I’m a 49-year-old C4-5 and I’ve been injured for 25 years this past August. Currently, I am unable to use anything below my shoulders. I have trace motor in my right bicep, nothing functional. To be frank about the situation, I can’t imagine anything more agonizing than not being able to hug my wife or family members. I need help with all aspects of my daily life with the exception of being rather adept at operating my computer using only my head.
No matter how hard I try to evolve as a spiritual being trapped in this useless body, my depression is deep-seated and a vicious battle I have to fight every day. Regardless of how tired or defeated I may feel. Emotional and spiritual tumult make me feel heavier and unable to motivate these days. My frequent thoughts of suicide are futile, ironically due to my condition. Although these thoughts are fleeting and occur only at my deepest darkest, it’s reality.
Honestly, I hope I live long enough to be able to benefit from whatever procedures may materialize in the future. For me and for everyone suffering from spinal cord injury.
The only thing I could feel was fear. I vaguely remember a short boat ride across the river from where the big bummer took place. From there it was a quick Medi-Flight ride above Sacramento to the hospital. A handful of firefighters and paramedics shot me out of the back of the ambulance like a wave breaking on the asphalt. Then the excitement began. My fear started to grow as the paramedics and doctors and nurses continually had little private conversations and powwows, obviously discussing the extent of the visible damage that I’d done to myself. I looked on. No, that wasn’t possible. I couldn’t turn to look because my neck was immobilized by a couple of blocks of big yellow foam. So I listened. It was so chaotic that trying to eavesdrop on these people was near impossible. I guess that a conversation would probably have to wait.
The whole furball of activity really seemed surreal because you seldom see this kind of thing outside of a TV episode. People were barking orders insisting on bags of this and tubes of that, sprinkled with short breaks of the murmuring powwows. I remember thinking, as people hung over my head looking down at me, that their startled looks began to mirror how I felt. My line of sight became a camera’s point of view looking up from the ground in a football huddle of medical personnel. It was the same thing you see on ER, the little pen lights shining in my eyes along with questions being shouted at me. Continue reading “The Dive.”
On August 11 last year, I celebrated the anniversary of my not so glamorous injury. 23 years ago is a very long time. I did as I always do on one of these anniversaries, count my chickens and consider myself lucky to be alive with someone to love. That same day as I went about with my lukewarm life, I was terrified to learn of Robin Williams death. Alternating bouts of tears and disbelief I decided that it was very appropriate for this to happen on a day that typically finds me saying ‘thank you.’ Continue reading “Big boys don’t cry.”