Monday, June 13, 2011

The feeling of asphalt.

I don't know what it is but today I'm being haunted by a memory. So I'm going to write it out and hopefully that will get rid of it so that I can actually be productive.

The feeling of asphalt cold against my face was the first thing I became aware of. I didn't move I just relished in the feeling against my cheek, hard and unforgiving. I know I'm laying on my stomach. My eyes were still closed, I don't even know what time of day it is nor where I am. I try and open my eyes but they won't respond. I begin to panic as I try and move different parts of my body and nothing is responding.

Sound is the next thing to slowly creep into the small world of cold pavement. I hear things that don't make sense, foot falls fading off into the distance, the sound of an engine running. There is music, but it doesn't sound right. It sounds far away and very small. I recognize the song though, I have it on my IPod. It clicks, my headphones must have fallen away from my ears. "It's going to be OK, son" I register somewhere that the man who said that wasn't my father. My eyes still won't open.

Slowly ever so slowly I start to become aware of my body. My hand feels sticky, like it is covered in hair gel. It still won't move but I can feel the ooze that covers my hand. I'm aware that I'm not wearing a shoe, my foot is cold. My knee is cold too, it feels wet, but the rest of my leg is fine. I can feel gravel underneath my other hand.

"The ambulance is on it's way. Hold on kid." I wanted to ask what happened? Why I couldn't move? I wanted to know what was going on. As with my eyes, my mouth was stuck shut.

I'm not sure how long I lied there in sensory deprivation. Left with my thoughts of wondering what was happening. At some point someone put a blanket on me. Eventually I hear sirens in the distance.

I feel hands on me. Some of them shaking, some with firm grip.

"Roll him over," there is a hand on my face and one on the back of my head. The feeling of asphalt is still imprinted on my cheek. I can feel the pressure of what must be the straps. There is still no pain, just vague sensory information. Patchy at best. Like a tracking television.

My eyelids are peeled back and I can see for a second. I see nothing but blurred colors, then I'm blinded by a white light. First one eye then the other. Followed by blackness again. "Blood pressure is low, but stable. heart rate weak and fast, breathing shallow. No dilation of pupils. Victim is non-responsive."

Somewhere in the back of my head the first aid version of myself is checking things off the mental list. I have a head injury.

Time passes in relative silence, just the sounds of the road.

The radio chirps something I can't make out. "His parents have been contacted and will meet us at the hospital."

I don't want my parents to be there. I'm still fighting to open my eyes, to move something. I can't.

I'm being moved again.

"Is that him?" it's my mothers voice. I realize that my mother must have already been at the hospital. She worked there it isn't that much of a surprise. I feel a hand grab my hand, the one without the ooze on it. "It's going to be OK." she says but she doesn't sound convincing she sounds terrified.

My mother is not an easy woman to scare, she worked in the hospital my whole life.

Everyone keeps saying it's going to be OK but it sounds a lie.

I am wheeled into the ER. I know the hospital like the back of my hand. Years of playing there while my mother was called into work. I feel a needle go into my arm, a warm sensation rolls over me and my awareness fades.

I eventually woke up. I was lucky I was wearing a helmet. The helmet was crushed and shattered on impact, leaving my head to absorb the second impact of face to asphalt. The goo on my hand was my own blood from a laceration on my arm. The same goes for my knee, wet with blood and cold from a tare in my pants. The only thing I broke was my nose. The shoe fell off at some point. I never found it.

This is the memory tied to a biking accident, the one that ended my fighting career. The doctor told me when I woke up that he wasn't sure what the long term effects of the concussion would be. (I suffer from migraines now) However, he was absolutely certain that I should not get hit in the head anymore.

I'm still surprised at how much I remember in my unconscious state. I was aware. Makes you wonder how many other similarly injured people have the same awareness. What about the ones that never wake up?

This is wear my biggest fear comes from. I'm terrified of being trapped in my own mind with no access to my body.

Later Days everyone,


  1. Let me first and foremost say you're writing is very vivid and poignant here. *I* was scared the whole time you were describing your perspective (or lackthereof) immediately after the accident.

    I'm sure you think of this as nothing but tragic, especially since it left you with migraines and a shortened career, but near death experiences can have a redemptive ring to it as well. It could be the typical closed old doors and open new doors scenario, or it could simply be a new, unrestrained view on life as described in the film "Fearless" with Jeff Bridges. Either way you have to let go of *something* in the end...

    I don't want to assume things, but do you feel something was taken from you instead? I'm not sure. i wish I can figure out what troubles you or haunts your mind. It's funny since I suffer from depression I thought I could read people easier. In reality, it just makes everything seem more befuddled and my problems trite.

  2. I think you are lucky to be alive after that one.

  3. Woah. That is some serious trauma recall right there. Glad you carried through and recovered as well as you have.

    You and I share the biggest fear, well, the 2nd biggest for me but big and foreboding none-the-less. Being trapped in your own body. Fully aware and not able to respond. It's called "Locked-In" syndrome and can happen from a number of traumas. I can't imagine anything more frightening or frustrating. I have dreams that I can't move/speak/respond and it scares the shit out of me. Truly frightening stuff.

  4. @Leila: Thanks I was trying to be vivid. As for the tragic nature of this, this event happened around 9 years ago. When I was younger yea I would get a little upset by the way life went, but honestly as a fighter, the career isn't a long one. Do I feel something was taken from me? No not really. This memory is more of a bad dream type memory. It's something shitty that happened.

    I'm not normally haunted or troubled.

    @Trash: Yea tell me about it. Funny story, I was wearing a superman T-shirt.

    @Randy: Yea one and only fear, "Locked-in" syndrome. Now my fear has a name.

  5. Brilliant writing yet again. Definitely scary stuff.

    I had a similar experience when I crashed the dirt bike and woke up with my clavicle sticking out of my neck so as to say "oh hi there", but I could never tell it the way you do.


My frail ego requires validation.