I’m delighted to welcome James M. Lane to my blog today.
James is the writer for Perfect Manifesto, a blog about fatherhood, health and self-improvement.
James shares a true story about an accident that changed his life.
When I read his story, it made me stop and think about some of the accidents I’ve had in my life and whether they changed me. Maybe reading James’s post will make you stop and think?
It was too damn early to be awake on a Saturday morning as I stumbled into the toilets, fatigued and beaten down, taking great care to ensure my flimsy hospital gown did not fly open exposing my nether regions.
One look in the mirror at my battered face was enough, the lacerations altering my soft complexion, the look of innocence stolen away overnight.
The pulsating rips throbbed on my face, with horrible bloody slash across the bridge of my nose being the centrepiece.
There is no going back from this.
As I thought how destroyed my face was, I began to cry.
I’ve looked better…
It was the same Friday routine, a job done 100 times before, trundling away the sentinel-like cages, filled with medical stationery, into storage for the weekend.
The weekend, that unremarkable event where I did much of nothing expect watch DVDs and write commentary for penny review sites.
Each towering cage was pushed into the storeroom with unskilled aggression, ringing out one by one, with a spectacular crashing noise as metal clashed with metal.
The room was crammed, the last bit of space for the prescriptions sat within a tight corner.
Not knowing better, I applied force to get the cage flying over the ramp, where it snapped against a dip in the ramp, falling forward with a deathly clatter.
Expletives came into my head and straight out of my mouth, as the pressure of making a 5 o’clock finish was on, and I was unable to elevate the heavy load alone.
I grabbed my colleague, Umar to assist with battling the weight of the cage. He helped to steady the burdensome load pulling upwards, as I endured metal digging into my skin as I pulled upwards, getting it back to its upright position.
In a moment of naivety I’ll never forget, I repeated exactly the same action causing the fall in the first place, with the notable exception that I was on the other side attempting to jimmy the wheels over the dip in the ramp as Umar pushed.
The cage veered towards me from the momentum provided by Umar, a bit too much, plummeting downwards, same as before, expect with myself in the way to slow the fall.
I moved most of my body out the way, so I didn’t end up trapped, shifting the remainder of the cage off with my knees.
My immediate thought was how close I had been to serious injury, but then a dull stinging from the impact rung through my face, but I was okay… or so I thought.
Blood began to seep off my head, I held my hands to stop it, a futile action as it was coming too rapidly to clot with a compression. I looked down at my hands to see them covered in red.
The storeroom floor was cover with one big bloody puddle, with a few handprints for good measure, in a scene resembling a Tarantino movie.
I lay in a bed that was not my own, with nothing but a few home comforts hastily thrown into a bag in a last-minute panic.
Staring at the ward ceiling, I became lost in my own thoughts in this cold, unfamiliar place.
I wondered what ‘normal’ people my age were doing, the ones with a social life, the types who always scared me as they always seemed so confident and sure of themselves.
Did they really have it all figured out? Or were they just as terrified as me not knowing what they wanted from life? Did other people fear deep down that they are doomed to spend their life achieving nothing?
Exhaustion eventually caught on, sending me into a deep sleep.
Sounds of voices in the bed opposite roused me from needed rest. I had a pressing desire to pee, but didn’t dare move for feeling like I was interrupting a very personal conversation in a very public place.
Instead, I lay still and listened.
“You make your choices in life, your poor decisions have led you here, if you keep behaving like this, you might not be so lucky next time.”
The consultant’s lecturing words carried over as the patient responded muttering incomprehensible words, as family members occasionally interjected trying to justify his actions.
I interpreted the conversation to understand that the youth had been fighting, another young ego getting too drunk and making mistakes.
The words made me think of my own situation, I wasn’t getting into late night brawls on a Friday night, but it was my decisions, or lack of them that had got me here.
If I nearly died yesterday, would you have been happy going out like this?
Laying in a hospital bed for most would ruin their weekend, for me it was the most I had done in months.
My reflections turned to my dead-end job, lack of friendships and prospects.
I knew there was more than this, I knew I could be more than this.
The next few weeks I did all the tedious things required to fix up a broken face, while thinking what I wanted.
I dreaded going back to work, not for the job itself but because I knew I would be the centre of attention as it’s hard to stay inconspicuous when you’ve been clobbered with a 200kg industrial cage and left blood stains all over the building.
People talk, they always do, and when they learned my experience had changed me, I was seeking more in my own life, their own insecurities kicked in, belittling my abilities to do anything else.
Apparently, I was too afraid do anything that would better my existence. This just drove me even more.
With time my face healed up and I felt more optimistic that I would not have to live the rest of my life as a disfigured monster.
This was followed by giving in my resignation to go to University, a decision that shocked the doubters thinking I would never leave.
Did I nearly die?
Perhaps I’m being overly dramatic, maybe my accident wasn’t as bad as it seemed, but I like to think it nearly did take my life, as that feeling has always motivated me to keep striving to be better than yesterday.
James M. Lane is a dad of two, husband, project manager and the writer for Perfect Manifesto a blog about fatherhood, health and self-improvement, founded on the belief that everyone has the potential to be better than yesterday.
Connect With James
My thanks to James for writing this guest post and sharing his true story with us.
If you have any questions or comments for James, please leave them in the comments section. He’d be delighted to hear from you.
Have you ever had a life-changing moment? Get in touch with me if you’d like to share the details in a guest post.
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