The Accident: it is capitalized (and underlined) not just because it’s the title of this post, but because… well, it just deserves to be capitalized. Some things need to be; I suppose that eventually they fade into the background of time, but sometimes they stay significant. This is one of them.
It was April 14th, 2001: the beginning of a new century, and the day before tax day. It also happened to be the day we here in Canada call “Easter Saturday”: the day between Good Friday and Easter. I was living in Little Rock, Arkansas at that point. I was travelling home from work and was caught in a serious downpour: less than a mile from home I was going around a curve in the road, lost control and hydroplaned into a bridge support. You can see the impact on my car: right on the driver’s side door. The car was obviously totalled. I did not fare much better.
I was in a coma for six weeks after that; I had a variety of broken bones (from collarbone to ribs to pelvis) which all healed before I woke up. I suffered from ARDS: twice. My family all travelled from Canada to Arkansas: what an introduction to the South. The prognosis ranged widely: some predicted that I would not live at all, others said that I would lose much of my cognitive function. (It can be fun to prove the doctors wrong.)
The picture above is the only one that I know that was taken. You see, I’m the picture guy. And they’re always of someone else: not me. Things were so touch and go that my mother did not want any pictures taken, just in case things didn’t turn out and they were reminders of a bad time. My sister (who was known for “accidentally” tripping over my chest tube: several times) took this one while mom wasn’t looking.
I woke up on May 29th of that year: completely missing the spring in Arkansas (my favourite time of year). I was in full-time therapy for the next month, re-learning how to walk and talk and eat and get dressed and hold a conversation: it is amazing what we take for granted about even the simplest things in life. I am a TBI survivor: Traumatic Brain Injury. It took several years for me to fully recover, and most people don’t notice that my left arm doesn’t go straight all the way (like any part of me does…!) or that I get tired easily or can’t keep my balance. It’s all a matter of perspective, and this taught me a lot about the way we can look at things. It is the one thing that is always in our power.