Many have you have never heard the story. In an effort to keep you informed, I’ve shortened the original “What Happened” post from September of 2011.
I used to remember things in reference to significant events in my life…my marriage, the birth of my children, Buckeye’s National Championship. Times have changed. Now every day is a new life. When I wake up and am able to see the alarm clock, I’m happy. Blowing my nose means I’m breathing. Sneezing is exciting. Swallowing my food without a feeding tube makes me giddy. Seeing my children is the greatest activity I know. My wife is my life.
Last March, I went to Cleveland for sales training. During the course of the day I noticed that the PowerPoint presentations were becoming doubled on the screen. When the day was over I walked to my car and gingerly left the parking garage. During the ride home I had to stop several times. I called home to tell my wife what was going on and that I would try to get some rest. Maybe the symptoms would go away. They never did. Several hours later I arrived home safely where I flopped on the couch. At 3:00 in the morning I woke up and went to go to bed. On the way I stopped for a look in the bathroom mirror. For the first time, I saw what you see today
After the kids were off to school we went to the ER. When the testing was over the doctor came in and said, “You’re going to want to consider someone operating on your brain stem. Your conditions will only get worse as the bleeds of the cavernous malformation become more frequent. We have 3 options for surgeons in this field. The best option is in AZ.” That evening Connie and the kids came to visit me in the hospital. I think they were much more nervous than me. At that point I heard a clock start ticking. It was a clock that I heard day and night. Surgery was done to keep the symptoms from getting worse. Only in certain cases did they get better and 25% of the patients ended up worse than before the surgery. On April 1st, yes April Fool’s Day, I had brain surgery. It was a success.
During the next month one eye started to open. The other did not. When the lid is forced open my vision is double. I tried my best to go to business meetings. My friend from Mainline took me to my first meeting on April 19th. I can only imagine how I looked. Fortunately, the customer is an old friend. He made it easier for me. Most of the meeting was spent looking out my little portal to the world. A little hole with eyelashes…which is usually opened by my index finger. Since that day, I’ve had many drivers. Sometimes my coworkers or friends are kind enough to pick me up. Mostly I have the prettiest driver in the world. She’s actually a lot more than that. She’s my wife, Connie.
It’s been almost a year, and my vision hasn’t changed and neither has my faith. My impact on people is very noticeable. My portal on the world cuts out a lot of “noise” and shows people for what they are. All of my meetings are intentional. There are no occasions that don’t matter.
During my time without a driver’s license I’ve had some other drivers that may not have been as pretty, but were certainly admired by my family and me. . Those were my co-workers at Mainline. These people picked me up and dropped me off at home or wherever I needed to be. Eric, Tony, Curt, Dianne, Greg, Jim, Mark, Jack, Don, Phil and Randy – THANK YOU! There are not many others at Mainline that know my situation. Among them is the management team. They’ve given me a sense of ease that allowed me to focus on healing. I’m not sure that I could’ve done it without them. In October, I regained my driving privileges.
Regardless of my condition I am blessed to be here today. There are many of you that would give anything to have a loved one back in most any condition. While it’s true that I’ve become more of a burden to many people, I hope that my positive attitude and impact out-weighs that burden.
After all, I am alive.
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