Running For Change

I am kind of like Bruce Willis

For as long as I can remember, I have narrowly escaped numerous situations where I should have suffered grave injuries. For some reason, I have not been as hurt as one would have expected. On one hand, many of these situations have possibly been due to my constant need to adapt to the loss of vision and not meeting these new demands as well as I should. On the other hand, I believe I am also simply a goof. Regardless, the combination of these two qualities makes for some dicey, yet interesting experiences.
When I was very young, perhaps 7 or 8-years-old, I had gone sledding at my baby sitter’s house with her youngest daughter. This family has a very large plot of land on a hill. At the time, the hill had dozens of apple trees with clear pathways going throughout the area. As I and this young girl set of on our sled, we seemed to have quickly gone in a direction which presented some dangerous obstacles, which I hit. My friend shouted for us to jump ship, but I did not hear exactly what she had said. I was confused by what she had done, but kept moving straight ahead on the sled. Although I had much, much more vision at this point in my life, I still had poor vision. What I did not see coming at me was a large branch that was hanging low. I passed through the branch and felt the arms of it cut across my face. By the time we got back into the house, I was bleeding all over my face and it looked like Freddy Kruger had gotten to me. Several of the deep cuts had managed to pass over and around my eyes. I was fortunate enough to not have had any of my eyes poked out nor scars left on my face. That was the worst scenario from my childhood. The next few took place when I was in college. Perhaps, still a child during these times as well.
During summer break of my fourth year in college, I had been home in New Hampshire to work for my family business. We had a store on our property with quite a bit of constant work to be done on site. The back end of our lot was where we kept mountains of pea stone and “3/4 stone (small baby rocks and dime sized rocks) for filling the bottom of waterfalls with. I had loaded the back of our pickup truck with about 12 buckets of this material and climbed up into the bed of the truck for the ride up to the front of our property. For some reason, I chose to sit on the wall of the bed and dangle my legs over the side. As my dad took off up our small service road, he went faster than I had expected and my legs jolted from this movement. My left foot hit a tire and sent my leg vertical. Before I knew it, I had fallen off the back of the truck and landed on the ground. To be more specific, I landed in a large mud puddle on my side. My sister heard my groan from a greenhouse and stepped outside to see what had happened. I stood up, checked over myself and said I fell out of the back of a moving truck. I just had a few scrapes. I had managed to not land on a large rock nestled in the dirt where I had fallen into. I then got back to work.
The worst and most frightening incident I had was at college. During one of my years working for Residential Life in a first-year residence hall, I had been walking around the building with another Resident Assistant to promote an upcoming trip for the residents. That weekend, we were bringing students to an apple orchard for some festive apple picking. As we promoted this event, door to door, we handed out apple slices and chocolate dipping sauce. College students love free food and I thought this was a genius idea. What I did not know is that this delicious idea would be my demise.
After having rounded out another door to door promotion on a floor of the building, we headed into the stairwell to descend to the next floor. The other RA with me had the dipping sauce in his hands while I had a bowl of apple slices with me. However, I was holding my cane in one hand while palming the bowl in another. As I stepped forward onto the first step, I felt my hand let go of my cane and I quickly went to grab it before it fell down the stairs. The cane had already traveled quite a ways from my hand and I felt myself lean more forward to grab it. Then, I lost my balance and started to fall forward. Since I had the bowl of apple slice in the other hand, I was not able to grab onto the opposite railing. Before I knew it, I was flying through the air.
I must have traveled through the air and soared over about 10 stairs, as I then landed on my right side and experienced a combination of tumbling and sliding down the remaining 10 stairs until I hit the concrete platform at the bottom. It is a complicated story, but at that time I did not have health insurance. The first thing I said to my RA was “do not call 911, I don’t have health insurance”. After taking a moment to catch my breath and sense if anything was broken, I slowly rose from the floor and gripped the wall. My right arm and back were in pain, but my right leg was what had taken most of the beating. I could barely walk on it and I was bleeding from just below my knee cap. I stumbled back to my apartment in the hall and called my exgirlfriend. I was very blunt and immediately told her that I had fallen down a flight of stairs. Shamelessly, I asked her if she had any alcohol and she brought over a bit of rum, along with some medical supplies.
The cut on my leg was very narrow, but very deep. Looking back on that night, I probably would have benefited from a few stiches. I spent all of that night and the very next day laying in my bed. I became good friends with a bag of ice, kept changing some bandages on my leg and was a bit worried about the colors this deep cut was turning into. Although I could not walk at all for the next 36 hours, I managed to only sustain a deep cut, some scrapes and a good bit of terrible swelling and bruising. My face and head had not been touched during the fall of 2009 and who knows how bad this all would have been if my head had made contact with the concrete platform at the bottom of those stairs. Cutting up apples has never been the same since that night.
I have gotten hurt many times in my life, but I have always been fortunate enough to have never been seriously injured. Even with my marathon training, the worst of my injuries have been a spraigned ankle (which still greatly impacts your running) and built up scar tissue from excessive running. There are many people who have torn ligaments, broken bones and have encountered injuries which have extensively impacted their ability to run.
Ultimately, I have walked through life unscathed. I was sharing this fact with a friend of mine and I told her that I am somewhat like Bruce Willis in Unbreakable. In this movie, he plays a comic book character who supposedly has the ability to never get seriously hurt or killed. He does get injured, but he walks away from dangerous situations with relatively little harm done to him. So, yes. I am Bruce Willis. I even have a great beard and a receding hairline to pull this all off. I strongly wish for this grace to continue as I venture forth in this journey of marathon running. Hopefully, my drive, stamina and Bruce Willis-like qualities keep me going for years to come. Yes, I will say it. I die hard.

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One Comment

  1. Dearest Bruce. Last name to be determined. You are indeed Unbreakable. That film freaked me out as did reading the details of your injuries. But for you I read on. I’m glad that your recurring injury is on the mend and that you are running longer distances again. Now go out and get us a deal so we can go to Hawaii.


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