I stared at the doctor, allowing his words to penetrate the thick fog that'd occupied my brain for the past week. My right arm lay by my side in the sterile hospital bed like a petrified log. I squinted my eyes and focused on my fingers, hoping by sheer willpower I could make them move--nope, not even a smidgen.
Just four days earlier I stood in my kineseology class at St. Edward's University, hurlying a softball across the gym to my partner (right-handed), rejoicing in the sound of leather hitting skin, enjoying the power of my muscles. I could never throw that hard in high school--my college classes were paying off. And I had a lot going for me: 4.0 GPA; member of the sorority, Alpha Sigma Lambda; loving husband and child; three classes left until I started my dream, my passion.
A little over half of a week later, I had nothing--all taken away by an angry person who decided I was driving too slow (I was driving 5 miles over the speed limit), and decided to kill me. Over-dramatic? No, I don't think so. Any time a person rips around another car, cuts them off and slams on the brakes, they're not wanting to say "Howdy-do". Yep, that's what it boils down to...they wanted me dead. At the time, I couldn't--and still can't--understand how someone could have such hatred for someone they didn't know, never spent a second around them.
And so, for four days I lay in a hospital bed, slipping in and out of consciousness. On the fourth day, I listened to this doctor. I'd been raised around people in the medical field, and was familiar with the stress and lack of gratitude they all endured. But this physician--judging by the expression on his face and monotone voice--could care less about me. He tossed phrases such as "massive nerve damage" as easily as a kitten playing with a ball of yarn. I was a number, nothing more.
The taste of bile filed my mouth as I realized my life was changing forever. Sure, I could probably still coach, but who would hire someone that couldn't demonstrate proper techniques? That dream was as dead as my arm.
I still don't know what triggered it, but as Dr. Personality blathered on about therapy, and that it "might be useless", memories from my childhood flooded my mind and warmed my soul. Clips of my father praising my kindergarten artwork was replaced by segments of him comforting me through various trials in life. Each memory was accompanied by him saying "be strong", and "You can do anything, as long as you put your mind to it."
That's right...I COULD do anything. I raised myself up on my elbow, and despite my feeling and looking weaker than a cheap cup of coffee, I tried to match the lion's spirit in my soul. "If you're through spewing verbal garbage, I'd like to have a turn to talk."
Dr. Personality folded his arms and leaned back in his chair, obviously amused that this cripple, this moronic thing could put two thoughts together.
"I think you're full of poop," I continued. "You carry on about what I can't do, but I'll beat this."
The doctor leaned forward and stared deeply into my eyes, as if reading my thoughts and seeing inside my soul. A slow smile worked its way across his face. "I think you can beat this," he said patting my knee. "Don't give up".
I didn't plan too.
I won't waste you're time making you believe my life evolved into a Pollyanna-type story, because it didn't. I had to learn how to do everything with my left hand. The brain is an amazing thing, and thankfully, it didn't take too long to learn how to feed, bathe, and clothe myself. Good thing, huh?
I had wonderful support from my loving husband and the rest of my family, but they could do little to heal the wounds on my heart. Frankly, they couldn't see what was beneath the surface. I slapped a mask of happiness on every time loved ones where around, but the triplets, anger, sorrow and resentment boiled in my soul.
Drawing and writing have always been my passion, and because of the unsteadiness in my left hand, I fully embraced the latter. Writing helped me escaped my weakness, and allowed me to focus on my strength--my imagination.
I wrote a story about my father, his bond with his dog Snowball, and submitted it to Chicken Soup for the Dog's Lover's Soul. Why not? Daddy said I could anything, just as long as I put my mind to it, right?
Half a year later, I received a call from an editor at Chicken Soup. I remember, because I thought she was a phone solicitor and hung up. Thankfully, she called back, and my career as a published writer began. I have been published in a few more Chicken Soup books, in magazines, and in newspapers.
A couple of years ago, Dancing With Bear Publishing took a chance on me, and published my first children's book, Amelia Frump and her Peanut Butter Loving, Overactive Imagination. Amelia Frump...is Cooking Up a Peanut Butter Storm was my second book in series, and on a whim, I entered it in the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards, and it received second place. I've won several baking awards, and now work as an editor-in-chief at DWB.
I guess I should mention my right arm, that lump of dead wood, the arm that Dr. Personality insinuated I'd never be able to move? It's somewhat functional, though weak. And my drawing? Check this out:
It's this...trust in God. Seek His grace and guidance. Love yourself for who you are, and forgive yourself for what you believe to be personal failures. The only true failure is not attempting something at all. And lastly, like my father told me, "You can do anything, as long as you put your mind to it."