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The Way It Is

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    The Way It Is

    In 1970, I made a minor error and wound up on the bottom of a gravel pit - not feeling my legs. Luckily, I was transported to Jersey Shore Medical Center where Dr Pietri performed a laminectomy at T-10. I spent several months (June through July) at JSMC then was ambulanced to Rusk Institute at 400 E 34th St, NYC, otherwise known as Institute for Rehab Medicine (IRM).

    Anyway, on a hot summer day the ambulance guys pushed my wheeled stretcher into a hallway at IRM - where I thought they would cure my sci. Inadvertently, and unfortunately they parked me under a bronze plaque with an inscribed poem attributed (probably wrongly) to former IRM patient and NY Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella. It read as follows:

    "I asked God for strength, that I might achieve. I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey. I asked for health, that I might do great things. I was given infirmity, that I might do better things. I asked for riches, that I might be happy. I was given poverty, that I might be wise. I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men. I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God. I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life. I was given life that I might enjoy all things... I got nothing I asked for but everything I hoped for. Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am among men, most richly blessed."

    You can imagine the effect on a cynical, atheist Jersey guy who thought rehab meant cure. Anyway, during rehab I met numerous wonderful crips, dated 2 physical therapists, semi learned to ambulate on braces, decided to change careers and leave the oil business for voc rehab. Eventually, I met a fellow gimp who taught me how to jump curbs and other things. We married in Las Vegas in 1973. Despite myself and the adversity I have lived a happy life.

    Roy Campanella, the great Dodger catcher, did not write that, although he may have recited it during his rehab at Rusk. The poem has been attributed to an "unknown Confederate soldier found dead in the Devil's Den at Gettysburg".

    Thank you for sharing your story of survival and moving on with a life after your injury. You are a true survivor.

    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.


      Thanks for sharing the memory and story!


        I still play hard