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Life Is A Journey


Three and a half years ago a tremendous change occurred in my life. While at the shore, I collapsed with a massive brain hemorrhage. I went from enjoying an active life to having serious, life-threatening problems.

I had to make adjustments in all areas of my life. It has been a long journey going from one hospital to another, staying in a nursing home for one month; having therapists coming to my home for months, using outpatient services at my local hospital, and now going through a maintenance program.

The most difficult part was my dependence on others.

All my life I have liked to play word games. I would often reflect on one word in thought. So for cognitive therapy, when I wasn’t able to read yet, I would take words like challenge, attitude, love, persistence, and humor and cling to them.

I set goals for myself. My early goals revolved around caring for my personal needs, challenging myself in conversation and reading, and continuing with my rehabilitation activities. My long-term goals included driving again, getting regular exercise, and fully realizing that a physical challenge may be my life challenge.

I have accomplished all my goals and more. I now drive again thanks to a rehabilitation driving course I took at the local hospital. I only drive during off-peak hours and I don’t drive at night. Recently I drove to the shore for the first time since my accident.

I’m getting back into organizations that were life-giving before.

I have been taking courses at a local college for the past year.

I get around on a walker or cane – but I get around! I water-walk 3 times a week and get regular daily exercise.

This summer I traveled alone by airplane to visit a friend. The airlines are very accommodating for people with disabilities. I made arrangements beforehand for wheelchair assistance and for help boarding.

For a while I may have been on a dark path but as I continue to heal and tune into life, I realize all the lessons I learned. Today I am filled with gratitude for the good medical help I received, and all the support from my family and friends.

I am not in charge! I have given more thought as to what are possessions and what are precious gifts. My reflective words lately are gratitude, patience, listening and joyful. I know I am fortunate to be alive.

The views and opinions expressed by Perspectives contributors are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or recommendations of the American Nurses Association, the Editorial Advisory Board members, or the Publisher, Editors and staff of American Nurse Journal. These are opinion pieces and are not peer reviewed.

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