Let’s get this party started…

Posted: April 1, 2014 in Coffee Break Entertainment
Tags: ,

For a guy who hasn’t been on a bike in over twenty months, I’ve been on a heckuva ride. Ups, downs, and everything in between has been the norm, and is still something I’m not used to-maybe I never will be. All that aside, I am finally reaching a point in my recovery where I can speak freely about this here on this blog, and also have consistent energy with which to make fairly regular postings. Yes, pain has been a mainstay of my life since then. More pain, in fact, than I could ever have imagined, and for longer than I’d ever thought possible. However, that’s how it went, and that sometimes how it still goes. And while I’ve yet to sleep a full night-a chunk of 2-3 hours is a lot for me-I somehow managed to stay on this side of psychotic. Understandably, my energy levels-and my corresponding sanity-has long felt pretty sketchy.

In his book It’s Not about the Bike, Lance Armstrong details his victorious battle with cancer, among other things. When I first read that book 5 or so years ago, I was pretty sure that its title had something to do with the kind of bike he was riding. A pro racer like Armstrong, I figured, could get his hands on pretty much any bike he wanted, no matter it’s cost, or the exotic composites used to make it, or whatever. Therefore, I took the book’s title as implying something along the lines that “Lance is so great it doesn’t matter what bike he is on…”

But now, I understand what the title really means, and it has nothing to do with a bicycle at all. After all, when it comes to life-and-death issues-like cancer, or car accidents, for example-material things like bicycles don’t matter one bit. In fact, no amount of money or pile of material goods matters at all when you’re lying in an ER, drugged up on painkillers with your life completely out of your control and in the hands someone whose face is hidden behind a white mask. Whether you realize it at the time or not-I sure didn’t-there can be nothing quite like that, nothing at all, and no matter who you are, sooner or later you can’t help but realize there’s a lesson to be learned from it. And it’s not a lesson that comes from the pain; rather it’s because of the pain.

In my case, I have learned from this experience both sooner and later, though the lessons I’ve learned have been very different. Early on, my lessons were more physical in nature; I couldn’t believe that within just a few days of my accident, I had been in my best physical condition ever, able to ride for hours on end and to conquer 14,000 foot plus mountain peaks on my bike. Clearly, my definition of “pain” before the crash was very different than afterward, the only similarities being that they both involved a bike and a cuss word at the moment of impact!

But seriously, although I was afraid to let it come to the forefront of my mind at the time, I had an uneasy feeling that I would spend much of the foreseeable future watching all that muscle and aerobic capacity winnow away while my body fought to regain a foothold on my injuries. Eventually, though, my body prevailed, and overcame each injury little by little, and one by one. Now, I am left with one remaining injury-nerve damage to my left arm that renders it unusable. It will take some time, I’m sure, before the final judgment will be made as to whether or not-or how much-I will get back. As the title of Armstrong’s book might’ve read if he were in my shoes, It’s Not About the Arm. But this is the place where my adventure really begins…

For some time, I have been able to actually enjoy my physical predicament by making jokes about it, sometimes unbeknownst to strangers, and sometimes unbeknownst even to me. For example, someone once asked me how I was doing, and I replied “I’m all right…” “Ha, ha, ha, that’s very funny, I get it,” he said. And I said “You know what, I get it too, and it is pretty funny!” Ever since then, silly puns like that (and much, much worse!) have come and gone, offering a little comic relief when I probably would’ve needed it anyways, no matter how many usable arms I had. “Can you give me a hand,” and “I’m feeling left out” are a couple of my other favorites.

But make no mistake-before running out and inflicting terrible pain upon yourself and rendering one of your arms or legs useless, keep in mind that it isn’t the laugh party that I am making it out to be; fun and games, maybe, but laugh party? No way. At least not yet!

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