A Bench with a View

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(Bench view)

A good friend of mine Ian, wrote about his recollection through this whole experience, and this is a snippet of it:

——–

We’re back in the little bed in the bubble high above the racecourse.

But this time we’re alone.

It’s just Lucas and I.

“Bro, can you show me that YouTube video again? The one you showed me last time, yeah?”

“Sure Luc, its http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRpWQk5Tncw

We watch it.

I never saw Lucas cry. I still haven’t.

There was the reflection of the screen in his eyes. It was just a glimmer.

I could see that he was welling up, just a bit. Not enough for a tear to fall from his eye, but enough to moisten his corneas enough for you to pop a contact in there, anyway.

But I didn’t dare say anything. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t break the pensive tension of the illusion I pulled taught over my face: that Lucas was Invincible. Lucas was NOT the guy who could fall down. Not Lucas. It couldn’t happen to Lucas. He was too good, too fast, too disciplined. He trained too hard, he was careful, he studied it. The body, the environment, the world – it didn’t matter, he absorbed it all and it all flowed right through him naturally just like water. He’s like water, he couldn’t fall down, and he’d just keep on flowing. He’s like water.

The time you spend with people when you’re young forms a lasting impression.

Hey bro

When an idea of a person is shattered by reality, it takes time to pick up the pieces.

Hey bro bro yo

I used to think I had it bad, but what if it was me?

Bro

Would I trade scoliosis for the wondrous amount of raw life that Lucas had lived?

Bro

…that Lucas had lived until…

…now?

“Bro!”

“Oh sorry Luc! Just zoned out for a sec”

“Haha, you’re so spacey, Bro.”

“Hehe, I guess so Luc.”

“Hey man, I have to go to physiotherapy in a minute. They put me in a pool so there’s less resistance.”

“Oh I guess I’ll just…”

“You can wait here or you can come with me! Or you can go.”

I was unemployed at the time and had nothing better to do.

“But you don’t have to! You can come with me, its okay, and loads of people have come with me to see me in the pool, and I’m not naked! I swear! Haha, but I bet you totally would love to see me naked, wouldn’t you, bringing me flowers! I’m just kidding bro, thanks for the flowers… really, they were really nice.”

The laughter’s back. He wasn’t kidding. He really was happy that I brought flowers.

So the nurse came and Luc, without a sound, grabbed the steel rails above his bed to drag his body in pause, and with the help of another nurse shifted onto a parallel stretcher where we rolled over to the elevator.

Luc rolls his head over to me.

38 – Wards 3800-3899

“Every time the elevator stops and slows…”

37 – Wards 3700-3799 and X-Ray Diagnostics

“…and goes… up and down…”

My back’s pressed up to the bumpy steel wall of the industrial sized elevator, and dim fluorescent light bathes us in the cramped, claustrophobic carriage. Just Lucas, the stretcher, two nurses and I.

“…it kinda feels like…”

36 – Physiotherapy and Hydrotherapy Pool

“…like a thousand tiny little daggers stabbing me…”

His voice was barely a whisper.

——

No matter what, no matter what, never give up, even when you’re in the worst possible situation. There’s nowhere else to go but up, all you have to do is move. Slowly, steady, but surely, there is only one direction! The situation around you will not change. If you don’t like the situation you’re in, do something about it. Nothing can change without a proactive approach. Do something productive and efficient! As long as you’re moving in the right direction, you’re doing great. No one can get you there, but yourself. Greatness cannot be achieved without struggle. Chin up. Never give up, never give in.

What is your proactive approach?

Best Time to Bend a Spoon

SpoonBending(Spoon bending)

In times of hardship, know that we are never alone. I feel the strongest mentally now, than I’ve ever felt in my entire life. I cannot promise you spoon bending, but I sure as heck can promise you reality bending. It is that time in our most vulnerable and weakest moments that we grow the most.

The hospital was the biggest time of personal growth for me, which shook my world and made me realise the importance of family, value, relationships, dedication, love, and the human spirit of perseverance to succeed. I am still learning these lessons, and believe I will continue to learn it even when I am one day healed.

Only those that truly love me and were available, came to be with me in my time of need (which I am deeply thankful for). Practically all my sports friends left me, all my happy hour friends left me, and all my work friends left me… most my friends left me, furthermore I lost 25 kg of muscle (that’s 55 lb). I was invalid to continue my career as a sports performance coach, and was absolutely emotionally crushed. However, what I gained is even greater than what I had lost. This process was a great service of funneling and fine-tuning that had come at no better time than now. My friends I have today are the strongest and closest friends I could ever have. And though my body is weak, my mind can work on a whole new different level. The hunger to succeed has never been stronger than before, and it is here to stay. I was a limb body with a powerful mind, and even pain couldn’t get the best of me.

