Hello from Mestre
Saturday, August 16, 2014
My morning began before sunrise. I share two photos of the sun's rising over Newcomb Hollow beach, Wellfleet, Cape Cod, MA. Paddle boarders, standing on the ocean, going hither and yon to catch a wave, add a surreal element to an amazing expanse. Blessed way to start one's day.
Later in the day, after shopping at the Wellfleet Flea Market, I was heading north on Route 6, to pick up my mom and friend for a swim in a pond.
I do remember the medic kneeling over me asking me my name, address and date of birth. I replied clearly and intentionally, knowing that something serious occurred. I was in a peaceful realm and knew somehow that everything was going to be alright. I saw that a huge piece of my arm, the size of a hamburger, was sitting upside down on my forearm. I didn't see red blood and felt no pain. The medic noticed that I was looking at that hunk of flesh on my arm.
"You were in a head on collision. You are going to Mass General Hospital. This helicopter is taking you to Boston." said the medic. I wonder if he was surprised that I was awake and coherent. I was impressed with the body's capacity to function in a state of trauma.
I woke up again at Mass General Hospital with the surgical team surrounding my bed. We were waiting for the Operating Room to open up. I found my cell phone and managed to call my brother Ricky, who was traveling with his wife and son in Vermont. "I was in a head on collision. I am at Mass General in Boston. Call mommy," I shouted to overcome cell phones and bad connections.
In a few minutes my cell phone rings. Mom. I must have been drugged with pain killers, I had lost a lot of blood, and was in a state of shock. She is hard of hearing and the cell phone connection was poor. Our conversation, between mom and injured son, must have been a scary and confused mess, especially for her. She was waiting since 3:00pm for me to take her to the pond for a swim and it was now around 6:30pm. Ricky's phone call to her was the first she heard about me.
In the operating room, the surgeon cleaned out the gash in my arm and sewed it up. Pins were screwed into various pieces of femur and secured with bigger pins up and down my leg to keep them in place. Five days later, back in the operating room, surgery removed the pins and properly set the bones in my leg, screwing the pieces into a huge titanium plate (the largest plate they could find in the hospital). My doctor, Dr. Lowe, a leading trauma specialist, handled the initial care of many of the most seriously hurt people injured in the Boston Marathon Bombing. My injuries, though serious, were in his range of experience. I am in great hands.
Ten days after scraping me out of the car, ten days of critical care at Mass General Hospital, I am accepted to Spaulding Rehab Hospital. Spaulding is one of the top rehab facilities in the country. Here, after the Boston Marathon Bombing, many folks injured by the bomb, are fitted for prosthesis, and taught to move around and walk again.
I am here at Spaulding almost two weeks. The rehab hospital is new, less than two years old. Built on the old Boston Navy Yard, the area is surrounded by water with views of Boston Harbor, passing boats, ships, sail boats, seagulls, walking trails. I'm now able to get out of the building on a wheelchair. Pushed and accompanied by my mom, I've seen the diverse views of the water and surrounding area. As she said to me, "It's been 53 years since I pushed you in a chair with wheels."
I am grateful for:
- surviving a crash that defies all common sense
- surviving the blood loss and getting the best care in the quickest time possible
- being at the best trauma hospital and then being accepted to the best rehab hospital under the supervision of great doctors, nurses, therapists, and care workers
- having my family around to hold my hand, massage my leg and participate in the conversations and choices
- having friends in Boston and New York who came to make me smile and to bring me delicious things to eat while my appetite and sense of taste is dormant and twisted
- good fitness and health towards a "speedy" recovery
- capoeira, cultivating positive thoughts and energy, teaching me about healing from the inside out. providing real stories of people overcoming crushing obstacles and overwhelming odds to move, to flow, to play.
I look forward to the healing. I have physical and occupational therapy three hours a day. Making progress through the pain. I'll get there! It may be months before my leg can be weight bearing enough to walk. Then ginga. Slow and steady. Ginga is swing and swagger. Aú... Rolê...
Please light a candle, burn some incense, for me. Enjoy a beer in my name. Most importantly, put one foot in front of the other and walk into CAQ Academy for a class or two or three. Bless our space and our community with your presence and participation. Be consistent, take your time with, and be grateful for every move you can do and every move you "can't (yet) do." I will catch up to you some day soon and again we will play.
Joke: What's the difference between an Asian Massage Parlor and the Hospital
In the hospital, "Happy Ending" means I moved my bowels.
Love and Light,
Michael Z. Goldstein
PS the photo of me standing on the beach is just moments before I left for the Flea Market.