Daddy’s not invincible: coping with trauma

A baby's hand is pressed against a bigger father's hand.

Her screams cut me deeper than she meant them to, but the facts were clear: I was deficient, and this helplessness was a new layer to my trauma.

To her I’m a constant; one of two people she knows to rescue her from the hunger she can’t yet understand, and the fear of loneliness she knows only by instinct.

But in this state —without use of my arms after a vehicle crash— I could feel the vulnerability of not fully acting as the big, strong daddy my 7-month-old needs me to be; the one who can lift her the highest, and embrace her the tightest.

Or the one who comforts her when she cries.

I maneuvered my fractured left wrist to her one side, and my separated shoulder and damaged right arm to the other, as I bent into her bassinet as deeply as I could.

With every ounce of my strength and coordination, I pulled her small, emotionally-exhausted frame to my chest in a kind of desperate bear hug.

By the time my wife returned to the room my daughter had calmed.

But I had not. Continue reading “Daddy’s not invincible: coping with trauma”

Battered not broken: reflections from a scooter crash

There is a split-second for your body to prepare for the trauma before the car slams into your left side, and a leisurely ride into work on a sunny day becomes an exhausting and painful day at the hospital. 

Your fight-or-flight instinct is sparked by the adrenaline pumping through your vulnerable shell: your heart pounds; your muscles tense; your awareness is heightened, just as the worst of your situation becomes the prime object of your focus.

The hood of the car is, all at once, a white blur streaking toward you, and also a crystal clear threat to your existence.

As the collision strips from you the handlebars–and with them your ability to control your destination–you hold out your hands to catch yourself from a fall that you won’t be able to avoid. Continue reading “Battered not broken: reflections from a scooter crash”

Scooter: When public transit can only take you so far…

I was hungry–enthusiastic–to move to an American city with a fully-functioning public transit system, and Cleveland seemed to have potential.  In moving here, we sought to rent a place near easy bus or train connections, and I immediately signed up for a monthly transit pass.  Even an awkwardly uncomfortable encounter on my very first day riding the bus home with a fellow needing to deliver a racially-charged, drunken rant, did not discourage me.  I commuted with the bus, more or less, uninterrupted for 10 months, but it wore me down.  And it is with some regret that I say I have adopted a new primary commuting mode for the non-snowy months: a scooter.

Continue reading “Scooter: When public transit can only take you so far…”

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