When the doctor told me that I had a broken neck, I immediately went to the disbelief stage, questioning how I could walk around for at least four days in such a state. And how I could break my neck camping, I have no idea. And as I rode in the ambulance to the hospital, a great many thoughts ran through my mind... would I need surgery? how would my life be affected? would I ever walk again? would I ever get to ride my new motorbike again? The list of thoughts was endless.

After a bunch of x-rays and a CT scan, the neurosurgeon on duty came to see me, and would be my doctor as it turned out. He said surgery would be required but that it would be all good. A huge burden was lifted from my shoulders but I still needed to get through the surgery. The nurses in the ER were all glad for me as they said my doctor was one of the best the province, perhaps the best in Canada. But as with anything, there is always that chance of surgery not being successful, for whatever reason, and I even had to sign a form saying as such and that if the worst did happen that I basically couldn't sue or anything.

The operation went perfectly, and the doctor says my neck x-ray couldn't look better. I'm out of the hospital now and my life is pretty much back to normal, except for the neck collar I have to wear and which will be my new best friend for the next three months. My life hasn't really changed all that much, except that I can't do anything that would jar my neck. So, my tank commander position in the Canadian Army reserve is out for the next year as is riding my motorbike. But that's okay, because it's as if I have a new lease on life, for I can walk, talk and breath under my own power and I can feel and wiggle all my fingers and toes. And in three months when I take this neck brace off, the only tell-tale sign that I was even in a world of hurt will be the scars on my neck and my hip (where they took out a piece of bone to reinforce my neck). And whenever I look outside and see the blue sky and wish I could be just riding around on my bike, I simply think about my new lease and the fact that I can breath the air on my own and that next summer I can once again ride my motorbike.

And the new lease on life that I have isn't any more restrictive than the old one, but this time I've read the fine print more closely. When I start snowboarding again, I will be wearing a helmet. Did the doctor say I should? Nope. He said that in three months everything will be as it was before, except that I may have slightly less mobility in my neck. But as I said, I've read the fine print on my lease. When I board, I'm not gonna be reckless as if I was ten years younger anymore. I'm not going to try to get 20 feet of air on jumps and try new tricks anymore. I will probably remain firmly planted on the ground and will simply enjoy the powder that the Canadian Rockies have to offer. Hockey? That won't change either though I will probably not play contact hockey anymore. That's no big deal, as I was considering that anyway. I'm too old to be hurting myself like that anymore. It's not worth it. My time to be drafted in the NHL has come and gone, and I wasn't even in contention in the first place. So why take the chance. Hitting is part of professional hockey, but it doesn't need to be part of my recreational and fun hockey.

All in all, I like my new lease. It's pretty much the same as before but the deal seems a whole lot better, and it's put things in perspective. I'm still not going to live my life completely in a bubble, but I just may retreat to that bubble every now and again. When my time comes I don't want to regret not doing things because I played it safe every time. I don't want that at all.

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