It's been about a week since the crash and not much has changed. In the span of an hour or so, I can go from feeling wonder and joy that I survived, to anger at the driver who stole from me my hard-earned health, and the police who refused to take my statement.
Physically, I still feel like crap most of the time. I'll spare you descriptions of my various aches and pains (and NSFW photos of bruises and road rash -- a kaleidoscope of inhuman-seeming colors and textures). Beyond the physical discomfort, there's also been the emotional fallout from not being able to do activities I love and enjoy my body in the ways I always have. Then there's my new list of fears: biking, traffic, cars, and crossing the street.
I do other things. I am working a lot, reading, and sleeping. I'm not mobile without my bike: I take the bus or walk, which is uncomfortable, and James has been driving me a lot. Yesterday I even went to a talk and out for dinner, but became so tired that I went to bed at 8:30pm.
My thoughts normally start out with the impulse to "just be thankful it isn't worse!" before remembering that NO, I don't need to police myself and funnel all my thoughts into weird prayers of gratitude. It's not okay that I was hit by a truck. I then spend some time being angry until a resigned existentialism sets in: "I try to take good care of myself and I can run 26.2 miles, but in the end I'm just a skin bag full of bones and organs, bumping under the wheels of a truck until the driver decided to stop, which is basically the human condition, or whatever."
In movies, a brush with death is followed by an epiphany about appreciating life. Without getting weird, I just haven't felt like this, partly because I think about death and mortality all the time. Still, I keep trying to read some kind of lesson into this. I just don't know what it could be, or what I'm supposed to be learning (besides how completely wack and corrupt insurance companies are.)
My existential anxiety is compounded by the fact that 1, normal conversations and interactions with friends are mediated by the knowledge that I was just in an awful crash and walked away from it (well, out of the hospital after being taken there in an ambulance), and 2, I can't do the stress-relieving things I love that make me feel present, alive, and like I'm reaching out and touching something true about myself and the world, like running and biking. Even writing or just throwing myself into work is made difficult by the crash: this post has taken forever to type with only 7 functioning fingers.
It helps to think of the marathon. I wish I had written all my thoughts down before the crash. When I'm trying to fall asleep at night and my imagination turns on that awful slow-motion movie of me hitting the truck and somehow winding up under its wheels, finally coming to a stop but unable to free myself, I try to change the channel to the marathon and how happy, strong, and healthy I felt rolling into Central Park.
I'm not going to remind you to wear your helmet, or try to rally support for bike activism. I don't know why this happened to me, and why it wasn't any worse or any better. I'm definitely not going to preach at you. I was holding off writing again until I reached peace and acceptance about all of this. I can see now that I won't achieve either of those things.