Author Archives: heckhj

About heckhj

I sustained a spinal cord injury (SCI) in October of 2012, at 20 years old. My injury is on the 11th vertebrae of the thoracic spine region (T-11), which results in paraplegia. I was hit by an SUV, as a pedestrian. I have no muscle function or feeling below the waist. Read the 'About' page for the whole story. I want to "make my mess my message" by sharing my story with the public in hopes of uplifting people's spirits.

Hey Girl

I’ve been wanting to make a comeback for awhile now, but I haven’t found the time. I wanted to end a great weekend on a great note with a little dabbling on my keyboard.

I got a little poker in on Friday with some good people. Hanging out with those guys, playing some hold em, and drinking a few beers was a lot of fun. And even though I lost 40 bucks, I almost lost only 20, so it wasn’t so bad. Then on Saturday my beautiful cousin, Amanda got married and I had one of the best nights of 2014.

Some big things have gone down in my life recently. I returned to Cleveland over the summer to repeat my internship with Parker Hannifin. I did more marketing work and, on top of that, got to finally use Indego (exoskeleton). That took some getting used to. Walking, but not feeling your feet hit the floor after each step is a wild feeling / lack of feeling. I started to get the hang of it, but I didn’t have nearly enough time to prepare for shows as the demo star. Parker does not employ any PTs on site, and the engineers have more important things to do than hold my hand, as I try to learn how to walk. They’re too busy having doctorate degrees and talking about quantom thermal energy and shit. So I wasn’t able to get my face printed in magazines and posted on websites this summer, but hopefully next summer.

After my internship, I started my seven (and a halfth?) semester of school. But not at Miami, I’m now going to Wright State University. Miami is a great college and I’m glad I was there for the time that I was, but I felt like my time was up in Oxford. It was time to move on. I think I made the right decision. It has taken a lot of adjusting, but that’s to be expected, and I think it’s already becoming more normal than it is abnormal. Living off campus is really allowing me to keep my priorities straight. I’m gonna spank my classes this semester. Well I guess you can’t really spank a class, so I’ll spank my professors. And I guess that doesn’t allude that I would do well in a class, but that’s what I’m trying to say.

And now, hunterheck.com followers and shit givers, for what I’m personally most excited about. My tennis wheelchair came in about two weeks ago! I have known that I wanted to order one for about six months now, and finally got around to ordering it sometime mid summer. I’ve been asked by many, many people what the difference is between an everyday chair and a tennis chair. Understandably so, I mean they’re both wheelchairs. They can’t be very different, right? WRONG. The difference is uncanny. It’s mystifying. Okay, I’ll chill, but these are the differences. My tennis chair is one inch narrower than my everyday chair, has 20 degrees camber (tilt in the rear wheels), very short back, and a third caster wheel in the back to prevent myself from flipping over backwards. And maybe that doesn’t seem like much of a difference, but to a wheelchair user, it’s huge. I’m borderline obsessed with the chair. Thus far, I’ve only had two tennis lessons. But starting this week, I’ll be at the tennis center taking lessons twice a week. Getting in that chair and on the open court, moving at a fast pace, working up a sweat, having sport related goals, and something to push myself / better myself in is unreal. It takes me back! And my chair has a seat belt strap and toe strap. Both click straps that are exactly like snowboard bindings. It’s quite possible that’s what I like the most about the chair.

Oh and one more thing, which I’m slightly hesitant about mentioning because It’s still in the very earliest stage. Over the summer I started writing my book that I’ve mentioned before, and oh my f****** s*** C***** of Nazareth b**** and t****** on an early, muggy afternoon f****** H*** – writing a book is uh, is gonna take awhile! I’ve got two pages down. I’m planning on going through with it because I wouldn’t ever be satisfied with myself if I didn’t. It’s just going to take thousands of hours of writing/thinking. Trying to get a 4.0 in school, become a paralympian, and become the face of Indego doesn’t leave me with a lot of spare time. So I might be 35 (hopefully a lot sooner) by the time I publish this thing, but I’ll get there sooner, or later.

