Another Update.

In Life Is Short, News & Stuff, The Italian Incident by David205 Comments

San Francisco through the raindrops on the window of the Top of the Mark. Hard to believe it was a couple months ago. To my right, eating dinner, was Robert Duval. Today it expresses my mood.

At the risk of popping bubbles, the truth about my condition right now has been revealed only partly in good-humored tweets and blog posts about the great adventure of life, etc.etc. I’m grateful that people see that side of me, and I think overall I am coping with things well. But every comment that comes in has a sting on the back-end because the whole story can’t be told in tweets and soundbites.

The fuller truth is that much of the time this does not feel like part of a bigger story, it does not feel like an adventure. What it feels like is constant un-abating discomfort in better moments, and excruciating pain in others. It feels, from this tiny point in time, like a sentence that will never end. I can do literally nothing on my own, including roll over in the bed. The great accomplishments of my day include basic body functions and staying lucid long enough to get a blog post done, or a small piece of the next book edited. The nights are the worst. They last forever and have an unending lonely feeling about them. I cry myself to sleep, when I sleep at all.

It is easy to talk about living a life that leans into fear and risk in order to “live the dream” or whatever platitude we’ve attached to what it means to live fully. It is much harder to live through the darker moments life extracts from us as payment for the stories we will one day tell our kids, and the things we believe give our lives purpose. It’s the same way with art. The best of it takes work and self-examination and wading though fear and insecurity to get there. It, too, is scary and lonely at times.

Why am I writing this? Two reasons. First to state the obvious – things might be light around here awhile as I take some time off to wade through this. The second is merely to be more fully honest about it. This was not an easy post to write. Aside from talking about how hard photography can be, I am generally an upbeat and positive person. But lest anyone put me on a pedestal, right here and now it feels like I’d trade this pain and difficulty for a slightly easier story. Years later this will be part of the story that makes me who I become. These things will affect my work; they will create a new place from which I create my art. But right now it just hurts. Bravery and humor is easy to sustain for 140 characters on Twitter. In real life it seems to be much, much harder. Would I really change anything? Not at all, but if I’ve ever made this stuff sound easy, or as though it is within reach of only a special breed of people, I’ve wronged you. This is hard.

I’m learning, that’s for sure. I am learning that I am surrounded by amazing people; people (so, so many of you are those people) who think I am amazing, and what I wish I could do now is turn the mirror the other way, help them understand that they are the amazing ones – people whom I revere deeply for the size of their hearts. So forgive another meandering, emotional post, but authenticity is not a marketing strategy for me, it’s the heart of this community. The day I start faking it is the day I close shop.

As far as updates, I’m told I’m healing well and the team here is now talking about a transfer to Perth War Memorial Hospital here in Ontario. It’s closer to my parent’s home and I’ll spend about a month there. As soon as I am able, and a spot frees up, I’ll be moved to an inpatient rehab clinic, for who knows how long. A couple weeks? A month?

So again, my deepest thanks. Forgive me if I’m quieter than usual. Some days it takes too much energy to maintain the optimism and as I’ve previously been told my angst is exhausting, I’m wary of wearing you down with too much navel gazing. 🙂



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  2. Glad to hear things are progressing well medically. While I can’t say I’ve been through what you’re going through, my wife & I do have some hard-won experience with drawn-out medical oddyseys (she had 4 rounds of kidney surgery, followed a few years later by breast cancer surgery, chemo and radiation; I myself had 4 rounds of colorectal surgery over the course of 18 months that just ended a couple of years ago). I wish I had some wisdom or tip to help you pass the time easier, but alas, I didn’t come up with anything. The only things I’ll say are: take people up on their offers to help — most people really want to do something, and we found that if there was something specific we could use help with, people were more than happy to do it. The only other thought I had (after the 2d and 3d surgeries had failed) was that somehow or other, this was going to be in the past someday. In the meantime, do whatever it takes to get through the day: read trashy magazines, watch trashy TV, and yes, take thenpain meds so you can get some rest. Hang in there — we’re all pulling for you, and thinking of you.

  3. Your honesty is what keeps me coming back here.
    Just sayin’…

    Hoping you heal up quick David.

  4. Hey David

    Thanks for your honesty and even though I have never had an accident to the degree which you have, i cannot really identify with the pain, suffering, depression and helplessness but i can commiserate with you and tell you that I am thinking of you often and trusting that you will heal WELL! You have so much to teach all of us who are photographers, but now you have had this experience which will deepen your understanding of suffering and pain. Those are valuable things to know for LIFE. I appreciate your honesty and I am sure that things will seem gloomy for a while still and there are no word that I can offer that will ease your pain or your suffering….I wish there were…I would say them continually. As you can see there are plenty of people supporting you, cheering you on and offering shoulders to cry on, we weep with you right now, but will rejoice with you when you stand on the hilltops on the other side. Be brave, be strong and continue to be real, I appreciate a post like this….thank you for your honesty…I am standing with you!

  5. Hang in there….someday perhaps I will share my family’s story of unbelievable pain and unbelievable recovery. I have overnighted in my sister’s hospital room, and know the depth of lonely that happens in the darkest hours. I loved when i realized that Spanish has a separate word for the deepest part of the night that is between midnight and dawn (la madrugada). I just look forward to your recovery, and to meeting and studying with you some day. I am drawn to your writing as much as to your images, so please keep writing, the good the bad and the ugly. and, celebrate the morning light when it arrives! Cheers.

  6. My thoughts are with you…4 years ago..i broke 2 vertebrae in my back and had nerve damage to my hip after a fall..I was confined to bed for 4 months..and then months of rehab…had to have someone wipe my butt for me…so degrading…there were so many days I didn’t think I would make it thru the pain but mostly the emotional depression that set in…few people can really relate if you havent been there…So I know your pain and heart ache..but I did recover…and i photograph again every day with renewed passion and appreciation for this life.. All the best to you…” this too shall past”…It may not seem like it now…but it does…all the best to you !!

  7. David, this was truly great post! I could physically feel that you were talking from the bottom of your heart. Thank you very much for telling this truth the way you did.
    I am joining to all the best wishes here, and adding my own two grams of positive energy towards your recovery!

  8. David, I know sorry does not and cannot cut it but I am so sorry for you. I know the feeling. Not specifically to your situation but I’ve been through my own dark night of the soul too. And I will continue to keep you in my prayers that God will lift you up, encourage and surround you with people who will bring joy back into your life and will be like breaths of fresh air right when you need it.
    Hang in there, it gets better than this. It may take a while, but it will get better. I pray you’ll know his peace in the midst of this though it may feel impossible at time… Lots of prayers coming your way. :c)

  9. david, happy to read your tweets that you are feeling a bit better. please know that we are inspired by you BECAUSE YOU ARE YOU, not because you are feeling positive. your bedpan image made me laugh and brightened my day. and glass half full or half empty, your insight is always valuable. thank you.
    ps sounds trivial, and not to at all trivialize your recuperation, but in trying times, the fact that the sun always came up the next day pulled me through many bad nights. breathe deep and know you will be o.k.

  10. Can you send me your address (hospital, or somewhere else), i want to send you something (nothing bad, don’t worry), that will help pass time and is not about photography, sometimes a change is good

  11. David,
    The cool thing about deep wounds is that the best of the people who pour themselves into you while you heal ends up deeply embedded beneath the scars in a place it never could have reached without the pain. I wouldn’t wish your current circumstances on my worst enemy but I can’t think of a man better equipped to be richly enlarged by the infusion of a thousand gracious hearts than you.

    The pain is not as meaningless and futile as it seems right now. When this is over you will be connected to this community and the world in ways you could have never imagined before the fall.

    Drink it in. Breathe the love. Shed the tears. Grow. Enlarge. Become – The pain will end, and a new chapter will begin. The best chapter yet… My thoughts and prayers are with you. Get well soon!

  12. Crying myself to sleep for a few haggard hours was a standard routine when my first son had extreme colic for 6 months. That’s the only way I can relate to your seemingly never ending agony:

    It’s an amazing discovery – our darkest journeys are never the paths we would have chosen if offered a choice, but ultimately, they shape us in a way that pure ease never could.

  13. David,

    You may not know many of us, but through your blog, books and Creative Live we do kind of know you. We may not have sat down to coffee or a meal and we may not have had long conversations about life and photography, but your readers have had conversations with you that you weren’t privy to.

    I don’t know that rehearsing our own dark times helps, but it can’t hurt to know that you can have an expected end. Will you be the same as before? Nope. Is that a bad thing? Nope.

    I’ve gone through cancer twice and have had massive headaches that lasted months and I’m still around. Still enjoying life. Big problems like your injury or an unexpected and unwanted diagnosis have a way of clarifying a lot of life, a way of re-engineering priorities and plans.

    The funny thing is that even major traumas have a way of drifting into the past once recovery has taken place and a new ‘normal’ is established. I find myself slipping into routine and have to reach back and remember what it was like to have my world shattered and strive for the clarity that was instantly mine at the time.

