De-railed

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Sunday was cold and wet, with languid flakes of icy snow/slush coming down. Mac left the apartment around 9 am to bike around the lake and I procrastinated, checking e-mail, doing dishes, etc. Finally got my butt out the door and slogged a 6 mile run, and when I got back a little before noon, I was a bit surprised that he wasn’t home yet.

The phone rang just minutes later and on the other line: I had an accident. I fell off my bike. I hit my head and I’m in the hospital.

The words just didn’t compute. In the past, he has called me with various cycling problems – bad weather, flat tire, whatever. But this time an accident. An accident. His front tire clipped a brick curb and threw him over the handlebars and his head broke the fall. He was in traffic and at speed, but fortunately flew onto the right side pavement and not in front of the bus that was behind him. He was unconscious and a woman passing by held something to his head until the ambulance arrived.

I cringe when I reread these words. His skull broke his fall. The precious container of all that I love – his mind. Full of his ideas, emotions and all his memories – what makes him who he is to me.

Concussion, stitches on his forehead and nose, and his right eye swollen shut, but he is okay. Head is purple and bloody and scraped and scary looking. But everything checks out as normal. Two days in hospital. Rest is prescribed – no work, no stress, limited screens.

Our external injuries can be obvious, but the sly organ of the brain lies in darkness, the master controller, and we are never privy to it’s complex inner workings. We can monitor to see the progression of healing of muscles, bones, contusions. But what do we know about how our brain heals?

I don’t think it scars, but if it doesn’t, what does it do? Such an enigma, almost ominous. This dark, shadowy place that even a CAT scan can’t fully illuminate. What’s really happening in there?

I was just beginning to find my flow here in Zug, writing and exploring and feeling my way. But Sunday, I felt like my train jumped the tracks, brought these little exploits to a jarring halt. And now here I am, at a little rest stop, shall we say. Funny thing, we never really know what the next stop on the rail will be, we just think we do, with our GPS devices and our meticulously thought-out plans.

So tonight – pull the brakes, I’m staying in, and lying on the couch and maybe finding some soccer on tv.  And I’m looking into the busted up face of my beloved, my partner, my friend, and I’m thanking God he is still alive. And I’m closing my eyes to imagine that big, beautiful brain of his. Bruised, shaken, traumatized, but healing — just like the two of us.

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