I’d like to make this more of a regular thing again. So maybe one post every two weeks. I’m just thinking out loud though here. Have a good week everybody. If you’re going through some stuff, look on the bright side. Think of how much worse it could be. Keep that chin at 90 pointing up. And kill something this week!

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Don’t Stop

This semester has held quite a few ups and downs. The first few weeks were pretty hard on me. I knew I’d have to step up my game to accommodate for my post surgery responsibilities, but I was just looking forward to returning to the college lifestyle after such a rough winter break. I thought about what was ahead of me only from the physical standpoint like, “whatever, I’ll handle it.”
It wasn’t so easy to handle though…

During that first week back, I was feeling more down than I was excited, but I was thinking it was only temporary.

You’ll get used to this.

Things didn’t get better though. Things got worse.

Well ya know, this is some pretty rough weather we’re having this year. Of course I’m gonna be bummed out if I can’t even make it to the parking lot most days.

I kept telling myself things of the sort.

Whatever, I’ll just move south in a few years and be fine. No more snow, no more cold, I’ll be golden, and I’ll be happy.

It stopped snowing so damn much. It even warmed up to 60 degrees for a few days. I was still irritable though.

Alright, what the hell’s going on?? This pissy mood is pissin’ me off. Am I depressed? No, I’m fine, why would I be… Am I though??

This turned out to be more than just a physical struggle. It was mental and emotional. That was not that long ago, and the same day I talked to my boy Jeffrey from RIC. I asked him how he was doing. “How are things bro? Like really, how are things?” Trying to get him to fess up about not being so great either.  “Everything’s pretty cool with me I’m ’bout to start promoting my new designs for my clothing line,” he said. He was doing great. Of course I was happy to hear it, but I thought if he was in a rut too, maybe we could use each other to dig ourselves out. I told him how I’ve been lately — good one day, bad the next. “You not depressed or anything are you?” he asked. I really thought about it this time, “I mean I don’t think so. Ive been really good ever since rehab. I guess maybe I could be from my last hospital stay?” Then he pointed something out to me, “You know it could be medicine, this one pill i used to take used to make me have mood swings.” He might be on to something here, I thought. Nurses warned us about this at RIC.  “It could actually be from this one pill, so I’ll mess around with it,” I responded. I had been taking this pill almost everyday for months, but for post surgery precautions I had been taking twice the dose for a little over a month.. About the same amount of time I had been moody. Luckily, it was right around that time I could start cutting my dose down. Even stop completely, depending on how risky I was feeling.

I was feelin’ so risky. I quit altogether. Being off another med was relieving, to say the least. I had been taking it every morning for almost as long as I could remember. Being dependent on anything is never good and I’ve reluctantly become dependent on a number of things the past year and a half. I hate every one of those things.

Even better than gaining independence back was gaining the old me back. Jeff was spot on. Only a day, or two off the medication was I feeling 100 times better. I finally felt like myself again and was assured there was nothing to worry about.

Now that I’ve overcome the mental brawl I was having with myself, I feel like a new man, and was reminded once again of the necessity for struggles… I moved out on my own a few weeks after a huge surgery and only one week after being released from the hospital, was dealt twice as many daily self-care chores, became a full time student, managed campus in a wheelchair during the worst winter in decades, all while taking medication that forced me into depression. I called my parents from time to time when I was having an especially hard time. Over and over they suggested I move back home, “It isn’t too late, we can still get our money refunded. There is no shame in waiting until fall to start again.” I can’t say it wasn’t really tempting. I played a mental game with the thought of it

Yeah I know this sucks extremely bad right now. But… You already missed a year of school. You just changed your major last semester. You’re not expected to graduate until two years after your classmates. You have another internship set-up for the summer. How long you think that company will wait up for you to graduate? You want that job don’t ya? If you stop now, there’s no telling if/when you’ll finish. Don’t stop.