    These things also help us when other things rise up against us in the future. Right now I am dealing with a brain problem that makes two bouts of cancer seem easy by comparison. I still have most of my faculties, but can’t process for some reason. Some days my cameras are foreign to me and most days post processing (even minor tweaks to color balance or contrast) is an insurmountable obstacle. But you know what? I’ve licked cancer. Cancer wanted a rematch and I whooped up on cancer again. I’ve overcome debilitating headaches. And you know what? I’ll beat this thing too…… and so will you.

    Go ahead and cry when it just hurts. Cry when you think of opportunities you may be missing. Cry because you’re confined. But know this, that there are countless ‘friends’ who are praying for you, many who have been through their own debilitating struggles and have come out on top, and when the darkness closes in, hang on to those prayers and those stories and faith and hope and know that you’ll be a more inspirational and empathetic leader in our industry when you emerge victorious on the other side.

    One of the problems with my current condition is that, although I can write a ‘stream of consciousness’ post I can’t proof read it later. My apologies if this doesn’t make as much sense reading it as it did in my head as I wrote it.

  14. David, just found out about this after a long absence from the blog. I’m so glad that you are alive and healing, despite the pain and sadness at the moment.

    You’ve always been a hero of mine, and now just as much as ever. Take care sir, can’t wait to see you on your feet again soon.

  15. David,

    Your strength in this tough time is showing through, I think you underestimate yourself. You are an inspiration to us all, keep up the good fight. We are always here to listen.

    PS: Keep an eye out for Dr. House, I hear he is looking for new patients.


  16. David,

    Hang in there! It is always worse before it gets better. This is only a temporary set back. You are young and healthy and will heal fast and be back before you know it. You are so wise to already know that this will, indeed, change you, but not for the worse. You will only get better and stronger as a person as time moves forward. 🙂

    Wishing you peace and wellness – always!

  17. Dark times will strengthen you if you make it through. I wish you the power it takes to reach the light. So many thoughts and wishes are with you, use them to your benefit. You are surrounded by friends and family who will be on your side if you need them, take their energy and channel it towards your goal.
    Best wishes !

  18. David,

    I know the excruciating pain you are in (been there myself with similar injuries and surgeries). Keep reminding yourself that this will pass because it WILL. Stay on top of your pain with timely dosages so it does not get ahead of you. It’s always harder to tame it after the fact. You are young and healthy and you will heal. As you heal,the pain will begin to subside. Hang in there.


  19. Love your honesty, David! There’s no need to be upbeat and cheerful all the time. Just allow yourself to feel what you feel, don’t censor your feelings and thoughts. They’ll just be more determined to strike back with even more force 🙂 I loved your post – allowing yourself to dive into that mix of feelings, is what makes it so truly authentic and inspiring! Big, big hug! xo

  20. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Remember, better days are ahead!

  21. David, it’s been a couple of days since I 1st read your amazing and honest post. I needed to take a couple of days to let my head settle. Most of what any of us want to say has been said but we feel we should say something.
    Some of what you’re feeling inside I feel too but for very different reasons and here is not the place for me to air it out. When the nights come and you feel alone, remember that you’ve reached much farther than you could have ever hoped, right across the globe. No matter what time of day it is for you, there is always somebody who is awake, somewhere in the world and you’re in their thoughts and prayers. When this is all over you will be so much stronger for it, I know I will when I get through my own battle. The darkness comes from within us, out there is the light, the light which we are all searching for and is different for each of us. Remember that, like it or not, you’re never alone and never truly will be. We are all blessed with this life and to have the gift of photography… Wow!
    I pray tonight the darkness stays away and you feel the company of the many you have touched and inspired.

    Take good care.

  22. David, I have been following your art and your adventures for some time now, and I want you to know that your writing and photography has deeply affected my life. I believe your honesty is what has affected me most. Please know that I as well as many, many others are praying for your health and full recovery. In the book of Psalms it says “weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” This night will not last forever, and as you take each step on this new and unexpected journey that you are on, you will discover new joy in the most unexpected things.

    It is hard sometimes to stay the course and hold onto what you deeply believe – I recently returned from a volunteer mission in Mexico, only to lose my job the very next day. At first, I was excited and felt that this was an opportunity to completely change course and begin to follow my true passions in life. But now a month and a half later with a bank account that is dwindling away and no real prospects in sight, it is much harder to maintain that same optimism. But circumstances do not change the truth of what is inside of you. You just have to go deeper to find it is all.

    Your journey has taken a very unexpected, painful turn, but it is not over by any means, not by a long shot.

    Please know that whether we hear from you or not, there are many people praying for you thinking about you every day.

  23. David – I’ve been where you are right now emotionally myself… a month in the hospital 20 years ago not knowing if I’d make another day. Not broken bones, but a bacterial infection on my heart valves. But somehow each day does get better and the small moments of recovery or being able to do something yourself are very important to find joy in. Yes, this will change your life, but as I’ve gotten to know you through your honest posts, you will grow and become even closer to your true self and path. My near death experience focused my own path in ways I still notice today and I’ve never seen the month of October the same way.

    My best to you, David, on this amazing journey.

  24. Sharing these darker moments makes your lighter statements so much more believeable to me. Thank you for not hiding this side but risking honesty.

    You are an inspiration even when you struggle.

    I can only imagine how hard it is for you right now and I cannot really help but I hope you have the energy to work through the pain and surrender to the healing.

    All the best

  25. David, here’s a poem for you that I wrote for a dear friend in strife. It’s worked for many, times since,hopefully for you too.

    Does Chicken Soup Fix Everything by Nancy Johnson

    Does chicken soup fix everything?
    Will it fix my friend, who’s not his best?
    Can it pass the test?
    Is it better than love and hugs
    and thinking thoughts of perfection
    and beauty
    and laughing really really hard and long?
    Can faith be that strong?
    All is well.
    All is well.
    Keep saying all is well and believe
    really, really deep in you.
    Love you.
    That’s the best thing to do.
    God does
    and me.
    All is well
    I can tell!
    How could it be anything else?
    Have the soup just in case.

  26. How lucky we are when we are not hurt and have no pain!

    Your misfortune reminds me to observantly set my steps through this world. I hope I will recognise the risks in order to have a chance to calculate them and to compare them with the benefits of taking riscs. I hope I clearly can distinguish risks and dangers.

    David, I am shure you will be invigorated at the end of this journey through the period of pain. I hope your pain will end very soon and I hope you will recover completely.

    Cheers, Jens

  27. We are with you in our hearts, David. Remember, you can’t have light without shadows.
    Best of luck and love during these shadowy moments. And remember, you’re only human. And God bless you for sharing that part with us too.

  28. David – our thoughts go out to you in your struggles. You’re an inspiration. I hope all the comments from your fans and admirer’s help give you inspiration to grit your teeth and see the light at the end of the tunnel. Good luck with this and hang in there!

  29. David,

    Thank you for all that you have done for us, and all that will do in the future. Each time I come to your blog, I’m filled with both excitement and dread. Excited to glean the next little nugget of wisdom you provide, and scared shitless at the prospect of looking deep within myself to confront my own fears and insecurities. I read several photography blogs, but yours is the only one that makes me want to be a better PERSON. Know that no matter how low you feel, we are all here to offer our support. Stay strong and be well.


  30. David, I hope you realize how much of an impact you’ve had on your readers (me included) – it’s only natural that we would want to give back the tiniest bit to you through some meager encouraging words. The only thing I can say is to take it one day at a time and if that doesn’t work then take it one hour at a time and if that doesn’t work then break it further.

    Be as quiet as you need, be as noisy as you need, be as honest as you need. We’ll all be here when you’re up to it.

    I, too, have had sleepless, lonely, nights due to pain, and have had my share of tears. It really does get better, just give it time.

    Thank you for such an honest update. Wishing you the best.

  31. Almost 5 years ago I was hit by a car running a stop sign. I’ve been recovering ever since and just got (some) of my photography back in the last two years. I’ve written about my journey and, in fact, am writing about chronic pain this week … but it isn’t all I write about. It has been a long journey and I so empathize with where you’re at right now. As you get better, you might want to stop by. Read my about page or the section about my recovery. You will realize you aren’t alone. It’s a hard journey, and an isolating one … but you can do it. You will get through it – as difficult as that seems right now! Sending virtual hugs through the airwaves ….!

  32. My heart aches for you, your shattered bones and shattered plans. I think of you every day and am sending positive thoughts and virtual hugs out into the universe for you.

  33. Hang in there, David. Hopefully soon there will be no more fights at night, just a change in light. Best wishes, you’re in my thoughts.

  34. David,

    Although your injuries are great – your spirit is greater. Today is a tough one, but it means that you are one day closer to a full recovery. Your honesty allows your readers to love and support you all the more. 6 yrs ago a friend of mine sustained similar injuries and was faced with a similar recovery as you are facing. There were tough spots and many challenges, but as he says – at the end of it – he gained so much. His relationships were deeper and richer. His outlook on life and circumstances were more relaxed. He has fully recovered and now recognizes the moments in life that should be savored and stopped for. He regained an apprecication for life that he did not have before. You are in a business of capturing moments in time. Continue to look for those good moments in your recovery process. Not to share with everyone, but for you to focus on. Those moments become the foundation for your tomorrows. Wade through the emotions of each day, but hang on to the small encouragements that will happen. Be encouraged David. Know that you are highly respected and admired. The endless lists of comments to your posts are proof of this. Blog when you are up to it, but know that you in our thoughts and prayers.

