well, believe it or not, one year ago today- I was in an accident at work and broke my back.
and yet- today I seem fine and you would never know (unless you were a TSA person looking for some concealed…. stuff)
and I do have a huge scar (eleven inches) but at the beach I wear a T-shirt (not because I am afraid of skin cancer or even afraid showing off my farmers tan… lets just say, I still look good in a T-shirt, even on the beach!)
I recently re-re-re read “When bad things happen to good people” (by Rabbi Kushner) and this time I noticed that he commented on the title…”‘When”- not “Why do”…bad things happen etc. He says it is the “when” that we can learn to cope with and find help with… but the “Why” is something completely different- and it can really become the source of problems-
We have all heard stories of things happening- and even if we try to imagine what it must be like, we never really expect it to happen to us. Imagine my surprise as I was in the ambulance, speeding to the hospital…. wow, I’m in an ambulance! and they came to get me!
more on that later..
I did keep a journal during the first few months home from the hospital and it’s great to look back at the healing process and progress- I have entries about writing thank you cards to everyone who sent stuff- and there are entries about who visited (lots and lots of visitors!)(and that is just so wonderful and I am so thankful to all of you who came!) and there are entries about pain and stupid pain medicine and fun entries like.. “my wife has realized that I am essentially a toddler….” and “nice ten minute walk and nap”
but one of the best is a quote from a physical therapist who I met at the hospital and had walked me around the sixth floor while I was there- she told me “it won’t always be like this, you will get better, you will recover”. It was like cold water dope slap when she said it and I really needed to hear it. It can be pretty grim when one lap around the wing is too much and it’s wiping you out and you want to get out of the hospital- but it’s like this reality check of how seriously messed up you are.
it won’t always be like this, you will get better, you will recover. (I wrote it down on page 2 of the journal)(and then I referred to it often… see Pg. 2) I did not have theme music playing throughout the recovery like in a movie- it actually seemed to take forever. I know this is the microwave generation and we want everything quickly- and as I look back, I am amazed at how far I have come, at how cool modern medicine is and how great our God is- and how much He loves to answer prayers. I have said before that I did not have a lot (or any) big miracle stuff- but I have come to understand that the real miracle was that I was not paralyzed. It does not take much to damage your spinal cord, and what had happened to me was catastrophic. Thank you Jesus for watching over me.
When I called my workers compensation guy and told him I wanted to go back to work- he was shocked. They had figured I would have been out for at least one year, and I called him at 8 months.
It is easier to be the one who is hurt than the spouse of the one who is hurt. Spouses have it pretty bad. They go to the doctor with you- hear all the bad stuff- then watch you ignore advice, disobey orders and generally do all the things you are not supposed to- and then have to hear you complain about how you are not getting better!
I am sorry and I hope you are too! we all do it. (just wait until you are older- you are just going to get worse. -you should change your evil ways now)
Back to me in the ambulance, then emergency room, then 4 days in ICU: It is still quite a surprise- this happens to other people… (not me, right?) but, then you realize what it is really like for those other people- and then you can talk to and maybe even help those other people. It helps you join the human race again. Sometimes we can get a little too isolated and not really in touch with our fellow man- we don’t really need help doing stuff and strangely.. that makes you kind of isolated.
We are much better people when we need each other (and God) it forces us to be nice! or friendly and at least sociable- Best of all, when you have been visited in the hospital- you realize how important that is- and then you start doing it! It’s very good for you and the folks you visit and you will not regret doing it. You do not have to provide answers, just visit. Sit and listen and care- it’s wonderful.
Lying in the hospital bed and thinking about all the things you won’t be able to do anymore… is not really that shocking. As people age they have to face those kind of facts all the time- no pity parties allowed.
I did change careers- no more tree work for me. I was able to convince myself that I had nothing to prove! (I still only had one accident after 25 years in the field) I now work with disabled individuals and what I have noticed is that they are unstoppable!
I still have some pain and I am still healing- and honestly I am probably doing more than I should, but it’s great to be alive, working and out helping others. and… hey, it’s only been one year! I am very grateful for the life, family and church I have and I hope my life reflects that.
My journal has a few important prayers, here is a great one to start: Jesus, I don’t want this to be another day that I don’t get closer to You.
thanks again, T Mark