I went through the whole emotional spectrum and in the end was left with the most importantly lessons of love and acceptance. There is no better time to learn a lesson than when all is quiet. I couldn’t sneak out of class this time, no running away or skipping. All I could do was lie in bed and think about it, whether I liked it or not.

All lessons taught to me in this situation were engraved in my brain. I wish I could have learnt it an easier way, but there’s never a better time to bend a spoon. Never lose sight of your goals, where you came from and where you want to be. Cut all the distractions and go forth. Do only what helps, you’ll be there before you know it. Be the best you can be, don’t conform yourself to the environment, and make your move.

What direction are you taking your life?

Life Lessons Learnt around a Pizza

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(Pesto Pizza)

I can’t believe my friend died yesterday from cancer at 10:55 am. We had such a special bond between us. I met him in the hospital and we forged an unbreakable bond. It just goes to show, life is so fragile and we shouldn’t take things for granted.

Eddy and I met at the hospital. Our friendship was a unique story. I would watch in the afternoons, as other neighbors in the ward would walk up and down the hall. I watched in envy, as at that time, I was too weak to do anything. I was able to lean in a chair with wheels, but not healthy enough to use a wheelchair myself. Even to be rolled into the corridor or to sit still in the chair was so painful.

I had been admitted for spinal injury. No one ever knew if I ever had a chance to get out. The pain was immense red hot stabbing pain, burning the whole of my back, down through my legs, and back again. I couldn’t move no matter hard I tried to. Nerve pain is the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life. To top it off, this type of pain confuses signals to the brain. My mind was willing, but the body would fail.

Sitting in the corridor I saw other patients walk up and down the hall. Particularly one patient caught my eye. He walked originally three times a day, reducing it to two times a day, to eventually once a day, to nothing. He was a fighter and my accountability buddy. I looked at him in envy and said, “ I’ll be so happy if one day I can walk like you.” He replied, “ You got to try everyday to move, and eventually you will move. Even if it’s not a lot, you must try.”

The times in the hospital were the hardest times for both of us. Our friendship was cruel in the way that I hated to see myself improve, as he got weaker. As my pain slowly went away, his grew stronger. As I learnt to move and eventually walk, he slowed down and became stagnant. There were so many times we were depressed, but motivated each other and uplifted each other. From exercising to eating, we made sure the other person was doing it. We wanted to see good done for the other person.

Our friendship was an unlikely friendship too, it felt like Tuesdays with Morrie. Though our journeys were different, we connected through our struggles. He was in his late 50s, as I had just turned 24 when I met him, and now 25. Our friendship lasted over a year, he came one month after I had arrived. More over when we first met, we spoke to each other in Cantonese, and then laughed when we found out that it was neither of our native tongues. After digging deeper, I found out he was Taiwanese, and so we conversed in Mandarin, that was so much easier than Cantonese for both of us.

Life is such that we never know what’s around the corner. I didn’t want the inevitable to happen for he was sick. I wanted to believe, that somehow he could pull through no matter what.

When I was discharged from the hospital, we still were very much in contact. We called each other, and I would visit him almost every time after I went to physiotherapy. This one time I visited him in the chemotherapy room, I didn’t know it was going to be my last time seeing him in person. His wife was very excited and told me I had to hear some good news from Eddy, himself. This was the first time and only time we shared a meal together. He told me he had found a transplant and was going to leave for Taiwan. I immediately congratulated and cheered him with our pesto-flavoured pizza.

Life is full of ups and downs. It is our choice to do how we see fit.

If I learnt anything from Eddy, it was this piece of advice from an honest man, “ Such is life. This is life. We must try bit by bit to do what we can, with the situation we’re in… if you try everyday, then you’ll for sure accomplish it.” With these encouraging words I try everyday.

What are you doing everyday to better yourself?

The Difference: Turtle vs. Hare vs. Harr-ie Turtle

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(I walked here, because taking a taxi would hurt more)

I wish I was a hare, but a harr-ie turtle will do. I don’t mean a hairy turtle, because that would just be weird and awkward. Imagine swimming up to the beach and the other turtles all giving you the eye. I’d feel much more secure being a harr-ie turtle. I can’t take judgment from turtles, they’re so cruel.

