Today marks another year in my chair and 21 years since I started this journey. You’ve heard me say it a million times before and I still feel the same way, that my accident and this chair was the best thing that ever happened to me. In many ways it probably saved my life because of what was going on in my life at the time it happened. But as I reflect back this year on those early days in the hospital, it was the little things that got me through those hardest days. Like my sister sneaking me ice chips to suck on in the middle of the night when I wasn’t supposed to because I was still being fed through a tube through my nose and wasn’t supposed to swallow anything yet, or my older brothers making me laugh as they were fighting over who would get my handicapped pass for their car so they could get front row parking, or just an old friend that I hadn’t seen forever coming up to visit me and offering support.
I could go on and on about those little things that made such a difference back then. But the things that always made the biggest difference for me or had the most impact were those people that I met through this adventure. I have always been blessed with the greatest people that have come into my life and so many of you that are my friends now, I would have never had met had I not have had my accident and for that I am most grateful. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
This photo cracks me up when I look at it because I look so hideous. Ha! But it was taken about 6 weeks into my accident and I share it because of the girl in it. Her name was Jamie and she was one of my student nurses. She was from a small town down south called Sigard and she was about as cute as they get. She was one of those little things that I was referring to. I looked forward to the days that she would come in to take care of me. She not only did a great job but she truly cared about me. It was not just a job to her. She always made me laugh and always knew how to stroke my ego just the right way. I remember having a conversation with her one day about a film that had just come out called 8 Seconds (one of my all-time favorite films). It was about Lane Frost the World Champion Bull Rider, played by Luke Perry who’d be gourd by a bull in Cheyenne, Wyoming and had passed away from his injury. She always said that I had a smile like Luke Perry. I didn’t see it but it always made me feel good. She made my days in the hospital not so bad. I lost track of Jamie after I got out of the hospital but have often thought about her. There were so many others like her along the way that I will always be grateful for.
I’ve cheated death multiple times in my life and for me each new day above ground is a good day because you never know when it’s your turn to go. I push the limits every day and live every day like it’s my last. There is a quote I have always lived by and it goes something like this, Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely, in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "Holy Shit, what a ride!"
So today as another year past, I’m grateful for the little things. Thank you to all of you who have loved me, supported me, picked me up when I fell, been there for me from the beginning, smacked me when I was being a knuckle head, stepped up when I may have been trying to do something stupid, (I’m good at that), and for all of you who have cheered for me in my victories. I have been truly blessed by all of you!
Thank you for celebrating with me another year!
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