It’s been tossing and turning in my head. I think about it when I’m awake, and dream about it when I’m asleep. How do I know it’s right for me? I don’t know what the future holds, but what I do know, is how to make the right decision and that going down either path will impact a ripple for what’s coming up.
I admit it. I’m excited, scared and confuse. I’m a toddler in the new years of walking and trying to grasp hold onto life. Now that I can move, I want more and I am not settled. I still feel chained by the prick of pain, but enthralled by a magical force licking my lips for more, because I want to live, and I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Should I move to England and pursue a study in physiotherapy?
This is going to mean moving from an almost 3 year grounded period of life where I solely worked on rehab, to an integration of normality. It’s like becoming a lifeguard after just learning to swim.
I parsed my decision and concluded that I could only go when:
1) I can walk without a stick
2) Be able to rehab without getting sick after
3) Be ready to immerse and enjoy the activities in life
Searching for answers, I sounded my thoughts with friends in their own transitions.
“ Hi, how are you doing?” I asked.
“ I’m doing well. I woke up from a coma a couple months ago.” He said, full calm and serene.
“ What… a coma?!”
“ Yes a coma. I was in a snowboarding accident and have just woken up after brain surgery, metal plates in my arm, and a fracture in my back.”
“ How are you now?”
“ I’m doing well.”
We spoke for a long time, finally funnelling down.
“ What have you learnt from this experience?” I asked.
“ Well after having a near death experience, I would say, take time in life, there’s no rush, do only what you want to do, and enjoy.” He said.
“ I want to go to school and study physiotherapy.”
“ Is your body well enough?”
“ I don’t know, but I have to start living life sometime.”
“ If you’re body is well enough, go with the right intention.”
I paused a moment to think.
“ Okay, thanks. What are you going to do now?” I said.
“ I’m going to take a nap now, I just got back from a weekend of clubbing in Ibiza. Oh yeah, and I’ll put you in contact with a yoga guru of mine who helped me.” He replied.
“ Hahaha.” I laughed, what a crazy guy doing what he loves.
Walking my first time acquainted cousin to the airport gate, we chatted.
“ If it is that you are just impatient about going, you should stay.” She said.
Something just clicked.
I called a fresh perspective from Taipei that I haven’t heard from in years.
“ I want to start living life. I feel that I’ve just been rehabbing and cooped up that I haven’t done anything. I want to start living!” I said.
“ You are living.” She said.
“ No matter what you are doing, you are not preparing for life, you are already living life.”
To further my discussions and catch up with my former temporary legs that helped me walk, I met up with my physiotherapists.
“ I believe you should go.” They said.
“ Really?” I asked.
“ Yeah, you have to do something more in your life than just rehab everyday. You have to have objectives to lift your spirit and something to work for.”
“ I agree with that, but all things aside, what about my sick father at home?”
“ How long will you wait for your father? What are you waiting for?”
“ Well I’ve stayed close to home and spent as much time as I could to help out around my family, sacrificing myself for years.”
“ Will you wait another 10 years? Will you go next year if you defer?”
I broke eye contact and stared outside the window thinking to the sky. My eyes glided back.
“ You’re probably right. I won’t go next year if I defer.” I said.
“ The truth of the matter and I’m sorry to say this is, but we have seen such cases and you know too, is that it’s a terminal condition. If you wait for your father you might never go.”
“ There is truth to that. I know my body will be a lot better if I go next year, however, I will not go if I see my father too sick, I wouldn’t have the heart to leave him.”
Used to straightforward conversation, they jumped on to the next thing.
“ You will have pain whether you go or stay.” They said.
“ Yeah, I agree, but it’s surviving the aeroplane.” I said.
“ The worst, is you attempt to go, it doesn’t workout and you don’t do it. You don’t have to go through with it…”
“ Yeah, and to learn to walk again.”
“ … But at least you’ll be able to tell yourself you tried your best, and took the punch.”
“ So it’ll come down to pain management and making the right choices.”
“ Yes and so go for it.”
“ Are you happy I want to be a Physiotherapist just like you guys, and help someone like you guys helped me?”
“ That doesn’t really matter to me, what matters is you start to have a life again, but I am concerned about one thing!”
“ When I looked at your X-ray you have a non-union bone.”
“ What does that mean?”
“ It means that your bone is broken and it is not connected. That means you might get a nerve pinch, or feel the sensations of your bone cutting flesh and stuff inside when you move. So just be careful. You do have a really serious injury.”