The “hard times” in life have a bad name.  I have grown to really appreciate the hard times, and look at them much differently. It’s during those hard times that you learn the most. You are taught essential life lessons that make you a stronger person. Lessons that can’t be taught from a friend, family member, or professor. Whenever the time comes that you defeat whatever you’ve been battling (and it will come), you taste the sweetest victory known to mankind. The bigger the struggle, the greater the taste.

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle.”
― Frederick Douglass

Farewell

Well kinda farewell, kinda not really though.. I’ve spent way too many hours on this site to take it down. Definitely worth the 60 bucks a year to keep it alive for awhile. But! I’m back at school now and I can’t do this posting regularly thing anymore. My grades first semester weren’t bad, especially after taking a year off…. and having a traumatic brain injury…. but I’ve clearly recovered pretty well, and I know they could have been better. I had two grades ending with a plus, which just pisses me off. And sure; a grade with a plus is better than a grade with no plus, but the thought that a few more points on one, maybe two assignment would have bumped me up to the next letter grade pisses me off. Anyway, I’m going for all A’s this semester, so I can’t be writing like three page non school related essays every week. I copy/pasted all my posts thus far to Word –12 font times new roman single space– and the doc was 35 pages long… all but the last couple of which were written during classes first semester. Too bad I wasn’t in any English classes because I woulda had one helluva thesis paper to submit.

Being back at school is kick ass… it’s the tits. I haven’t even seen more than a couple of friends so far because I haven’t been here for a weekend yet. I have to lay low for awhile anyway; I still have some recovering to do. My mid section is still actin’ up a bit from the docs tampering with my intestines and bladder with knives and shit. But I feel fine now and am hopeful that things will straighten themselves out soon. I think they on they way. Hey; another thing to look forward to. Just being here doing my thing, getting started on classes, and being around people my own age again is an awesome feeling. Makes me feel normal again, which is always cool for me. Monday, I went to my classes, all cold as hell, but was cruisin’ around going from class to class with my ear buds in. I’ve always been an active guy, which is harder now that I’m in a chair, but ATLEAST I get to tear up the streets.. and the school hallways.. and the grass when sidewalks are under construction. I was so happy, though. I haven’t been able to move like that since the end of last semester.. just one of the things recently that has made me so very thankful.

Tuesday went a little differently. I was still pumped about being here, but was thinking a lot about e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g I have to do to take care of myself now a day. Before my surgery, I already had to spend a lot more time on myself than the average joe, and now that time has almost doubled due to post surgery precautions. And when my bladder is worse than ever, surgery being over a month ago, it’s hard to believe that surgery even worked. Even forgetting that though, it’s just like… how much longer are these long days gonna last??

Today, things were good again. Facts are facts, so nothing has actually changed, but something clicked this morning that got me feeling a lot better… After I woke up, I sat in complete silence and tried not to think about anything for a good 10 minutes. I think that’s what meditating is. My brother and his friend suggested I do this several months back when they visited Miami, but I never did. I actually really liked it and I wish I listened to them awhile ago. It completely cleared my mind, which made me feel better. I spent the day better focused on the tasks at hand, rather than worrying about the future. I then got in the shower and started to think of everything I have to be thankful for. Most of which, I’m sure, you also have to be thankful for… There’s food readily available, which I’m physically capable of eating whenever I want. There are liquids readily available that are physically capable of drinking… at my leisure. I can swallow effortlessly and painlessly, whenever I want. I can move around freely, whenever i want to. I am not incarcerated in a hospital. I have family members that truly care and will do anything for me, whenever I need them to. I have the liberty to attend school, or work a job that provides solidarity advancing my life in the right direction… I was saying this all out loud to thank God for all of my blessings. Then I took it a step further and did something I never thought I would do. I’ve done pretty well and have only been mad at Him a few times since my accident, but this morning I thanked Him. I thanked Him for what has happened to me… bad things have happened to good people since the beginning of time. It doesn’t mean you deserve it. It’s just life. I thought about some loved ones in my life who I had a hard time seeing deal with the things I’ve had to deal with. Traumatic accidents such as mine are very capable of breaking someone, and I knew it could have broken some of the important people in my life, stopping them from moving forward. It may ruin them as the person I’ve always known them to be, throwing ME off. I thanked Him for dealing ME the shitty hand instead of a loved one that could be lost. Especially a family member, or my future wife, wherever she is… After all, I’m a little selfish, I KNOW how much future Hunter loves those nice legs she has. And don’t you even get me started on that booty.

