This month marks the two year date since my accident. My accident occurred early in the morning on December 14th of 2008. I was putting some appointments in my phone for the month of December the other day and noticed that I had the 14th labeled as “Day I Ruined Life.” I believe I set that reminder a few days before this date last year. I know that sounds bad but in reality I actually do not put a whole lot of emphasis on this date. I do not remember much about that day, which is common with traumatic accidents like mine. I may think and reflect on things a little more on that day but that is about it.
Really though, it is just amazing how so much has changed in my life for now since my accident. It changes how I drive, how I get gas, how I bring in groceries, check the mail and, well, pretty much just everything. Sometimes I cannot help but wonder where things would be with friendships, relationships, employment and many other things I had or did pre-accident. While the majority of this stuff is negative I can say that it has changed me some for the better. I think I have become more compassionate and have become more appreciative of the good things I do have in life. The help and support I have received also has given me a desire to really want to help others. I have even thought if I can just get back on my feet how much going through this has taught me many things.
In the hospital following the accident, I vaguely remember my father and me agreeing to give two years to try to devote 100% of our efforts to my physical recovery. Like I have said before, I often remind myself that it was not until October 25, 2009 when I was out of the hospital and finally over secondary issues that prevented me from starting recovery attempts, this two-year date of recovery efforts begins.
I do remember one of the doctors telling me before I left the hospital that an injury like mine gave me only a 5% chance of ever recovering to walk again. I admit this was tough to hear and to this day I will never understand why some in the medical field are so quick to tell SCI patients that, as a lot of times it seems to make people think that recovery is not possible to the point they don't even explore the current therapy options available.
I really have wondered why most of the staff at the hospital tried to get me to just accept and embrace life in a wheelchair. I thought, what good does that do anyone? I understand not giving people unrealistic expectations but why put a quantitative value on it, like 5%? I remember even thinking that night about what the doctor said and I immediately was able to make that 5% number jump up. I thought to how I was much younger then a lot of the other SCI patients in the hospital wing, how my physical shape before the accident played in my favor, and that my background in athletics would help in my efforts. I also can be pretty confident in some things regardless of what others may say. I tried quickly and my best to refuse to believe this statistic. As time has gone by, however, it has become clear that the biggest advantage I have in this fight is the financial support I have been blessed to receive. I had no idea how expensive recovery efforts are and without the financial support of my father and so many of you, I would not have much of a chance. As always, thank you.
In some ways, I am surprised and disappointed that I am not further along in my recovery. Admittedly, part of that is probably because I have some unrealistic expectations and I am just used to my body being able to do most things easily. I remember when the only physical things I used to worry about were jumping higher or running faster, not simply being able to stand up or take a few steps.
And although recovery is very slow, already I have made gains that have and would surprise most of my original doctors and therapists. The classification of my injury has even changed for the better and current treating physicians and therapists do expect me to continue making further gains. So, I have to continue to remain patient, stick with it, and see what I can do with things.
I start therapy at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta the third week of January. Most of the things you read about Shepherd describe it as such a great and amazing place. I am excited about starting there but pretty nervous about it as well--nervous because I have been waiting a long time to start and it is, by far, the most expensive thing I have done. The funds we have built up have started to dwindle and my stay in Atlanta will really deplete this hard. I hope my time there is worth it.
Along those lines, I have attached another video of therapy I have done in Charlotte. I like this video because it shows me doing something that appears pretty normal, riding an exercise/spin bike. I will say that the resistance is really low and the pedaling is initiated by my hip flexors but some people may be surprised by what I can do...