  35. I spent about two years, not long ago, with something called “frozen shoulder.” I could hardly lift my right arm two inches from my side and had constant shooting pain up and down my arm.

    Contant pain can be debilitating, that’s for sure, and yours, I know is much greater than mine ever was, but time will pass and things will get better. You are young and strong and you know so many of us are pulling for you.

    I know these are just words, and understand they don’t help much at this point in time, but do the best you can, day by day, knowing each day brings you closer to a better time when all this will be the past.

    Love your images and the work you do. Hang in there and smile when you can.

  36. David, I have to say I understand how you feel about all the encouraging posts. Mine were not on the scale of yours but there were pages and pages. Five years ago I had breast cancer. Soon after that I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. At that point I had just started into photography and had joined an Elements forum. I got so many encouraging posts from friends that I printed them off and read them while I was on the gurney waiting for my surgery. After that my husband would print off and bring in the posts. I sincerely feel all those kind words and encouragement helped me be strong and get to where I am today. Still having CT scans but no return of cancer. I know you will get through this because you are a lot like me – I knew it when I picked up and read your first book and know at some point there will be another..prayers coming again.

  37. David,

    dont worry about this blog. We ll be here when you get back. Its not quantity that counts. In my forum work, we have this saying “life always comes first”. You need to take care of yourself now and get well and without pain. Whilst you do that in your own time (of course hopefully asap), you can be sure my thoughts and as you can see those of many others, are with you and wish you all the best and a speedy recovery.

    Regards from Germany, Johannes

  38. One day at a time and some day this will be but a memory. And just an observation I’ve made over the years … we don’t remember pain. It’s true, we remember the event of pain, but when resurrecting thoughts of an event like yours the memory of the true pain does not come with it. We’re all stronger than we think and we’re all sending prayers that yours will pull you through.

  39. As just another name in a sea of supporters, I really like the honesty. I’ve been following the accident since the day it happened and with each update brings the shocking reminder on just how serious this injury was and still is.

    Having met you only once, it feels weird and inaccurate to say that I know you but you bring such a personal touch to your writing it’s hard not to become attached after several years. You’re not writing because someone told you that a blog and twitter account was required for business, you’re doing it because you want to and because of that, you separate yourself from the rest with honesty and have become a house hold name in which my family knows you who are. The Rubber Chicken Guy DVD has actually found it’s home on a bookshelf dedicated to photography.

    I can’t provide much more then another get well soon message but I will assure you one thing. We’ll be here waiting for you.

    You have a good group of support around you already but if you ever need anything, please never hesitate to call.

  40. My friend David… expressing your authenticity throughout everything with the rest of us in the community is just one more way we benefit from being here… and can all learn to apply in our own lives as well. Sharing your experience and insight from the perspective of ‘real life ‘as you are living it right now must be hard indeed, but I greatly appreciate it. Prayers and best wishes to you throughout these difficult days.

  41. Dude, don’t be worrying about how ‘quiet’ you are as:

    a) I’m not really sure you’re being that quiet!
    b) you’ve got more important things to be doing
    c) there are a damn site more people with less to say/less motivation to say that are in a better predicament than you are right now my friend!

    Use your blog and this community to brighten the dark times and as you see fit. You owe no more obligation than getting well again.

  42. David, I’ve read your blog for sometime now. I think I have all your books. I tried to get in on your creativeLive session, but yeah, I wasn’t picked. While I am a fan of your work and your commitment to photography, I’ve always felt you and I live in separate worlds. I work 60hrs a week in a corporate world. My choice, yes. But a choice pushed in by life’s circumstances. I am by nature a hard worker and take my job seriously, but I know by no means am I happy where I am at. I’m incredibly thankful to even have a job in the current environment. I’m in the building phase in my photography- building my skillset, building my resources, building my style and who I am as a storyteller. You are much further down the road, but a gentle, honest entity that kept quietly encouraging the rest of us to keep at it. That in it of itself is gracious and rare, so I kept coming back to your blog. But I never commented because I felt like, while you were smart and wise and giving, your emotional range wasn’t resonating where I was sitting. You and I live in separate worlds. I was learning a great deal, but I had nothing to share back to you.

    The closest that I felt that you came to where I am right now was your post right before your fall: Choose Your Risk. You acknowledged that even if the rest of us weren’t jumping off into the dream, that as long as we were building on it, it was still alive. It gave me so much hope that I linked back to it from my tumblr. Food for thought, I noted. It was nice to finally have the dude much further down the line give a nod to those of us tolling in the trenches.

    Not until this post did I feel like I had something to share back with you.

    I don’t have words to tell you “cheer up”. I don’t have “live, laugh, love” or “pull yourself together, man” or “be thankful you’re alive” in my pocket. Those life-affirming sentiments, while kind and well-meaning, in the wrong moment can only serve to twist and turn your heart to the point of bitterness and anger only leaving you to shout out “*** off!” even to the best-intentioned folks.

    Go ahead. Go ahead and shout it out (not to them, but to the universe in general). You have absolutely earned it. There’s a great song by Elbow called “Grace under Pressure”. The chorus, while a bit hard to make out, sings out the best line I can think of “I still believe in love, so **** you.” Download it and plug it into your brain as loud as you possibly can stand it. After that, get some Big Mama Thornton. Big Mama makes the whole world better.

    Music does help. I promise.

    I look forward to your continued honesty. Listen to some blues. Get some fresh air, if you can. Keep taking pictures. And just know your emotional range is getting stretched out to reach more of us. Your pictures will be all the more beautiful because of it.

  43. I think you know by now that your readers can relate to this post. It’s not meandering and it’s not irrelevant. Many have been there before, but as the Spanish saying goes, no evil lives for a hundred years. You’ll make it through. You know it, but it’s worth repeating: it’s going to be alright!

    Take your time recovering from your accident. We’ll be here to read you and enjoy your images whenever you feel like sharing with us.

    Much positive energy going your way!

  44. After I read this I said a prayer for you for strength and healing.

  45. Another very honest post from you David. I know we are all wishing you well. It’s easy in the face of tragedy to become very dark and depressed but I know that humor can be a huge help. I don’t know what you are going through but I know you have to allow yourself to feel what you are feeling. There will be good days and really bad days. As long as you can keep coming up for air, you’ll make it through. I used my sarcastic sense of humor to get through chemo (sometimes made people uncomfortable but hey, it helped me cope, so that’s all that matters). Hang in there and cry when you need to. You have a lot of people cheering you on.

  46. I also can only echo the above..

    I only hope that this challenging phase will be over quickly. It may seem like such a long way off, but soon enough you will look back on this. Those small improvements you see daily will amount to huge progresses.

    So for now, I send you only the most positive energy and tons of virtual hugs and well wishes.

  47. Time to get going, David:
    1) Have a friend smuggle in your favorite food or drink – something that the staff won’t approve of;
    2) Flirt with the nurses and joke with the doctors;
    3) Joke with the nurses and flirt with the doctors;
    4) Watch tv with the sound off and make up your own soundtrack;
    5) Have someone smuggle in your pet;
    6) If you don’t have a pet, have a friend smuggle in someone else’s pet;
    7) Next time your blood is drawn, pat the attendant on the back, sneakily placing a Dracula sign on their back;
    8) Organize bedraces between you and the other patients on your floor;
    9) Have someone bring you as many different colored liquids as they can find. Pour them individually into your bedpan. Watch the staff’s reaction.
    10) Order in pizza.

  48. I won’t offer any advice since I have not gone through what you are going through (or anything close). I will just throw my comments into the vast amount of support you see here.

    Those of us writing to you are doing so because you have given us a lot. Through your books, your video podcasts and your blog you have helped each of us improve our photography and even encouraged us in the pursuit of our dreams.

    One of the things that drives me the most is that I want my life to make a difference. I want the world to be a better place because I was here. I know that when I get depressed I start doubting whether or not I do make any difference. What you are seeing in this outpouring of support is that you truly do. I hope you can take some comfort in that fact.

    May the God we serve give you peace.

  49. Thank you for trusting us enough to share the darker side of this experience. It’s exhausting to try to stay brave all the time. We want you to rest. One of the things that draws me to you is the attention you pay to life. Right now, you have painful things to live with, and I’m so sorry. We won’t stop thinking about you, and we’ll be here when you are ready. Rest well, David.

  50. Keep fighting, David. When I was a kid, my parents always told me that it’s better to have good days and bad days, than having just meh-days. It’s part of what makes you feel alive.

    Get well soon, David.

  51. As always, thank you for your honest post. Good days, bad days, angst-filled or not: you keep sharing and we’ll still be here to support you. Best wishes for a continued recovery!