Well this will probably be my last post for awhile. I know I’m going to miss writing, so I’m sure I’ll still write from time to time. However, I want to try using that hole in my life to start drafting for my book. I really want to write a book after the experiences I’ve had thus far with this blog. The sooner I start working, the greater the chance of me seeing it through and the fresher the memories of the past year and a half will be.

But before I go, let me share some of the hunterheck.com stats real quick. All of which were really surprising to me and likely for you, as well… So it was after a church sermon last spring that I decided I would start blogging. I really didn’t even know what a blog was, I was originally going to write experiences and thoughts down in a journal. I worked an internship in Cleveland all summer, but had a couple weeks of free time to figure out blogging before school started. A friend at church had a WordPress account and shared with me his knowledge of blogging. He helped me get things set up and rolling. My first entry was posted the day I moved to school the return of my first semester. The day I moved back to school was August 21, 2013; a little over five months ago… As of now (not counting this post), I have posted 21 entries to my page that has had 24,000 views. This wasn’t a recent surprise because that number has been displayed on the right since day one. What is to come is what is to come is what really blew my mind, though… I started sharing most of my posts to Facebook sometime in November which resulted in me sharing seven of my posts shared to Facebook. Some of these posts were reshared to Twitter, but significant amounts were reshared to Facebook. In total, those seven posts were shared 672 times. My “Family” post was only my fourth entry, well before I started sharing my own posts to Facebook, and “Family” killed it with 137 shares. It wasn’t until recently that was topped by my post “Surgery”. “Surgery” was shared 212 times and resulted in my biggest day, with 1,268 site views. As far as the existence of this page in the world; it has been viewed from 41 different countries: Belgium, Spain, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Australia, Russian Federation, Singapore, Italy, Netherlands, Thailand, India, Mexico, Viet Nam, Ecuador, France, Denmark, Ireland, Albania, Hong Kong, Bahamas, Luxembourg, Myanmar, Republic of Korea, Argentina, Aruba, Jamaica, United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Nicaragua, Austria, Switzerland, New Zealand, Lebanon, Philippines, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Czech Republic, and obvi The USofA. Crazy. I’ve never even been to any of those places, other than Canada and Jamaica. Oh and one more thing. Probably the biggest thing… Word Press has a page labeled “Fastest Growing Blogs (out of 100)” that changes daily based on how many views a blog receives that have been started within the past six months. A couple of months ago, I looked under the “referrers” list on my stats and saw this growing blogs page referring people to my blog. I was really confused because I didn’t know anything about it, so I clicked on it and found my page at number 25 on the list. I was really surprised when I thought my blog was the 25th most popular blog in the country, but then I went to some of the other blogs on the list, they were decked out with pictures, professional design and color. I tried reading some of them, but couldn’t… it wasn’t a country-wide list, my blog was ranked 25th in the world.

So thank you all who have been following my blog! These stats make me feel like I’ve already accomplished my goal to “make my mess my message,” but I’m not stopping. I plan on furthering my goal by keeping this blog in motion and writing my book that will come out on the NAth of NA, 20NA… I really hope I can find the discipline to write this book. Thanks for reading!

