Hurt, but Not Broken

My husband and I watched a 1982 movie that I wasn’t sure I was prepared to see. The movie, The Verdict, with Paul Newman, is about an alcoholic, ambulance-chasing lawyer named Frank Galvin who pursues a difficult medical malpractice case. Following one disaster after another and back-stabbing treatment by those closest to him, Attorney Galvin presents a subdued closing summation-argument to the courtroom jury that many say earned Newman an Academy Award nomination. The following was his closing argument, which are the words that every person involved in a lawsuit would love to hear their attorney say to the jury:

“So much of  the time, we’re just lost. We say, ‘Please, God, tell us what is right. Tell us what is true.’ I mean there is no justice. The rich win. The poor are powerless. We become tired of hearing people lie. And after a time we become dead, a little dead. We think of ourselves as victims, and we become victims.

“We become, we become weak. We doubt ourselves. We doubt our beliefs. We doubt our institutions, and we doubt the law. But today, you are the law. You are the law, not some book, not the lawyers, not a marble statue, or the trappings of the court. See, those are just symbols of our desire to be just. They are, they are, in fact, a prayer, I mean a fervent and a frightened prayer. In my religion, they say, ‘Act as if you had faith. Faith will be given to you.’ If-if we are to have faith in justice, we need only to believe in ourselves and act with justice. See, I believe there is justice in our hearts.”

While watching the movie, I couldn’t help but recall our lawsuit against Dr. Liar and the hospital. While I still feel the sickness in the pit of my stomach when I think about all he did and didn’t do, I no longer have the anger I once did. As I mentioned in my last post, I believe it was the kindness of Dr. H. who helped me cross over to the forgiveness stage. However, living with constant reminders of his mistake do make it a bit harder to forget.

I had the privilege of seeing Dr. H., my otolaryngologist,  this week — the doctor who did my sinus surgery two weeks ago. Unfortunately, he indicated that I wasn’t healing as quickly as I should and that I needed to begin a new course of treatment. While I have gotten use to hearing this statement from doctors, hearing it from Dr. H. didn’t come like the usual blow. Dr. H. has a way of telling you in a comforting and reassuring way — as if you aren’t alone.  I see him again in a few weeks and I hope that he will have better news.

Another medical problem that I am currently experiencing is that I have a hormonal imbalance caused by too many steroids used following my spinal cord injury. During the surgery and when Dr. Liar hit my spinal cord, he began spinal cord injury protocol, which included high doses of Solumedral.  Even later, he continued prescribing steroids to keep the inflammation down as to camouflage the pain and side effects.  Sadly, my body can no longer tolerate the steroids and its fighting back as an autoimmune disease. Some of the problems I am dealing with are a substantial amount of weight, skin rashes, swollen legs and feet, cataracts, inconsistent blood pressure, heart irregularities and the list goes on and on.

Several years ago this medical set back would have torn me apart — more medical tests and blood work to determine exactly which autoimmune disease I have. However, I am now stronger and ready to fight another battle.  I have two new doctors, a new treatment plan and can now say that I am not fat — I am inflamed!  Those who don’t believe me can just ask my doctor!  To those fighting a similar problem, one of my first noticeable symptoms was I never had an appetite or ate very much, but would gain two-three pounds each week.

While pondering my new medical problem, I remembered one of my favorite Bible verses — “Consider it pure joy, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” James 1:2.

What I have learned is despite the fact this is not the life I would have planned for myself, I am very surprised to know how far I have been able to go from the point where I thought it was the end.  When I woke up in the recovery room in unbearable pain, and later was told I had a spinal cord injury and I would never get better and all the other setbacks…I thought that my life had ended.  Even the many months I spent in a funk could have left me empty and cold. The four years of physical and occupational therapy could have left me drained and anti-therapy. However, with the help of God and my husband, I have been able to find my way. And, while it hasn’t been easy; I have to admit that it feels like a great accomplishment that I have made it through these past six years and I am still in tact (well almost). In fact, each day is still a work in progress and I concentrate and meditate daily to keep heading in a positive direction. In fact, I love the trailer for Morgan Freeman’s new movie about dolphins, where he says “Just because you’re hurt, doesn’t mean you’re broken.” I find inspiration in some of the most unusual places.

This past week our area experienced Hurricane Irene. Prior to that we had an earthquake and months before that a tornado came through creating a tremendous amount of damage. It seems that planet Earth’s weather patterns are shifting and we are dealing with different and unique storms. Could it be that things are changing all around us?  So many are still without electricity and other basic necessities. Do we take things such as water, air conditioning, lights and working refrigerators and freezers for granted?

What I learned during this past week is that the county government where we live actually cares for its residents and worked hard to prepare for the hurricane. This would not have happened in our past state of residence. If we needed shelter — we knew which one. If we needed to park a car, RV, or boat — we knew where. If we needed supplies or a generator, Lowe’s was open for business until midnight several nights in a row. Even several grocery stores were stocking and restocking shelves quickly to ensure customers were able to purchase water, food and other emergency supplies.  It seemed as if we were valued as residents and it was a priority for us to remain safe.

I am so glad that we moved back to the area where I grew up. In many ways it has changed considerably; however, in other ways it is still the same safe haven where I grew up and was taught that the most important thing about a place are its people. To me, that is the best medicine I know of.

©My Unplanned Life and 2011.


About mswd

I am an individual living with a spinal cord injury. How the injury occurred, how I found out how severe my injury was and how my planned life suddenly became 'unplanned' is included in this blog. Also included is how the injury has tested my family and me. I believe you will discover it has been both a mentally and physically challenging ordeal and I learned a few lessons along the way. While I am still defining my life’s purpose since the injury, I have uncovered those who are injured, live with pain or have other obstacles to navigate are never able to escape. However, come with me as I explore ways to improve my life, learn to live with multiple neurological conditions, educate others and look for the silver lining. I believe with a little willpower, my caring family and God's guidance I will learn to forgive, hopefully forget how I was treated and dismissed by a doctor and uncover life's new purpose. I pray for painfree days and answers to questions that keep swirling through my mind. I also pray for a cure for neurological conditions and for the doctors to treat their patients with respect. Welcome to my journey. I would love to hear about yours!
This entry was posted in Atrial Fibrillation and Flutter, Depression, Disability, Don't Give Up, Dr. Liar, God, Heart Condition, Medical Malpractice, Pain, Pain Management, physical therapy, Surgery, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Hurt, but Not Broken

  1. Lydia Hall says:

    Uncle Wilbur and Aunt Lydia are glad that all three of you are here. We are praying for you.
    We love you all.

    • mswd says:

      Thank you so much for your message Uncle Wilbur and Aunt Lydia. We are glad to be back and love spending time with family! Thank you for all you do and for your prayers! Love the two of you and hope to see you soon! XO

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