Beginning the Change

A few weeks ago I spotted this sign whilst walking in Glasgow; at the time it was humorously applicable to my situation—now it seems prophetic.

I’ve received a lot of email wishing me well and asking further questions.

I am very sore; however, I used to practice Aikido and I’m not so much more sore than if someone had devised a particularly unpleasant technique that involved getting thrown down in a really wrong way…and then taken the mat away…and that was the technique we practised for several hours. I will probably seek out some therapy in the incoming weeks.

There is some pain; my left arm hit against something and it’s tender. However, I was saying to Mom yesterday that everything prepares one for something else. If you’ll remember, I once had a fourteen inch steel bar underneath my ribcage—I know something about pain so a bump on the arm isn’t really an issue (I’m not trying to sound macho there I just have some perspective—and a bottle of Motrin. I wish I still had Vioxx; if only it had not been banned).

I’m at my parents house where I will stay for the moment to recover; for those of you who have not been following my visa woes, I just returned to the States from Scotland about a week and a half ago.

There were a couple unfortunate comments posted on other websites concerning the driver of the truck. He, as is often the case in accidents like this, had no physical injury. A few people noted that, “this was a shame.” I do not at all think so; regardless of legal fault for the accident, the man is a human being who has value in himself and to others. There is no need to belittle him as a person because of the situation we found ourselves joined in; he was the first to me after the accident and, I think, he was more agitated than I (of course, I was covered in blood from a cut on my head, pinned inside underneath his trailer and the car looked like…well, see the pictures). I knew I was okay but he was probably thinking that he had caused someone’s death; that’s going to be a heavy burden to process. I hardly got to see anything on the scene (the paramedics had me immobilised and would not let me look around at all). My whole experience was very “localised”; he got to walk around and consider more what could have been. I know this must have shaken him as he was taken away with chest pains—so give the man his own space to deal with this.

When the initial impact happened and I began to spin around I relaxed (I consciously thought, “relax”). I went limp and (instinctively or from some momentum) bent over into the passenger seat. If I had not done this—the top of the car was torn off and then, as you can see in a couple of the pictures, the pylon that supports the roof went right into the driver’s headrest. Also, when I opened my eyes, there were pipes and hoses from the undercarriage of the trailer in front of me between the seat and where the windshield used to be (the firemen were contemplating having to cut them off to get to me). So, again, had anything not happened exactly as it did, this would have ended very differently.

Someone asked last night, “what did it sound like?” I attempted to describe it but, thinking about it now, that sound may be something that only people who experience it should hear—and then not relate to others. That sound is now imprinted into my mind and will never go away. That sound is something I may need to recall at times to keep me on track. That sound is mine alone; it would do no service to others. That sound was almost my end. One can offer one’s life to others, but only I can experience my death; I know now what that might sound like.

As a side note, for the past couple weeks, I’ve been reading Judith Hermann’s Trauma and Recovery which covers PTSD. This was in preparation for discussions at the BuildaBridge Institute (as we deal with traumatised children); however, once again, it’s another synchronicity of my life.