Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit
I vaguely recall gingerly walking from the garage to our upstairs family room the day after I was hit by an SUV while riding my bicycle. My body was so bruised from the waist up, it hurt to move – at all. Since my left clavicle was fractured and my right shoulder was separated (though I didn’t realize it at the time), I could only lay down on my back without crying out in pain. I parked myself on the couch recliner and tried not to think of how bad everything hurt.
Since my mouth was in a state of disrepair, it hurt to eat. I was taking pain medication that generally made my stomach match the pain I felt through the rest of my upper body. I gave up on the pain meds. I tried to eat, but my appetite was lost because of the pain from eating. I lost about 15 pounds the first month.
I went to see the doctor about my wrist. He put a cast on it and told me to come back in a month. I saw my dentist and then an oral surgeon to determine how bad my mouth really was. I could tell by the looks on their faces that it wasn’t good. The oral surgeon found the fracture in my upper jaw. He and the dentist wanted to let my teeth settle for another week or two in order to see if the remaining top front teeth would survive. I was warned then that no matter what the plan of action was, it would take a while to heal and have everything back to “normal”. I had no idea how accurate those warnings were at the time.
The most painful event I remember during the first week was trying to change my shirt. Lifting my arms anywhere close to above my shoulders hurt so bad that it brought tears to my eyes. I was determined to change my own shirt. I eventually got my shirt off, but not without a frightening popping noise from one of my shoulders and a yelp followed by more tears. Regardless, I stood there proud that I did the seemingly impossible – taking off my own shirt. It was then that I determined I would wear a consistent uniform of tank tops and full zip hoodies for the foreseeable future. I expect this to become a fashion trend in Silicon Valley any day now.
The days drifted into one another. I was waiting. Waiting for my body to heal. Waiting to see how bad the damage to my mouth really was. Waiting for the day when I could walk without feeling every step sending jolts through my chest, to my shoulders, piercing my neck.
The first week was a haze. I had no expectation of when I would feel better. I only knew how awful I felt. I think it’s important to capture that here as a reminder to myself and for others who might be going through a similar situation. No big lesson other than it hurts and there’s not much you can do about it other than to be patient as you lay there hoping the pain goes away. It does – eventually.
The title of this post comes shamelessly from Courtney Barnett’s pretty fantastic album of the same title.
I’m capturing my journey towards recovery after being hit by an SUV while riding my bicycle on February 8th, 2014. I’ve learned quite a bit along the way and want to share those lessons. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or any other sort of expert in this area. Any insights I provide along the way should be taken as my insights to my particular situation. In other words, seek professional counsel if you find yourself in similar circumstances. See more here.