How To Survive, Step 4: Friends & family


My Mom danced into my hospital room that morning & sang “Naaaathan! You have surprise visitors!”

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My Mom

“The Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders? The Swedish Bikini Team?”, I murmured. I had a traumatic brain injury & a broken spine, I thought. That was the least fate could do to repay me for the inconvenience. That’s when Bill & Lloyd, two of my high school chumkins walked through the door.

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Bill & Lloyd

Whoa. I hadn’t seen them in years. They had booked flights from Atlanta & Austin to come see me in Oregon. {humorous high school story redacted to avoid incrimination}. I couldn’t believe it! For the past few years, we’d each buried ourselves in our businesses, marriages, etc., but now we were together again, just like high school. It was on.

We decided to go for a spin, down to the hospital atrium, so I could show Lloyd & Bill my shiny new wheels & make eyes with the hottie nurses, who were on break. What happened next was a miracle. Or, seemed like a miracle to those who saw it. It happened like this…

I rolled out onto the atrium floor, toward the food court tables, when I noticed a large family, sitting at a table & staring at me. It all happened so fast. The family staring, the ethereal ray of sunlight beaming through the atrium window onto the floor right in front of me… I rolled into the beam of light & with an expression of the sheerest amazement I could muster, I stopped the wheelchair & stood up! WITH BOTH LEGS! I had broken my spine, but now I was standing! In a ray of divine sunlight! I looked up at the ceiling & mouthed “Hallelujah!” to the incredulous bewilderment of the stunned family, sitting at the table, wide-eyed, mouths open, just… staring at me. I think one of them was clapping.

Then the sound of diabolical laughter interrupted the sacred moment. I glanced behind me to see Lloyd & Bill, spitting out their coffee & roaring with laughter that trailed off into a steady cackle.

“Sit down, asshole!”

I did, because I wanted my spine to recover and, though I had stood & walked a few weeks prior, my doctors wanted me to ride out the month in my wheelchair to reduce any possibility of accidentally damaging my recovering spine.

Like I mentioned before, mood is a big factor in healing. Depression & anxiety will jack up the Cortisol (bad) and decrease your Seratonin (good). Then, you won’t heal very well. Conversely, laughter erases anxiety & helps set the stage for your body to heal. This is why family & friends are important to your recovery. Friends can’t fly out to see you? No sweat. A phone, the hospital’s WiFi link & a Facebook app ought to do the trick. No web phone? The hospital phone will keep you connected to your peeps. It worked for me. I wasn’t supposed to live but I’m good as new.

The Importance Of Avoiding Depression While Recovering From A Traumatic Brain Injury

Here’s some helpful boilerplate I’ve writtem for your friends & family:

Dear friends & fam, I am all busted up at the moment, but I’m working hard to help my body heal. To that end, I’ll need your help. If you would be so kind, please visit me, call me, text me, western union me or contact me in some form. Doing so will raise my spirits & lower my anxiety, as well as my blood pressure. This will be of tremendous help in my recovery.

Thank you, in advance,
{your name here}

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My sweet wheels (with human burrito)

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