I’m full of gratitude following an awful personal challenge
This blog post probably violates most of the rules about blogging. Most people who see this are likely to be looking for marketing information or something that will help them grow their business. I can’t give that to you today. No, today I owe you an explanation about why I’ve been so absent from these pages.
On January 19, while vacationing in Florida with my family, I took a fall head-first into a heavy bench. It happened on, of all things, a pickle ball court. The impact put a gash in my head and broke every bone in my face except my lower jaw. Two ambulance rides got me to a Level II trauma hospital where I underwent emergency facial reconstruction surgery four days later. The surgeons put four titanium plates in my face to hold the bones together and a mesh bracket to support my right eyeball. If you ever get the chance to experience a “blowout fracture of the orbit,” you should pass. It’s no fun.
The absorbable mesh bracket, unfortunately, dissolved and left nothing to support my eyeball. It began to collapse into my sinus cavity resulting in technicolor headaches and a fiendish look that scared kids and grownups alike. Remember Michael Jackson’s look in the last frames of the Thriller music video? That’s how my eye looked. I lost all vision in that eye as the pupil slipped beneath my eyelid. This post has already crossed the icky line, so I’ll spare you the really bad photos. The one shown below was taken a week after the first surgery when I was having a good day.
On July 7 I had my second round of reconstructive surgery to fix my orbit (eye socket) and get my eye back in place. It worked! Right now I’m about a third of the way through a three-month recovery period, and the headaches have finally gone.
Throughout this ordeal, I’ve become filled with gratitude – so much so that I felt compelled to write about it. Trust me, I have struggled with the decision to share this story. Few will care, and many will be grossed out. But I’m hoping that someday, somewhere, someone will remember this post and reflect on all they have to be thankful for, especially if they are going through a really bad time. For me, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for:
- my wife who cradled my head and stopped the bleeding til the ambulance arrived
- my two brothers and their wives who saw what happened and took the steps to get me help without panicking
- the medical professionals who put my face back together again so that I could go back into public to try and make a living
- my customers who showed me concern, were patient, and who never once gave me reason to worry about losing them
- my friends who brought us food, sent cards, called and prayed for me
- a loving God who rode in the ambulance with me, stood alongside the surgeons, and brought me comfort and peace
August will be here in a few days. I’m closing the books on the first miserable seven months, and I’m going to charge into the rest of the year with a zest for living that I haven’t felt for a long time. And with a profound sense of gratitude for all the blessings I’ve come to appreciate.
Thanks for reading this. I hope all of you have a great day today. If you get a chance, call that person you know who is struggling. Just call to see how they are doing. You have no idea how much they will appreciate your reaching out to them.