Monday, December 13, 2010

That long and winding road...

The road of recovery is a long and tortured one, it would seem. Yet no two days are ever the same. It's been five months and three weeks since the accident. There are days when I feel genuinely good. Days when I toy with the idea, the "eventuality" of my return to the saddle.

I can feel myself hurtling down the road, the hot sun and a warm breeze in my face... the sweet smell of freshly mown lawns and wildflowers forced up my nostrils and over the top of my brain. I am weightless and limber. I am once more as one with my trusty steed and that endless black ribbon. It is a most glorious rĂªverie.

Then there are the days which are not so good. Days when I totter around my room pained and stiff. Legs and hips barely cooperating with one another. My arms still hopelessly weak... These are the days when I cannot see past the despair and where I berate myself for even thinking such lofty thoughts. I try to visualize myself pushing a 748 lb. motorcycle, or even holding it up. Such thoughts seem so foolish on days like this. I find myself doubting that I have that amount of "amazing" left in me.

But even after five and a half months, I have to reconcile myself to the fact that I have only begun this journey. I have only started going down this road to recovery. In a year or two, I should have a better idea of where I stand in the overall scheme of things. Until then, there is much work to do. And that is simply in order to become functional. Let alone to think about responding to the siren call of The Road.

Monday, December 6, 2010

It's been a while...

So here it is, December 06. Exactly 2 months since my last entry and a little over 5 months since the accident. It seems so far away now and my present situation feels as though I'm spinning my wheels in time. It's like that Bill Murray movie "Groundhog Day".

My job is to get better. To eat my meals and convert that protein and other nutrients into muscle, sinew, new skin... to replace that which was destroyed, displaced and atrophied. I attend physio 3 times per week, to have my limbs mobilized, stretched and worked. I now exercise with weights. Leg presses, lateral pull-downs, leg and arm curls, on machines and with free weights. This week I am slated to begin pool therapy on top of that, to further aid in mobilizing my extremities.

I hobble around my room unaided, I do my walking outdoors with a walker and bring along a cane just in case. I am thinking on returning the electric wheelchair, as it will force me to rely on my own legs to get me around. People are inherently lazy. If the chair remains here, I will use it. It's just how I am.

I want to be home for Christmas... I want to get back to work... I want my life back. I want a lot of things and the list is getting longer. My wife's niece sent me a get-well card this week. It arrived here today. On the front, there is a picture of the most adorable little puppy. He looks like a Border Collie mix. I stared at the picture for the longest time. I felt an ache in my heart and that old familiar sadness. Whenever I think of dogs (and I do so quite often...), I invariably think of our dog 'Bailey'.

He was the sweetest black Lab mix, but whose temperament had started to turn as he was afflicted by arthritis and other ailments. I had known him since my wife and I had first got together. He had been her dog but adopted me as his Alpha male. He died one day, while both of us were at work. He succumbed to gastric torsion. So all I could think of at the time, was that he had died an agonizing death, alone and most likely frightened.

About 3 years later, after my better half had spent months perusing dog rescue internet sites, we found and adopted a little terrier mix female by the name of Paisley. We drove to a shelter about 40kms North of Toronto to "just have a look", as my spouse had put it. I don't know who she thought she was fooling... Nobody drives for 12 hours just to go "look" at a dog.

Paisly had been rescued from a puppy mill, where she had been bred and bred, without any regards to her health or welfare. As soon as she saw us, she came limping to us, head low and tail wagging frenetically. She was thin, frail and appeared quite timid. But she wouldn't leave our side. It was as if she knew that we were there to rescue her and give her the home she had always wanted. We had a Dodge van at the time and all the way back, she sat right up front with us, between the two captain chairs. My wife talked to her soothingly, stroking her head, as she leaned against my wife's leg.

She graced our lives for just about a year before she suffered a stroke and eventually had to be released from her suffering. It was an unbearably painful process. While she was with us though, we made sure she had the very best of everything and that every comfort was provided to her. Most of all, we made sure that she always felt the love we had for her.

Nowadays, every time I see a dog I realize how very much I miss having one in my life. Yet with both of us working, it wouldn't be fair to leave a young dog at home all by itself. Dogs are gregarious, unlike their feline counterparts. They thrive on companionship, attention and exercise. They need to be treated and fed as dogs, not as human beings. Otherwise they will lead confused and miserable lives. Cesar Milan said it best: "Exercise, discipline and affection... in that order!"

So yes... I want a lot of things. I want a dependable vehicle to replace my bike. I want to take some time off and travel. I want a decent camera when I do so. I want a gym membership so I can remain healthy and viable as a human being. I want to feel my toes pushing through the hot, Cuban sand this winter... and I want a dog.

I want to hear the click-clicking of nails on the kitchen floor. I want to hear the low: "Ruff!" when there's a knock on the door. I want to feel a snout nuzzling against my hand while I'm lying on the couch watching TV. But most of all, I want to look into a pair of big, watery, devotion filled eyes... and see my smiling face reflected there.

That's not so much to ask, is it...?