On July 25, 1964, my dive too deep turned my life and my wife’s upside down. My neurosurgeon was brutally honest and put it this way: “You broke your neck and crushed your spinal cord. You’ve lost movement and sensation in both arms and both legs. You’re totally and permanently paralyzed from your shoulders down.
“You’ll probably never get out bed. If you do, you’ll never walk, and it’s not likely you’ll live much past forty.”
Hearing these crushing words, my mind screamed…
This is not a depressing account of adjusting to life with a disability. Rather, this is a story of committed love and humor alongside the agony we faced while adjusting to this new and different world. We struggled through two months in the bowels of Methodist’s ICU and twelve months at Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute where their staff reconstructed my broken body and confused mind.
Fourteen months after my life-altering dive, I returned to work. And for the next 39 years, I lived and worked. My disability presented opportunities; opportunities to change attitudinal barriers by opening minds, and opportunities to break down architectural barriers by opening doors.
Opportunities often come along disguised as a Why me life-altering experience.
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