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A Year Ago Today...

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Monday, April 30, 2012

April 30, 2011 was a day that changed my life. I got in my car that morning with the full intention of returning home in an hour, relaxing for a bit and then heading off to work. Life, however, had other plans for me.



A split second was all it took to change those plans and set me on a completely different course.

Instead of sitting at my desk at work, I was lying in a hospital bed forbidden from moving - not that I could anyway.


I spent one week in the hospital and two in a nursing home nursing all of my broken and hurting parts: broken ribs, vertebrae, and foot. The most painful of these was having broken ribs and the longest lasting was the foot.

It was three months before I could bend over without feeling like I was re-breaking my ribs and six months before I was able to put a shoe on my foot.


But then you guys already know that.

What you don't know are some of the non-physical changes that happened. When I woke up the morning of April 30, 2011, I was working for a job that I hated, driving a car that I hated (and making payments on it that I had no way of getting out of). I was generally unhappy and very much a pessimistic.

And that car accident changed everything.

I never returned to that job (or any job, for that matter) and my car was totaled - problem solved. I'm not making light of anything here, simply pointing out the irony. And even when I was crying and feeling like the pain would never end, I was still happier. Course I didn't realize this in the moment. But I do now, looking back.

I saw how much my family and friends loved me and what they would be willing to do for me. I saw how fragile life was and how strong a person can be when they have to be.

But I think most importantly I saw what a waste it is to spend time being unhappy, worrying about things you can't change, and not changing the things you can. From this I found my new path.

My point here is to never waste your time. Use the life and time you are given. Don't waste it crying about yesterday or worrying about tomorrow. The Buddha said,


"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future,
concentrate the mind on the present moment."


Concentrate on the present because it is all we really have. The past is gone, the future has yet to come, but the present --The present is LIFE.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • v EVERGREENE
    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us...
    901 days ago
  • v VBA2009
    Thanks for sharing your story!
    1261 days ago
  • v POPEYETHETURTLE
    I don't always have time to read all of the articles and blogs that I get from Spark, but I keep them in my inbox to read, so you know how far behind I am.

    When I saw and read this Best blog, I thought, "This looks like someone I know, but ..... when I clicked to the blog, I didn't recognize the Spark name.

    The picture of you in the hospital bed was haunting, but when I saw the picture of you car - I knew!

    I was in Intensive Care, fading in and out - aggravated by an itchy throat (I couldn't even breath on my own). I started staying awake for a few more minutes and my wife was thee, holding my hand with tears in her eyes. She asked me if I knew where I was (1 blink = yes0, did I know what day it was (2 blinks for no). She took a picture of me there when I was awake for a little bit longer, my thumb up and a machine hooked up to breath for me, two IV's in my left arm, a big hose coming out of my chest and a couple of more tubes inserted where tubes had no right to be inserted.

    I have a small talent and I don't know where it came from. One day during a briefing, I was standing around a table with a map on it, directly across from the briefer. I looked at the briefing notes and found I could read them, upside down and backwards quicker then he could speak.

    Somewhere in the back recesses, I remembered that trick and started communicating by writing, upside down and backwards, by printing so my wife could read what I was asking. My wife was really pleased to be able to communicate with me, and the Intensive Care nurses thought my idea was awesome. They could ask me questions and there was no need to blink or nod my head. I could also ask questions, and when my DW was gone to the restroom, I asked, "What happened?"

    All of a sudden my nurse became illiterate and claimed she didn't understand me. I called bullshyt on her and she then gave me the mealy mouth answer, "Well, right now we're just trying to get you well enough to move you to the floor. I'll let the doctor know you want to talk to him the next time he comes in". I bt you know how that worked. He conveniently only came in when I was in La La Land.

    I was healing well enough that I was able to postpone the pain meds, but they started being concerned because when they removed the tube in my throat, my breathing wouldn't operate on its own. They told me I HAD to start breathing on my own, that the longer I wasn't able to breath on my own, the less likely it would be that I'd be able to get off the ventilator.

