Running Pt. II
I began 2007 in a hospital bed. My right leg wasn't allowed in its joint, so my acetabulum, which had been fractured, and my femur had to be forceable held out of place. The doctors accomplished this by drilling two holes in my knee on the outside, screwing in some pins and attaching ropes and 5 lb. sacks of water, which were slung over the footrest, pulling my ball socket out of my hip. They weren't allowed touch because I'd shattered the pelvis, and until the surgeons put it back together my pelvis was like a shale jigsaw, not the best place to wedge a bone in. This kept me on my back, literally, weeks where I couldn't shift to the side to sleep, or shift at all; I felt like a marooned turtle. My lung had collapsed so breathing was hard, but worse I'd broken some ribs, and my back, the lower traverse lumbar, which is where the muscle hooks onto the spine, and with the lung I kept coughing, which the cracked ribs and back didn't like, my entire body spasming, seizing up, sending a searing pain through my chest almost as bad as when Amy Krois stopped returning my calls.
It was worse than that, really. My leg had turned a funky shade of blue, which despite doctors assuring me was perfectly normal, brought back horrible memories of almost losing my hand to junk that one time. Speaking of junk, it was pretty funny after the accident. They scrape me from my bike, and my girl from the bushes, where she'd landed after I laid the motorcycle down, whisking us away in separate ambulances. All this, a haze. The car came at us so fast, I'd reacted so fast, and then we're on the ground, and I'm bleeding from my head, and I can see my girlfriend on her knees, sort of hunched over, and I just want to see that she's alive, and I actually get up and walk a good distance toward her, because she was flung pretty far, and I hear her moaning but I can't say anything, because I can feel my insides torn and busted to shit, and how I'm able to walk on a broken leg and shattered pelvis, I'm guessing adrenaline, and then a motorist who'd stopped takes me by the shoulder and tells me to sit down because I am spitting up blood.
So in the ambulance, they've got me strapped to a gurney, and I am in and out, and when I keep asking if my girlfriend is all right, and one of the EMTs goes, "Don't worry about your girlfriend. She's doing a helluva lot better than you." Then I see them drawing up some medicine, and I'm, like, "I'm a recovering addict; I can't have morphine," and the EMT sort of chuckles and says, "You need morphine."
In the hospital, I find out my girlfriend is OK, a bruised tailbone, walked out of the ER on her own. She comes to see me, shaken obviously, but more worried about me, and you can see how fucked up you are by the expression on other's faces, no matter what they say. It hurts just to be, even with the morphine they pump nonstop. I'd later see, via some photographs taken, that another reason it hurts is that my back is one black slab, all the blood burst inside me spreading to the surface behind my skin, which is rippled red road rash.
People come to see me, including my brother and sister, who drive straight through from CT, a 20+ hour drive to Miami, and my friend Christopher makes me homemade macaroni and cheese, and sends out daily e-mail updates, in which my maneuvering of the motorcycle to spare my girlfriend takes on superheroic proportions, and I am not going to set it him straight that she was spared by the hand of God. Or luck, depending on your beliefs and/or superstitions.
They have to wait several days for things to settle before they can operate and reconstruct humpty, and I am a turtle with a blue leg, and I know I will eventually break-up with my girlfriend, because a man has to protect his woman, and even if this archaic, it is deeply engrained, in both of us, and though I may not be consciously cognizant of this fact, it adds to the weight dragging me down.
By the time I am released, she's gone, back to California, because it was long-distance relationship, and she has school. She'd flown in a day before the accident, December 30, 2006.
My brother and sister stay with me, then my sister leaves for school, leaving my brother to put me in the shower. He jokes that he never expected to see my ball sac so many times. Then he leaves, too. And I am left in my wheelchair.
And the doctors say I won't be able to walk for at least six months. Non-weight barring. It'll be wheelchair, walker, crutches, cane, and then I can try walking in a pool, because water makes one weigh half as much. And running? Probably not a smart idea. Ever again. But we can't even talk about it for years.
My best friend, Rich, and I go running every Saturday. Last year we ran Bay to Breakers, 7 and half miles. I did it in 1:17. Not great, about ten-minute miles. But all things considered, I'll take it.
We're planning on going again this year, if they have it. The sponsor, ING, pulled out after last year's event because of all the drinking and nudity. Seriously, half the challenge of the B to B is getting out of the sea of bopping naked schlongs.
Rich is also my next-door neighbor in Berkeley. We live near the aquatic park, so there are lot of trails and paths from which to choose, but most offer a spectacular view of San Francisco perched on its hills over the bay.
And every time I round the bend, my restricted right hip taking the pounding in stride, both keeping it limber and shortening its lifespan, it feels pretty fucking good to be alive.