A little more than three years ago, I was in a near-fatal car crash in Baja, Mexico.
I sustained blunt abdominal trauma from a lap belt injury because the rental van we were riding in didn’t have shoulder harnesses.
After having two abdominal surgeries in Baja, I needed a higher level of care.
I was air evacuated on a ventilator to Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego, CA until my discharge almost six weeks later.
Soon after arriving at the hospital, I had another abdominal surgery.
Due to complications, I required two additional surgeries for a total of five abdominal surgeries in 15 days.
Sometime during the night after my fifth surgery, I heard a clear voice that said,
“You get to choose how you go through this experience. What will you choose?”
I believe this was a near-death experience where I was in between worlds.
I thought to myself, I’ll choose the high road. I’ll use love and gratitude to heal.
Two days later during my transfer from the ICU, I asked the nurse manager to bring me some patient satisfaction forms so I could give positive feedback about my caregivers.
I asked John if he could find the good in this difficult experience.
He said, “Yes I can find the good. Look at all the love from people who are sending you messages of concern on social media and on your Caring Bridge page.”
“I wouldn’t have been as positive after going through the surgeries and recovery the way you’ve gone through it. You were my guide to show me, a physician, how to face health challenges differently,” he said.
Here’s some of the positives we found as a result of this experience:
- Each night when I felt good enough, John and I would write specific notes of gratitude to my caregivers especially for the nurses and nurses’ aides.
- As a result of the accident, my relationship with my husband John became deeper and it was a love story for us.
- While I was in the hospital, my sister shared a belief that our father had told the two of us girls.
Our father told us, “You can’t depend on anyone to take care of you. You have to take care of yourself.”
Before this accident, I always acted from a place of independence. However once I was in the accident, I was completely dependent on my caregivers and John. I was completely dependent on my caregivers. John took such good care of me that it became a love story between us.
- During my recovery, I was in awe from all the love and support from my friends and acquaintances. This is what big love feels like. I felt so supported and loved.
- There are miracles if you look for them. Right after the accident, a bystander called for an ambulance. I was helped out of the wrecked van and my first instinct was to move far away from the van in case it blew up. I laid down in the red dirt and told John that I had broken my pelvis.
I passed in and out of consciousness.
A brand new ambulance that was being delivered to a hospital up north stopped at the scene of the accident. The driver said all he had was a gurney but he would take us to the nearest hospital in Constitution, which was about 45 minutes away.
This felt like a miracle to me because we were in the middle of the desert and to see a new ambulance is a rarity!
Your goal is to simply make it through 2020.
This pandemic has changed our lives and there’s no going back.
There are good things about it. You simply have to focus on finding it.
You have a choice in how you think about any life experience and how to live them out.
~ Perhaps during the pandemic, you’ve realized that this “pause” has shown you that you don’t need to purchase all the things you bought before the pandemic. And you’ve begun to see how you can cut “money leaks” out of your spending.
~ Maybe it’s the little moments with your children, grandchildren or animals that bring you the most joy.
~ Perhaps working from home has created more opportunities for you.
Surround Yourself with Positivity
- Find three things to be grateful for each day. It could be that the sun is out, the flowers in your yard are beautiful or birds are singing.
- Write in journal so that you can make it a daily habit. It sets a positive tone for the day.
- Help someone in need. Research shows that when you give or help someone else, you get what researchers call a “helpers high,” which is a distinct physical sensation associated with helping.
- Connect with people you enjoy and care about. Even though you might not be able to hug or spend close time with family or friends, it’s important to have social connection.
- You are the sum total of the five people you spend the most time with according to Jim Rohn. Are they “Negative Nellies or Neds” who complain about things, but don’t take action to change their experience? It’s important to spend time with people who are positive and who focus on solutions not just problems.
- Retrain your mind so that you find the positive. I promise you it’s there.
- Accept your situation. The reality of our situation is that we are in the middle of a pandemic and preparing for an election. Accept that this is the way of life for now and take action to be happier and more positive.
- Feel the feelings of what comes up for you. Allow yourself to feel the emotions that are coming up. You want to grieve the losses you’ve experienced in your life.
- Use affirmations to help you move forward. You have control over what you think and feel. Your thoughts directly impact how you feel. That emotional feeling (let’s say stress) will drive your behavior giving you a result based on your thoughts. During times of stress, affirmations can help you move forward. Try one of these affirmations each day.
- I can do hard things.
- I will not stress over things I cannot control.
- The feelings in my body are normal and I fully accept them.
- I have everything I need within me.
- I am a loving human being.
- I am deserving and worthy of good things.
- My life is full of love.
- I can cultivate the life experiences I want.
- I will be present and calm today.
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