day 730

its time for what may in some form become an annual ritual for the rest of my life: observance of an anniversary of the spinal cord injury visited on me july 11th, 2009. the first installment was written here last year, but even though this one will contain better news, i’m underwhelmed at the prospect of writing it. i hate writing about the injury and it’s subsequent domination of my life, even though my recovery has been something undeniably worth writing about. it bores me. it doesn’t feel creative; it’s just another unwanted part of post-injury life i’d rather do without.

writing is supposed to be cathartic, to help you express and understand your feelings constructively. in the likely event you’re angry with at&t or comcast, sending a profanity-laced missive may help. disillusioned with politics as usual? post snarky commentary on facebook. not sure how to tell your spouse how in love you are (never a problem for me!)? write a love letter.

grinding through an unbelievably difficult recovery from an unfair and devastatingly debilitating injury? oops. who do you write to about that one??

the answer is i write to you. i don’t do it in the belief that it will directly make me feel better, but rather in the hope that it will make you feel better; better about yourself, your life, your situation, or that it will cause you to take an action with that same result. maybe then my situation won’t seem like such a cruel waste of my time on earth. that actually would make me feel better.

all philosophical motivations aside, this is also just a good venue for recording the story of my progress as i continue to squeeze water from the stone. one significant measure of that is the fact that i’m typing this by hand rather than relying on dictation, although calling it “typing” is a bit generous. it’s certainly not the 70 words-per-minute abandon with which i used to tackle the keyboard. i’ll take it, though. a year ago tapping even a few words was exhausting and excruciating.

it’s still pretty tiring, but typing this is a good reflection of the bigger picture. i’m stronger and i hurt less, but far from home free. if the numbers i see at physical therapy are indicative, then i’m still only about 1/3 as strong as i was pre-injury, but that’s about twice where i was last july. at that time i could barely move the 10lb weight on the bench press machine. now i confidently knock out 3 sets of 8 reps with 30 lbs. i realize how pathetic those numbers sound when you say them out loud, but, again, i’ll take it. same thing with the 700-foot walk i was doing then – 6 minutes has become 4, and now i’m going uphill, outside, in the breeze.

and so, every day i move forward in these glacial increments. i’m nowhere near where i’d hoped to be at this point, but i get up every morning with the firm belief that by bedtime i’ll be bloody but a little closer. i tell people it’s like escaping from prison with a spoon; freedom is possible but you have to be willing to dig every day.

going up, 2011

July 11, 2011 - 4:30 pm

Bruce Vermeulen - Will, you are definitely “going up” brother and as long as I’m able, you know that I will be around to push or pull…

July 11, 2011 - 4:40 pm

LawDog - I know I have told you a hundred times, but you are a badass my friend. I thought you were pretty cool before, especially when you helped me rebuild my CRF in your garage, but your will to succeed is beyond my comprehension. I told someone the other day that I had a buddy that had “no quit in him.” That buddy is you.

July 11, 2011 - 5:32 pm

carol - i’ll keep your bucket of spoons full and wash off the bloody ones, my love.

July 11, 2011 - 6:15 pm

Jena Cox - Will, your daily struggle is an inspiration to me. Your outlook is truly amazing. I wish you the best with your uphill climb and know that you have tons of friends pushing for you.

July 11, 2011 - 6:41 pm

WFO - You are my hero Will. I will always cherish our friendship.
Carol: you’re Amazing!

Love ya,

David

July 11, 2011 - 6:43 pm

Cheri - Will,

Thank you for taking the time and pain to type your two year update. I am encouraged to look at the positive side of life as I continue to hear your story and see you continue on to gain new ground. Enjoy the warmth of summer and the view outside your windows1

July 11, 2011 - 6:49 pm

amber - Considering the fierce warmth from your heart and that of your friends and family, may your glacier soon turn to a river. Truly heartfelt, and yes, it did make me feel better. :-)

July 11, 2011 - 6:50 pm

sarah p - words like proud, love, encouragement, comfort… they dont say enough. So, I’ll say this, I’m here. for both of you. forever.

July 11, 2011 - 7:16 pm

Amber (Seven Four) - So… if those bench press numbers don’t sound pathetic to me, does that mean that 1/3 WP strength = Amber strength?? ;) Good job Will!

July 11, 2011 - 7:35 pm

chris - Keep kicking ass!! Good thing you’ve always been a stubborn SOB, as your defiance has been a huge asset throughout this ordeal. Also, you and I both know plenty of so called “able bodied” guys who can’t rep 30#s, so don’t get hung up on numbers big guy…

July 11, 2011 - 8:09 pm

Mark Bumgarner - good to see your post will. ninjas never quit. now i wonder how many people you have taught to type without caps. you make a difference in everyone you touch.

