Current mood:thankfulThis week (9/24) marks the fifth anniversary of one of the most life changing events I have experienced.
I was coming home from work...we were in the middle of the 3 hurricanes in a row that we were getting back in 2004. Between the second and third hurricanes was when my accident occurred. The median on highway 92 was full of water. I had my cruise control set at 70 and was headed back to DeLand. I veered into the median and got sucked into the wet grass. I spun out in the median, veered right into the swail, got airborne and while barrel rolling hit a pine tree with the drivers door, which cut my head face and arm open, then landed roof first on an oak tree which bent the van in half, on the drivers seat, which broke my neck in two places.
The van landed upside down in the woods along the road. I have no idea how long I was there before anyone found me. I know I was laying on the dome light as the bulb burned my back.
I woke up in the emergency room, but could not open my eyes. The state trooper was with me, and the hospital staff called Lori to come meet me at the hospital once I was able to communicate. I had a wedding to do that weekend, so I was concerned how badly my face looked. That was when the nurse told me the extent of my injuries. Even in the ER, I had Lori cover the wedding for me with another DJ, LOL...always
My neighbors helped Lori salvage as much gear from the van as possible and get it to the house, as I lay in surgery the same day. I have a titanium plate and screws holding my neck together now...along with a bone from a cadaver to fuse what I broke.
About a week later I was released, but I was in so much pain I had to go back for more procedures. They were going to fit me with a halo but as I was borderline for that, and an obedient patient, I got away with a Miami J collar, which I wore for the better part of the next year.
I could walk, but that was about it. I had pretty much lost the use of my right arm, couldnt even brush my teeth or move it enough to wash or wipe! It just kind of laid there. I was not allowed to do anything, which is against my nature, so my days consisted of eating, drinking, and watching TV for some time. I got to a point where I was allowed to walk more, so I would go venture downtown and go for long walks to try to stay in shape. My arms looked very withered after awhile.
Being out of work, and adding all of these expenses was pretty horrible...BUT my very good friends organized an AMAZING fundraiser. Everyone in the community stepped forward to help. We had 12 bands play in 12 hours...t shirts sold, food sold, cash donations...just amazing. We raised enough to keep my head above water for the months that I was out of the loop. All of my employers vowed to keep my job open til I got back, and other area hosts covered for me in my absence.
I got back to work VERY slowly and with lots of help. I did a few parties to warm into it, then came back one day at a time. I had to have people to unload my van for me and do the lifting. Once I was able to start lifting, I started feeling better...I had no insurance for physical therapy, so I foolishly went thru the recovery without any...and I still regret that.
As I got back to work full time, the bills piled up...and I started a 6-7 day a week work regimen that continues to this day. With very little insurance coverage, the bulk of the bill landed on my lap. After I got established back, I took out a mortgage large enough to cover my house, bills, and my van , and paid all my debts in full, then committed to go after the mortgage full steam. It would have been easy to declare bankruptcy, but this seemed more noble.
Today, many who know me or of me, have no idea this happened. They may see me limp or creak and comment on it, but given the severity of the accident and my injuries, I have never complained once, nor will I. The alternatives were not favorable...and considering how worse it could have been, I feel lucky. I am also lucky to have a support group in my family and friends. They went to extraordinary lengths at times to help me out.
Not only have I committed to pay my debts, BUT I have also committed to repaying all of the money donated to me. I kept track of the totals, and am paying it forward. Every penny that was given to me in my time of need is moving on forward to help someone else in need...that is just what karma demands.
Thanks for listening...and thanks to all of you who did help me out when I needed it!! Not a day goes by that I do not think of this event.
There is a complete album of van pics in my photo album if you want to see some amazing photos...