Every time I ever have a whoa is me moment during my recovery something is shoved right in my face to make me change my perception. On my recent cruise, I had gone for two days kinda shuffling slowly unassisted and from that I was sent not back to being with a crutch but to needing the electric scooter to get around. I had just finished 3 hours of my therapy and was icing on a lounge very bummed that I couldn't go jet skiing, ziplining, rock climbing or basically do anything I live for doing. As I placed a huge bag of ice on my hip and leg the woman next to me give a chuckle from reading her book. I turned to her and simply asked her " How are you?" She turned and said "I'm just happy to be on vacation".
She explained that she and her husband had been planning this trip for 10 months and tried to go to a private beach on a tour that they planned only to discover that the entire beach and shoreline was over run by seaweed. There was really no place to sit or even swim so they sucked up the loss and came back to the ship. I was sympathetic and said I was sorry it ruined her day. She told me that nothing could ever ruin her day. She explained that her 28 year old son had an awful accident when he was 19. He had received a full college scholarship with many job offers in aerospace engineering after he graduated and they were visiting him at college. They were all avid skiers and decided to ski for the day. She described the accident so simply. He went over a little bump on the side of the run that sent him flying into the air where he eventually landed on his neck.
As the ski patrol was taking him away he told her, "I broke my neck, I know it"
He has been paralyzed from the neck down ever since. He can lift his forearms up but can not put them back down, and that's the extent of his mobility. He redesigned their house to accommodate his needs and is very active in the city council but he does need constant help to do everything. She explained that the most exciting part of their trip was that they would both be able to sleep through the night without having to get up to move his position. Every night for 9 years with a small vacation here and there, these selfless parents get up to reposition their helpless son as he sleeps.
I hated every minute of the hopelessness I heard in her voice but gave her as much positivity and love as I could find in me to make sure she walked away from our conversation feeling like the everyday selfless hero that she is.
It can always be worse. Always. So, why not be happy with what you got.
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