Next Chapter

Winter break started off hot. Not having to worry about school and being home with my family was awesome. Christmas was great and so was my birthday. I knew I would be in the hospital over New Years, but I didn’t care, I was looking forward to getting a big part of my recovery out of the way. The surgery went well and I was out of the hospital a few days after and back to Ohio. I went home with no idea what the following few weeks had in store for me…

The first couple of days went fine, other than some pretty serious pain in my abdomen from surgery. That alone was a lot worse than I expected, I couldn’t even turn to one side on my own, which I have to be able to do to prevent bed sores, especially while being bed-ridden. I took the surgery very lightly because I wouldn’t let myself worry ahead of time. It took about a week until I was able to eat again and eating did not become any easier after those first couple of days I was home. Monday (January 6th), I had a good breakfast, but nothing more than a few bites for lunch and dinner. The urine that was draining out of my catheters was really bloody and the two weren’t draining right. This was way beyond me, or my parent’s comfort level to deal with, so my mom took me to the ER. This didn’t end up being a serious problem, I was released about six hours later. Tuesday is when my stomach started to hurt, and I ate even less than I did on Monday. On Wednesday, I had some Honey Comb cereal for breakfast and my stomach pains only got worse. They were so unbearable that I couldn’t even take a drink of water. My mom reminded me that I had to drink, so I finally had a little apple juice and vomited almost immediately. “Alright that’s it, we’re going back to the ER,” my mom said. We went back and after waiting around for a couple of hours, I was admitted and sent to the X-ray room. The X-rays showed that I had a bowel obstruction. Basically, a kink had formed in my intestines since leaving the hospital in Chicago and nothing was passing through me. I was full of shit. They put an NG tube in as the first attempt to fix the problem. The NG tube goes in your nose, through your nasal cavity, and down your throat into your stomach—–If you’ve ever had an NG tube put in and were conscious for it, you know what a bitch it is passing through your nasal cavity—– It was used as a vacuum to suction my stomach out. I remained full of shit because the tube could not go past my stomach, and my obstruction was at the bottom of my intestines around the surgical site. However, the hope was that pressure would be relieved from the obstruction and it would unwind itself in a couple of days.

I stayed at Miami Valley hospital in Dayton through Friday. My stomach no longer constantly hurt, but still produced spikes of excruciating pain. Meanwhile, the doctors at Miami Valley had no idea how to treat me. My urologist in Chicago is one of the few surgeons in the country that performs the particular surgery I had, and the Miami Valley doctors were clueless to it. They put me on all kinds of serious antibiotics to kill the bacteria in my bladder, even though I told them not to treat my bladder:  “Two feet of my intestines were just put into my bladder, there’s gonna be some bacteria there that shouldn’t be in any normal body. I do not have a normal body. Here’s my surgeon’s number, he said to call him if anyone tries to treat my bladder for infection.” Which the doctor responded, “No I know what you’re saying. I get that this operation was done, but you have so and so kind of infection. You are very sick. This needs to be treated right now.” For me it was like… what can I say back to that? He was getting all defensive like I was saying I knew more than him. No I don’t study medicine, I didn’t even know what the hell he just said, all I knew was what my surgeon told me to tell other doctors if they tried to treat an infection in my bladder. “You have his number, just call him.”

By Friday, the doctors saw that the heavy antibiotics were not solving anything and they finally talked to my surgeon doctor. The local doctors were very happy when he told them he would like me to come back to Chicago to be under his supervision. They realized they were lost. I’m convinced the doctors there would have killed me had I stayed. But Friday night came and so did the ambulance squad. The ambulance squad loaded me up and got me on the road to Chicago. I did get to lay down in the ambulance, but between the super hard little ambulance bed I was on and the NG tube, the almost five hour ride was hardly bearable. What choice did I have?