  52. Your photograph and post reminded me of the Everly Brothers song Crying in the rain. Remember: “Some day when my cryin’s done. I’m gonna wear a smile and walk in the sun.” Get well soon.

  53. Just wanted to thank you for this post. It’s difficult to be honest when the truth is less than pretty. Your dedication to sharing yourself fully is truly inspiring. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  54. Love this image, David.

    I tend to power through things and just do what needs to be done. But feelings that get stuffed down come back out at some point. I think that’s one of the things I’m learning from you -the value of “feeling” feelings and taking time to experience the moment.

    Our teenagers have friends who can’t stand to be alone for one second. In our world, it’s possible to have constant companionship through music, TV, internet, chats, ..etc. If we give in to that and avoid being alone with our selves and our thoughts (…and sometimes our angst), we miss out on getting to know ourselves (..and the maturity that comes with that). Besides, moments of quiet reflection are where the best, most creative ideas are formed and processed. 🙂

    There’s probably not one of us who wouldn’t love to have a magic wand to wave this all away for you. But roller coasters aren’t thrilling without the plummet. Just don’t bottom out and get off the ride. Keep making the climb.

    Do they take away your devices at night, David? ..because as luck would have it, there are people on the other side of the world who are awake when we are supposed to be sleeping (who would likely be more than happy to keep you company, if needed). 😉

    Prayers for you as you figure all of this out.
    Group hug! I love this community.

  55. It might not seem it at the moment, but in a few months this will be behind you and you will be stronger for what you are going through at the moment. I can totally understand your frustrations and helplessness, being the dynamic person that you are, but in the grand scheme of things you will be back doing what you love soon.

    Best wishes, Lee

  56. Hang in there, David! Your blog posts are inspiring even when you stray down a slightly more negative path. Life is hard, but you are kicking ass!

  57. This community is great – because you are great! All I want to say is “Get well soon and wish you only the best”.

  58. David; I am not really a religious person. But I know you are. As a young father I used to read bedtime stories to my young sons. That was over 70 years ago.
    One of those stories had a simple message;
    “God; Good, Guides , Guards and Governs.”
    At many times during my life I too have had some rough passages to get thru. Both physical and mental; although never to the degree you are describing. And yes the nights were by far the hardest and longest and loneliest times.
    On almost every occasion I would at some point recall those four simple words. God, Good, Guides Guards and Governs. I found that if I just held to the Truth of what even one of those words implied I could get thru the night much more easily. I would simply pick the word that most applied to my current situation and ponder what that words promise claimed . I won’t suggest that a miraculous event then occurred. But the peace and comfort those thoughts provided always, and I mean always, enabled me to pull thru.
    I turn 80 in November, my six sons are all still thankfully healthy and very much alive. My wife and I are still in love. None of this occurred without setbacks and much effort on all our parts. But at least in my case the 4G,s have played a very large part.
    Give it a try.

  59. I spent 30 days in traction in 1973 and 3 months
    rehab. I knew my photographic career was over, knew my creative and active life was behind me at only 30 years old. Well I spent the next 35 years creating photography and living a normal active life. We all refereed to my pain, the term discomfort was not in use, and I had bad reaction to many drugs that were prescribed but that all eased over time.
    All of this is to say that things will get better and with your positive attitude all will heal in time.
    While in the midst of such a major event it is difficult to see the positive outcome but it is there.
    Best for more peaceful times,

  60. This reminds me of a story.

    My wife was holed up in bed for an entire summer, back when she was 12 or 13 years old. Nicole had to have corrective surgery to straighten her legs, as they were twisting inward – like you’d wring a towel dry. The doctors had to break and reset both legs to fix the problem. She was in a body-cast from her chest down to her toes with plates and screws in both femurs and shins. She couldn’t do anything on her own either. That included the time she got food poisoning and … well you get the idea.

    Years later, the woman I met is consequently one of the strongest and most empathetic people I know. It came at a cost – she had to endure that trial to know what it’s like to be alone and helpless. Her folks couldn’t be there all the time, and her grandparents came as often as they could, but whether you’re 12 or 42, it’s never enough. And it’s in those lonely hours that you wonder how much longer you can endure. But you do, and you will.

    Wear these scars like a badge. You will have endured. You will have come to know pain and loneliness and helplessness, and this can only make you a stronger and better human being. One day, when you look at another person feeling just as lonely, you’ll be able to say “I know how you feel”. That’s a great thing to be able to do that few of us will ever achieve.

    Rest well.

  61. We each choose our path through life, but, sometimes a detour is imposed on us. Whichever path we take, we will stumble along the way. How we recovery defines the rest of the journey.

    I’m reminded of this quotation…
    “When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing.”
    – Enrique Jardiel Poncela

    Whatever you choose to write, and whenever your choose to write it, it will always be received with gratitude by this community.

    You will recover from this stumble David, because you have a thousand hands outstretched to help you up.

    Chins up 😉

  62. I don’t even know you but I visit your blog for inspiration and all I want to do now is give you a huge hug and tell you that everything will be ok…

  63. From Portugal:
    This post deeply moved me. Never to think that you present situation was easy, your honesty and blunt perspective of the reality, brought to try to be on your shoes… and I really understand what you are talking about.
    We are all wishing for you quick and full recuperation but we can’t help you, with our simple words, to cope with the pains and darker moments you have in this days. But, because you seemed to be a very pragmatic and sensible person, you must consider this undeniable truth: the endurance of the human spirit, the inner strength that each one of us possess and the willing of beeing better and stronger are the forces that drives us all to beat all obstacles in life.
    All of this could have been worst… things always can be… and in the dark, in the solitude and then we have to much time to think and ponder, things always seem to be even worst.
    Read all of this words as somekind of source of energy that you can absorve when dark and heavy things seem darker and heavier.
    Be positive! Be strong! And smile a lot!…

  64. Beautifully honest and heartfelt, David. The old saying “that which does not kill us makes us stronger”. Your strength is amazing!

  65. Author

    For those of you that missed my reply to this early on, I want you not to miss it:

    I say this as sincerely as possible but, my God, do you people have any idea how large your hearts are? I’m staggered by the love you have for a stranger and while I don’t know that the breaking and mending of bones will change the man I am, your kindness will. I’ve done alot of crying lately, and now I’m back at it, but not because I’m in pain or lonely, but because I’m stunned by your encouragement and love. Thank you. I keep saying, but from the bottom of my heart, thank you. My heart is overflowing and that feeling pushes the pain into the crevices a little. 🙂

    In an odd reversal, please hear me when I say I am your greatest fan.


  66. Thank you David for being willing to show us the dark side of life. I relate because I deal with varying degrees of pain daily and I’ve lost a great deal of my life to it, not everything seems life enriching. But we find the inner resources to press on and I know that’s what you’re trying to do too. Thank you because your truth encourages me in mine.

  67. “Give ear, O Lord, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me.” Psalm 86:6-7

    Some verses for comfort in the long nights…

  68. Resisting the temptation to be uplifting or to provide perspective or advice from the sidelines: it really sucks!
    I can only hope that this multitude of comments makes you feel a little less lonely.

  69. Rest and heal well. Gather your forces for the photography challenges ahead – they might be difficult to see now but they are there….. you never lose talent such as yours, you just lay it aside for a while.

  70. Thank you so much for your honesty. I had to come back and read this as after the first few lines I knew this could be a hard read as some parts resonate with me. I gave it a read again. I’m glad I did. People seem to forget photographers are human too.

    I do wish you well and will be checking up on here. But more so I want to just say thank you. For being authentic and honest. Thank you for being human. Thank you for being David.

  71. Authenticity is the Crux of Life.

    Wish you all the strength you may need in these darker times, David.

  72. Recovery isn’t passive. It is a mental battle to fuel your physical progress. Keep your goal of recovery in mind and maintain your focus on going through the process, good and bad. Set simple and small incremental goals for each hour. Then find a way to reframe each hour as a victory and as a step towards recovery.

  73. I struggle to take amazing pictures and right now you struggle with pain and healing. You know what passion and understanding light and composition can do for me. I know what time and healing can do for you. Trust me when I say I have been to hell and back and I am able to see beauty in the flight of an Osprey. Your pain and your story breaks my heart but I know from ears of experience that you will rise above the trauma. Today while shooting in Salmon Arm BC I met a 91 year old man with a Nikon D700 and a 70-200 lens plus teleconverter. He has fought brain cancer and still enjoys life and his passion. What a wonderful man he is as he takes the time to stop and help me find the birds I seek. The point of this rambleing from my blackberry is to say that the bad and ugly in life is what forms you into somemore than what you once were. The best of who you are and what you will accomplish in life is still to come. I know it is hard to believe as you lay in pain but your journey is not over … It has just begun.

  74. Dear David,
    We (bloggers-friends) can’t make you physically better but with our hart we try to do and give you some strength.
    From the other side of the world (Europe-The Netherlands) I wish you all best luck needed being able for you to enjoy yourself the things you did before this “bad-experience”. And from own personal recent “bad-experiences” I know that during the rain it feels bad, but the sun will shine again!
    Best regards, Stefan

  75. Baby powder on the bedpan is key. Knee pads for later and you will be “walking”.

  76. Bonne chance David!
    The doctors will heal your body and time will heal your soul. In the meantime, hang on there! All our thoughts are for you!

