On Feb 16 I found myself nearly unconscious asking someone to call 911 on my behalf. I don’t know if you’ve ever had to call 911 for yourself, but it’s a scary moment and one I’ll never forget. So my apologies for the lapse in communication over the last 3 weeks, I haven’t been able to physically write. By the way, I’m not typing right now, I’m actually using a software program that translates speech into text, it’s called Dragon dictate and you have to get it, it rocks!
Okay so here’s the skinny, basically my ego was trying to break a world record running up and down Cowles Mountain and I took the most perfect fall of my life. It was so perfect that the amount of pressure moving forward was sufficient enough to sever the entire head of my right humerus. They call it an ice cream cone break because the arm bone (humerus) connected to the shoulder is similar to an ice cream cone and my ice cream came off my cone.
It was very sudden, I had my iPod on… rocking some house music, I was storming down the mountain and the next thing I knew I was scraping myself up from the ground where there were people asking me if I was okay. Of course my ego took over in shock and said I’m fine, but I wasn’t. Something was very wrong.
I could not move my right arm and it looked contorted. I thought I had dislocated my shoulder, which I’ve done before, so I attempted to jar the shoulder back into place then cradled my arm like a wounded baby and walked down to the public restroom where I proceeded to wash off the gravel embedded in my hands and chest.. yes I had my shirt off. In the blink of an eye, I’d gone from champ to chump.
I then walked to my car, got in and the pain began to intensify. I hadn’t brought any water on the trail run and my mouth was parched and dry as the Sahara desert so I grabbed some ginger tea with my left hand, which was awkward because I am right handed. In excruciating pain I then reached reached across the steering wheel to put the key in the ignition and start the car.…every single movement was was like being stabbed in the arm!
As I made my way onto the freeway and began to drive I noticed my right side of my body was increasingly becoming numb. It was strange, as if a nerve was being pinched and was cutting off my blood supply. I then attempted to move the shoulder back into place again, but to no avail. I was breathing deep, I was calm, but the numbness continued to take over my body. I had been driving for about 15 min. and was 3 to 5 min. away from the hospital and right then I realized my body was no more than 10 seconds away from shutting down completely at which point I would’ve simply crashed and possibly died.
Fortunately, I had the wisdom to make a crucial decision that saved my life. I pulled off the freeway where there was an exit about a hundred yards away and put the car in park. I looked up, incapacitated, and asked some bike riders to call 911 as I was about to pass out and go unconscious. They called an ambulance, but within 2 min. my body went through some type of metamorphosis. I started to sweat intensely and then suddenly, the feeling in my hands, feet, arms and head had come back to life. As quick as I went down I was back even quicker!
I told the bikers I was going to drive to the hospital, which was only a mile away. I then proceeded to check myself in the emergency room at Scripps hospital and It wasn’t long before the doctor came in, sent me off to x-rays and gave me my diagnosis. I was really depressed when he told how bad it was. It was almost like a dream listening to the physical therapist telling me I need to sleep up right on the couch for the next few months and that somehow gravity would pull the shoulder back down onto the neck of the humerus overtime. I just sighed and said I couldn’t believe it… probably said a few curse words as well. The doctor tried to encourage me by telling me that it could’ve been worse had I had torn ligaments instead of just breaking the bone. He then proceeded to tell me how I might need an operation and that my body shutting down while in the car was a typical response from an overdose of pain signals to the brain.
Meanwhile, I was supposed to host and teach a yoga dinner party in 3 hours and I was to perform the following night. So picture this, I get home with my freshly severed arm in a sling and I have to clean my entire house, prepare food and prepare to teach a partner yoga class and host a dinner party. I think because I was still in shock and had plenty of adrenaline running through my veins, I was able to make it through the night. But not without incident… I managed to teach the class, but then I ate dinner and a half of glass of wine, which made me feel nauseous. So I got up to go to the bathroom to most likely hurl, but took 2 steps, fell back on my butt and fainted onto my back.
It appears that that half a glass of wine and all the interesting and powerful mix of chemicals running through my veins from the trauma made for a potent cocktail of dizziness. It’s at times like this where you find out who your true friends really are. There were a few newcomers to our dinner party but just about everybody got up from the table, all 12 of them, to help me up off the ground. After that it was really interesting to see who continued to help and even offered to sleep over my house and watch over me just in case I woke up in the middle of the night and fell again.
The good news… wow you really get some great attention wen you’re injured. After I regained consciousness, my friends set me up on the couch in the yoga studio, put my feet up, put ice on my shoulder and a heating pad on my stomach for the nausea. Even more comforting was the fact that I had it least 5 beautiful yogi babes stroking my head, my arm and massaging my feet 🙂
But my challenges had yet to really begin on this new test of character and opportunity for spiritual advancement. I had my two most beloved happiness tools taken away… Yoga and Guitar, which I would have to put on hold for at least 3-4 months. I also would now have to learn how to sleep sitting up when I was used to sleeping on my right side in a fetal position my entire life. I would now have to learn how to use my left arm after being right handed my entire life.
Thankfully, through years of spiritual training and personal development, I understood very well how challenge and adversity not only build character, but maybe even more importantly, reveal character. I would now have to go perform all my gigs without a guitar, which ironically turned out great the night after my accident when I performed in Encinitas and brought along my lead guitar player so I could concentrate on singing… We Did so well we got invited back. And of course my other hurdle would be teaching yoga with one arm, I would have to rely on others, but I knew it would expand me in other areas of my life which needed expansion and had attracted this opportunity into my life in the 1st place. I would become a better teacher, I would become a better singer, I would find more gratitude for all that I have, I would no longer take for granted my body and the amazing gift of physical ability. Perhaps most importantly, I could shed yet another layer of a once immense, but diminishing ego that in the past, constantly drifted away from the present moment and held me captive to the past and future.
Well, I’m 3 weeks in and I’ve learned a few lessons including this: ”the minute you start resisting change and challenge is the minute you start suffering.” So I’ve accepted this challenge as an opportunity to prepare me as a leader, artist and a great human being who will contribute much good to this troubled world.
lastly, I would just like to say… I love you all. Thank you for your love and support.
Please feel free to comment below.–Chad