I returned to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in the middle of the night Friday January 10th. The nurse that I had when admitted would talk to me and ask me basic questions, just doing her job, but I kept my blanket over my head and never said a word in response. I figured if it was important, my mom would answer for me because she was in the same room. I was miserable and hadn’t gotten more than a couple hours of sleep a night for days, or had anything to eat or drink in a long time. The doctors ordered another fluid for me, so the nurse tried at least three times to get another IV started on my arm, but had no luck. She brought in the head nurse to give it a try and I would have lashed out at this guy had I given a fuck about anything anymore. I laid in the bed lifelessly as he tried to hit my vain: “Okay lets see what we can do here, you gotta be very still. Be still, be still. Okay almost. Be still, be still!” I didn’t so much as twitch a muscle in my entire body the whole time. I wanted to rise up from the sheets, grip him by his mouth and tell him that. I made it through the night and Saturday marked the peak of the worst week of my life. My surgeon was off for the weekend and was not on call either, so I still had to wait until Monday morning to talk to him. His team of med students and a partner surgeon came in multiple times throughout the weekend, but I stayed on the heavy antibiotics because that’s what I was on when I arrived and my doctor wasn’t able to give an order yet to take me off them. The doctors present thought my infection was septic and were telling me all of this false information. I had figured that once I got back to Chicago everything would get figured out and I’d be “back on my feet” in no time. However, there was still no plan and thus no end in sight. I needed to see a finish line, something to look forward to. I thought it was the end of the road for me. After a good 15 hours straight of not talking and hiding under a blanket, my mom came to my bed side, “you didn’t give up, did you?” “I gave up a long time ago,” I said. My mom started crying, “Just like that? You’ve made it this far, been through everything you’ve been through and you’re just done?” I don’t think I responded. She went on to talk about all of the finer things in life and what all I have to look forward to with returning to school and the great job that I more or less have lined up already, “But you don’t want any of that. You’re just gonna give up.” I finally responded, “I guess I do. This is just the worst thing I’ve ever lived through. At least I was unconscious most of the time after my accident. I am very much here for all of this and I just can’t take it anymore. I’ve eaten like three days out of the past two and a half weeks; I’m running on nothing.” I continued, “I guess I haven’t given up, but I don’t think it matters. Are you hearing everything that’s going wrong with me? I’m gonna die in this bed. Maybe not tonight, or the next, but I’m not getting out of this hospital.”

I made it through another night with only a couple hours of sleep, and Sunday was the start of my upward swing. At least for me emotionally. The doctors told me that I would go in for surgery in the morning to get the obstruction corrected. This was pretty bad news, the risk of an obstruction reoccurring goes up after every surgery due to scar tissue, but I was thrilled. I was finally given a plan, and I had sights on the finish line. Later in the day, I had some more X-rays done, which I was told looked better, and I finally shit a little bit. I had never been so excited about some poo. Monday morning, my surgeon came into the hospital, and told me that things might be starting to work themselves out. He prolonged the surgery until early afternoon. Things started to pass through me again around noon, more than the day before, I had some more X-rays done, and my surgeon came in late afternoon and told me that I wouldn’t have surgery that day. This was good news, but it kind of bummed me out. I had been saying ever since Miami Valley, “Would they just cut me open already?? They’re gonna keep putting it off and end up doing it like a week from now. By then it will be too late and I won’t make it back to school in time.” I was so determined to make it back to school. I had been so used to being in a hospital, so when I returned to school first semester to get my life moving again and was able to spend time with friends, it was the best thing ever. I knew I would get that same feeling because I would have been so used to the hospital again leading up to my return.

I had it in my head that I would for sure need to be cut open again, but that the doctors kept pushing it back. I honestly thought school second semester was now out of the question for me.  I spent The whole day Monday trying to become okay with the idea: “Well at least I’ll have no school related worries for the next several months. Always was a bitch getting homework you couldn’t figure out. I’ve probably lost 15 pounds, so I’ll just hit the gym day after day again and put on twice as much as I’ve lost… Yeah, I’ll just be massive when I go back to school next fall,” I thought. Things continued to progress, though: I got a PICC line put in Monday night to give me the nutrition I was missing from not eating and I started to feel better. More and more was passing through me each day from then on. I got my NG tube out late Tuesday night and I slowly worked my way up from liquids to food starting Wednesday. I got released on Friday, but stayed local in Chicago through the weekend because my surgeon said that Monday would be the earliest I could get my catheters removed.

