I am going to give myself a public pat on the back in this blog in the hopes that my success recovering from a serious accident will help others. I want to stress that you have to have hope that all will be well someday, even as you are suffering and rehabilitating. Don’t kid yourself: it is a painful process mentally and physically. You have to accept that fate has dealt you a bad hand, but that there will be others far better to follow. The rewards of survival alone are really great. I am thankful for that and find that this thought alone gives me the inspiration I need to move on with life.

Let me tell you again that it isn’t easy getting back to normal, whatever that now means. Every little thing you used to do from the simplest chore is hard, from taking out the trash to washing the dishes in the kitchen sink. It all seems an ordeal when you are less than your old self. You push on, however, and you get through it. It’s called having a strong will. Some are born with it; some have to earn it. In any case, you have to adjust to change as it will be permanent, and overcoming the odds will make you a better person.

If you are not an optimist, you will flounder for sure. It seems overwhelming. I had to lift myself up by fewer bootstraps to get by. I had to learn about prosthetics, physical therapy and medication, all while taking care of myself on a routine basis. You add something new to the mix like vigorous rehab and it nearly kills you.

It seems to come down to motivation and support which you get from family, colleagues, and friends. The world becomes your comforter. It is ok to turn to others. You can’t be an island. Take whatever is offered and enjoy the attention. Meanwhile, you are scrambling to learn to walk or use one arm or one hand as you ask, “how does anyone do this?”

I remember how hard it was to prepare food in the kitchen when I was in my wheelchair. I couldn’t reach the amazing undermount kitchen sink that I’d had installed to wash the vegetables for a mere salad. I sat there dumbfounded. Talk about feeling helpless! But guess what? I found a solution. I got a pullout model with a flexible goose neck and found that I could keep it in the stretched position. That worked. Plus, it had a trigger handle. I happen to find a rare faucet that was an optional no touch variety. What a great invention. When they first came out I had no idea how useful that could be.

So I am the first to tout being practical and enterprising when you are ailing. Getting control of something as simple as a kitchen faucet makes you feel better. It is one little triumph to be followed by many others along the road to recovery. If you are new to the process, let this be a little lesson in self-reliance. When you have that, you have it all.