Monday, July 23, 2007

ACCIDENT ANXIETY

RETHINKING THE INCIDENT. Since the mountain bike accident that messed up my torso pretty significantly four weeks ago, I've relived it a few times. I've found myself envisioning heading up that trail bridge. I try to figure out how I got crooked on it at its peak and how I landed. I never lost consciousness in the fall, but I can't yet quite put together these specific details. I must have landed on my upper back with my legs and hips over me, because upon landing I immediately folded like a billfold--thus the broken shoulder blades, processes, ribs and compressed vertebrae in my upper back and the separated sternum in the front. But I don't know for sure. I just wince at the virtual visual of it.

HELMET, CAMELBACK & FRIENDS. I've been thinking, also, of the saving value of wearing both my helmet and my Camelback that day. I always wear a helmet. Only occasionally do I wear a water-filled backpack. A Camelback is not intended to be a safety item; it is intended to be a source of hydration on the trail. Because of how I fell and landed, however, I'm convinced it cushioned the impact and prevented much worse damage. Also, I ride solo 95% of the time; on June 20th, however, two friends--one whom I'd never ridden with before--were with me. To me, they were angels that day.

SPINE NIGHTMARE. Recently, I had a nightmare about my spine. I dreamed that I moved the wrong way and one of the two compressed vertebrae in my back--or fragments from one of them--somehow severed my spinal cord, leaving me paralyzed. Wow! Talk about waking up in a cold sweat and feeling for my hands and feet! Such is part of the post-trauma ordeal, I suppose. I called a physician friend who's seen my accident data and medical reports and asked him about the possibility of this actually happening. Extremely slim to zero, he told me. I'm breathing easier with that assurance. "Shape your worries into prayers," the Bible says. So, I do. I continue to wear the torso brace, take the prescribed medications, move carefully, get good information, and pray for a full and speedy recovery.

BEING STILL OR GOING STIR CRAZY? The Bible says, "Be still and know that I am God." I am trying, I am trying. And I am going stir crazy. "Quit trying; just do it," someone advises. Hmmm. I'm having trouble equating my temporary forced immobility with the contextual intent of those "be still" passages in the Bible. Good exegesis and responsible hermeneutics won't let that equation stand. But I am being relatively still. And I am praying and contemplating thru this part of my journey. While my immobility makes me feel relatively useless regarding what I typically would be doing, it also challenges me to consider who and what I am in relationship to God, to my family, friends, the church, community and world apart from my actions. I think of Christina Rosetti's line regarding Joseph at the occasion of Jesus' birth: "Don't just do something, stand there." Easier said than done.

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