Friday, October 15, 2010
I've been very active for years. I've been a gym rat for more than 20 years, mastered all the cardio machines,earned trophies for bench press. More recently I took up cycling, and riding 60-70 miles at a time got to be no big deal. All of which combined to make me extraordinarily frustrated at my weight issues. I have a healthy diet, primarily fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. I looked at the other women I ride with, or the slender women in the gym who weren't working half as hard as I was, and I felt horribly bitter at the unfairness of it. For the life of me I don't know how I get so heavy and why all my attempts at trimming down failed. I was healthy as could be and knew the value of it, but my body image was simply miserable and it affected me every day.
And then it hit me. "It" being a Honda Civic. I got hit by a car.
On Thursday, September 30, I was out for a pleasant after-work bike ride, a 15-mile route that I do often. I was about four miles from home heading eastbound on a low-traffic street when I entered an intersection. A westbound car approached to turn left. Instead of yielding the right of way, he made his turn and hit me broadside. Didn't see me. I remember the impact to my leg. I don't remember sliding across the hood and taking out his windshield with my helmet. I remember everything after that, and it wasn't pretty.
Five days and two surgeries later I came home. I have a titanium rod in my leg and won't be able to put any weight on it for another six weeks, getting around the house with a walker and anywhere else in a wheelchair. I have a fracture to the C2 vertebra in my neck and must wear a cervical collar for three months. I can't drive till that comes off. I can't exert any force on my neck (which means nearly none to my upper body at all.) It's hard to lift my arms around the collar so I can't bathe or necessarily even dress myself. Someone is with me full time. Life as I know it is on hold for three months. Cancel everything I had planned through the end of the year. And yes, I am very aware it could have been much worse, though I don't let myself dwell on that.
I'm two weeks into the journey of recovery and have two and a half months to go, which from here seems an eternity. Being fit and strong to start with is making all the difference.
I'm still looking for the lesson, the silver lining in this cloud. My mother is my primary caregiver now, so maybe down the road I'll appreciate the extra time I'm spending with her. Maybe it will be appreciation for the outpouring of love and support I've received from the people around me. Maybe something else, I have no idea.
One thing is certain. I am in awe that my body can take a direct hit from thousands of pounds of moving steel and be able to come out of it. I may never be happy with my thighs, but my body is handling something I never dreamed it would have to take. I have a respect for it that I wouldn't have had before. It may not look the way I want it to, but it performs. I will always remember that.