PSA: From victims to victors

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Five thousand, four hundred seventy-eight days—or 15 years ago—a driver, impaired with nearly three times the legal alcohol blood concentration in Arizona, runs no less than two red lights before slamming his white Dodge Ram into the driver’s side of my husband’s two-month-old black Honda Civic. Each August, on this day, I relive those memories, snapshots strung together that recount our story: Police ring my doorbell to deliver the news. My 12-year-old daughter and I arrive at the Level 1 trauma hospital where my husband undergoes emergency surgery and spends the next 59 days reclaiming his life. Over time, our family learns to navigate a new normal amidst the deficits resulting from a diffuse TBI, crushed hip and other myriad physical, emotional and mental trauma. Heartaches and highlights serve as milestones that color our collective journey from victims to victors. And it’s on the anniversary of my husband’s “death” and “re-birthday,” that I once again implore readers to make the right choice: don’t drink and drive.

PSA: If you think it can’t happen to you, think again

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14 years ago, my daughter and I waited for her dad to return home from work and join us on a bike ride. Instead, a police officer rang our doorbell to inform us that my husband’s vehicle had been T-boned by a drunk driver. Paramedics completed fatality paperwork on scene—just in case. Emergency personnel used the Jaws of Life to extricate him from the wreckage. And he flew in a helicopter to a Level 1 trauma hospital where the head of OR performed surgery. My husband sustained a ruptured spleen, cracked ribs, a displaced clavicle, crushed hip, collapsed lung, lacerations, contusions and a diffuse TBI. He spent 59 days in the hospital—which included a medicated coma for 17 days and five weeks of inpatient therapy to relearn how to feed himself and to write and walk—followed by two months of outpatient therapy. Six months post-accident, he returned to work full time. But our lives were forever changed. Make the right choice: Don’t drink and drive.

Photo courtesy of Chandler Police Department.

The last laugh

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[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers.
And once you find laughter, no matter how painful
your situation might be, you can survive it.
~ Bill Cosby

Nearly a decade ago, our family experienced one of the worst blows we could ever imagine.  I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for laughter, it would have been a lot tougher for us to get to this side of the trauma.  Lately, the work and home fronts have been filled with their share of ups and downs.  Probably more of the latter than the former.  I’ve prayed a lot, performed a lot of Yoga and eaten a lot of comfort food.  And I’ve laughed.  A lot.  Laughter, for me, is the quickest way to diffuse a tense situation, mend a bruised ego or soften an ill-timed word.  Laughter is also one of those things that is contagious.  Thankfully, there’s no cure for it, either.

Do you laugh your way through the hard times?