  77. It sounds so trite but in the Zen world it is a deep teaching –

    this too shall pass

    Thanks for speaking your truth.

  78. Authenticity.
    just as you always say and write “shoot with your heart”
    write and live the same way.
    it’s the only True way to do it.
    {{ Hugs }}
    p.s. you know it suppose to rain in SF on Sunday. it’s California. in May. it is unusual.

  79. Hi again David, I just want to preface this post by saying I hope this comes out the right way!

    As a physiotherapist I have the luxury of being somewhat removed from the emotional/psychosocial side-effects of these kinds of injuries when dealing with them in a professional capacity. Yes they must be taken into consideration, understood and factored in, but I don’t have to invest a great deal of my own emotions to do the fundamentals of my job. It would be a tough gig to absolutely share each and every patient’s pain and suffering and so it is placed somewhere within the framework of the set of skills that I bring to the table, but not at the top of the list. I know there is pain, emotion, suffering, social and economic factors having a huge influence on recovery but in a clinical analysis, they are not the core focus of physical therapy and physical rehabilitation.

    However, having said that, they are hugely important in a holistic view and this is acknowledged by the health care system so that there are indeed other professionals available to you who can help you with all of these aspects. They have skills that will help you, and you don’t have to feel like it’s a burden to give them, you don’t have to feel any guilt, you don’t even have to be grateful – it’s their job!!! I really would urge you to seek them out and use them if they haven’t already been offered to you.

    So I’ll take my professional hat off and wish you all the best. It’s hard because it is so big – if you can break it into smaller pieces, it will feel different, still hard but maybe more manageable.

    So I hope that came out the right way! Take care and recover well in all respects.

    Cheers, muzz

  80. David,
    You are an exceptional human being–that’s why we love you. Hang in there my friend—you will get through this. When I first “discovered” you and your work, the empathy and connection with those you photographed was so apparent. Never shut that down–it makes you unique. That’s why we all tune in. I’ll take your “quiet” to the mindless noise any day…
    Wishing you all the best, less pain and better days ahead.

  81. David,
    You are an exceptional human being–that’s why we love you. You inspire and your honesty is damn impressive. Even when you are “quiet” you speak volumes. Politicians, take note….
    Be well and continue to look within because you’ve got so much good stuff in there—

  82. David,
    You are an exceptional human being–that’s why we love you. You inspire and your honesty is damn impressive. Even when you are “quiet” you speak volumes. Politicians, take note….
    Oh, and being from San Francisco, I do remember that crappy, wet downpour in March when you passed through. Be well and continue to look within because you’ve got so much good stuff in there—

  83. Pingback: Today’s Shared Links for May 10, 2011 – Chuqui 3.0

  84. How little you realize that even in your current state of pain and agony, others still find your insights not only on art and photography, but life in general, just…well, insightful and inspiring! To wit:

    “It is easy to talk about living a life that leans into fear and risk in order to “live the dream”… It is much harder to live through the darker moments life extracts from us as payment…”

    That, my friend, just rocked my mind!…when your thoughts push others to introspection, then drive and re-invigoration, you have a special gift.

    I don’t pray often enough, but my thoughts and prayers are definitely with you!

  85. David, don’t worry one bit, about wearing us down. We expect you to. [with] goodnes, humility, honesty, humor, and boatloads of keen observation. Pain, and immobility suck, to put it plainly, and though we all know this, sometimes it’s good, even necessary to just shout it out loud. It’s OK. And we’re happy to be here, to help bear the the weight of it all, if only just a little bit. Gods speed toward your return to full healthiness.

  86. I know you know you’ll pull through at the end, but it doesn’t make the now any easier. But it helps to have care and support from your loved ones.
    So here’s another *hug*… and wishing you all the best with the recovery David.

  87. Hang in there David. Better days are ahead. You are continually on my heart and in my prayers. Your books have been a great inspiration and a help to me on my photographic journey. I believe I am turning a corner thanks to you and your vision and insight.

  88. I’ve known the feeling of not only being trapped in a hospital bed, but being unable at one point to breath without assistance. I can concur, not any fun whatsoever. I can only repeat what so many have said… hang in there any way you can for now… we’re here to cheer you on David.

  89. thank you for sharing your thoughts, your feelings, and your emotions as openly as you have always shared your knowledge, your inspiration, and your stories. It is a gift.
    two years ago I lay in bed, having been diagnosised with throat cancer, 6 1/2 weeks of daily radiation, and two rounds of chemo, all i could do is lay, too weak to do anything, I dreamed of a day when I would follow my dream. Todya, I am well, on my feet and following my passion and I am sure that one day you too will be up and around and again following your passion, and give to the world encouragement, inspiration, and your own brand of humor. each minute drags, but the years fly by.
    wishing you a speedy recovery, and until then I wish you patience.

  90. “If I’ve ever made this stuff sound easy, or as though it is within reach of only a special breed of people, I’ve wronged you.”

    I’ve been a critical care nurse for almost 30 years, so I had no delusion that you were having an easy time. I’ve been worried about your injuries because I see what can happen every day. In ICU, the patients who fare the best have a healthy understanding of reality coupled with a generous dose of grit and determination. They accept the necessary support of others by determining to surpass expectations – even if that expectation is to do 10 coughs and deep breathes per hour. We have also found that patients who find a way to record the journey – through a journal or a blog or audio recording – have less depression and delerium (common in the ICU when people need a lot of pain medicine.) So I’d encourage you to keep at the twittering and tweeting and blogging. Or perhaps just keep a personal file on your computer and journal your thoughts. It is a very effective way to get through this dark time when the shifting shadows alternate with blinding sensory overload.

    By the way, as a nurse one can get pretty burned out over the years and I only recently gave myself permission to express myself through the creative art of photography – largely thanks to picking up a copy of Within the Frame at B&N…the photos captured my attention but I had no idea what the message would do. Thank you. You may feel like your worth is questionable right now, but you have touches many lives. Let others touch you right now. You have much work yet to do, friend.

  91. David

    It is ok to cry, be sad, wish things were different even though you know you should be grateful things aren’t worse. It’s ok to be human and have negative thoughts as you are not in an easy situation and the months ahead are not going to be much easier. In fact I think emotionally you will be tested even further. With this fall you have had a lot of disappointment as your fantastic plans have been so greatly altered. A journey you had so been looking forward to after some tough personal things you have gone through and having pushed yourself so hard these past couple of years has been lost for the moment.. It’s ok to be sad, cry and feel down. You felt life was going in such a great direction and then in a moment it all changed. Your community will view you as human and our respect for you will not alter. Our thoughts and hugs go out to you now and in the months to come. Hang in there and just know that when you have times that are not so good, things are about to change again and get a whole lot better.

  92. Dearest David,
    We’ll all be here when you need us,just call and we’ll hear you, we will always need you, my prayers are with you David always…..I’m crying with you, your never alone.
    Your friend,

  93. I am amazed that you can write this beautifully with what you are going through. I wish the best for your recovery and spirit, and you are in my thoughts.

  94. Laurens van der Post wrote: “The story is like the wind. It comes from a far-off place and we feel it.” Your writing is like that for us/me. We feel it. Many thanks for the honesty as well as the considerable humor.
    Your instincts seems strong and good. If you just go with your own flow (no matter how it displays day to day) you will do great. Huge healing arriving on the wind to you.

  95. Hang in there David. YOU ARE AMAZING. Even if you can’t see that in you current difficulty and pain. You are in our prayers and I’m confident you will heal. Like the first commenter to this post I’d like to give you hug but it would probably hurt.

  96. I don’t know you, but I admire you as an author and photographer. I just realized yesterday (after reading twitter posts) that you were injured in an accident. I am an ICU nurse, and although I don’t work trauma, I am well versed in what it takes to “make it” through a rough illness. There will be good days and bad days, but I have seen some amazing recoveries and even though it doesn’t seem like it, you *will* make it.

    I found a quote for you, that has sort of comforted me in the past: “Depression is not a sign of weakness, it is just a sign that we have been strong for too long”.

    Take care and looking forward to your next book,

    Laura (from Tucson, AZ)

  97. “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”

    Soren Kierkegaard

  98. was rereading one of your books when you had the accident. your voice has deepened and your vision will be more acute I believe. no one can know your pain but we can send you love and good karma.

  99. David,

    I want to share with you the true story of Morris Goodman, a story someone shared with me a long time ago.

    You see, Goodman crashed his airplane in 1981. Paralized from the neck down, unable to walk, breath or eat, he decided not to listen to the doctors prognosis and that he would walk out of the hospital by Christmas. And he did, after going through much difficulty and always keeping a positive attitude. You can watch a short video of his trials here:

    I hope this encourages you somewhat. I’ve been through my own ‘dark night of the soul’ once, and I understand what it feels like to be bound up in a cast, unable to move, passing through the lonely nights. Let me close today with my best wishes, and this Churchill quote:

    “The only way out is through.”

