WEEK 48 – THE LAST SHOT
No trumpet voluntary was sounded. No brightly colored ribbon hung loosely to be broken by the finisher. No crowd was waiting and applauding the moment. Without pomp, without fanfare, without ceremony, the last round came and went as if nothing happened.
Approximately one year ago, a nice young person came to my house with a kit and presentation of how to administer the medications necessary to fight off the virus that had taken up residence in my body. With a minimal amount of instruction, I performed the first installment of Interferon to myself, and awaited the gruelling effects of a new type of invader. I recall the next 24 + hours of gut wrenching emotional baggage spill-out from the evasive little monster that controlled my ambitions and attitudes. Somehow in the chaos of that, I was finding where the truth was hiding. It was the beginning of coming back. Yesterday, calmly, uneventfully I played out the same old routine as I had for the past year without pomp or fanfare. It was the last shot, an anticlimactic one more time type of thing. What the hell…it had become as routine as a cup of coffee in the morning. All the same, something new had taken over as the latest in the series of life’s hurdles. Two weeks ago, at 5:30 in the afternoon, on the 210 freeway, I crashed my bike and sustained a fracture in the lumbar region of my spine. The next 5 days were spent in the hospital, and now, two weeks later, I regroup for yet another fight to pick up the pieces. No self-pity here, just to be alive is the greatest gift I could ever ask for. My family was spared from my death, which easily might have been the case. I survived without being paralyzed or requiring amputations. I’ve lived to write this blog and tell you all what is on my mind, and try to make sense of why anything happens as it does. So, here it is. Whether one takes the long road or now road, our lives are precious gifts and whatever it takes to repair and rebuild them is our duty and trust. If we could just look around and see the grace and perfection of what we’ve been entrusted with, we might see things through the eyes of a better being. The people, the animals, the Earth, the sea, and the sky, the mystery of the universe, the ever- growing mind of the human species, it is for all of that we must take responsibility.
As I flew through the air, in that fleeting moment, I knew I had lost everything, and my fate was about to be written on the pavement. I braced for the unknown. The next several seconds are a blur of impact and out of control tumbling down on the rock hard freeway pavement. YEOOOW! I rolled to an abrupt stop and glanced forward just in time to see my bike crashing up the road at an exit ramp. It seemed to be at least a quarter mile away. The next few moments told whether I would live or die on that road. I couldn’t move myself to get out of the lane. I was scared. A guy stopped his car in the middle of the freeway and created a small roadblock. A few more cars stopped, and soon a small group of people were standing around me and telling me to not move. Someone was patting my arm in a nervous but comforting manner. I knew I would live. I had struck an errant muffler that fell off a truck and appeared with no time to react. During the tumble, I felt my helmet strike the roadway. I was hysterically calm. I felt a disabling pain in my back, but being able to move my feet a little gave me hope that I wasn’t paralyzed. When the chips are down people, we rush to aid our stricken brothers, because something in each of us is undeniably godlike. I wish to thank those passing motorists who came to my aid, whoever they may be. I asked the guy closest to me to call Angela on my cell phone, which he bravely did. When he passed the phone to me, I told her I wrecked my bike, but I was probably going to be alright. A few minutes later the paramedics arrived and a new kind of chaos started. Well, that’s most of it. I spent 5 days at a great hospital and by now I’m on my way to a complete recovery.
Angela would come to my hospital bedside every morning with reports of scads of well wishing emails. They came from people I’d never met and old pals from many years ago. I was overwhelmed with gratitude, and still am. I never imagined how much support I have from so many people. And, of course, my wife and life partner, Angela Davis, and our family, give me the will to stay the course until all the battles are won. I love you all.