“ Okay, thanks. I’ll keep that in mind.”
I went for an X-ray and another check up with the doctor, wanting to be cleared for the flight and physiotherapy study.
“ Hello my friend!” I said to my Doctor.
“ Hello Lucas! It all looks clear your bones have grown nicely together. You can fly and go on with your studies. By the way, how did you do that?”
“ I’ve spent everyday meditating and visualising my healing.”
He smirked impressed, and then continued hurrying me through the appointment.
“ Ah, okay. Well apart, from what we discussed, is there anything else you would like to say?” He said.
“ I was eating with the Physiotherapists the other day, and they said I have a non-union bone.” I replied.
“ Let me take a look.”
He glanced for a second.
“ It looks all good to me. You’re fine, and are ready for school.” He said.
“ Okay, thanks doctor.” I replied.
“ Don’t come back unless you have any problems. I don’t want to see you here. Go out and start living. You don’t know, if you don’t try.” He said laughing walking me to the direction of the door.
Relieved by the news I smiled and let out a sigh of relief. Only half a breath though, because unconvinced, I went home to study the x-rays. And voila! There it was, my broken bones in my thoracic section, the ribcage level, and not any more in the lumbar part of my back where all the doctors had been focusing!
Unsettled by this discovery coming to reality, I went for a few second opinions.
“ Lucas, you can either get surgery, but I suggest you leave it. You’ve been through so much, and surgery so close to the nerve can have undesirable effects.
Not wanting to go through more pain, I decided to live along side it. Maybe daily meditation and prayer would help it. After all besides collateral damage, I’ve been living with broken bones for over 2 years, and it’s not so bad. I’m going to look for a way to heal this.
I crossed over to a neighbouring island from Hong Kong, getting lost as one naturally does in search for a guru. We spoke about life, philosophy and breathing exercises. This was to revitalise my body, get rid of the toxins and keep the good. If something has helped people for thousands of years, is safe, and could possibly help me, why not?
I inhaled, and exhaled. Inhaled and exhaled, inhaled, I felt light headed, then some how stumbled upon clarity.
Choices in life are a matter of how we choose to see and experience it, as a resistant uphill chore, or a kind of path of practice. Depending on the context, the very same activity can have diametrically opposed meanings. It is like chopping onions, we can moan about it, or take it as part of our process as monks do.
Understanding this, I realise I had to live with my spinal injury in unison. I needed to relax into it, clear my mind of competing desires, and give myself over to rehab. A gardener can try force a plant to bend, but ultimately a plant will grow how it wants to grow.
I can now walk without a stick, but I still carry it for unpredictable circumstances. I have tailored my eating and resting to respond to my rehab, though I still feel tired, I am still getting the specific results I train for. If I’m really exhausted and can’t carry on, I take a day of rest. I still have trouble sleeping, so rest with other methods.
And finally on the third, I need not fully immerse myself in all activities life has to offer. I can enjoy what I can to a greater degree. Though honestly, I’ll miss being able to play sports or socialise with tea or drinks, I have to be reasonable. If I wasn’t going to do it deferring a year, I need not do it the same year when I’m there. I might never be able to do it again, but for what I am able to do now, I am thankful, because it is far more than I have ever imagined. Everything I do now is a bonus that I shouldn’t take for granted.
With this in mind, I believe continuing will be great, because being secluded from all of the aspects of my life that I felt made me, me, stripped me from that identity, so now I’m going to get better and look forward to a time I’ll feel good again. What better way to heal with physiotherapy, than to study it? So with this and the desire to help others, I have decided to go.
When making a decision after listing out the pros and cons of each one, sleep on it. Give it time. Work on the pros and cons some more. Then when you feel you’re ready, go to those who can give you valuable advice, or have flourished from a similar situation.
When you made the hard decision, stick by it, and live like a model. The decision you make will be the right one, and I know this because you’re going to succeed. You’re going to succeed, because you’re going to keep going until it is done.
When I rehab, I just rehab. I do it all day whole-heartedly, goal oriented, and result specific. When I do it, I rehab and nothing else. No TV and no music. A person cannot juggle climbing up a ladder or cook running a marathon.
When you make your decision, keep working on it whole-heartedly. Focus and do it only alone. This is called “uni-tasking”, it is true poetry in motion.
No one will ever understand the situation you’re going through or the weight of your circumstance, because they’re not in it, it is an unparalleled event in history. Ultimately, you have to make the decision, and it’ll be the right one.
What decision are you making?