BEYOND LIMITS

Lenka Procházková

This is my first article for you, dear readers. I have been thinking what subject to pick, what could be interesting enough, what could capture your attention. And the most impressive thing that has happened to me quite recently is this… Come with me and listen to the story.

“I am a boy of 17. Quite handsome, really talented and brainy, which is not at all easy for my parents to cope with. I’m always getting into trouble. I’m laughing while writing these lines. I was born as one of triplets, and I have a sister besides. But I often hang out with my brothers. We are cool friends as far as it can go. We take life and things for granted. Of course, who doesn’t, when they are in their best, teenage years? 

“Today we have Lab and we feel restless. Maybe bored, as there are no fun subjects on our schedule today. So we can’t wait for something to experiment with in the Lab lesson. Our teacher is strict but we don’t really care, we are a cool teenage gang of brothers, and I’m laughing again as I say it. Finally, the teacher introduces today’s activity. It seems like a lot of fun.

“We start with the chemical experiment. We don’t listen to the instructions properly. We dare ourselves to do more, go further, it’s so exciting… The adrenaline rushes through our veins. Wow. We take the first step. We go to the second step as we mix something. Then I decide to add a substance. I reach for something on the shelf and open it. I pour it in. 

“BANG!!! CRASH!!! BOOM!!! BANG!!! 

“Everybody’s heart stops. There is a never-ending silence. The room is filled with terror, shock, fear and lots of blood that has squirted in all directions.  

“I can’t move, I can’t feel anything, I can’t see, I can’t hear, I can’t be a part of the moment, of the room any more. Yes, you’re right, I’m unconscious. Somebody has died. I don’t know who, or how many. There is such panic yet everybody is so still, as if frozen, including me. 

“I wake up. I have no idea how many days have passed. I am in hospital but I can’t really recognize it. Someone is talking to me but I can’t tell who, it doesn’t seem like my mum’s voice. It’s a doctor’s, but I can’t see them. I slowly realize I am blind. I am deaf, too: all I hear is noise. I try to move my body – it doesn’t work. It is all itchy. I wonder how many days I have been stuck in this position. I want to scratch my skin everywhere. I can’t – my right hand is not there! Luckily, I can move my left hand a bit, but I am afraid that I no longer have all my fingers. 

“I can´t believe it!!! 

“NO!!! 

“What the hell has happened? I try to gasp. My head is spinning. I feel that the doctors are trying to get to me. They soon find out that my ears need a hearing aid. I get one.

“Finally, I learn the story. I can’t remember a thing about it. 

“I pass out. I don’t want to live. Not with all the guilt that has suddenly fallen on me like a boulder, crushing my soul… My head can’t grasp it all yet. I can’t go on. I CAN’T! 

“I wake up again. I get some special glasses. The doctors say I can see shapes in one eye at least, but only from a certain angle! I miss my right hand so badly. Every single silly thing is such a struggle. Such pain! All the simple daily, routine things take ages to learn, let alone do successfully! It drives me mad. I’m not a very patient boy – I’m a teenager! Remember? How will I get a girlfriend? What about that first kiss Linda promised me? Sex? How will I play with my pals in the band? How will I play football? Run? Walk? Or even move around the house. I just bump into everything, and I feel so stupid. I feel so… I can’t tell you how I feel, words fail me.

“Years pass. I go through a total renewal of my world. To find forgiveness for myself is the hardest thing. To put up with all the facts which haunt me day and night – unbearable. I take a lot of sessions with a shrink. He’s good, I like him. I realize there is something new inside me which I have never felt before – humility. He really tries to pull me out of my mess and the mess I know I have created in the lives of other people. 

“And there’s something pushing me to go on. What? It’s my passion for music. I just can’t stop playing the guitar and hanging around with bands, just the way I used to. You might wonder how I do it? Yeah, it’s not easy. But this is exactly the thing that triggered my move forward. 

“I invent a simple round thing with a tip sticking out to use instead of a pick. It’s all made of sticky tape and I put it on my right arm just like a bracelet (my right arm that ends somewhere in the middle, below the elbow). I learn to play the guitar again. Of course, it’s not an easy job, but I’m determined to do it. I apply for a Master’s course in music at a local university. I struggle again. Sometimes it is mere administration stuff which I neglect, sometimes the subjects themselves are hard to manage. In the end I pass, though. 

“I have a strong will to go on. I don’t allow things to get me down. And why would I give up? I like challenges, I realize! I start making my own music, writing lyrics for my own songs. It is so thrilling!! I never imagined that this could happen. It used to be so hard for me when we started our first band. I’m working on my solo CD, playing all the instruments by myself. It’s amazing that somebody thinks of the blind and invents software that helps you to work with a PC, with a cell. I’m so happy, so content. I complete it at last, and my fans love it! Then I meet some people who offer me a job – to give motivation speeches for other disabled people or people who have been through trauma in their lives, just like me, addressing young students at universities etc. I love doing it. It’s so nice to bring some light into others’ lives when you know they are lost in their despair, losing the chance to enjoy life again. 

“I’m at the point where I feel I would like to find a life partner. Everyone around me discourages me, saying I must be crazy if I think I’m a suitable person for married life. Who would want to marry a guy like me?  Believe it or not, I don’t give up on this part of my life either. I get married, and soon we have a child – a wonderful son! I move from Sweden to the Czech Republic. Have I mentioned that I’m Swedish? We settle down near Brno and live quite happily. I love my son so much – he’s exceptional, with a big heart. I meet a girl who’s seen me play and sing. She comes to me saying she’d love to join me so we could play together. We meet and she learns about my story while we practise some of my new songs. 

“She’s quite astonished by it all. And guess what? 

“She’s the one who has written this article about my life story. 

“I’m not laughing now. I’m smiling, smiling with satisfaction…”