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32 years.

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  • 32 years.

    Late this afternoon was my 32nd anniversary as a SCI survivor from a bump on the head in a minor motor vehicle accident, shattering C6. After I was released from hospital I thought the quality of life would slowly go down hill. What I learned is you make life what it is.

    I went back to college to run after an accessible career in computer-aided-design and earned two more associate's degrees (total of 3) and my bachelor's degree. Graduation day was an exciting adventure. Commencement was at E. J. Thomas Hall in Akron, Ohio, seventy miles from my home.

    I'm in Akron and two semi-tractor trailers block my off ramp that I suppose to get off on. I get off at the next off ramp and it takes in into the residential section of Akron with one-way streets. I am now lost and have twenty minutes to get to E. J. Thomas Hall. I know I need to drive north. I am going up and down these one-way streets when I come to a stop sign and in front of me is an Akron Police cruiser! I do a beep! Beep! With my horn and the officer looks up in his rear-view mirror. He says something in his police radio, opens the door and leaves it open and comes to my van.

    I power down my window and the officer said to me, "Is there a problem sir?" I replied, "Yes! I am a full-time wheelchair user and I graduate in 20 minutes at E. J. Thomas Hall, I missed my exit and I'm lost." He replies, "Buckle up! And follow me." (I'm already buckled in my seat already.) The officer returns to his cruiser and get in, says something in his microphone. Then he turns on his overhead flashers and turns on his siren and we take off! We are doing 35, 40, 45mph down the streets going through stops signs and carefully through street lights. In about 4 minutes I am in front of E. J. Thomas Hall and he stops about 20 feet in front of an open accessible parking space for me, by miracle! The officer gets out of his vehicle and comes to my van. I power down my window. The officer says to me, "Congratulations young man! Enjoy your day! Drive carefully home!" I reply, "Thank you officer." The officer nods his head.

    Inside the hall is another story in itself. A day in my life I'll never forget! I had the audience of 2955 people on their feet!

    Four year post injury I started my first job for a small engineering design company called GLA Finishing Systems designing turn-key finishing systems. Eight month later NASA called me I said, "Goodbye GLA! Welcome N-A-S-A!" Nine months later GLA went out of business. Twenty seven years later I'm still employed for NASA with five grade increases and now topped out at my grade.

    Employment keeps me sane and in good health. I have good medical insurance but sometimes there are the usual insurance loops they make go through to get DME items covered.

    Life is good!

    I never thought my life would turn in such an incredible journey with more exciting adventures to come!

    I take extremely good care of myself. I've only had to be hospitalized once in the 32 year for bacterial pneumonia that developed an empyema requiring surgery and a 23 day day stay in hospital. I see my doctors regularly and check myself everyday with a mirror. I only had two pressure injuries. The first one took years in the making to develop. I had a very dry spot on my back below my waist from my Levi's rubbing that area all those years that turned into a crust not skin. All it took was one shear rub and it broke away leaving a open spot about 1" in diameter which healed in two weeks. The second one I got two months later from a poor quality air mattress being in the hospital. This one should have never happened for being in a billion dollar hospital but I was bed ridden with tubes and wires going all over me. Even an IV in my neck with a PIC line in my arm! That event is now over and healed.

    I do my pulmonary exercises twice a day, every day to keep secretions out of my lungs, "like medicine!"

    Life is never a dull moment. A lot of exciting job assignments coming my way with the good possibility of going back to university.

    This was the article The Journal did on me in 1987. Someone in Hollywood must have read it because the last sentence they used. One of the infamous lines in a Jason Bourne movie, "I remember everything."

    Attached Files
    Last edited by titanium4motion; 03-24-2019, 09:00 PM.
    "We must overcome difficulties rather than being overcome by difficulties."

  • #2
    Thanks for sharing your story with us. You can be very proud of all you have accomplished since your injury.

    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.


    • #3
      Very respected and inspiring life story. And many more good years to come!


      • #4
        Great story and great job Ti!


        • #5


          • #6
            That's a great story that I enjoyed reading. Life is indeed what you make of it and our health is a challenge. I came to be a T6 complete 41 years ago at age 20 and since then have enjoyed a full career. However my health has suffered, through what I believe is no fault of my own, and I've endured long periods in hospital, and many surgeries. But hey, I'm here


            • #7
              I admire your fortitude, Ti. Keep doing what you're doing.


              • #8
                Very Great Story! and Life!
                69yo male T12 complete since 1995
                NW NJ


                • #9
                  You found it. Keep it up. ABs should do so well.
                  I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.


                  • #10
                    Very admirable, I'm envious your sci did not leave you in debilitating pain.
                    YOU ROCK !


                    • #11
                      PS; Why was the article redacted?


                      • #12
                        My husband and I enjoy reading your posts. Compared to us, you seem fearless.


                        • #13
                          Congrats! A fulfilling life, indeed!


                          • #14
                            Happy quadiversary Titanium!
                            "It is every man's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it. Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value." - Albert Einstein


                            • #15

                              Originally posted by Tim C. View Post
                              PS; Why was the article redacted?
                              I just removed my full name.

                              Originally posted by 2drwhofans View Post
                              My husband and I enjoy reading your posts. Compared to us, you seem fearless.
                              Thank you. I didn't expect this type of response. When I was in hospital, I promised myself, "If I survive. I am deserving of life." I did just that.

                              I hope my message did not come across as I glorified living with a spinal cord injury. Its not, I have to say life is hard but my mom came in my room when I was in hospital and told the story of Jesus. Jesus carrying his cross to Calvary. We all have crosses we carry, everybody. So no matter how hard the day goes you can get through it.

                              After time, years, I learned even though life is hard you can be successful at what you put your mind to do. The quality of life is good! Life is good! Perfect example is Stephen Hawking living with ALS. His doctor told him he had two years to live. He lived 50 mores and passed away at 76.

                              One thing I also realized after time. There are many children who use 'chairs and mothers give birth to a child that has a disability that requires them to use a 'chair too. These children need role models to look up to today and in the future. They cannot relate to sport figures so they look at other people with disabilities as their role model. We need more role models in 'chairs for our younger generation in 'chairs.


                              "We must overcome difficulties rather than being overcome by difficulties."