Thursday, January 19, 2012
I was driving to the emergency medical clinic still battling a case of pneumonia the Saturday before Easter. It had rained a cold drizzle the night before and washed some of the dead winter leaves into the road making slick spots I was unaware of as drove down the familiar stretch of two lane highway. Suddenly I was overwhelmed with a coughing fit and at that very moment hit one of those slippery patches losing control of my car and going into a terrible tailspin. I couldn’t regain control and the car drove backward up a small embankment and into someone’s yard where the back smashed violently into a relatively small tree. I was throw from the driver’s seat into and up against the back seat head first. As my chin was forced into my chest, my already damaged neck was crushed and my spinal cord was severed. Of course I didn’t know the extent of my injuries at the time, but I did know I paralyzed.
I laid shivering in cold March air waiting for what seemed liked hours but in reality couldn’t have been longer than a several minutes for help to arrive. I tried to find my coat and found to my horror that I couldn’t move my arms. I was having trouble seeing; everything looked dark and misty. I didn’t know it at time but I had severely injured my left eye and was at this moment quite blind in it. I tried to move my legs. Fear like I had I never known rose in my throat. I couldn’t move anything; I was completely paralyzed. I remember thinking that I must have used up all my chances with God and now He was done with me. I actually felt the ever present, always comforting presence of my guardian angel fleeing from my side. I felt truly alone in the universe and wondered why God would punish me so severely and it was at that moment that my anger toward Him began; why didn’t he just let me die?
After 4 ½ years of dreading waking up every morning, I finally began to see a light at the end of the tunnel. The state had provided me with services such as money to pay attendants and caregivers. One of those services is called “peer counseling”. This is when a fellow disabled person is sent to you to take you out in the world and help you acclimate to being in public again, as a person with a disability. My peer counselor was an older man with cerebral palsy.
(to be continued)