How To Survive, Step 1: Relax


“Get me some peanut butter.”

Those were my first words out of the coma.

“Grab his head! Grab his head!”. These were the first words I heard, as the static began to clear. Not being a fan of having my head grabbed, I expressed my displeasure;

“I’ll punch YOU in the head”…

Except, I spoke those words to my Mom.

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Now, I can only imagine that the most beautiful words any woman could ever hear, would be the first words of her child, waking from a coma.

Unless her child is me.

My opening lines were even more of a surprise to my doctors, as they hadn’t expected me to ever wake up from the coma in the first place. In fact, the night my life-flight helicopter landed on the roof at Legacy Emanuel Hospital, in Portland, Oregon, the trauma docs didn’t expect me to live through the night. But thanks to a little luck, a little determination and the ninja medical staff at Legacy Hospital, I did.

But I was still pretty broken; shattered spine, busted ribs, cerebral contusions, blood on my brain, etc.

I’d love to tell you that, at that point, I devised a plan to survive, but it would be a lie. That didn’t happen until the following week. Before then, I wasn’t sure if I was Batman or Napoleon Bonaparte. You don’t just wake up from a coma & win Final Jeopardy. It takes awhile for reality to set in.

But when it did? I learned I was in bad shape. I couldn’t walk, couldn’t move… I could barely talk. There didn’t seem to be too much I could accomplish. It’s not like I could suit up & hit the weight room, right?

But I decided I’d better learn what I COULD do, and, eventually, I came up with a 3-step plan. I survived. You can, too. Here’s how:

STEP ONE: RELAX

Sleep it off… I remember reading somewhere, that the brain had evolved with one primary purpose; HEAL the body. Thinking came later, but job one: HEAL THE BODY.

I figure my brain has a finite computing capacity; 69 trillion godzillahertz, or whatever, so, like my PC, if I tried to run too many apps, it would crash. Blue screen of DEATH? No thanks. I figured if I gave it less to do, it could focus on healing my broken parts.

So, I closed my eyes & turned off the lights. I gave my brain room to work.

Let’s recap… STEP ONE: RELAX

Sleep it off.

PS – I’m still alive, running 5 miles per day, and driving across the country (in a car this time). Here are some pics. Enjoy…

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Yellowstone National Park

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Ghost town; Rhyolite, Nevada

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I can’t talk about this one.

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