In 2011 when I had my car accident that left me paralyzed from the waist down, I thought my teaching career was over. I couldn’t see beyond my injury at that point but I knew I wanted it more than anything. Broken and battered, I was handed a piece of paper and asked to make a very basic list of goals I hoped to accomplish.
First on the list was going back to the career that I loved, teaching! I didn’t know how on earth it would happen, but I knew that with the support I had, it could be accomplished.
I worked hard in therapy every day, learning very basic things – like tying my own shoe so that I could be prepared to tie 22 pairs of little shoes when I returned. I had to learn to be able to sit up on my own and hold my balance without falling over. I left rehabilitation in a power chair, but worked hard enough even with a nearly amputated left arm, to get in a manual chair.
In 2013, I returned to work and was named the system Teacher of the Year. I only got to that spot with family, God, tenacity and shear willpower. In my mind, I never let the thought of not returning enter my mind.
My first month back, I fell and broke my knee, requiring a major surgery. The doctor said a month of bedrest. Over my dead body! I went back to work that next week with my leg jacked up and in a brace.
I love my career. It gives me purpose. Most of all, it taught me that broken crayons do still color!
A few tips for anyone longing for their career post injury:
- Don't settle for thinking you can’t do anything you desire.
- Get creative with any hurdles you face.
- Know it may be tough, but you are tougher!
To keep you informed of new stories from Maria, please click on the link below to 'Join Our Community'. All we need is your name and email address.
The opinions and experiences presented herein are for informational use only. Individual results may vary depending on your condition. Always consult with your health care professional. This individual has been compensated by Bard Medical for the time and effort in preparing this article for BARD’s further use and distribution. BMD/BMDA/0417/0475