The Road to Recovery
Genuinely, there are no words to describe the feeling of being told you’ll never skateboard again. The closest thing I can compare it to would be that sickly cold sinking feeling you get when you realize something really really shitty has just happened. At first the news didn’t seem real, it was like the doctor had just told me a bad joke and I was waiting for her to come out of it and say, “just kidding!”. Alas, she coldly sang her song about how the bone had been shattered in two places and that it was going to be very unlikely that I’d ever skate, much less walk correctly again. After carpet bombing my dreams the doctor then proceeded to loudly slam her aluminum medical dossier closed and then marched out of the room exclaiming that “corrective surgery would be taking place in an hour or so”. It was at that point that I frantically glanced over to my mother who had been sitting there beside me. “Mom, this is bullshit, it’s really all bullshit” I exclaimed, fighting back tears. The look on her face was one of distress, I could see her trying to formulate some plan, trying to figure out some remedy to my tears of painful panic. “Screw this!” she exclaimed loudly, stunning the team of nurses bustling about the room. “We’re transferring you to another hospital”. Before I could really come to terms with what I had just been told, I was fighting back pain and counting the passing hospital florescent lights on the ceiling as they wheeled me back out to a waiting ambulance.
Upon arriving at the second hospital, I lay there in the bed completely void. The idea of not being able to skateboard again was nothing short of a death sentence. For the better part of the last ten years I’d worked tirelessly to build my life up around skateboarding. It had become like a child to me, something I birthed, nurtured, raised. Skateboarding had taken me around the world, to places I’d never dreamed of… For the better part of the past decade, it had been my meditation, my escape, my mantra, and now it’s vitality hung in the balance.
I hadn’t been there sulking for more then fifteen minutes when I caught sight of my tenacious mother, marching through the emergency room door with a doctor in toe. “Hey buddy, how are you feeling?” she said calmly. “This is your assigned orthopedist, he’s seen your X-Rays”. Without hesitation I expressed, “Doctor, please tell me, will I ever skate again!?”. He paused for a minute, then said, “Well, that all depends on you now doesn’t it?”. I fired back quickly, “So you’re saying there is chance?”, to which he immediately replied, “Of course! It’ll be tough, but you’re young”. It was at that moment that I made a decision. I decided I had to keep on skateboarding, no matter how hard I’d have to labor to get back to where I was. “It’s not pretty, but with a titanium rod and four screws, we should be able to get you back in the saddle” he said with a small chuckle, a smirk, and a face oddly reminiscent of Santa Claus. There was a warm sense of relief that washed over me, I knew full well it wasn’t going to be easy, but I also knew what I was capable of as long as there was some kind of hope for me to stay in the game.
It’s been the better part of 7 calendar months since the initial accident, and looking back, it’s been a long and arduous road to recovery. However, as grueling and painful as this recovery process has been, it’s also been a process of, oddly enough, joy. Joy in the sense that I’ve learned to love the sport, bit by bit, all over again. Like renewing wedding vows, my love affair with skateboarding has began afresh, and while still painful, it hasn’t kept me from escaping reality aboard my four meditative wheels of rolling bliss whenever I find the time. In some ways, I view this incident as a test. I feel like I keep waiting for the point where I’ll finally throw in the towel and say, “yeah, I’ve had my run and maybe I’m over this”, yet, that moment never seems to come. There is always something new and wonderful I discover about the sport that time and time again, brings me back to savor the thrill. My test has been a long process of rediscovery, a process of finding out for myself just how deep my love affair with this sport really resonates within me; and if compound fracturing my tibia and fibia after smashing into a guard rail at 45mph isn’t one, then I don’t know what specifically is. So, ultimately, if there is anything I learned from this whole grueling ordeal, it is this: you are your only limitation.
Thanks for reading, now go and recover from traumatic injury and get back to shredding.
This article is dedicated to my loving mother, Donna Marie Eble. Thank you for being there to pick me up when I was down.