    They tried once on the fifth day, then twice on the sixth. I admit I was sweating when I couldn't even force myself to breath. I don't know how drowning feels, but when you can't suck in air, the panic factor gets very high on the heart rate monitor and blood pressure cuff. That night, the doc changed the pain meds. The morning of the seventh day I thought I had made it, because when they took the tube out, I could breath. It was the hardest thing I had ever done, but I could breath. The nurses were charting the blood oxygen in in my blood and it went from 95%, then down to 93%, 91% and 89%. Below 90 is bad news, and so the tube got stuck back into my gagging throat.

    The rest of the morning, the nurses who came in were not the happy shining ladies who had been with me at the first of the week. My wife was upset and I went from depressed to pist off.

    At 5 pm, the doctor came in with two nurses and a trey with some perfilled needles, and they had my wife leave the room. When she had gone, they pulled the curtains over the window and closed the door.

    The reading on the heart monitor was 180, and blood pressure cuff was constantly monitoring my blood pressure, which was 150/110 - normally run 100/60..

    One nurse stood at the head of the bed, and one stood by they tray of needles. There was a tech standing behind the doctor with a defibrillator charging. Out came the breathing tube and I started to breath - it was much easier than it had been that morning. "Discharge the defib" from the doc was a terrific thing to hear.

    After breathing on my own for a few minutes, the nurse at the tray of knives, needles and other torture devices took her tray and left (I swear when she smiled her canines were at least an inch long.

    The doctor had let my wife come back in and he was giving me some instructions and suddenly said, "Popeye, breath". Unknowingly, I had stopped. He told us that was a common occurrence after being weaned off a ventilator and they would have me stay one more night with a nurse in the room to monitor me.

    Twice that night I was awakened by the nurse shaking my shoulder and telling me to breath.

    That afternoon I was discharged to an "almost intensive care" ward - my room was directly across from the nurses station and the light was left on during the night. The doc had also changed my pain meds again and I had no "non-breathing" issues thereafter.

    While I didn't have a car that looked like your old, blue one, I can certainly empathize with your experience.

    I went back to work six weeks after I was dismissed from the hospital, but it was to a job that was administrative rather than operations based. I didn't like the job, but I learned to do it very well.

    After a week, my new boss came into my office and closed the door - the first woman I had ever worked for. Although I was doing well in my new position, she could tell I wasn't very happy. Using the tricky way women have, I found myself admitting I wasn't happy being away from operations.

    She told me she had seen this kind of depression before, but I had to change my focus. "If you are no longer able to do the job you love, learn to love the job you have. You'll be much happier when you do."

    Then she chased me out of the office and told me to take the rest of the day off, and if I needed it, to take tomorrow (Friday) off also.

    For the next 24 hours, I vacillated between a whiny, "It's not fair", to an angry, "I'll show them, just to spite the rotten SOB's". I guess it was sort of like a rapid cycling person with Bi-polar Disorder.

    I went back to work at 1:00pm and met with my boss, Sally. I told her I would honestly give my best shot at following her suggestion, but I might have a relapse now and then and would she just throw something at me to get my attention and get my focus back going the right direction".

    I thought that I had a handle on change before this happened to me, as I went to 13 different schools before I graduated from high school. No, I wasn't a trouble maker. My Dad was a peace officer who worked on high profile cases. For our safety, we moved to a completely different part of the metropolitan area. We also moved four times to different states for his special assignments.

    I thank the Lord for giving you the courage to face a big demon and survive. You should be very proud that you no longer are forced to tool around in that Blue Beast.

