Today whilst at lunch with my girlfriend, I learnt what a situational friend was. Basically, its a friend in a friendship bonded by a shared situation. Simply speaking, it’s the kind of friendship which gets cut after you leave your shared situation in which you met. Suddenly a whole lot of stuff has come to light for me! I would sit and wonder, why is it this person needed me? Some friends come about through shared experiences, bonding-by-drama, etc. One minute I would be sharing the most intimate things about myself…the next..BOOM they are gone. When that time is over, I’d go on about my business. But be left with this lingering question: Why? I use to think to myself, is there something wrong with me? What did this person want? Did they get what they needed? Did I get anything out of it? What happens when that one thing goes away, should you try to salvage the friendship on the premis of the friendship or just let it go?
I think we all change from year to year, job to job, residence to residence, age to age. During each phase in our lives we befriend people who share situations or environments. We befriend them only because of the commonality of shared experiences, and once those situations or environments change…the friendships usually fade out, too. It’s not like we sought out their friendship…rather, we gravitated toward them out of routine, necessity, boredom, whatever. It is confusing when situational friends are also close friends. A crisis, an urgency of some kind can push people together. When the crisis is over, people stay friends, thinking that because something so hard or horrible or painful or intense pushed them together, the friendship must be true, real, strong, and close. Close friends are real friends, and with each passing day you feel their importance…depending on the circumstances of your mood or the situation you are in.
“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” Helen Keller.
“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing…not healing…not curing…that is a friend who cares.” Henri Nouwen
It’s been a crazy hectic 6 months.
It’s been a crazy hectic 6 months.
On 12 September 2013 I was in a pace line training session on the Brisbane River Loop for my first Team Time Trial when I collided with another wheel and hit the deck with the gutter pulling me to a stop.
I ended up with a dislocated shoulder, tear to the rotator cuff and lateral muscle with a greater tuberosity fracture to the humorous. Mental pain! I was treated and sent home, with a follow up surgery to repair the damage leaving me in a sling for 6 weeks. After a month of recovery I was able to be treated at the RBH Physiotherapy Dept with one on one physio and Hydrotherapy. I engaged an Acupuncturist for 2 x weekly treatments. Initially I walked to these treatments, but as time progressed I rode a bike. When I was in a good position and had the go ahead from my surgeon and physio, I spent each day at my gym on a recumbent stationery bike and used the equipment for my physio. I attended RPM classes, wearing my sling so as to protect it. The classes made me feel part of a team. And it hurt! But I was determined not to let this misfortune get the better of me. I progressed from the recumbent to the upright to the wind trainer to a commuter to a mountain and then, finally, a modified road bike. Each time I transitioned from one bike to the other I felt a massive sense of achievement. I pealed back the layers of internal pain to reveal a new layer. A stronger layer, and version of me. I discovered things about myself I never knew. I felt grief, pain, helplessness, loss. I found out that my family and friends are the people in my life that are my backbone. My support system. Blair from Lifecycle watched over me and he provided this much needed support. I won some, I lost some. But the ones who hung around are the keepers. I was fortunate to meet a woman whom I friended on Facebook…but had only met a few times. This woman has been through the toughest transition in life. I knew she could keep me real. She messaged me daily, working through my bad moments with me. She was my saviour during these times. She and my One Armed Bandit, who was also convalescing from a bicycle injury…and an amazing woman I met at my gym. Without these women I would have gone nuts. It’s times like these you appreciate your girlfriends.
I’ve never damaged my body before, so this was new to me. I remember coming home from the hospital after surgery and crying in pain because I couldn’t lie down on my bed. It was horrible. I took some hardcore drugs and slept for about 2 weeks. My body really needed to rebuild and recover. My GP looked after me and kept the pain level under control. The worse part about pain medication is the side effects. Depression being the worse. I had some pretty dark and lonely days. I looked at Facebook and Strava and wept! Crazy hey? But I could see all my friends out there on their bikes enjoying life and I wanted a bit of that. I began to hate my bike. I blamed it for my accident. Only now do I realise that was stoopid! When you clip your foot into your pedal it’s a choice you make. And with choices come responsibility. Life began to have clarification.
When I started to feel more myself I began catching the train everywhere as I wasn’t permitted to drive. It took 4 trains to get the the Nundah Crit Track return, but it was worth it. There I watched my friends on their bikes enjoying the thrill of the race. I met up with my fellow One Armed Bandit and we shared these cool times together. At this time, a special friendship grew with a woman I met last year, at this very crit track. I blogged about her. She heads up a team call Koiled Tineli. She invited me to join her team. I died a thousand deaths. OMG. It was my dream to be part of her team. She was aware of the extent of my injury but encouraged me to participate in her team, no matter the outcome, no expectations. A member of her team rocked up to my place with his toolkit and took components (which my brother bought me) and modified Beauty for me. Let’s refer to him as ‘The Technician’! Suddenly I became part of a picture that was once a dream, but now a reality. My attitude changed. I asked my best mate, Speedie, if I could hook onto his afternoon training rides with him as I was too nervous to ride alone. Here began a beautiful friendship between Speedracer and Beauty. Other friends found out I was back on Beauty and invited me to ride with them as well. I was blown away! The Wombles arranged a Tour de Redcliffe ride in Beauty’s honour! Pink feathers are still found about the suburbs of the Northern Lands.
Blair and the Lifecycle team have been a massive support to me and have never left my side. I now have a new amazing family.
So many lessons.
I have been un-employed during this time. I have a business with my husband and a Part-time Casual Job with a north side company. Financially, tough times! Luckily my teenaged children are old enough to fend for themselves. My daughter has been instrumental in the art of dressing her mother! Again, it’s moments like these that you appreciate what you have and what you need to keep the cogs turning.
During my treatment I met a woman who had major concerns for me as I could only hold my arm passively. She recommended I seek a second opinion as she was not happy with the lack of progress. I took her advice and so began the next phase…an EMG revealed I had a damaged nerve. Tomorrow I will be admitted to the RBH for further surgery. The name is a pretty fancy one: “Left Radial to Auxillary Nerve Transfer”. Cool stuff hey. An incision is made down my tricep and these two nerves are attached together to re-establish the connection to my deltoid muscle. Chances of success are unknown. But if you don’t give it a try what’s the alternative?
People ask me…so you actually want to get back on your bike? I met a dude that also had a crash, and he won’t race anymore. He asked me…so why do you ever want to race again? As a child my mother taught me, if you fell off your bike, ‘get up, dust yourself off and get back on again’. For the past 7 years I have surrounded myself with fit, healthy and positive thinking people. There was no decision to be made. Fall down 7. Get up 8. It’s what a mate keeps telling me.
I have met many people with injuries who have their own stories to tell. I hope that my story can allow you to see a piece of yourself in it and take out of it what you need. Find the better part of yourself and nurture it, allow it to regrow and shine through. NEVER GIVE UP.