July 11, 2011 - 10:00 pm

Carrie Welch - Great post, once again. you continue to be an inspiration to many and yes, you do make me think of how lucky i am to live the life i do. Keep chugging Will.

July 11, 2011 - 10:00 pm

jj - any whining i might do is empty, unfounded, and without proper perspective and then i read your posts and perspective returns. the longest 2 years of your of your life have passed and you have not given up. now you can take some solace in the fact that you are no longer at the beginning of the journey but well on your way.

July 11, 2011 - 10:46 pm

steve fox - Hey Wil, I know this is not the same but at work I always tell my Mangers it’s all about the trend. Not the rate of the trend but the direction. You’re trending up, good job!

July 12, 2011 - 8:33 am

Judy - Life is tough…the tough stay strong! Never lose hope! Love you!

July 12, 2011 - 9:57 am

Dustin - perseverance and persistence. you are an inspiration, will. any lesser human would have rolled over and resigned. any time i am feeling weak or considering stopping short, i think of you and wish that i could somehow obtain a mere fraction of your drive. hang in there. miss you and carol both.

July 12, 2011 - 12:06 pm

Jonie - cannot say your words make me feel better about myself. They do remind me how blessed I am and how fragile life can be. Rest assured that you’ve inspired us all and keep fighting the good fight.

July 12, 2011 - 4:06 pm

kristen - Hi you two !! awesome post, as usual ..
wanted to share an inspirational quote I read
” Allow your heart to lead you wherever you may go,
Your feet can only bring you to the places you know.
Keep looking forward, never go back,
Don’t allow your past to come and attack.
Focus on the good of today,
For tomorrow may be thrown away.
Go after all that you want,
Just be careful not to flaunt.
Be happy even when life brings you down,
Pretend you are okay, act like a clown.
Let the smile remain on your face,
So others can see the power you embrace.

Miss you terribly ! :o )
-kr

July 12, 2011 - 10:20 pm

Joy Pattison - You are awesome, my son, and I love you.

July 12, 2011 - 10:58 pm

kerrie - both you…and carol are an inspiration to me. the hardest times are behind you. your patience, perseverance, and sheer determination have put you miles ahead of most people in this situation. celebrate!

July 13, 2011 - 6:01 pm

Jeff - The images you paint with words are truly a gift. But the gift you have that overshadows your verbal eloquence is your sheer determination. I continue to admire your inner strength and attitude that is expressed as every victory realized is one worth celebrating – and to be used as momentum to keep you moving in the right direction. Stay strong, Will…

July 15, 2011 - 11:11 am

butch werchan - you hang in there and keep fighting the good fight. you are an inspiration to us all, and always know that you are in our prayers.

July 15, 2011 - 6:25 pm

brian - i’m proud to know you will and i’m 95% certain that you are the smartest guy i know.
even tho we haven’t talked in forever… you (and the sliver of your actual life, that is the last couple years) are one of my first thoughts when my mind gets negative-bitchy. full-on perspective & thankful mode…. light switch style.
exactly what you mentioned above is the real deal for me.
thank you for being an example of persistence over adversity!
now, keep it up and call me if i can help with anything!
:)

July 20, 2011 - 2:56 pm

steph - you’re a true warrior will…inspiring beyond words.

July 21, 2011 - 4:36 am

beamer - reading this entry sparks a few thoughts for me…but, every entry you post – before and after – have sparked thoughts and inspired me…yeah, so i was just thinkin’…

i have always envied your ability to capture just the right light and space and depth to form the visual image for your readers. i have always envied your ability to capture just the right words to form the mental image to compliment, or contradict, those words …to create an insightful point of perspective.

perspective is a strange servant to the ego…because from my perspective looking at your struggles, i am grateful for the insignificant bad luck i’ve had compared to the extraordinary bad luck you’ve had. i feel lucky, yet when i read your words and see your photos, i still envy you…and that, my old friend, is a sure sign you are a better man than i can ever hope to be…

i say, refresh the sleeping blog to take advantage of the experience others never realize you live – your new perspective on time, the minute by minute life – and take this insightful work beyond just a personal page, to inspire the lives of people who will only know you from the words and photos.

you have great accomplishments in your past, will…and i see the potential for great accomplishments waiting in your future. these words and photos weigh very little. they can be pushed around by the breeze. they can change lives. i say, create a new project where your mind and your creativity can reach out to where your body can not so easily reach…and you should push this work to carry you uphill to a new place…

September 2, 2011 - 5:02 pm

Giorgia Aurelien - keep digging with that spoon Will…you are doing it for all of us! Thank you for never giving up! Thinking of you.

July 11, 2012 - 2:52 pm

day 1095 » f2point8 - [...] fact that on the first anniversary of this catastrophe, i was still peeing through a tube. at the second year mark, driving was a distant fantasy, as was putting on my own socks or taking a shower by myself. i [...]

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