthopedics at Taichung's China Medical University.
By and large though, I am starting to wonder about the more practical aspects of my future... like:
- should I buy customized shoes, as my left leg is shorter than my right
- how do I 'keep myself' from running - especially if I have comfortable shoes - as the doctors have threatened me that the impact of me running will snap my lower leg again even though there's a rod in it (the rod will apparently shear off)
- how long is too long before I consider more surgery on my hip
I realized in the shower this morning that my 2009 Christmas present was the realization that life is more precious than 99.999% of us remember on a daily basis.... Idiots like Mr. Chen - not watching where he's going and 'assuming no one' would be in front of him (without looking) SOLELY because he was late to work are great examples of this.
Sit and watch people on the street. Look for that one that is truly happy to be meandering along. They're hard to find. Remind yourself to be happy you're alive, well - regardless of your circumstances.
I do my best to be elated by my experience - it beats the crap out of being depressed and miserable.
Guangzhou, China, the workshop of the world.