Saturday, 15 November 2008

A far cry from independance......

Eleven weeks in hospital has been tough going, there's been a fair share of soul searching, but little dwelling on the past. I may have made a bit of a mess of myself, but right from the start I was determined to recover, without too much delay! Wallowing in sorrow wasn't going to get me anywhere, besides, the nursing staff generally have enough on their hands without needing to run around for me all the time. And so developed a stubborn determination to be Mr Independant! Trying, with great effort, but trying constantly. I had to be like that, I had to struggle, manage to do the simplest of things for myself. Each miniscule task, painstakingly overcome, was a minor triumph. Considering I had to be spoon fed initiallly there was a lot of room for improvement, there was no point in looking back, forward was the only way. Though reflecion on my initial level of incapacity has helped remind me of progress. (Photo's: TURKEY - Mountain pass; towards the Kakar mountains. Rock dwellings; Goreme, Cappadocia. [below] 2 beasts of burden; Nemrut Dagli, ).

The first weeks may have been the toughest in many respects, but my determination was fresh. I was told to look towards Easter for anywhere near full recovery, even now that seems ages away; yet I've come so far! Hey, two months ago I was ecstatic because I managed to wipe my own arse (fanny for US friends. For UK folks, no I haven't had a sex change). And now? I'm up and about on crutches, supposedly using my wheelchair when tired; at least I did while still in hospital. I've persisted with crutches only since getting home three days ago! Today (Saturday) was the first day I've woken and not felt a deep ache in my knees. Not to worry though, it allowed me to be more aware of how much my wrists and fore arms ache. Aah, poor me!! (Photo's [One above and two below]: NORWAY - Jutenheim Pass; on a Guzzi V50. Trondeim; Waterfront propoerties. Lufuten Islands; mid-night sun.)

How many times have I had to relate what injuries I sustained, and how I got them? OK, it involved all my limbs, it happened on my tour bike! Too many details to waste my time writing about them here, catch up with me some day, I'll tell you all the gorey details! In hospital patients give their diagnosis as a means of introducing themselves, even vying for pole position, just who should be pitied most? For the last few weeks I've withdrawn out of this tradition, content to lay flat out, exercising my limbs. At first it felt somehow good to exchange medical conditions, it was the norm, but there is only so much of other people's suffering you can take! It takes energy to heal, as the weeks passed I found I had less for other people, I had to serve my own needs first. What little I had would often be spent leaving the ward, wheeling myself about hospital in search of some head space; the chapel proved peaceful, little chance of being disturbed there.

Other patients could make or break my day in hospital; a constant, good humoured, banter proved uplifting, a real pleasure. But even then it could turn sour, all it took was for one person to introduce a disruptive attitude and the mood could plummet. On more than one occasion did I have to bear witness to this. It intensifies the dynamics of normal life, and you can't just avoid it, you're stuck there, embroiled in the turmoil of others. An exceptional patient was one who would take responsibility for themselves, not thrust it on the various staff. Ok, I concede, the staff are there to care for your clinical welfare; but dammit, not your whole life. It is your own fault if injuries worsen through lack of exercise, or attempting the wrong actions. Suffer the consequences, don't blame your carers! (Photo's [two above & one below]: AMERICAS - Approaching the Glacier fields; Canada. Cliff Dwellings; Mesa Verde, Colorado. Giant cactii; Baja Desert, Mexico).

Laying in an agonised heap by the roadside is not an experience that ever needs repeating, it can have a profound effect on one's outlook of life. It was instantly obviousd I wouldn't be walking away from this one for a while. Once the extent of injuries became apparent my mind went into a whirl, how the hell was I gonna tackle this one? With time, effort and patience was the only answer. Long haul or not, it was up to me to recover and get back to a semblance of fitness. It brought the fight back out of me! I'd about given up on bothering about anything, life post accident meant only one thing, recovering. At last I had to think about my own wellbeing, as the central focus in life; not a guilt ridden claim, spoken but never achieved. This has given me the reason to continue, to accept my life is worth living for myself, not dependant on the affection of others to feel complete. No need to shun that affection, it can be the nicest thing in the world. If you live for that alone you have no life of your own, which is fine if that's what you want! I need to take responsibility for my own life, not hand it over to other people. And I mean emotionally and physically!

All the photos shown above have been taken while touring on two wheels. I don't ride to provide a target for other road users, I ride for the thrill and adventure. Generally, if I take care and treat my bike well, it will do the same for me. But not always, there are few gaurantees in life!

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