It’s been a month since I was hit by a car while riding my bike in Manhattan, and I feel strong enough by now to start telling people that I’ve moved beyond the Recovery phase and into that of Rehabilitation. This is a good thing, I feel, even if it means that I’ve become one of those irritating optimists who talk incessantly about the power of good cheer and the need to “live strong.” I can accept that—the accident helped me locate a heretofore unknown reserve of good attitude, and my body has rewarded me for those positive spirits by being less than fully destroyed and disfigured. Seems a fair trade for being a jackass.
One of the odder aspects of this whole episode is that I have no memory of the wreck. The last thing I can recall is telling my wife goodbye in the morning—and then I woke up, some twelve hours later, in a hospital bed, wanting to know what had happened.
To her great misfortune, my wife, however, was present for most of those lost hours, and she has filled me in on a few of the details (leaving out some of the gorier ones, I suspect). It seems that I was awake in the trauma center, before surgery, as the doctors stitched my various lacerations. This, I have been told, was painful, and I did a fair amount of wailing. Because of my head injury, I had no short-term memory, and I kept repeating the same questions to her and my doctors, no matter how many times those questions were answered.
It seems the pressing concern for me, other than ouch, was that if Tomoko (my wife) was with me, then who was with Ellie? And who was going to pick JP up from his mother that evening? Even hours later when I came to and had some memory, I felt extremely anxious about these two things, and it took some convincing for me to accept that the children were all right and being properly looked after.
There’s much to take from this. I already knew that I loved my kids and that they were the first priority in my life—but no harm in having it proved publicly. Another factor here, though, is the dominant—and stress-inducing—role that childcare plays in the lives of families with two working parents. Yes, I was concerned about my children because I love them (the accident, which provoked an outpouring of love for the kids, and my ever-enduring wife, also made that clear to me), but also because who will pick up the kids each night is important in our lives, the scheduling rules us, and some part of me was aware that a small matter of being struck by a moving vehicle did not exempt me from my responsibilities.
Regardless, I love you, Ellie and JP; and I love you, Tomoko, and I am sorry for the accident and all that comes from it.