I remember when I first got hurt, I was super concerned about few immediately impactful things in my life. I was worried about gaining weight, how I would still be able to work out and how I would go to college.
In retrospect, it’s kind of ironic to me that those were my immediate living life concerns (obviously from the last post you know that what I would do with my life was the overwhelming concern) because when I got hurt, no one knew how to fix me. I’m not kidding. The night I got hurt, I wasn’t allowed to eat and wasn’t given pain meds for fear they would have to do a surgical repair that night. The ER doctor was baffled at the extent of injury and told me to come back. When I went back to the hospital and met with surgeon #1, he said (wait for it, because you know it’s going to be crazy if I remembered this in my drugged up haze) “I’m not sure how to fix this but I’ll try”, to which we left and went to my family orthopedic doctor who (thank goodness) said he was out of his realm of expertise but knew someone who could fix me and boom, three doctors later and I had a surgeon, who is still one of the best doctors I’ve ever had in my whole life and a plan.
Chaotic huh? That whole process, from point of impact being hurt to surgery #1 took 9 days. 9 days of just straight up mind numbing, never moving past it pain. But I wasn’t concerned. I mean it was awful and horrible and all of those things, but I wasn’t worried. Even when we didn’t have a plan, and panic was starting to set in with everyone around me, I knew God had it under control and I would get fixed. Side note, I still see my doctor once a year for a follow, she’s still one of the most knowledgeable and dare I say intimidating individuals I’ve ever met. I absolutely adore her and still send her referrals on a regular basis, she’s just that freaking good.
College and working out was figured out too. My parents bought me dumbbells and I used to lift weights in bed. I used to do tricep dips off the staircase (I mean hey I needed arms to climb up the stairs on my butt so I could shower), and my mom drove me to my college classes. I was blessed to have people in my presence who were empathetic to a young kid who was struggling not just with the loss of mobility but the loss of independence and the anger of losing those things.
One of my college professors even tutored me privately, which sometimes consisted of me falling asleep in our sessions from being on so many pain meds and sometimes consisted of me talking through the anger I was feeling. She gave me hope, recovering from being in a horrific car accident to being a well known, published professor.
I don’t know what the shift was for me, but I remember beginning to feel like I had hope that I could still make something of myself even though my life wasn’t going to be what I initially thought. I started thinking there could still be a way for me to make an impact and help people, improve my community and give back.
So I did the only thing I knew how to do. I hustled. I graduated college early and with honors. I stopped my pity party, I did physical therapy to the point of tears some days so I could learn how to walk again, so I could learn how to drive again, shoot so I could be confident in weight bearing on a limb that was rebuilt from cadaver and synthetic bone and didn’t feel like my own anymore. I stopped telling myself all those negative things that were keeping me from moving forward and started telling myself that I could do more, do better, be better with everything I did.
I stopped putting limits on myself, even though I had people around me telling me I was disabled and limited. I told myself I was young and had the rest of my life in front of me. I told myself I was doing nothing with my life if I wasn’t taking advantage of the fact that I had been given a second chance.