Helping a person to heal is not always limited to the application of a bandage, or administration of the medication.
Sometimes in life, you meet somebody who passes through your life for a brief instant, but makes a huge impact. As a consequence of my accident, there have actually been quite a few people to have a brief, but profound influence on my life. With the eighteenth anniversary of my accident on the horizon, I have been reflecting on not only the accident itself, but many of the things that have come to pass in its wake. This year, a small but significant gesture of kindness someone offered to me right after I was hurt has been on my mind. I doubt this gentleman even knows that his simple attempt to comfort a scared eighteen-year-old girl continues to shape how she views human kindness eighteen years later.
In order for me to truly impart why I was so impacted, I need to back up and share some of the earlier details of the accident. While returning from a vacation in California, I was driving a car with almost my entire family when we were involved in a rollover car accident. As the car began to roll, the last thought I had before losing consciousness was that I had just killed a car full of people. Some time later, I woke up still in the car to a man asking me if I could move my legs. I was hanging from the seatbelt in such a fashion that my head was positioned so that I was looking down at my legs which were lying like dead, disembodied things completely unresponsive to my attempts to move them and subsequent attempts to free myself from the car. After losing consciousness again, I woke up in the trauma center of the hospital. After briefly getting to talk to my mom, I found myself alone in a room. Eventually, a woman, whom I believe was a doctor, told me when I asked that I would probably never walk again.
So there I was, eighteen years old, alone, scared, and had just heard a pretty heavy prognosis. Shortly thereafter, I was taken up to the ICU by a Medical Assistant named Keith. Suddenly, out of the blue, he leaned over and kissed me on the forehead, which was pretty much the only part of me that was not bandaged. In that moment, there was nothing that I needed more than a little bit of human compassion and kindness, even if I did not know it.
Regardless of how strong an individual may be, as humans we sometimes, or even frequently, require the help of others. This is not a weakness, it is simply a part of the human condition. Likewise, the ability to be compassionate and extend a hand to those in need is also part of what makes us human. It is one of the greatest attributes of humanity. Compassion, charity, and love for the other is something that I have had the privilege of being on the receiving end of since my accident. Keith's ability to act outside the scope of his job description and offer comfort to a broken and frightened young woman was not only important in that moment, but over the years has been my example, when guest lecturing for medical students, of how wide the scope of being a medical practitioner is. Helping a person to heal is not always limited to the application of a bandage, or administration of the medication. Sometimes people underestimate the powerful impact love and compassion can have on facilitating healing, particularly with regards to emotional wounds. When people have strong emotional support, they are better able to put their energy into physical healing.
Throughout my struggle to survive the trauma of my accident and subsequently build a meaningful and fulfilling life out of what many would consider the ashes of tragedy, I have been supported, touched, and aided by countless incredible men and women. I would like to thank everyone who has been a part of my struggle and success, I could not have done it without all of you, and will continue to thrive because of the compassion of my fellow man. There truly are insufficient words to capture the magnitude of my gratitude, so simply put thank you!
The views expressed by Loa are not necessarily the view of the Ventec Life Systems, its members or the clinical board. These blog posts are the personal experiences of Loa. The blog posts are not intended to provide clinical advice or training related to VOCSN. Always consult a physician or trained clinician prior to using VOCSN. Please refer to the VOCSN Clinical and Technical Manual for detailed instructions, including indications and contraindications for use. VOCSN is available by prescription only.