In December of 2020, I was in a serious car accident. My vehicle veered off the road, into a ditch, rolled multiple times, and I was ejected 30 feet from the car. I was taken to the emergency room, and upon their findings, I had 4 broken ribs, a broken sternum, punctured lungs, a ligament tear in my left shoulder, and I fractured multiple vertebrae, exploding L1. The doctors had to do immediate surgery, and I had 2 rods and 8 screws put in to stabilize my spine. Because of the most damage being L1, I had also developed extensive nerve damage. I had spots of no feelings and no bowel control from my waist down.
This accident made me realize that I am more of a fighter than I had ever thought. I was told I probably wouldn’t walk again, and I took that as a challenge. I didn’t want that to be who I became. So I made sure I fought to walk again, using every day while in the hospital to practice, even if it meant using assistance from walking devices. Over the next few years and a lot of physical therapy, I have become strong enough to walk without assistance, but I am still unable to maintain balance sometimes. I am unable to run or jump, and I am unable to lift heavy objects. I have to plan events and days around a restroom and a place I can sit for a break. I have gone from being extremely physical, with work and household chores, to being at a computer for work and asking for help with anything physically strenuous.
I’ve learned to be more patient. To not force how life is, but to accept what it gives. Just being here still and being active with my family, friends, and children is enough for me to want to keep growing stronger. I’ve learned not to be afraid to ask someone for help. It doesn’t mean you aren’t able to do it, it just means it’s easier with a second pair of hands. A big thing that I am still trying to change and fix is that everyday routines make me very tired by the time I am home, so I have to be slower with completing tasks and plan them accordingly so that I don’t fully exhaust myself.
If there is a newly injury person that reads this, my advice? Be patient. Work hard to build strength. Focus on little tasks to complete each day, rather than wanting to be the old you. It takes a lot of time, effort, and focus to build yourself back to the person you once were, but in all reality, you’ll never be that person again. You’re better now. Stronger. Wiser. You’ve dealt with something extremely traumatic and fought to keep yourself around. If that doesn’t show yourself to be a superhero to someone, then superheros must not exist.