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Thread: Started my senior year and wound up in hospice

  1. #1
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    Started my senior year and wound up in hospice

    After work one August night in 1982 crashed at my dorm, woke up and registered for my senior year and drove home to my parents house. Got up Saturday morning, drove to the beach picking up three buddies on the way, they informed me there was a surfing contest at the inlet.

    Drove to Sebastian and three seconds life changed. Dove off the jetty, bounced off the bottom of the Atlantic then slowly floated up face down behind the break.

    Waited for my head to clear in order to roll over and swim for shore. Unfortunately, it didn't work. Realizing that I need to take a breath soon, raised my elbow (learning later about no triceps) as a swell went by, rolling me over on my back.

    Took a breath, relax, no problem stars had gone away, head was clearing, now will just roll over and swim for shore, still didn't work. Then someone started towing me (there were 10,000 people there) and, then put me on a long board, then some sort of stretcher at the beach, into a 4 x 4 vehicle at the water line, to a gurney in the parking lot and into an ambulance.

    Got discharged from rehab on Friday and on Saturday morning two of my nurses picked me up in a candy apple red T top Corvette and as we drove down A1A, the friend who bought my '71 Satellite pulled up to the stop sign right as we drove by. Another friend bought my bike, a ?76 750 Yamaha swing back with a driveshaft.

    For most of the 80s had to drive to Orlando to get any help with the SCI then they built Sea Pines and met Dr. Miller. He wore scrubs and flip-flops and had an Atari game in his office, my kind of guy. Remember him telling me to shut up and listen and would learn something, always did.

    Knew two things after breaking my neck 1) could not live with my parents and 2) could not count on Social Security. Didn't have a penny to my name, so after finishing my degree in Business and couldn't get a job, went back to school and getting a degree in computers.

    From working full-time, Scuba diving, waterskiing, chess tournaments, traveling the country and living in hotels for months from Burbank to Birmingham, Nashua to Key West, am now paying the price. One of my biggest problems is accepting help and yesterday was admitted to hospice, is there any interest in what happened in between? Does my story interest anyone, is it any different than anyone else's? My demise is not imminent, just takes a little bit to get your head around the label.

  2. #2
    Seems like you got a story to tell, and you’re a good writer. Don’t wait for permission. Tell your story.

  3. #3
    Write it up and sell it. Hit the TV circuit. Be good to see something other than the: I was paralyzed and god made me walk or if you work reaaaaaal hard you can walk again, crap.

  4. #4
    I agree. Consider writing more; perhaps approach New Mobility to do an article for them about your life experiences after SCI/D. That would be a way to get started, while you also consider and work on expanding this into a autobiography book. I am sure you have a lot of life experience that would be helpful for anyone dealing with life set-backs, not just others with disabilities.

    (KLD)
    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

  5. #5
    Senior Member bigtop1's Avatar
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    I like it. Good luck on your efforts.
    I refuse to tip toe through life, only to arrive safely at death.

  6. #6
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    Throughout our lives we wonder if we are successful or if others think we are. It is as natural as "Keeping up with the Joneses". Competition or comparison amongst other individuals of our society from athletics to mating, it is inherent to ourselves as a species.

    In our lives, injured or not, we will seek a purpose, a reason or an answer to life's question, "Why was I born to suffer and die?"

    To determine if life was a success, what metrics does society, we ourselves, use to answer this question. Income, net worth, wife, kids or quality of life, how do we measure success, or even define it? Having firsthand knowledge of what we lost , do we not now have different criteria of what it is? Our values have changed as has our measurement of this criteria.

    Of course there are successes as well as failures trying to function in today's society with a significant disability and still having troubles accepting it.

    A litany of anecdotal adventurers stories may perhaps be entertaining, like a TV show, yet not reveal any purpose, insight, make no statement about the tragedies and triumphs of living, or what makes you continue living as a quadriplegic. to explain do you outweigh competent ADLs such as changing the sheets may be a pragmatic "How to Guide" that a combined effort of the community could produce a much better product than myself alone. It would take a lot of time and energy to relive and physically write and without any desire or purpose, no longer have the energy to expound on it now, perhaps another time.

    Why is my story any different than any of yours? Only the names have been changed to protect the guilty.

  7. #7
    You'll never know if your story is different unless you take the change. Such is life. Those that try and those that don't. Generally people look back and say "I wish I would have."

  8. #8
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    Don?t know when this was written, but while looking at it a friend (Guilty of much) came over, started reading it at the same time and then saying he was glad that the ?stairs at the fire department? or ?bouncing off the steamboat? during a beach dive were not mentioned.

