By now, most of you will know that I was in a terrible car accident a little over four years ago. I spent five hours in surgery three days after the accident to fix my leg. There is a big metal rod in my femur now. They used metal wire to stitch my knee back together. There was a fracture in my ankle. And (although they didn’t see it at the time), I also had a talar process fracture (a bone in my foot cracked off and lodged in the muscle). I had two further surgeries after the accident – one to remove the wire from my knee, and the other (finally) to remove that piece of bone.
My lawyer, a very successful accident attorney, has seen the gamut of clients in his office. Although he specializes in car accidents, he also has slips and falls and other insurance claims. He’s seen people who’ve turned their ankle in the bank parking lot and never been able to work again. Others who have been hit from behind and had whiplash and PTSD so bad they can no longer leave the house.
And then he had me.
Once I was able to…and even before my casts were off, I went back to work. And started thrice weekly physiotherapy. Six months after the accident, I started driving therapy to get me back on the road. I had psychotherapy to help me deal with the post-traumatic stress. I had an occupational therapist to help me figure out what I needed to start doing my own housework again. The psychologist sent me to a pain clinic. The other people at the clinic were unable to sit for ten minutes. I could have spent a month in the program learning how to deal with pain – but I wasn’t “in” pain. After the last surgery, I consistently rated my daily pain between 1-3 on a scale out of ten. And it wasn’t constant. In discussions with the doctor at the clinic, we decided I didn’t need to be there. Much to my lawyer’s chagrin.
I worked hard. I wasn’t going to be one of those people who used my injury as an excuse to stop living my life. My accident was a signal – a reminder – that I have breath still in my body, and I shouldn’t waste it.
Unfortunately (for my lawyer), I had no trouble sharing my positive attitude with all of the people involved in my care. Including the occupational therapists that represented the insurance company. Including the lawyer for the person who hit me. I was down – but I’ll be damned if I was out.
My lawyer scolded me after each meeting. “You’re too positive. I just got a huge payout for a guy who is less injured than you. I’m not going to be able to do that if you keep being so positive.”
But you see…the “big payout” for me – is I am still positive. In spite of everything, I’m truly just happy to still be here. Sure – I could have curled up into a ball and withdrawn from the world. But if I was going to do that…I might as well have just died that day.
Yes, I have pain sometimes. Yes, it will likely get worse as I get older. But for now, it’s not. I’m not going to worry about the future. I’m going to live for today. Because I know now – there might not be a tomorrow.
|Image Credit (Edited): Sura Nualpradid / freedigitalphotos.net|
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