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Real Victims vs Choosing to be a Victim

As I sit here at Madonna Rehabilitation hospital, I am reminded virtually every minute that life is ever so precious, and things can change forever in a split second. As I have been telling people, if you think you have it bad, just spend a couple of weeks here, and you will rise and shine every morning with a big smile and make it a habit to give thanks to God for your many blessings!

I sit here this morning, as we now are getting very good sleep and I am getting back to my early morning automatic wake up time of 430 to 5. I just got back in the room and the charge nurse was at the main desk station, and she said “man, you are such an early riser.” And I said, “well, I haven’t been for about 5 weeks given the accident, but we are just now getting back to normal sleep patterns, not being up every 3 hours rotating Nash, looking for pain med needs, and bathroom needs.”

In a split second, our son’s life, and our life changed from the normal rat race of life and go-getter mentality of what to get after next, to a full-on force of nature of taking care of Nash and our family. And is still that today, but things are vastly improving, with other areas of life and opportunity coming back into focus.

But, for the last 4 weeks of being here at Madonna, you interact with, see, talk to, and think about all the patients here that are victims of some sort of accident, stroke, or situation that has given them a life-debilitating serious brain injury or spinal cord injury situation. I hate the word “victim” as the definition of “victim” is simply meaning when you give up control of your life to someone else. And people here, that is what they have had to do due to accident or health situations, all of which have mostly all been out of their control. And no, someone else is having to take control of their life for the time being, or maybe forever, as they rely on others to eat, drink, sleep well, go to the bathroom, shower, change clothes, simply just live. They are truly very real “victims”! Some need assistance for every aspect of living and are fully dependent on care from someone else. Some like Nash, is on the very fortunate end, and assistance is much less and dependency decreases every single day.

For many, they simply want to see a finger move, for others they want to be able to lift a leg, others may want to simply talk normal, or maybe it’s just going to the bathroom on their own without aid of people or devices. I can go on and on, about the victims in here and their needs as they are either trapped in their mind, or their body, and need everyday help.

These are every day, very real “victims”! Maybe they got shot, maybe they got rear-ended in a bad car accident, maybe it was a pool accident like Nash’s 17-year-old quadriplegic neighbor here, maybe it is a 5-year-old victim of an accident like the kid down the hall that would like to walk and play again, or maybe it is the 14-year-old girl 2 doors down, fighting to move any limb and say a single word, with a very very severe traumatic brain injury and the dad is simply trying to live and get through the understanding that, as he stated to me, “I’m just trying to cope with the fact that we will never likely get our old daughter back.”

All this takes me to where our society is today. I know I don’t even come close to understanding the Black Lives Matter movement, and I am a so-called privileged white male. I have never had any cop look at me funny, or been racially profiled, or any of the such. And many have been wrongly done even to the point of death. It is far from fair! And many high profile athletes and celebrities are using their platforms to create change in a very public manner. But, keep in mind, there are innocent victims everywhere, every single day, of every single different cause, of every single different make and model and color. Maybe it’s death, maybe it’s cancer, maybe it’s a traumatic brain injury, maybe it’s a spinal cord injury, all of which are most often out of anyone’s control. There are victims every day, I am seeing them get wheeled into this fabulous life-changing rehab facility every single day.

I think we all need to grow to appreciate the pain of all people. Those that are black, those that are wheeling around in a motorized wheelchair, those that walk funny because of a stroke, those that wheel themselves around in a wheel-chair, those that are mentally handicapped, those that are blind, those that are deaf, those that are sick with a debilitating disease, those that battle mental illness, those that are homeless due to unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstances, those that are victims of heinous crimes, those that are rape victims or victims of sick sick men, those that are victims of sex trafficking, those that are innocent victims of anything!!

You see, our son joined the “spinal cord injury” club on August 7th by no choice of his, but he won’t make himself a victim. His dad, could sit around and be pissed and angry, and ask “why” all the time, but he won’t ever choose to do that and be the helpless parent of an innocent victim. We won’t ever focus on being an innocent victim, we will always focus on our God, our purpose, and our path forward! You can choose victimhood or you can choose renewed life and move forward and in control of your life. There are every day very real people that don’t have that choice to control their life, as they are a very true definition of victim, and today, from those we see on their platforms, they are damn sure no real true definition victim and don’t know any real true definition victims. Most all of us still have and are in full control of our life! I see people every day, who damn sure wish like hell they could rewind their awful horrendous dream and take their control back!

So buck up, grit your teeth, and take control! Just stand, place one foot in front of the other, and move forward!!

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