Near misses are ubiquitous. I nearly died twice, that I’m aware of – those really close calls. When I was 19 I felt the breeze of a motorcycle as I almost stepped into its speeding path crossing a busy street, but my sister pulled me back from disaster. The motorcyclist stopped and, visibly shaken, asked if I was alright. I had no idea what had nearly happened – only that I felt a slight breeze and didn’t understand why my sister tugged on me. It was only reflecting later that I had a stomach drop realizing I narrowly missed disaster, if not death.
That same summer I toppled over while attempting a yoga pose that I thought I should be advanced enough to do, hearing a couple of crunches in my neck as I landed. I stayed there nearly an hour before my sister got home, fearing a broken neck. Luckily, but also unluckily, I didn’t break my neck, but I did damage two discs, which caused great intermittent pain ever since, but I finally had surgery a few years ago when my spinal column had become so thin that I was in danger of paralysis.
I waited ten years, hoping that advances in surgery would make a complicated and dangerous surgery less complicated and dangerous, but achieved the opposite. Replacement discs were available once I finally had surgery, but my neck was so bad I was no longer a candidate for them…
I lost two major nerves from my neck due to that surgery, but not because of surgeon negligence. He was an amazing surgeon who did a fantastic job with a super delicate surgery. It took nearly a year before I had any use of my arm, which dangled from its socket, causing a frozen shoulder, and considerable pain, as well as years of physical therapy which I am still doing. I am chronically weak in my left arm, but I can move it now, and went from only able to lift 3 lbs to now lifting 8 lbs, while my right arm can press 30 lbs.
It took EMS, or electro-magnetic stimulation, to fire the muscle fibers in my atrophied arm while the nerves grew back. It felt like a gang of bees stinging me, but I gained muscle back.
My one criticism of the surgery was after-care. I found out about EMS on my own, not from the surgical department. I also found a neurological chiropractor trying an experimental therapy which greatly improved my progress, but I found out about that from a spiritual healer, not my regular chiropractor, or other medical practitioners.
I also found out about Tong Ren from my spiritual healer friend, which also helped, but not as much as the mirroring technique from the neurological chiropractor. He told me I lost valuable healing time because it was over two months before learning about EMS, time which the EMS could have been most beneficial. The neurological chiropractor directed me to experimental mirroring, where I would stand with my left shoulder against and somewhat behind a free-standing mirror so that when I looked in the mirror, my brain registered my right arm as my left arm.
I could feel my left arm responding to the exercises I was doing with my right arm, which was pretty cool, but because the nerves were renewing, I still couldn’t move my arm on its own.
Losing motion in my arm gave me great respect for my neurological system and the billions of motions we accomplish from thought to nerve firing. We are truly fantastic machines.
But we are also fragile machines. We are so easily wiped out, either by disease, by congenital disorders, by accident, or by life’s hostilities, such as animal attacks and poisoning, natural disasters, or ourselves, and other humans.
Especially ourselves and other humans. How many times have any of us driven, or been riding in a vehicle, and come a millisecond, or a mere inch from disaster? We all know of those not so lucky, or are perhaps among those not so lucky, but survived.
I think this post is about gratitude for how long I’ve endured, and acknowledgement of how amazing it is any of us make it out of childhood or young adulthood – before our frontal lobes are fully developed – and even after we’re fully connected in our brains and still do stupid things that we barely escape serious or life-ending consequences for.
Life-ing is hard. Be good to yourself – and others (as much as possible).
© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current