My right ear has been closed up tight for almost two weeks.  I think it is trying to protect me by prohibiting negativity from coming into it.  The doctor says it’s an infection.  To each our own. I still have one good ear so that means I’m listening, but just barely.

A friend took a scary fall at the Santos trails down in Marion County, FL last week.  We got a pensive call from his girlfriend late at night with scant details.  I spent the next 24 hours pondering the possibility of his death, or permanent incapacitation either mentally or physically.
That’s the kind of information my ear is trying to shield me from I think.

He tumped over from a small height onto his head and lay there unable to move or feel anything below the neck. “I think I broke my neck” is what he was reported to have said.  I know a bit about broken necks and a life without movement.  The thing nobody acknowledges is that it goes on.  My step-father is quadriplegic, as is a childhood friend from back in the day.  They live, they get things done.  They travel the third world and get drunk.  You say you would rather be dead, but you wouldn’t.  We all persist. We accommodate.  We adapt.

For some minutes my friend must have lay there amid the crumbled limestone and pine needles and contemplated such a transition.  How will I earn a living?  How will I eat? How will I everything?  I imagine those minutes will become very important to him, much like my Crash of Great Clarity.  I can’t recommend enough a terrifying accident or crisis when one needs to prioritize their values.

As feeling tingled back into his fingers and toes, and the paramedics loaded him up, was he making amends?  Counting his blessings?  Who knows?

All of that is personal between he and his moment.


3 Responses to Listen

  1. Your paragraph about disability and life going on was so significant to me. Do you know that those of us in the disability world (I am the parent of a child with significant cognitive and physical disabilities)rarely read anything so perfect as that? Thank you from the bottom of my bottomless heart.

  2. Thanks Elizabeth. I learned a lot from my step-dad. When people talk to him like he’s stupid he accidentally runs over their feet with 300 lbs of grown man and motorized wheelchair.