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1333 days ago
  • v ALIDOSHA
    emoticon Thank you!
    1369 days ago
  • v KJSIZZLE1
    What an inspiration you are! Way to turn a life changing situation into something you can look positively on! Good for you!
    1371 days ago
  • v HABICHIC
    I know first hand how facing a critical situation can make you or break you...I'm glad that it made you stronger. : )
    1443 days ago
  • v IMKFOX
    So glad you were able to find the positive within the negative of that situation. Thank you for sharing.
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    1456 days ago
  • v FLYCHRISTI
    I hope you are well and happy. Thanks for the blog!
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    1456 days ago
  • v TONISTRELEC
    emoticon
    1456 days ago
  • v NOPEPSI
    Totally agree
    1485 days ago
  • v KHARRISON07
    God alway have a plan for our life it will be something good to come out of this because God still ask prayer, may God bless you and keep you.
    1494 days ago
  • v IMAPEPPER55
    emoticon emoticon THANKYOU FOR THE AWESOME ADVICE! YOU ARE A TRUE HELP TO EACH OF US...HUGS GO OUT TO YOU ALSO... emoticon , JUDY
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    1494 days ago
  • v ALLIGATORKATE
    keep up the good work!
    1499 days ago
  • v BEATINGED
    Thanks for writing your story it really encouraged me today to read it... to not give up and to continue fighting. My 18 yr old son was just getting ready to start his life... go to college, graduate high school not easy for a single father... when one morning a lady ran a red light and changed all our lives forever. He is now recovering from a Traumatic Brain Injury. I am so sorry for what you have been threw but want you to know how you have encouraged me... i will continue to maintain hope and be the best mom to him and best grandma to his son even when i start feeling down and hopeless.
    1507 days ago
  • v ANNET63
    Keep your chin up! Log this on to a life lesson. Your future is yours to make. You're beautiful. emoticon
    1507 days ago
  • v EATVEGAN
    Isn't it good when what seems to be only evil, has so much good coming from it? The turtle from Kung Fu Panda said, "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift, that is why it is called the present." I really enjoyed your blog. emoticon
    Janet
    1508 days ago
  • v CSLCHEF1
    I read your story. I'm glad you're doing ok. Something similar happen to me a couple of years ago. If it wasn't for my family and friends. I would be a total wreck. Keep doing what you're doing.
    1513 days ago
  • v NEW-NIKI
    What an inspiring story. You have so much courage. I am proud of you, and I hope you always keep the positive spirit. You have made me more grateful and thankful for what I have in my life. Thank you for sharing your story. emoticon
    1514 days ago
  • v MISSILENE
    Thanks so much for your blog. Many blessings.
    1515 days ago
  • v BLUSTAR
    glad you are ok and that you are happy...
    keep up the good work :)

    Glenda
    1515 days ago
  • v LINKYSD
    Thanks for sharing. It is eerie, but reading this on this day has been great therapy for me. I have had a very difficult year of work, topped off today by a less than stellar conversation with my boss. But having read this, I was able to walk away without feeling that this year was a total waste. Thank you. emoticon
    1516 days ago
  • v LIBBYFITZ
    emoticon emoticon
    1517 days ago
  • v MARYM1962
    WOW - you are amazing! You have such a positive attitude - God works in mysterious ways. You hated your job, you hated your car and now they are no more, but you are still with us. God answers our prayers, but not always the way we want Him to, or even expect. He has a plan for you or you would not still be here. Keep up the good work
    1518 days ago
  • v PICKLES84
    Your story is an inspiration to me... It reminds me to be thankful of all the blessing that i have and to concentrate on the here and now. God Bless you!!!
    1518 days ago
  • v SHLOMOKUT
    I am so glad you have good friends to help you through this.

    Rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra put ti like this:

    The past is Gone.

    The future is yet to come.

    And the present passes in the blink of an eye.

    So why worry?

    STAY STRONG!

