Friday, October 15, 2010


Everybody, particularly the nurses who come around to clean the spots where the pins stick into my skull, keeps telling me how lucky I am that there was no paralysis, no nerve damage, and I suppose that's true. But I'm really pretty sick of hearing this. I've had too much of that style of luck over the past year. End of November, my two dogs got out through a hole in the fence around the yard and one was killed by a car; the other made it back unhurt, and that was lucky. I was laid off along with 35% of my department, but I have good recommendations and that's lucky. My wife left me, but we have remained on really good terms, the divorce is amicable, and that's lucky. I broke my neck, and had to abandon my home, my projects, and my independence while I recover; but there was no paralysis or nerve damage and that's lucky.

Lucky would be if my dogs didn't get through the hole, I still had my job, my wife was willing to work things out, I hadn't broken my neck. The consequences of all of these things could have been worse, but they were all still bad. If we bolted a Halo brace to a healthy person's skull for 8-12 weeks, they also would have no nerve damage or paralysis; would they feel lucky?

Actually there's one of those things I really do feel lucky about; the good relationship with my wife. She has been consistently nice to me since the separation, and really helped out a lot with the dogs a few times (like when I needed to be away overnight for a sleep test or a broken neck).

What seems lucky is based on what I take for granted. If I took breaking my neck for granted, then I'd feel lucky about no paralysis. I didn't take my wife for granted, so I feel lucky about that, but I did take it for granted that my head wouldn't be bolted to a framework.

Sometimes you see advice that you should take nothing for granted, but I think I demonstrate the impossibility; really, who goes around thankful that their head isn't bolted to a framework?


  1. "really, who goes around thankful that their head isn't bolted to a framework?" Now, anyway. :)