First I want to give a shout out to my Dad who has been gracious enough to write a few articles to give a parent’s perspective on what happened. While we who are injured suffer we must be aware that those around us suffer in a different way. So, a thank you to him for his contribution and support. Also I should mention that while my mom wishes not to be involved on the public face of my endeavor; she has been kind enough to help with the editing of my blog. So thank you to both of them.
Also, thank you to those of you who follow my story is much appreciated. I could not be more blessed. The stories my wife and I hear and continue to hear are the whole reason I felt led to begin this journey with all of you.
With that said, let’s get back to the story. What I remember is being introduced to our first attorney Charles Purcell. They wanted my input on what had happened, and I was truthful that I couldn’t remember. What I did remember was working at TSI soccer that night, and even that’s a hard picture to hold in my head. Also during this post-accident time I was starting therapy. Maybe it was my lack of understanding, maybe it was youth, or maybe it was just being stubborn but I was completely clueless about what was happening around me. I just didn’t know it. In my mind my plans to go to college and continue my life goals were only suspended for, maybe, a year. I have to confess, I made peoples lives around me difficult. I don’t know who I made it worse for, therapists, parents, or other people. So, I think that should make it clear – I was out of it.
This was also about the time I started feeling disconnected with people and not just from the accident. What I mean is with the TBI one of the effects I suffered is feeling disconnected emotionally from people. I noticed that people were communicating and acting differently around me, and I truly did not understand why. After much therapy, researches, and conversations later, it comes back to the change in my personality from the accident. At this point in the story I didn’t understand the damage and changes that had occurred.
The good news was that the traffic court did find the driver guilty. The company that still wanted to come after us was not done. You’ve heard the saying, “It takes a village”, well, that’s what it takes to defeat a McCallum. (As previously stated, it was not our desire to proceed, it became a necessity). We were very fortunate to retain Mr. Charles Purcell and Mr. Irvin Cantor. Our family was fortunate to have them in our corner.
Mostly what I remember after the court date was my Dad being slightly relieved, but nervous about the future. Also he was working three full time jobs; yes three. He was a high school principal, youth pastor, and licensed real estate agent. My mother was working full time as a K-5 teacher. The other thing was while the therapy I was getting was top of the line; the office was about 1hr. away one-way. So, to say that it was tense at home was putting it lightly.
Therapy itself was intense. I’d start my day with speech therapy at 8 a.m. and end at noonish. Then after that it was occupational therapy. That was my week five days a week. All the time I was thinking I was fine and this was a big deal over nothing. I remember the one tactic they took to make it a point to mention when I failed an exercise to get it through my thick skull that, hey kid you need help!
Where was I during all this? Well, in my own head, and trying to ignore everything that happened. To put it in therapy dialogue, I was in denial. This is such a hard stage of recovery because until the injured person realizes they need help there is no healing. That’s why in an earlier article I suggested having a “bad” guy – someone to tell you like it is. Denial can last a while! I know for me it did, and hurt me in the long term. This is where “speaking the truth in love” comes into play. Sometimes you need to speak the truth kindly, but that may be interpreted as an attack, no matter how kindly you try to communicate it. Remember, though, it needs to be said.
If you have someone your helping please be kind but firm and help them find the direction they need to go to get better. Don’t advise them, unless you’re their M.D., to stop taking their medicine, or to stop seeing a doctor without finding a new one. The best thing to do sometimes is to let them talk and just listen. Don’t listen to reply -listen to hear.