November 20, 2015

The Car Accident that Changed My Life

Traveling home the day after Thanksgiving, I was rear-ended at high speed on the freeway by a large truck. The force of the impact also pushed my car into the back and side of the large truck in front of me...


Car Accident Chronic Pain



The wreck totaled my car, and I spent the rest of that day in the Emergency Room. I remember the doctor handing me a bottle of pain pills saying that later I would feel like a train hit me, and he was right! It was an awful night, and this was just the beginning.

This November marks ten years from the car accident. Since that day, I’ve had to deal with constant widespread pain that’s often severe and disabling. I’ve been diagnosed with several conditions including Fibromyalgia, Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction, Coccydynia, and a Spinal Cord Injury called Syringomyelia.


I’ve been through countless treatments. Only in recent years have I started to educate and advocate for myself. Finally finding hope, and pain relief. 

This past year, I've had two surgeries to fuse both Sacroiliac Joints, a series of steroid injections in multiple areas of my pelvis, and months of a new physical therapy technique called the MyoKinesthetic System. I have greatly improved and can now walk without any assistance! 

However, I still have a long way to go. Unfortunately, I will probably need another surgery for my spinal cord injury to prevent paralysis and loss of other functions.

There were emotional effects from the car accident too
  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Guilt, Anger, and Depression. 


I remember a psychologist telling me I shouldn’t feel depressed, but thankful to have survived the car accident. Of course I was thankful, but even though the car accident didn’t take my life, it took my quality of life! My goals became about performing simple tasks that people take for granted  to sit, stand, take a shower, wear clothes, drive to the doctor.

Every November some of those emotions come back, and I have to work all over again to overcome them. I remind myself that anger really only causes ME more harm. Instead, it’s more helpful to focus on what I can do to improve my life.


I hope my story will be a reminder to you to slow down and be careful when driving. Especially on holidays like Thanksgiving  Forbes and USA Today list it as the most dangerous U.S. holiday for drivers. But on any day, distracted driving is not worth the risk of a life of pain.



“Drivers talking on handheld or hands-free cell phones are 4x as likely to be involved in a car crash. – The National Safety Council 



Help Stop Distracted Driving
From the National Safety Council: “Thousands have died in car crashes involving cell phone use. New technology allows us to make phone calls, dictate texts or emails and update social media while driving  all actions that are proven to increase crash risk.” 

The video below shows why the brain cannot effectively process two “thinking” tasks  such as driving and talking on a cell phone  at the same time.



Advocate for Stronger Laws
Sign up for alerts to send pre-written, customizable letters to lawmakers in your state showing your support for bills banning cell phone use  handheld and hands-free  while driving.

Pledge to Drive Cell-free
Put down the phone when you are behind the wheel  it can mean the difference between life and death. Pledge Now.







References

Most Dangerous U.S. Holidays. 
Forbes website. Available at:
http://www.forbes.com/2009/11/20/dangerous-holidays-fatalities-lifestyle-vehicles-cars-traffic-accidents.html
Accessed November 19, 2015

Thanksgiving Week One of Deadliest on the Highway. 
USA Today website. Available at:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2012/11/18/thanksgiving-week-one-of-the-deadliest-on-nations-highways/1710035/
Accessed November 20, 2015

Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
The National Safety Council website. Available at:
http://www.nsc.org/learn/NSC-Initiatives/Pages/distracted-driving.aspx
Distracted Driving Awareness Month
What You Can Do
Distracted Driving Videos
Multitasking Lie Infographic
Accessed April 11, 2016











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