January 16, 1999, after watching a performance of Collected Stories at the Pewter Plough Playhouse in Cambria, after testing the , under the pier in Cayucos, of one of the best women I had ever owned, after enjoying a thoroughly wonderful evening, while driving down Highway 1, a car entered the freeway by way of the off ramp and changed my life forever.
I felt an extraordinary pain in my left foot on impact. No doubt, bad stuff. Looking back, I know I should have pulled over, as close to the right hand shoulder as possible (off the road would have plunged the car down a 25 foot embankment - not good), but instead I pulled over to the left lane. He then starting pulling into the same lane. I tried to get back into the right lane when we crashed. It could have been A LOT worse. The woman that was with me could have died, I could have died, we both could be in a condition where death would be preferable.
He was drunk and ran away. He was later caught, went to court and plea bargained to four years, and with good behavior would be out in 32 months. Hes out now (I assume). I hope hes sober. He changed my life. I hope hes changed his.
My heel bone was shattered. The operation consisted of pushing and pulling all the pieces together in a mass that somewhat resembled an unbroken heel bone. The doctor wouldn't put a cast on the foot, but instead wrapped it with tape and bandage, the idea being that he wanted me to be able to move my ankle (somewhat) during the healing process. The pain was kept under control with a lot of vicodin and gin. When not in a wheelchair or up on crutches, I crawled ... and changed.
Crawling around on my hands and knees was humiliating. I had no choice but to walk again. The day I bought a pair of boots and was able to stand (not walk, and not for some time yet), I stood in the parking lot - oh God it hurt - but I stood, I was standing, and I cried.
Eventually, I was able to walk short distances without assistance, and joined a gym. I worked that leg, that ankle, that foot, with tears in my eyes from the pain, to get stronger. And I did, and the rest of me got stronger too. My body looks quite different from what it was before the accident. I think, for a 53 year old man, I look pretty good. I weigh about 215 pounds, but everyone thinks I weigh much less.. Weird and wonderful.