    Back to what I found:

    Have either painted myself into a corner, or am boxed in a paradox. Did not know how bad my injury was at the time, still learning its magnitude and ramifications, implications and connotations today, but the friends who saw me in the hospital did.

    From my perspective did not realize the visual impact of being in a rotating bed while my neck was healing. One told me his stomach dropped out when he walked into my hospital room and saw me in the bed with tongs screwed in the my head and weights hanging off the cable. Look one up on the Internet the other month and it looked pretty medieval.

    They gave me a beer every lunch and dinner in an attempt to get calories in me, didn?t drink any of them. Was also blessed by a doctor who sanctioned smoking marijuana to induce my appetite, this was in Florida ?82.

    Didn't realize it at the time, but even with my hospital room door open, we smoked a joint of skunk weed. A nurse came into the room one time, gave everyone a dirty look, and not saying a word, shutting the door as she left.

    After six weeks the fusion in my neck had healed and was ready to go to rehab and got my first UTI. Needless to say they won't transport you with a fever (mine was 106) and was having some serious hallucinations. Threatened to pack me in ice if I didn't start drinking more water, but aren't IV fluids the same?

    Got to Humana Lucerne in Orlando ~mid October and was introduced to my nurse named Steve, she was quite good-looking and my therapist named Kermit. However, this is only an extension of all the strange and horrible things that were waiting to be exposed to me.

    My roommate was a biker who got a pressure sore deliberately so he could collect $100 every day hospitalized. They put him on home healthcare and he was not happy. Next roommate became a lifelong friend, talk to him the other day.

    Had all the pokes, scrapes and brushes determining me a C6 complete, today they would call me a C6 Asia A. Do not have any grip or wrist extensors so have the classic quad club hand. Had a trace of triceps, which is a big blessing, perhaps from swimming in California and surfing in Florida. After discharge used Nautilus equipment to get my triceps back (stronger). Still have no grip or hand function.


    Had a really bad attitude and later found out that were going to throw me out of rehab because I wasn?t to do anything. Furry memories.

    However, after going home for a visit during Christmas, and friends came over, realized life goes on. Was discharged six weeks later and was back in the dorms in six months.

    Approaching discharge from rehab, you have a meeting with all the doctors, nurses, therapists, home modifications (with my parents never did, not even a ramp), etc. and they told us all their conclusions and asked if we had any questions.

    I asked if there was any reason why I could not live by myself and there was an awkward silence. Then one by one, each person said ?no? with a caveat and was back in the dorms six months after discharge living by myself ever since.

    Finished my degree in Business and could not find an entry-level position. Then with the help of Vocational Rehabilitation, got a degree in Computers and got in the door as a Systems Analyst and then transferred to Contract Administration.

    One day after work, was whining into my beer about taking my showers outside with a garden hose in January. Not even a ramp, had to pop of wheelie as a C6 quad wet to get off the porch.

    A stranger came up to me and told me he would build me a custom apartment. Listened politely not confidently, yet he built me a great little place. Later his wife made me get out of bed, go down the street and purchase a house with a guest house then went back to bed.

    She also helped me acquire two duplexes, on 15 year notes, and rented them out for me. Have been blessed with an incredible occupancy rate of over 95% and now they?re both paid for.

    Worked at the local Center for Independent Living for a year and then went to work for the DOD as a Systems Analyst and then as a Contract Administrator at Patrick Air Force Base, CCAFS, KSC, Northrop Grumman (when it was just Grumman), Harris and then retired, got bored and went to work for the local hospital conglomerate IT department.

    Then got a new wheelchair, broke my day legs four times in two years and things went downhill from then.

  9. #9
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    That is a pretty good life! Thanks for sharing. I have awful numbers for bone density and expect that may be my demise, but one carries on until it happens, no? My sympathies in these hard times.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cris View Post
    It would take a lot of time and energy to relive and physically write and without any desire or purpose, no longer have the energy to expound on it now, perhaps another time.
    Hello Cris. From what you have revealed in this thread, you have a story worth the telling.

    Are you are too fatigued(?) to embark on such a task?
    Maybe a ghost writer would be a solution?
    I would think that the narrative of your life would be of interest to a lot of people regardless of their physical condition and an inspiration to many.

    Some days are just too much..........We all need inspiration to function, even half well, in this life.
    Well, I do.

    I have enjoyed what you have revealed this far. You have improved my day.

    Don't let Hollywood get hold of the story, there is every chance that they will just screw it up
    Last edited by slow_runner; 12-25-2018 at 07:24 PM. Reason: spelling. yeah, I know, its a bit anal. but it bugs me. (grin)

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