My mom and I held down the Ronald Mcdonald House for a few days. I still couldn’t do anything because I had two tubes draining urine out of my body. How are you supposed to push your wheelchair around when you’re holding two bags of piss? On the bright side, I could actually have food and water. Not having an NG tube after having one in for a week felt like such a luxury. I could eat, drink, and swallow painlessly whenever I wanted. I was so amped about that.

This is ridiculously long, so I’m going to finish it up real quick. Getting my drains out was so nice. Like I got rid of my chains and was free again. Since getting home on Monday, I’ve been preparing for school and trying to catch up on all the sleep I missed out on. My bladder is supposed to be worse at first, and it is, but is supposed to be way better after a couple of months. I’m keepin’ my nuts crossed until then.

Surgery

The surgery went unexpectedly well! It was four and a half hours long, but could have taken up to six. The surgeons expected to run into a lot of scar tissue that would complicate things, but hardly ran into any. They said my organs looked great, especially for what my body endured two Octobers ago! Time had done my body good. My bladder has doubled in size with intestinal tissue that is much different from bladder tissue – more stable and not possible to become spastic, this time.

With all of this being said, I don’t see why the surgery wouldn’t have met it’s goal! I need to do lung exercises 10 times hourly to regain most of my voice, and turn myself side to side (which literally feels like being gutted) every 2 hours. It is, however, tolerable after recently taking pain meds (IV morphine or valium – that good good). Doc says he expects to see me up in my chair tomorrow. This got me at first (good joke doc), but I’m already feeling better than I was right after surgery. It’s undoubtedly gonna hurt like a dirty bitch, but may be tolerable? I was told I would likely remain as a patient through the weekend, but I’m really not tryna stay that long. I don’t know if this recovery process is possible to speed up because my body needs time more than anything, but I’ll be looking at my tattoo a lot reminding myself that anything is possible through Him who gives me strength… I mean look at me now – Typing on my laptop a couple hours after wakening from a very serious surgery, haven’t  eaten more than jello since brunch on Saturday, or had anything to drink since 10:00 pm last night. Haha honestly though, if only you could see me right now: drainage tube out my side-check, indwelling catheter- check, pelvic catheter out my other side-check, IV in right arm-check, IV in left arm-check. I’m prepared to give it my all. Prayers would be greatly appreciated. I don’t care what anyone says, prayer is powerful. I should have died at the age of 20, but instead, I beat the odds and have continued to do so because of the many people supporting and praying for me. Not to mention recovered from a brain injury to get an internship then return to school less than a year post. Not a chance I could have done this all on my own. I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t give all the glory to the big man upstairs.

Enjoy New Year’s Eve tomorrow everybody! Second year in a row I’m spending it in a hospital, but hey, I get to experience yet another year!

This Again

My family and I left Ohio; Chicago bound, on Friday afternoon. I was to be admitted into Northwestern Hospital on Saturday afternoon and had a bladder reconstruction surgery scheduled for Monday morning. I have had a lot of work done on my bladder within the past year, but it all consisted of minor outpatient surgeries. Getting rocked by that SUV totally wrecked my organs:  My spleen so badly it was going to kill me if it wasn’t removed, my lungs which were preserved after a few months of rehabilitation, and my bladder which will work normally (God I hope so) after this surgery. I have had a seriously spastic bladder that would empty itself at its’ time of choice. Botox can be injected into the bladder to provide stability and fix this problem, which I have done, twice. Botox is not permanent and this surgery must be repeated every six months. This bladder surgery is supposed to be a permanent fix and will hopefully be my last. One to two feet of my intestines will be detached from my digestive tract and added to my bladder.. I didn’t know that was possible either. Medicine is nuts.. Having a large bladder supposedly trumps the negative effects of a spastic bladder. I’m really hoping it does trump the spastic bladder because I’m sure this one month recovery period will be no fun at all.

I’ve stayed pretty cool so far. I don’t understand the point of worrying about something that will inevitably happen. Although, this is a pretty serious surgery; I had to be admitted two days early for pre-op work and have to stay for what could be up to another week of recovery afterward. I’m so damn hungry, I haven’t eaten in 24 hours and can’t for at least another 24. I’m sure I will have a pretty terrible night’s sleep tonight. If I could find my way into your prayers, I’d appreciate it. Prayer has served me well in the past.

