“You know, the smallest thing can change a life. In the blink of an eye, something happens by chance – and when you least expect it – since we’re on a course that you could have never planned, into a future you never imagined. Where will it take you? That’s the journey of our lives: our search for the light. But sometimes, finding the light means you must pass through the deepest darkness. At least, that’s how it was for me.” – The Lucky One
April 20, 2014 started out like any other day. My wife and I woke up in Gatlinburg,TN to the sounds of babbling creek and birds chirping. Life was good! We were on our final leg of our journey from Calgary, CA to Charlotte, NC. We were headed back to spend time with some of my friends, tie some things up.. I didn’t know that morning that this day would change the course of my life drastically.
As we arrived into Charlotte, we need to go to my storage unit to retrieve my bed to bring to my friend’s house we were staying at. My best friend was going to bring her truck to help us move it. I tell you all this from my wife’s perspective because as of today I have no memory of this. I will explain why in a few moments. Apparently we headed to the storage unit around 7pm. My best friend was already there waiting but was in the front of the building, the entrance we needed was in the back. I texted her to meet us around back. She did and apparently out of my excitement when I saw her, when she pulled through the gate I got all silly and jumped on the back of her pickup truck. Mind you this isn’t abnormal for us, we are two peas in a pod. We are true best friends, the kind that think alike, act alike and for the most part love being silly and goofy with each other. That being said, when I jumped on her truck, she hit her gas pedal, joking to think she was going to take off without me. Not realizing, I yelled “Dude, stop” and with that out of her side mirror I fell off the back of her truck, so hard that I hit my head on the pavement. My wife saw it all. Both said they could hear my head crack over the noise of her truck engine.
My wife ran over to me, and my best friend got out of her truck, by the time she reached me blood was coming out of my nose. Apparently I sat up, started thrown up, but wouldn’t speak. My other friend came out of the storage unit and rushed over to me. She also tried getting me to speak….nothing. My went to feel the back of my head and realized it had swelled out to the size of grapefruit, she looked at my friends and said call an ambulance. Later blood begin also coming out of my left ear. My poor wife cleaning up the blood as quick as it came. I was rushed immediately to the ER and put into ICU that night. I was put in a neck brace, give anti nausea meds, and morphine and my brain was monitored every 30 mins. My life was in Gods hands now. No one knew if I would make it or not. The doctors said it we just don’t know, her condition can turn on a dime.” My injuries were severe. I had suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). I had a basilar skull fracture, temporal bone fracture, facial fracture, closed wound, swelling of my brain, frontal lobe all bruised. As my dear friends, my wife, my family all waited to the wee hours of the morning to see if I would even still be here, prayers were issued and asked from anyone and everyone that new me.
This picture is one of MANY CT Scans done on me that night, the back lump in my head is the blood pooling up.
I spent 3 more days in the hospital. I didn’t recognize anyone at first. I didn’t know my name, or age or even what year it was or where I was. Slowly things came back but VERY SLOWLY. My aunt and uncle were there the entire time and my parents and sister flew down right away. My wife, my dear friends, my family and all their prayers, I believe are what saved me. Although I have no memory of the accident, and I barely remember the hospital outside of flashes in my head, I knew I was loved.
The hospital released me early we all believe, because I do not have healthcare coverage. I was still very disoriented and not clear of anything going on, yet they let me go. THANK GOD for the amazing, loving people I have in my life. They were able to help take care of me. Someone who was so very independent now dependent on everything and everyone. My wife, being the solid rock I could lean on every minute of the day. I share all this with you because we all live with the idea that we have tomorrow… what ever it is we put off we have tomorrow but the truth is we don’t have tomorrow. At a split second, life can turn on a dime or worse yet be over. I know this sounds cliché but this has finally sunk in for me through this injury.
Today I am still seeing doctors, my recovery, although it has been nothing short of miraculous and amazing is at least a 6 months to a year thing. I lost hearing in my left ear. I can no longer smell or taste anything. Well taste wise the only thing I seem to taste is Cherries! lol I still have major headaches each day, and I get tired quickly. I never know when I wake up what kind of day it will be for me and my loved ones. I try to stay positive. My short-term memory is not good at all, and it takes me awhile now to think through the simplest tasks. I drop things all the time but the one thing I am grateful for is I AM HERE. I know there are a lot of people out there with TBI’s and honestly I knew nothing about it till this happened. It is the largest silent disability disease our nation faces. What we need more than anything from people is patience. There is NO fast recovery and there is no pushing the healing but we do heal. Little by little slowly. This injury has taught me to be less judgmental, more patient and if anything rely on my faith more than anything. I know I will overcome as much of this as I can and what I don’t I will learn to make the best of it.
My heart goes out to my friends and family each and every day that went through this with me, that saw me in the worst state of my life and did nothing but pray and love one me as much as they could. My wife never left my side, and took care of me more than any partner could. It brings tears to my eyes of happiness and gratitude when I think of these people I am so grateful to have in my life. So much love and I support from people I barely know to ones I have known all my life. It inspires me and encourages me each and every day!! I am learning to live in the moment now more than ever and I am learning as I heal that really life is about the simple things and taking action now. Tell people you love them, do that thing you have always wanted to do, LIVE YOUR LIFE NOW!!! I promise you if you think there isn’t a way to get something done or be somewhere I promise you one will be made for you, just put the intention out there.
The universe is listening. And please if you can show patience to someone you see struggling to get money out of their wallet at the store, or the person walking slow, or driving slow because they could be struggling with a disability you just cannot see or know about it. Just know they are trying and doing they best that they can with what they have. Life IS BEAUTIFUL if we stop to choose to see the beauty that is right there in front of us. Concentrate on what you DO HAVE, not what you are lacking and God will provide more. I am living proof of that without a doubt!!!!
I do struggle each and every day, but I am learning to let me feel those emotions and move through them. I just won’t build a house on sad street!! lol I plan on writing more about my recovery and where I am at and what I am going through in hopes of possibly inspiring other people in some way or form. I believe this is why we are all here to help each other out. Life is going to hand us moments of impact, things that will change out life no matter what, how we react to them really is what molds things into the life we experience. Love life, and let it love you back. Namaste sweet friends.