    Take care!

  100. David … just hang in there … it will get better … soon. And I do know what I am taliking about and what you are going through … having spent 3 months in traction and another 3 months learning to walk again … almost 40 years ago …12,000 miles from home. And now being a physician in a major trauma centre …
    Life will be wonderful again soon … even if your perception and management of life’s risks changes a little …
    And I volunteer to be your wingman slow and mellow in Laos and Cambodia in September if you are still working back into it by then … presuming you survive all that hospital food !!!

  101. David,
    Gosh, I am a big sap, and now I am crying too. It’s because you are flesh and bones just like any of us, and it must be/have been terrified to be dealing with all of this. You take as much time as you need-we are not going anywhere. You have a lot of sh*t to deal with, and I think it is most important right now that you concentrate on wading through all of that thick psychological muck that anyone would experience in your current situation. If one doesn’t deal with the psychological side of something like this, then it can be detrimental to your prognosis. So, blog shmog, you do what you need to do for yourself right now. Let the nurse’s know that you need to let out a big scream of frustration and anger and whatever else, so they know not to freak out. 🙂 I find a good scream once in awhile is quite helpful-even if it doesn’t solve the problem.
    Okay, well I know you have had a lot of this, and I am starting to sound like a mom/psychologist (?), so just concentrate on what you need right now, and don’t worry about all of us. You just be as quiet as need be. Thank you for being so honest. I’m sending you lots of healing energy and prayers,
    Jill in Kansas

  102. David,
    I’m sorry that life ‘sucks’ in the short-term right now… praying for less pain in the nights ahead. May this community continue to hold you up (not on a pedestal, but in truth and love)… I appreciate your comment: “Authenticity is not a marketing strategy for me”… The more real you are, the more effective our prayers and support can be – however small our internet support may seem when limited, at this point, to comments on a blog or 140 characters on twitter. But be encouraged, you have not been forgotten and you will not be abandoned in this time of need.


  103. I simply can’t add to what has already been said above – but I will add many many hugs. Thank you for your honesty – You remain in my prayers.

  104. David, you continue to inspire, even in your darkest hours. I can only imagine the level of pain and misery you are going through at the moment, but you seem to be looking for (and finding) strength and encouragement in all the right places. You’ll make it through this. I’ll continue to send positive thoughts your way.

  105. David, your post today really touched me and I can only guess at your pain and discomfort. Some weeks back, I read your “Life is short” post and was both inspired and envious of your exciting journey. At the time, I was/am recovering from another bone infection and am on crutches again for the third year in a row. I was feeling a bit sorry for myself and imagining what your time in Italy (my favorite place) must be like. It was a day or two later that I read the sad tweet about your accident. I immediately realized that your blog post was even more apropos. Life is short and it is precious. I am so very sorry that you are faced with this pain and injury, and the interference to your inspiring work. You are in my thoughts and please keep the faith in the weeks ahead.

  106. You’ve touched so many lives with the talent that you have and share. Sending healing thoughts your way, from the bottom of my heart

  107. Please don’t be surprised by the outpouring of support David. You mean a great deal to us and it’s the least we can do given the battles you now face every day. Stay strong; stay positive and feel our collective arms around you.

    You will make it through this!

  108. Don’t have anything to add to what’s been said above – but will add my best wishes as well…

  109. Thank you for your honesty…..we are all human and that humanity is what gets us where we want to be. Be well.

  110. Author

    I say this as sincerely as possible but, my God, do you people have any idea how large your hearts are? I’m staggered by the love you have for a stranger and while I don’t know that the breaking and mending of bones will change the man I am, your kindness will. I’ve done alot of crying lately, and now I’m back at it, but not because I’m in pain or lonely, but because I’m stunned by your encouragement and love. Thank you. I keep saying, but from the bottom of my heart, thank you. My heart is overflowing and that feeling pushes the pain into the crevaces a little. 🙂

    In an odd reversal, please hear me when I say I am your greatest fan.


  111. You are so right to share this – veiling your pain under a mountain of good humour and positive thinking can be good for a while, but when you are in your darkest moments that good humour feels like a lie that makes you feel deeply lonely. It is because you are someone with great positivity and high energy that being bedridden and injured is such a shock. You are in the darker hours, but it WILL pass and you will learn so much from it, even if you hate what you learn.

    I had the same thing a couple of years ago, fell off a deck and broke my ribs – and for the first time in my life couldn’t do a damn thing for myself for several weeks. I’m a single mum of 3 kids and full time photographer so the frustration and fear was intense on many levels. I had lived a very insular and independent life until then so was afraid to call out for help even though I desperately needed it. But strangely enough people came from everywhere without me even telling them what had happened, and I quickly discovered that I had many friends who took it upon themselves to turn up at the door with meals, walk my dog for me, run the kids to school, change my sheets, bring me flowers….the list was endless and quite incredible. The lesson I learned was that I had friends that I never fully trusted or knew were there for me, and that friendship was one of the most valuable parts of life. It was a pity I had to be in agony to discover it, but perhaps it was the jolt that I needed in order to stop being stupid and realise I’m not completely alone.

    Everything does happen for a reason, and I’m absolutely positive that this setback will bring you new inspiration, new thoughts, new creativity that will not only nurture you, but others. It is probably a little selfish on my part, but I only discovered you through news of your accident….but the flow through into my life has been phenomenal in an incredibly short time, I discovered your writing at exactly the time I needed it most, have gobbled up and processed your theories and life observations as if they were food to the artistic crisis I was going through, and eagerly await more images and writing as you continue in your amazing life. I’m sure thats the case for many, many people, and in your case you have another personal journey that will make itself clear as a result of this injury. No doubt it will be a good one when the darkness and pain subsides. You may feel alone, but you’re not, we’re all thinking of you, all over the world!

  112. All of this will be a memory soon, and you will get through it. Please know, this community is all here to help cheer you up whenever you need us.

    All of this will be a memory soon, and you will get through it. You’re a brave person indeed.

  113. Hi David,
    I admire your courage to write the post you just wrote. I truly believe that to endure the pain and suffering and to recover, you have to stay positive and smile. But the naked truth is that the pain and discomfort and all that goes with it is brutal. I admire your honesty for posting this. I recently went through something similar with my Mum and so I have some understanding of what you are enduring.
    Give yourself time to not put on that brave face. You have to be honest with yourself – this isn’t easy or fun. At times it’s miserable. But you will get through it. Lean on whomever you need to, to get through these difficult times.
    Knowing what my Mum went through, I know there are days when you feel like crap and just don’t want visitors. But as you recover, if you feel like talking photography or just want some company to help the time pass or maybe have a few laughs, let me know. I’m just down the road from you – half way between Perth and Westport and I frequently pass by the hospital in Perth. If you need ANYTHING or just want someone to gab with, let me know. I’d love to spend some time with you.
    All the best. Hang in there. Sending you peaceful and healing thoughts.

    Shelley Ball

  114. Lotus Eater says it well above and I agree totally.

    Genuine and honest is the way to go and, as always, you are. Wouldn’t want it any other way. Feel better soon.

  115. The longest that I have ever stayed in a hospital was three days, which seemed like three weeks. So, I can imagine the discomfort, the boredom, the bed sores ect. you must be going through. It really does suck but your good spirits, friends, and family will get you through it. 🙂

  116. As you know Wouter Weylandt died two days ago in the Giro de Italia doing something he loved. He was at the top of his sport. But in a split second his life was taken. It’s so sad. The same thing could easily of happened to you.

    But it didn’t. You’re still here. You have another chance a luxury that Wouter Weylandt doesn’t. So hang in there, and as the Japanese say, especially now, “ganbatte kudasai”. One day you’ll be back in Italy again, in the same town, on the same bridge and you’ll get that shot you were after.

  117. Thank you for being honest. Being brave and humorous is great, it reassures your family, friends and audience; but does not give the depth and connection that honesty does. Life does suck sometimes, trying to be creative can suck sometimes – but acknowledging it gives your experience reality and gives others a chance to support and help.

    Just let’s hope this really sucky painful time is short!! Healing vibes headed your way!

  118. Thanks for sharing this David. Several years ago I had an accident in Panama which resulted in a condition called fibromyalgia, which can be translated as unremitting excruciating pain. I understand what you are going through and can assure you it can be a benefit in your life as it has in mine. In Buddhism we call it turning poison to medicine. The accident has changed my life, perspective and photo path. You will it too. Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

  119. Wait for a vision, it will sustain you. I once saw this lovely nurse in the middle of the night while she performed some ritual that is only part of a hospital stay. She had the prettiest eyes, the most gorgeous face and the nicest cleavage (maybe one or two many buttons undone). Well by morning I couldn’t remember her name, though I told myself I must, but I remember the vision of her. Alas no one else could tell me who she was, or if she even existed, but she got me through a lot of pain. Must have been the drugs! Hang it there buddy!

  120. I can certainly appreciate these moments of darkness and pain. I can tell you 2 things: 1. you have great writing skills if you can express yourself so well when you are in so much pain (and probably on some good drugs too I hope); and 2. you will develop a tolerance to pain. Many people, myself included, have found that when you have a lengthy recovery you do actually get used to pain. The pain itself may not be less, but your emotional response to it will change and that is a good thing. I hope that helps in some small way.

