Life and Death
My name is Harry Truman Hoover, but growing up I was called Mackie and as an adult people just call me Mack. After High School I went to State University and I always stress to friends that I graduated, but I do not want to say anything about the actual grades I received. They are better not remembered. You see I was a fun loving guy, and I loved to play in the daily softball game on the edge of campus, and I loved to talk to my so called friends and be with my current girlfriend. One day I wanted to have an important job, and settle down with my girl to raise a family, but I had time. No rush.
One day my older sister, Julie, called me at the dorm and I could tell that she had been crying. She told me to come on home because our Dad had suffered a heart attack and was dying. I was sorry for him, and I loved him, but it wasn't the end of my world like it was to Julie.
After graduation I found a job, although I didn't stay there long, and I lived with mother, and Julie and I lived like I wanted to. To enjoy life was my aim, not to bury myself in a job, when I was so young. I went from job to job and learned things although my salary was never very good. It wasn't so important to me.
My girl was Sandy, and we loved to kiss and show our feelings for each other. We were in our early twenties with all our lives in front of us, why should we hurry? While others worked themselves to death for the future, we already had our future, or at least that is how it seemed to me.
One day, I was driving on the highway, and going pretty fast like everyone else, when all of a sudden a 16 wheeler veered over into my lane in front of me and cut me off.
I stomped on my brakes and crashed into the car next to me, and that is the last thing I remember, except my last thought was 'This is it' and I fully expected to die right then and there. I was very near to being correct.
In time I woke up in a hospital, and at once I was sorry that I had, because the pain was so very very awful. I was lying there wondering if anyone would ever notice that I was awake, when a nurse saw my eyes move, and at once called for the doctor. He came in and said 'Harry, how do you feel?' and I knew it had to be serious because no one calls me by that name. Well, I tried to talk but nothing came out, or at least nothing that anyone could understand, but he seemed to understand that I was alive and sensible, or at least sensible enough considering what had happened to me.
That night I woke up again, and Julie was standing there, and she asked me if I knew who she was. Duh, of course, what do you think? is what I wanted to say, but again it would not come out, so I just nodded. She told me to just relax and proceeded to tell me what had happened. At first she told me things that I already knew, but then she got into how they thought I was brain dead and they wanted her to think about letting them unplug me. When I woke up, it stopped that sort of talk, but there were still serious questions about whether I would recover or not. After the swelling in my brain went down, they had operated on me for almost all of one day, and the reward was when I awoke.
I had plenty of time to think there in that hospital room, trying to look out the window.
I knew that even if I recovered some that I might never walk again or talk again, and I might never get to go home again. I was too young for this!! Help!!!! Was this not all a very bad nightmare, and surely I would wake up and I would laugh at my dream?
But it wasn't a dream, and I fervently wished to be given five more years to live, as long as I got to go home and have my normal life back. That would be wonderful, but it also seemed to be impossible, because I didn't seem to be improving and I had no idea what would happen to me. Sandy came in one day, and she kissed me and she cried and I tried to, but was unable to. In one stupid moment all that I was and all that I had was gone. Why was I there to be tortured by all of this????? I felt like I was as good as dead and maybe it would be better if I just went and died. But I couldn't even do that.
Days turned into weeks before I notice any improvement at all, and I am sent to one on one rehab classes in the hospital where they help me learn to talk again and I get some mobility by learning to use a walker and then a wheel chair. Finally one day my nurse tells me that I am going home the following week, and I am happy but am I strong enough to go home already?
My sister came to the hospital and picked me up, but when I got there, well I only got in the door with the help of two relatives. I sunk into an easy chair and I tried to stay there all evening. My dog couldn't believe that I was really back and just stared at me and guarded me.
My mother cooked for me and Julie was outstanding. To stay in a hospital is not living to me, but to go home again is to get one's life back. I was never so happy as I was when I got home again.
Then the following week it was off to full time rehab classes, and my mother was able to take me to the school and get me back each day. I was taught to walk with a cane eventually, and how to write and get back on the internet on my computer and I was taught how to cook as this helps to improve one's mind(?)
I feared one thing...and that was that I would have to be sent back to the hopsital, but I was too busy and also at times too sick to think about that too much.
The siezures never bothered me, but I had stomach problems and eye problems and most any problem you could think of, and it seemed like there would be just one problem after another and as soon as one was solved then another would take its place and attack me.
I got slowly stronger and one day Julia was walking with me at the park, and I threw away my cane and I told her that I was one day going to take off. I felt like I could take off running and this was something that I had not done in years.
After two years I got my old van out of moth balls and I was able eventually to get me driver's license back. It was so good to drive again.
So I asked for my old job back, and Mr. H. seemed to feel sorry for me and hired me to come back to assistone of the new negotiators. I wasn't much to look at, but I knew the business every which way, and in time I got to be a negotiator again and my job was to negotiate contracts for the clients. The thing was that I looked about half dead, and so the opposition that I dealt with always underestimated me, but then I would pull the string when I got what I wanted for my client. This happened several times until I got the reputation as being the sharpest negotiator in the company. I made much more money and Mr. H. congratulated himself on resigning me.
Then when I was 34 and it had been about ten years since my accident, I met Sandy again. She had been my girlfriend years before when I was hurt, and she still looked good. In time I asked her to marry me, and to my shock she said yes.
Two children would follow.
I had it all and then I lost it, and then against all the odds I got the life back that I think was meant to be mine. The feelings I have when I think about that accident are not what you may suppose. I am happy that it happened and I feel like it all tool place so I could have this life and to really appreicate it as I now do. Julie and Sandy told me that they prayed for me when I was near death, and I believe that their prayers were answered. If you ever get smashed up on the road, may the same thing happen to you, and you find the life that was meant for you.