Thursday, October 13, 2011

It Only Gets Easier

My friend Hillarie is an occupational therapist who works with spinal cord injury patients at a rehab hospital in St. Louis. Last week Hillarie called me and told me that one of her patients (Adam) wanted to meet me. (Hillarie tells her patients about me all the time, so that's how he knew of me.) He's in his early 20's and he broke his neck at that fourth cervical vertebrae earlier this summer in a motorcycle accident. So yesterday afternoon my mom and I went to the rehab hospital to meet Adam.

Adam and I have very similar injuries, so we've had a lot of the same experiences and share some of the same feelings regarding our situations. Becoming disabled is such a steep learning curve, to say the least, so the early weeks and months after becoming disabled can seem very bleak as you think about all of the ways that your life has changed.

The thing that I really wanted Adam to know from my own personal experience is that life only gets easier the longer you're paralyzed. I was finally well enough to return home to live four months after my accident. Then the real work began as I spent the next several months learning how to live again. At first it took so long to do everything (bathing, dressing, hair washing, etc.), but as the months passed my caregivers and I established routines and life gradually began to get easier.

After coming home I spent the next year of my life watching TV all day, every day. I wasn't depressed and I honestly felt happy, but looking back I realize that there was a sadness in my life as I grieved the loss of the life I always thought I'd be living. After a year of watching TV all day I started feeling restless, so that's when I decided to get a laptop.

Over the past eight years I've incorporated new things back into my life and I've developed/grown in ways I never thought imaginable. Life's gotten better and better with each passing year and I find myself growing more and more happy. Life was so challenging right after my accident and I would never want to return to the early days/years after my accident for anything! I was happy then, but I'm even happier now.

So my advice to newly injured patients (and anyone else who is currently enduring a trial) is: hold on and don't give up because things will get easier!

2 comments:

Tina said...

Heather,

I absolutely love how inspiring you are to others. You are a giant!

Love,

Your Utah Friend,

Tina

Jennifer L. Jones Harden said...

I read often and know you and some of your sisters. It's so refreshing to see how you embrace life. Thanks for being so inspiring!!

Post a Comment

I love getting feedback on my posts, so please leave me a comment!

If you have a question, feel free to email me at heather_i_johnson@yahoo.com so that I can respond to you directly.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...