Having improvements, I wanted to add a plank on to my workout. This would be for core stabilisation, but after much contemplation I realize I wasn’t ready for it. I shouldn’t jump the gun. The nerve pains tell me that I’m still healing, and should focus on balance and mobility if anything. The balance will reinforce and strengthen my nerves, whilst the mobility will help me keep my range of motion to efficiently execute activities with the right form. With that in mind, I’ll continue working on my mobility, balance and walking.

I can walk now, and swim without legs. However, I’m wishing one day I can run fast again and swim with legs too, just like a harr-ie turtle.

How does being a turtle or hare affect your life?

Blessing in disguise

StickAboveHead

(Lifting my walking-stick up)

Besides normal nerve pains that feel like burning fire or that I’m being stabbed. I have the luxury of having a new pain. It’s quite good to have this pain, because it would mean that I’m healing. Without improvement I wouldn’t be able to have this pain. It is pain in my shoulder from the walking stick. Not that pain brings me pleasure, but for me to have this pain I must have healed well enough to walk around. If I was still laying in the hospital bed, cruising in my wheel chair, thumping with my zimmer-frame, or donkey-konging with my double elbow crutches, I would in no way be able to have this pain. Maybe it’s from sleeping weird, or maybe it’s from my walking stick, but I’m going to try to fix it because it has been bugging me for the past month. Sometimes in life we have to look on the bright side to really appreciate our blessings. Maybe the pain does bring me a bit of pleasure, but less than a tickle.

What are your blessings in disguise?

Who do You Want to Be?

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Standing at the entrance of the Standard Charter finish line, I was at awe. The great ambiance of the race grounds just smiled at me. This event is more than just a race. It is about the participants dedication, heart, sweat and tears they all put into making this happen. It takes more than just mind power to make things happen, it takes something deep innate. I’ve always wanted to take part in a marathon, but have always been too busy. This time, it was my inability to run. I even thought of taking part in the wheelchair race, but the vibrations would hurt my back. There’s a great wise saying, surround yourself with people you want to be like, and you become like those people.  I hope this applies to auras and surroundings too. I want to walk again pain-free, and hopefully even run! I’m hoping by basking at the great finish line, one day that will be me.

What are you surrounding your self with?

Lack of movement creating pain: Premise of movement as a cause of pain syndromes

SpineElectricity

Having optimal precise range of motion is vital in preventing musculoskeletal pain. The biomechanics of the human body are very much similar to the mechanics of machines, with the difference that everything in our body is living tissue. Just like machines our body needs to be well maintained, active and finely tuned. However, unlike machines, our body needs graded incremental stress to improve the strength of involved tissues and to promote health. Stress on the body must be monitored or it can be dangerous. There are upper and lower limits to increases in intensity and it must be monitored thoroughly.

Just like a machine, the human skeletal system should be in lined before performing the desired activity, unless the activity is fixing of the alignment. If the alignment is off, it should be adjusted and fixed before performing more advance tasks. This correction or perfection of alignment will enable the human body to execute activities, generate more force, balance, and perform at the optimal level through muscle and nerve control. With the structural integrity maintained the chances of damage is decreased.

The more stable a joint is, the less likely it is to have damage. The greater deviation a joint has from its ideal alignment, the more likely damage or degeneration will occur. The greatest occurrence has been seen in the spine where it has the greatest chance of degeneration, so it must be well maintained.

Thankfully the human body is alive and properties such as regeneration help us slow it down. However just like a car wheel, it will only work momentarily if not maintained, and eventually wear down unevenly stopping the car from traveling to its desired location.

I  have nerve pain 24 hours a day, however continue to work to becoming better. Everyday I wake up I feel stronger and less pain. Give me today, for every step I take is a step closer to my goals.

What are you doing to make sure you’re mobile and pain free?

My Dream of Walking

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What would do you if you could not fail? How would it affect your decision? What would you do with such a great gift? How would you live your life?

Hi my name is Lucas. Over a year ago I had a spinal injury from sports. This left me rendered unable to move for a long time. It was an avulsion fracture, ripped nerves, excruciating pain and the hardest mental game I’ve had to ever come up against. It got a lot worst before it got better… I could not move the same from my neck down.

This is my triumph to recovery. Learning to perform normal activities of daily living, learning to walk and one day fully optimizing my health to its best ability. Through dedication, hard work, nutrition, rest, support, motivation and the right mind set anything in life can be achieved!

How hard would you work to get it?