Being back in Chicago, back in a hospital, is nostalgic in the worst kind of way. I was “stuck” four times in the first four hours trying to get an IV started and blood drawn. Got an IV in right now as a matter a fact. No, I’m not at RIC, but I payed Northwestern multiple visits while at RIC and it’s right next door.

Yesterday, while lying in my hospital bed and on my phone, my mom and sister were out shopping and my dad was in the room with me on his laptop. My dad is a very hard working man that keeps to his business, also the most morally stable person I know. “You’ve had about the best disposition on all of this as anybody could. I just wanted you to know that and that I’m proud,” my dad says to me after a long moment of silence. “Thanks a lot dad, I appreciate that,” I respond. It’s not uncommon that I am complimented on my reaction to everything, but it was especially nice to hear it from my dad. I know I’ve held a positive attitude, but I don’t know, it’s just different when you’re actually “that person.” I don’t think I’ve met another paraplegic, or really any person that has been through a tragic accident, with an unsimilar attitude. When you know you shouldn’t be here anymore and you’re just living on borrowed time, it changes you. Like, really changes you. If I had to sum it up in one word it would be appreciative, it makes you a whole hell of a lot more appreciative. I don’t offer advice in my blog because I think I’m smarter than everybody. I just had to change my major in school because it was too hard; I know I’m not that smart. But, from the experiences I have been through as a result of my tragic accident, I firmly believe I have stories and have attained some views to share that could benefit others.

Patience is a Virtue

People hear this all the time. I heard it all the time, but it was never explained to me. I mean sure, I got the gist of it:  It’s good to wait, the capability shows inner strength in a person. But, “why is it ALWAYS good to wait, even when you don’t have to?” This was a question I always had trouble answering. Within the past several months, the phrase seemed to make a little more sense to me.

The past year has been a game of patience. There were many different things that my body had to overcome, none of which happened overnight, they all took months and months. Some of which included:   Throat rehabilitation (swallow real food, swallow real drinks, talk with a real voice), keep food down, regain a lot of muscle and mass in general, back healing to sit up for over 30 minutes, get bowels and bladder under control, have normal vision, constant infections, fully extend my left arm, transfer to and from my chair without pain, the list goes on. From these experiences, I have taken away two key points:  One, having something to look forward to is severely underrated, and two, reality is never as good as what your imagination leads you to believe.

Having something to look forward to is awesome. It fills you with anticipation and excitement everyday until that “thing” becomes a reality. I feel like most everyone looks at this backwards and views everyday as a tease until it is reality. Maybe I’m the one looking at it backwards I don’t know, but I do know that I prefer to look at it this way.

Reality never meeting the expectation of your thoughts and imagination ties directly into part one. For example, “If I could just have that, everything would be all better,” everyone has said or at least heard something similar to this before. Things are never as good as they seem, but nothing is stopping your imagination from running wild to create the ideal scenario. The only thing that can stop it is reality itself, when you actually receive that “thing.” Nine times out of ten everything is not “all better.” This is mainly what forms the anticipation and excitement build up in part one.

These ideas have stuck with me and are thought about daily. They’ve really helped me slow my roll and become more.. well.. patient. I’ve seen it help a lot when it comes to girls in particularly, and being patient when finding a parter is huge. The help with that has been (when interested in someone) remembering that nothing can go wrong before anything has started. The sooner you get something started, the more likely and sooner you are to ruining everything. And if nothing starts, it’s always open for possibility later down the line in the future. You get the sense of anticipation and excitement of, maybe one day. But if not, nothing is ever as good as it seems anyways, so you’ll be alright.

I know I don’t fully understand the phrase and probably never will, but feel like I now have a better understanding at least. It has changed the way I think about a lot of things and my overall outlook on life. I value patience now much more than before and can say with certainty that “patience is (in fact) a virtue.”