So there’s something I haven’t mentioned in my two years of writing An Apple a Day. Not because it’s a big deal or I’m embarrassed or anything, it just hasn’t come up and I didn’t really think it worthy of telling. But I figure if you’ve taken the time to read this stream of silliness, maybe you’d like to know a little bit more about me.
Four years ago today, the first of November, I was in a motorcycle accident. While pulling away from a stoplight at 20mph, we got run over by an SUV. I was wearing a full face helmet, a proper jacket and padded gloves. The good news is that everyone made it out alive. The bad news (which seems minor and totally inconsequential compared with the aforementioned good news) is that, technically, I didn’t make it out in one piece.
I was pinned down by the bumper of the SUV and my hand got stuck in the spinning chain and sprocket of the bike. While I was conscious, two and a half fingers on my left hand were ripped off. I’ll spare you the gory details here, but if we ever end up sharing a bottle of wine across the kitchen table (and I hope we do), we’ll get to the good stuff then. Like the bizarre and almost comical things I said while waiting for an ambulance, the Frankenstein moment of taking off the bandage for the first time, the life changing shock of not being able to count on one's fingers for basic arithmetic problems and what phantom pain actually feels like; the stuff people want to know about but are generally too respectful and timid to ask.
But in all sincerity, I am so lucky that nothing worse happened. People have endured things a hundred times more painful and heartbreaking than loosing three dispensable fingers and I know my experience ranks remarkably low on the tragedy scale. I’m right handed and still have my pointer and thumb, which makes a world of difference. I’ve adapted so that I still knit sweaters, carry stupidly heavy pieces of furniture, french braid my hair, sew my own clothes, speak sign language with my mom, hang a chandelier and do a handstand. My right handed, 7-fingered guitar skills leave something to be desired, however.
After the accident, it took a lot of effort to keep positive and motivated. I remember my dad talking about the fine line between grieving a loss and feeling unduly sorry for one’s self. I panicked thinking “oh shit. this could turn me into a bitter, resentful old lady if I don’t start to come to terms with it.” I went back for my final semester of college at the start of the new year and continued to pattern, draw and sew my senior collection one handedly. That’s not to say I wasn’t insanely weepy about it. I didn’t leave bed for nearly 5 weeks after the accident (I had some other injuries that prevented me from, oh, walking, bathing, feeding myself and otherwise acting like a grownup) so I had a lot of time on my hands to mope. Luckily, I’ve since snapped out of it.
Even though I’d consider myself well adjusted on the whole, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that writing this was very hard. Tears were shed. Taking these photos was surreal; I hardly even notice my hand anymore that so seeing it as others do was sort of a jolt. But I love my hand and can honestly say I wouldn't change it back if I could. It’s quirky and goofy and me.
So now you know about my checkered past involving Italian motorcycles. We're closer already, don't you think?