  121. …What everyone else said, even though words are inadequate.

    Hang in there, even when it feels like your fingernails are tearing off. I hope you get back to your year’s (other, more fun) big adventure.

  122. Total bummer for you, David. You’re in pain, and it sounds like you are at the “mercy” of those around you. Not that they’re bad, but they’re there, and there are a lot of things we’d just rather do for ourselves.

    Use your own good sense, but don’t be afraid to take your pain meds. If the pain subsides, things will start to look better.

    Do you have a Kindle? They are so light you should be able to read lying flat on your backs. Not only that, if you have the kind that connects to the internet, you can order new books and magazines 24/7 and have them there in less than a minute! If that doesn’t blow your mind, nothing will.

    Keep us posted. We care, very much, about your progress.

  123. There’s certainly no denying that it just plain sucks to be in the hospital, in pain, while everyone else it seems is outside playing. But it sounds like you’re in great hands, so stay strong, get through the rehab, and know that even though we may be out and about, part of us is there with you.

  124. May He bless you and give you grace to get through this. This is one of the best posts I’ve had the privilege of reading from you as it bares another part of your soul that resonates so strongly with the rest of us. I follow you(r blog) to relate to a wonderful artist who brings a message that art(making) is possible for each of us. And yet the art(making) should come from each individual soul and that soul’s vision of this world. You bared your soul yet again. You are so very real and I truly believe this is why you have gathered strangers as friends. That is what this life is all about. Don’t hesitate in your naval gazing. Internet hugs aren’t much, but much your way. And diligent prayers for your relief of pain. I see a different kind of book for your writing future!

  125. Thank you for sharing even the darker moments. I do not pretend that I know how you feel and can only imagine how hard it must be most of the time. I do know, however, what a great community this is and how grateful I am to be a part of it. Just knowing that there are people out there wishing me well when I am low keeps me up. As others have said … hang in there … I am also sending you happy healing thoughts. I hope they help even a little.

  126. Growth always follows pain. But when you’re in the midst of the pain that can be hard to see, and sometimes you just don’t care, which of course only adds to the pain. Two things can help to ease the pain (well, three things if you count morphine): the passing of time, and knowing people care. And you have a lot of people who care about you, my friend. Rest easy, David…


  127. My goodness, you are so real David and that’s why you truly inspire me. Thoughts and prayers for you are coming from all different places on this planet because you have affected so many hearts. Mine is no different. May those thoughts and prayers comfort you in the deepest of your darkest nights.

  128. Dear David…recovering from an injury in which you are rendered helpless and feeling at the mercy of others is so hard. It’s like being an infant again-you can’t do anything on your own and that idea of independence you once held on to so dearly is a mere wisp of smoke that disappeared. All I can say is hang in there…you know you’ll heal…but even that will have its setbacks…sending you all the happy healing thoughts I can….

  129. There is nothing quite as humbling as a long hospital stay. I’m reminded of a night when, in a fitful sleep, I somehow managed to get all the tubes attached to me tangled up in the rails of my bed so I nearly strangled myself. I was literally pinned to the bed. It took quite a bit of effort to figure out a way to hit the call button and ask for help.

    In the midst of things I know it doesn’t always feel like it, but things will get better – slowly but surely, and there will come a day when you will barely remember what you’re going through now without re-reading your blog. You’re in my prayers.

  130. As others have said, it gets better. I know it’s nowhere near as bad as what happened to you, but I broke my leg 6 weeks ago and I’m dealing with the recovery and getting my full mobility back. The first days were hard with my feelings in turmoil, and the prospect of a recovery looming. I tried to focus on the day to day improvement, and it was really good to see that my leg was healing. It was interesting to see the healing process on yourself. When I first started being able to put my weight on my broken leg it was so thrilling, like learning how to walk again instead of hobbling around. Having started my rehab now, it is also really good to see progress day to day, week to week. I guess that’s something to look forward to.

    I just wanted to say thanks for all you do for everyone here.

  131. Echo the group hug!!!
    It’s a strange world where people would rather listen to a joke than to really listen to a person say how they feel. I don’t really get that.
    Never ever be scared to open up. You have all these people here supporting you. Shoot me for making the analogy, but they’re here to catch you when you fall. And comfort you. Whenever you feel lonely, keep this in mind.

  132. Our thoughts are with you David. If there is anything, anything at all we can do to make this part of your journey a little easier don’t hesitate to reach out.

  133. yes, the nights are long.
    but one day in the near future, all this will be a distant memory of an unpleasant experience.
    keep it up.

  134. David, you write so beautifully. Thank you for sharing your experience, it is so heart felt. In your words you can feel the human spirit fighting in adversity. I look so forward to the time when all this is behind you and we all get to read your thoughts on life and how it will be seen in your work.

  135. It’s hard for us who can see the paths when we aren’t yet allowed to walk them (in your case literally).

    It’s enough to drive one straight ’round the bend.

    But you (and I by your example) chip away daily at the overwhelming tasks…a little each day; as much as we can muster…and in time something monumental gets accomplished.

    Just chip away. It should be interesting to see the ways you find to tell your stories visually (and I know you will) when each day is so repetitive.

    I bet I can guess, but I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise.

  136. High times are often the other side of the dark days coin. We all do what we have to do to get through the day.

    We don’t expect you to be a superhero. We just want you to do whatever you have to do to get through the days and nights, and know that you are in our thoughts.

    Hang in there, it *will* get better. 🙂

  137. Continuing to send positive thoughts your way – all you can do is take one day at a time and keep getting a little better each day! Best wishes for more ups than downs…

  138. Hang in there… I cannot understand the full picture from your eyes and neither can anyone else… we all have varying degree of demons at different times. Your having a turn at some ugly ones and you have to find a way thru…. but there is a path even if you cannot see it right now (trying to resist the light at the end of the tunnel been a train joke and failing ok 🙂 ).

    My feed still has your RSS attached and always will, so whatever you want to say whenever I will read it. In the meantime, will just read you other stuff and try and figure out why I have to have this camera thing and what the hell to point it at that makes any damn sense to my brain.

  139. Hi David. I know that you don’t know me, but I’m hoping this story will help.

    Four years ago, my mother had double by-pass surgery (in the same hospital you’re currently in). A year before that, my neighbour, who is 2 or 3 years younger than my mother, had the same operation.

    My mother took her recovery seriously. She worked hard, and did everything she was told to do. Truth be told, she probably pushed it. She didn’t let her condition beat her. She worked hard to get back to doing the things she wants to do. Since that operation, she has been to NYC twice, goes camping in Algonquin Park in the spring and fall (they’re leaving next week, as soon as the park opens), bought a kayak which she does use, and in August she is going to Walt Disney World with her grandchildren.

    My neighbour didn’t do those things. He bought the treadmill, but didn’t use it. He didn’t do his daily walks or exercises. He gave his recovery a half-hearted effort at best. He became depressed and let the condition beat him and he’s no longer the person he used to be.

    My mother has always been a very happy, positive and inspiring person, but she did have down times during recovery, I think that’s normal. Although we’ve never met, I get the impression from your blog and your tweets and seeing you on CreativeLIVE last year, that you are more like my mother than my neighbour.

    If I’m right about the type of person you are, you’ll push through this and be doing exactly what you want to be doing for a long time. Maybe you’ll even start that tap dancing career 😉

    All my best.

  140. I have nothing witty or entertaining to say. The depth of your honesty and raw authenticity brought you about 1 foot away. Know that there is a whole community of people holding you in the light here and praying for you. Thank you for the truth.
    PS – I am still waiting for the glass of wine.

  141. David,

    I wish you fewer dark nights and more lighter moments when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Many of us will never know the journey you have had to take to get better, but please know our thoughts are with you and wishing you as speedy as recovery as possible.

  142. david – i have admired you for so long as a photographer, and following your heartbreaking accident, i am beginning to admire you also as a human being. your honesty, your strength, your determination, and your ability to open up about what you are feeling are beautiful and inspiring. my thoughts are with you.

  143. I know that you must be going through all kinds of emotion as you mend. I also know that you must have to deal with a great deal of pain. I’m wishing that you mend quickly and your pain is never more than you can bear. You are in my prayers.

  144. Your optimism will be the one thing that will make a big difference in your recovery. I know that it must very difficult, painful, exhausting …
    Week by week, you will be getting better and your spirit will help you through it. You are certainly allowed to have bad days, everybody does.
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you. As Jeffrey said, find someone there to hug you 🙂

  145. David. You are in our thoughts…even though you don’t know many of us, know that your work, your voice, and what you are going through somehow inspire us….strangers.

    Light. Coming soon.

