Self Improvement Non-Fiction posted December 8, 2010

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My life since my accident

Hell Found Me

by dejohnsrld (Debbie)

Hell found me, or depending how you look at it, I found hell. On my way to work one cold March day, something happened that caused me to lose control and cross the center line right in front of an oncoming semi truck resulting in a severe collision. I had severely broken my femur, which is the large bone in the top of the leg. I had not just broken it, but had shattered it according to the surgeon, who said it was the worst he had ever seen. I spent two years having surgery after surgery, twelve in all along with twenty-six weeks in the hospital and twenty six weeks on IV antibiotics as I had developed osteomyelitis, an infection in the bone.

Finally, the only option left was to amputate my left leg above the knee. By the time the doctor and I reached this decision, I was ready as I knew it would reduce the severe pain I was in. It was a scary proposition, but I knew I couldn't go on like I was.

After the last surgery, I slowly began to feel better, but realized I had no life. I couldn't work and had no plans for the future, let alone the present. After spending two years very sick and in bed, I had lost any sort of routine in my life. It didn't matter if or when I slept or ate, if I got dressed or not. The only real responsibility I had on a daily basis was to care for my beloved dog. She gave me a reason to get out of bed. I knew I had to take good enough care of myself, so that I could be able to care for her.

Over the next two years, I started to slowly rebuild a life. It was a painfully slow process to undertake. I started with a list of activities I had to do each day; I had to get up by 10:00 AM, eat at least two meals a day, with each meal consisting of three or more foods, spend at least six hours a day out of bed, do one word search puzzle each day and spend at least one hour a day working on the massive amount of paperwork needed to apply for disability.

I found it amazing how much of my life was based on routine. Even just getting ready to go somewhere,: getting dressed, putting on make-up, jewelry and doing my hair seemed overwhelming without the routine to accomplish it. Just as routines are learned and become habits, so is the lack of routine learned and becomes a habit. Switching back to having a routine is very difficult especially when new approaches must be learned due to a change in body skills. It is like growing up all over again, learning what works and what doesn't.

Eventually, I took a class at the local community college to help those who had been out of thee workforce for a while to re-enter with some job skills. At the end, I found out that all the jobs available required being able to drive, which I couldn't do out of fear and lack of a handicapped accessible vehicle. There were two very special things that happened as a result of taking the class, I found a support group for those with disabilities and I found a volunteer job at the local adult daycare, both of which I continue doing four years later.

Routine slowly came back which made my life easier. It also caused me to prioritize in life what is important and what really didn't matter.. Who cared if I wore the same earrings two days in a row? More likely was that people would notice if I didn't bathe for two days in a row.

My whole life and priorities have changed as a result of my accident. Things which used to seem important before, I find really aren't that important now. Some things that used to not mean much are very important in my life now.

My accident gave me a whole new life to figure out what I wanted and where I wanted to utilize my time and effort. Very few people have the chance to start their lives over. Even though it seemed at first like hell had found me, I have found that this has been a blessing in disguise. I now know what is important and what is simply unnecessary routine.

My life is richer and more satisfying now, although I have new struggles like how to make ends meet on disability which is far less than what I had earned previously. If I could trade my present life for the life I had before, I wouldn't do it. I am poor in money, but so much richer in other areas that I find my life today is much more satisfying than it was before.

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