Take my word for it, donating a kidney is a thousand times easier than getting hit by a car -- less painful and much more gratifying. It’s nine days since I got clipped by a slow-moving vehicle while trying to defy traffic regulations and cross on a red light in Amsterdam. Jim has already described the accident in some detail. The first few days were pretty bad. I camped out on the living room couch for several days and could only get to the bathroom by swinging through the kitchen like Tarzan (this is the only time I’ve appreciated our tiny, narrow kitchen). Then came the dining room chair stage when I navigated by pushing a chair across the room, the way Dutch children learn to ice skate (back when we used to have ice). Then I moved on to a wooden cane. Today, for the first time, I walked from the bedroom to the upstairs bathroom without any assistance.
My knee is quite unstable, and until today I couldn’t trust it to hold me up. It sort of slipped out of the socket and splayed outwards, a weird feeling but painless. When I got up this morning I realized the knee felt stronger, and that I could actually walk on it. I went to the doctor this morning, who told me she didn’t think there was any tearing and that the knee was healing. Good news. Wednesday I start physical therapy.
I’m taking a strong painkiller, which forces me to nap a couple of times a day. I’ve had to simply stop doing everything I normally do, sit back and heal. Jim has been wonderful. He’s actually a very good cook, but I tended to monopolize the kitchen. This may change. I think I’ve been taking on way too much, and it may have taken a slow-moving car to get me to ponder the consequences of this. If it hadn’t been the car it would have been something else -- illness, perhaps.
Life is more than doing your best, or striving for excellence, or even being good. It’s not just a one-man operation. It’s about building community and friendships, sharing chores, learning how to delegate, admitting shortcomings and areas of weakness, and understanding there are some things you just can’t do yourself. In short, it’s all about learning humility. Some people know this instinctively. Others have to step in front of a car to find it out.
(The photo: a bouquet of tulips sent by our parish council.)