  146. A great teacher once pointed out to me that Every story Must have ups and downs or it is unreal and holds no interest. For if we only had ups then we would forget what they felt like and they would actually cease to exist. Ergo we must know suffering to appreciate things 🙂 dos’nt it truly suck arse when some things are pointed out as just so 😉
    But I bet it is hard and does hurt. Do you deserve it? Does indeed anyone. Yet here you are, confused, in pain and immobile. So what to do? From reading your books i doubt you are gonna simply “roll over” , but just HOW much you will tke from this experience IS up to you. How much it will change you and give to you (yeah I know but this is rather a, thankfully, rare occurance in life and thus is an opportunity in a way).
    You travel for work, you tell others stories in picture and words, you help others in your way. Now, now you cannot do this right now. The act which you took for granted (as most of us do) has been curtailed. You now have an enforced chance to focus the mind, shun all that can “get in the way” in everyday life (although often we do not see it as such) and perhaps rediscover certain things and ideas.
    I am not in any way shape or form a “life coach” or whatever such may be called, but i do believe you have an opportunity here (especially now you are “stable” and in recovery) and someone like you will surely make the most of that 😉

  147. Ditto Jeffrey Chapman – I guess a group hug from everyone 🙂

  148. David, thanks for your insifghtful post. Indeed when life’s course is changed, one need to stand back and deal with what needs to be dealt with, physically and emotionally. We each owe ourselves to take care of those needs.
    To experience illness and loss of autonomy, especially when you’ve been fiercely independant is a pill that’s hard to swallow. I have now been ill for 2.5 years and these days more bedbound than not.
    Indeed this life event deserve time for mourning and taking care of most basic needs, in a new or different way.
    I hope you can still have a part of your day to be David and find your unique sense of humor. Laughing heals just as much as metal plates, stiches and morphine.
    I am in touch with many patients with my condition, for which there is no treatment for. What i have learnt from them is to take it one day at a time, stay positive, celebrate the minuscule victories, and count your blessings. What are you thankful for today?
    With much respect, Kati

  149. It’s OK to cry anytime, David. It’s OK to acknowledge your real feelings. And, it’s OK to acknowledge how difficult the healing process is. Just know that lots of healing thoughts are flooding you and hang in there. Quiet is also healing. We are all with you in this.

  150. Keep going David. Each day, though long, is one more day through it and closer to normalcy. The pain, the meds, the loneliness can all play on our thoughts. Depression and stress are normal parts of where you are. But those too shall pass. We’re in it with you.

  151. David, it takes a stronger man to admit that you’re finding things tough than it does to crack jokes.

    Just remember that during those lonely nights, there are people around the world wondering how you’re doing.

    Nothing anyone can say right now will make it better, but you will find your way through it.

    Know that you can take the quiet time you need to deal with it, physically, mentally and emotionally, but every time you resurface, we’ll all be here cheering you on.

  152. David, I cannot (and I mean this literally) comprehend what you are dealing with – all I can do is send an abundance of loving thoughts your way.

  153. I write this as I have your book “Within the Frame” open on my lap. I didnt grab it after reading your post, but instead purposefully chose to reread it tonight… happening upon your tweet just after finishing Joe McNalley’s amazing foreword. He talks about your depth… and the generous way you share your vision. He also says that your book is a journey well worth taking. Thank you for your words… still generous thoughtful and deep. We all wish you well on this next journey of yours that is, indeed, well worth taking. Sending prayers from South Carolina.

  154. david
    we know
    this is really hard
    and you are one of the most positive people I know…
    don’t worry
    the whole community you have created
    is supporting you now…
    not for you to feel guilty about in any way
    just to be there for you and send healing energies and good wishes
    and to keep you company
    or do whatever you need.
    You don’t need to be particular way…
    for someone as energetic and as goal orientated as you to be in bed is just dam unfair and awful

    and you can express that in what ever way you need.

    time will heal this and it will in the end make you more amazing
    and creative
    and grateful for all the good painfree moments in life…

    in the meantime

    I am just glad you are doing as well as you are

    and send al the warmest wishes

    from new york city to canada


  155. Thanks for sharing your sadness, frustration and pain David – not sure what to say to help except you are in my prayers

  156. Hang in there David, you are still in my prayers. This will work out for the best, in the long run.

  157. All the best David. You positive outlook on life will get you through this. The nights will get shorter, I have no doubt.


  158. I suspect that, like me, most people know or at least have an idea of the pain and struggles you’re dealing with. We appreciate what it takes to be upbeat and positive for your friends and admirers. As a recipient of some severe surgeries, I know all about the nights stuck in bed and the rest. Hang in there, as you said there will indeed come a time when it’s part of who you are.

  159. Angst, schmangst!

    You are entitled, so you carry on. You deal with this however you have to.

    We all know this must be terrible for you. We all know your road to recovery may have dark moments. We all know that we only see a glimpse of your current situation. We all know that your words barely tell the story. We all hope that, however small our contributions to your day may be, that they may distract you for the smallest moments.

    BUT, your sense of humour is still there, your humility is still there, you have a huge crowd of people wishing you well, you seem to have good medical treatment, your family are around, your talent for your art will not wane, nor will your ability to connect with people.

    But it will take time, and that time is yours to pass however you want, don’t you be fretting about us. We understand.

    best wishes

    (has the morphine finished? If it has, that sucks, cos it is truly trippy, despite all the odd side effects)

  160. That’s the thing about emotions and feelings. If want one, you’ve gotta take them all. But time does heal. And it changes perspective. Take care.

    Small goals. Small goals.


  161. Hey David,

    No one expects you to be superman (well, besides you anyway). You’re human, and you’re hurting, and that sucks. Take whatever time you need to wade through this, we’ll all be hanging out here thinking about you, and wishing you pain-free days. Hope they come soon!

  162. David, I could be the evil person and say “snap out of it, you’re alive and you got lucky to get away with your life intact, and probably be able to walk again” or I could be the supporting and positive person that just say “hang in there, this shall also pass.” You pick!

    But I’ll tell you this…. I know how it feels to try to convince yourself that you’re lucky to be alive, when life is a struggle at the moment and there’s nothing you can do, but being patient to get through it all. So… be patient, let the healing take it’s time. Cry when you have to, laugh when you need to. And with every tear you shed, and for every laughter that you break out in, you’re a few more seconds or minutes closer to being better and having all this behind you.

    And… if this accidence means that you might not be able to do all your travels, take all those amazing images, remember you have more talents to share with the world, and if you’re a true survivor, you’ll find a way to make it around the globe anyway. Where there’s s a will, there’s a solution.

    Take it from me, I’ve gone through 350+ surgeries since I was 11 years old. Life if what I make it, and I decided a long time ago, that it’s too short to feel sorry for myself and sit and wait for me to get fully well. So I found other ways around the problems… and here I am, translating your books from English to Swedish.

    So… get better… and don’t forget to be patient! I know it’s hard, but make it your virtue. 🙂

  163. Had to let this sink in a bit so I went to the kitchen for a while.
    I still feel guilty for not telling you to call it a night and go inside 🙂
    I guess you don’t need any advice but just to know that people are thinking about you.
    I think sometimes it is difficult to just accept what’s happening, that something else or someone else is deciding the speed of things. And just to roll with it. Accept the rollercoaster of emotions. Because there is no other option. Good days and bad days. And this is a bad day. Not try or wish to be anywhere else or that things were different.
    I guess it is not much comfort but I know that feeling of lying in a hospital bed for days, having no idea of what the world looks like outside or how you even got into the hospital.
    The feeling of of being an object students come in to look at. Like in a zoo 🙂
    I have a sentence I keep repeating to myself when in difficult times, and it came from my friend Anne Marie: “This too shall pass.”

  164. Your posts are uplifting, David. I look forward to reading them. I wish you continued steady recovery and please know that you have all the support and love of your family, friends and your extended social community. May your pain subside with each and every day and your spirits be lifted by our comments, thoughts and prayers.

  165. I’m not sure any of us really thought that life was peaches and cream for ya, David, however, I think the light side of things helps us deal with those long nights and pain. I could be wrong, but laughing and smiling has always helped me. Will miss your communications, but healing is the most important function, not that you need me to say that. Hoping the healing fast and that somehow there’s a bigger purpose for your pain and suffering!

  166. I think you are fantastically brave to be so brutally honest about how you are feeling. That in itself is very inspiring. Sending you very best wishes from the other side of the pond. Go well David, you will get through this.

  167. Yikes! I’m not going to say “you’ll be out before you know it” because, let’s face it, it sucks to be stuck. On the bright side, things could actually be a lot worse even if it seems hard to believe right now. Just think at how much more you will appreciate everything and everyone around you when this ordeal is over and you are ready to resume your journey! A lot of people are thinking about you, hang in there and feel free to write to us if it helps!

  168. Man, it’s sounds hard indeed. The best wishes and hang in there, things will get better.

  169. David, I can’t tell you how important this post is. My family is going through a lot medically right now and I/We can relate to the darker moments, the lonely moments. It’s true, it’s real and it’s right now and we all have them. We’re a happier bunch as well and it is tough to muster the bright side sometimes but, that’s ok. You are awesome and thank you for sharing during this increasingly difficult time. Sending you healing and comforting thoughts.

  170. Hang in there, hang in there !
    There will be days without rain in the future.
    My thoughts are with you.

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