    1518 days ago
  • v ICANDOIT1220
    I am so touched by your story. Thank you for sharing your philosophy on life and for giving me reason to be thankful for each day and for all the things I do have --- instead of dwelling on what I don't. You are an inspiration!
    1519 days ago
  • v KFH3107
    What a miracle you survived. I will pray for your daily recovery just as I prayed for my own when I suffered a similar experience. What ever you do my friend DO NOT GIVE UP! If I could offer one piece of advice it would be something my father taught me which is: Focus on only what is within your control and do not waste time on things that you can't control. Very sound advice and something that my accident brought home to me in soooo many ways. If you ever need an ear - please feel free to contact me. I know first hand what you are going through psychologically, emotionally, spiritually and physically. It took 8 years for me to recover from my accident and I pray your recovery will be very very quick and complete. Take care of yourself. emoticon
    1519 days ago
  • v BETTERME54
    THANK GOD! You survived. A listen was learn, and AMEN , you are so right on with your message, "Don't dwell on things you can not change, etc."


    emoticon and GOD BLESS you.
    1519 days ago
  • v SAL2525
    WOW Great message! You found your silver lining !
    1519 days ago
  • v SWEET-ONE3
    Each day is a gift, even with pain. May God heal your body and help you to bring good out of the pain. To give you strength for all you need to do. And we can only thank God that you are still with us and able to inspire us, as you do. You remind me of my daughter. She is a strong woman as well. God bless you and your family.
    1519 days ago
  • v JILLIAN40
    Thank-you for your truly inspirational blog!
    1519 days ago
  • v MMPEARSON13
    Thank you for sharing. This is truly inspirational!
    1520 days ago
  • v CHB91871
    Thanks for sharing and making me know my problems are small. You sound like a very brave person and may "GOD" bless you from this day forward!
    1520 days ago
  • v MMGTHIN
    emoticon
    1520 days ago
  • v LISSA1944
    Thank God for saving you for himself. Thank God for letting us learn an important message from your experiences. Life is short. Enjoy all we have been given, NOW.
    1520 days ago
  • v NLW8910
    Thank you for a wonderful testimony if what's important in life.
    1520 days ago
  • v PANDYA1
    Beautiful Message!! It is nothing but the truth. Good luck with everything.
    1520 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/29/2012 10:33:55 AM
  • v PANDYA1
    Beautiful message !! Thanks for sharing. Hope everything is back to normal for you in day to day life. emoticon emoticon
    1520 days ago
  • v NIN_RENAMARTIN
    Loved your message and your survival. Thanks
    1520 days ago
  • v KDMAMA2
    emoticon
    1520 days ago
  • v SHAWNJONES69
    You really inspired me this morning not to feel sorry for myself over such little things. God bless you!!!
    1520 days ago
  • v CARLINICHOLE26
    Thank you for sharing your story with us, life is too short to be unhappy!
    1520 days ago
  • v SLIMINGGIRL
    Such incidences make us look at life with a whole new perspective!!! Thank you for sharing this with us so that we could learn without experiencing that gruesome reality!! You truly are an inspiration!! emoticon
    1520 days ago
  • v MOMMA_BEAR_69
    emoticon Thank you.
    1520 days ago
  • v DMSBUTLER
    Wow! Talk about making lemonade out of lemons. You are inspiring. Thanks for posting this and for sharing your delicious lemonade with the rest of us.
    1521 days ago
  • v PARKERCM
    Thanks for sharing your story. You have an awesome perspective. We can all learn. emoticon
    1521 days ago
  • v DESIDERATA~GIRL
    Very true - so many people, me definitely included, worry about little things that had already happened or which may or may not happen. Life's too short! People need to work out what's important to them and work towards those goals. I'm glad you have recovered - it sounded like a very difficult accident and not something easy to recover from.
    1521 days ago
  • v J2740LOU
    All we have is the NOW! Wonderful words of wisdom. Thank you for sharing this mind's eye opener. emoticon emoticon
    1521 days ago
  • v BUSYGRANNY5
    Thanks for the reminder... tomorrow isn't guaranteed! I enjoyed your blog and pray that your life continues to be blessed!!!


    1521 days ago
  • v ALDEBARANIAN
    You go girl.
    1521 days ago
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