When I got on my motorcycle on July 9, 2004, I had no idea what was about to happen. Had it gone slightly differently, I could have walked away from the accident, been permanently paralyzed, or worse. As it was, I suffered a devastating injury, and it took months of rehabilitation in the hospital just to stand and walk a few feet. In the next section, I’ll talk about what happened after I was released from the hospital, but I wanted to pause here to reflect on what I learned from the accident itself.
Life has no guarantees. Each day is a gift, and what we do with it is up to us. We go about our daily business and routine, because life is mostly predictable, and we never accept that the bad thing will happen to us. It’s always someone else who has that unfortunate mishap, bad luck or sobering diagnosis. Take it from someone who’s been there….some times, it can happen to you.
Your life can change in an instant. I went from being a confident new rider to an invalid in less than a couple seconds. I had never considered what might happen if I lost the ability to walk, because it had never occurred to me that it might happen. Once I went over the handlebars, it didn’t matter whether I thought about it or not. My life had changed. That doesn’t mean you should anticipate disaster on a daily basis – rather, be grateful for what you have today.
We need other people. I’ve spent a lot of my life being stubborn and independent, but the truth is, I wouldn’t have recovered (or even survived) without significant help from other people. From Sam, who called 911 and stayed with me until the paramedics arrived, to my surgeon, Dr. Childs, to BJ, my physical therapist, to Peace, my rehab nurse, I benefited from their help. No matter how independent you may think you are, we are all connected.
We all have obstacles to overcome. Some obstacles are physical, like my accident and injury. Other obstacles can be emotional, like low self-esteem, a troubled childhood, or challenging relationship. Obstacles can be financial, circumstantial or any number of factors. The bottom line is that we all have challenges to face. The question is – how do we meet and overcome them?
When I was discharged from the hospital, that brought one chapter of my life to a close. The next one was about to begin.