Lonely days. Long nights.
Woke up in ICU, tube down my throat, could barely see. Once my eyes opened, I saw my parents and siblings come in and out the room eyes full of tears.
“Only the intermediate family can be back there in the ICU,” according to mom’s. Friends and other family members stayed out in the waiting room to be updated on my progress.
Weeks passed, and finally I was in an actual hospital room. My body was sore from the staples lining the middle of my chest. Not much was being said. My family had been notified of my condition, but everyone was still hoping for the best. My room was constantly full of therapists and doctors.
Every morning they would come up to my bed touching & rubbing different areas of my body. “Can you feel that?” Those words made my body TREMBLE.
“No.” was always my reply.
Not being able to feel the areas being touched drove me crazy. With no change happening, the daily visits forced me into a deep depression.
Even though it’s required, the doctors and nurses should understand they are making it worse, Rant—based on my experience, the doctors’ approach should definitely change. -Wes
“Hey, Mr./Ms. I have diagnosed you with such and such, and you are paralyzed from whatever level down. Now it’s still early so you could regain function. Please touch the areas you cannot feel occasionally and notify us if you feel any sensation. We will check back in a few days if we haven’t been notified.”
This would show some empathy.
After a week, the doctors finally told me my diagnosis.
You’re telling me you already knew what was wrong? So why come touch me daily? I could’ve diagnosed it myself. are your touches healing or something?
I couldn’t understand why my condition wasn’t shared when I first woke up. The feeling of defeat hit hard and made me feel less of a MAN. When I received my diagnosis, only a few friends and family stayed around. See—once people know you’re still living, they tend to think you’re okay.
The things I used to tell myself when I saw new faces daily. Where were the familiar faces? It was hard trying to learn everything again. It seemed like the only people around me were ones that felt obligated.
Genuine hearts can sometimes become bitter.
My life before this was very independent. There was no need for much support. Tables turned after I was shot. The feeling of needing everyone made my teeth cringe I couldn’t feel my legs. I kept thinking, “This shit is fucked up.” My thoughts were reckless—nothing positive. And my attitude matched. I hated myself for what I had become: DISABLED.
Moved back in with moms. “I really wasn’t into moving back home, but at that time it was my only option.” It took about four months, and I needed my own space. Being angry, depressed, and mentally damaged only made me distant from the world. I finally moved into my own apartment, but everyday I still depended on someone’s help. Mixed emotions made me BIPOLAR. Happy one minute, angry the next.
I just wanted be alone, but I needed help.
Two hundred and thirty pounds was rough in a wheelchair. Not only on me but those who had to push me too. Friends visited at times, but only my moms and my good friend KINO were around daily. They assisted me with my daughter and dealt with my mixed emotions.
I went from fresh Jordans and Levis to Wal-Mart sweats and velcro shoes. Swollen feet, fat ankles, and diapers gave me no reason to want to be swagged out. No one around me had a clue how I was supposed to look either. We was all new to this.
“How do I adapt?”
Learning to control my bladder was a must. Pissing myself every time I laughed or sneezed was frustrating. (See Blog here) Even times when I transferred from the chair barely allowed enough time before I shit myself. That was a difficult time. I didn’t think I could drive, so there was a need for a ride everywhere.
Being patient was something I mastered through this process.
Found out they had hand controls for cars. “WINNING.” Well not just yet. After the hand controls, I still relied on help getting in and out of the car. I was too damn heavy, and by the time my chair was put together, you would have thought I’d ran a race. Trying to be independent was hard with so much assistance. Depression was real—I’d never felt it like that before.
I tried buying shirts, jeans, even shoes from time to time. But I wasn’t comfortable. My weight made me sweat a lot. So feeling Krispy Nah, more like BAKED.
-Krispy is a term used when referring to being nicely dressed.
I didn’t do anything the doctors said, so you know what?
Bed rest for the next two years.
Talk about wanting to be independent without following the rules. Now help was needed constantly. There was a wound on my tailbone that was the size of my fist. I mean it was so deep, you could see bone. “How does the body do that?” 😫😫 Not only that, I had to wear a colostomy bag for an entire year. Irritated skin, bowel movements not going in—just frustration all over.
“Why am I being punished?”
My thoughts made contemplating suicide a hobby.
Six surgeries put me in the hospital a lot. I wanted food and company daily. Some people were busy working, and others couldn’t find the time. I needed to feel loved because it was hard to love myself. But no one was there. Most visits came from doctors and nurses. Everyone else had their own life. Many nights I cried to myself. I thought about why no one was around. “I was a strong before this.” I felt that’s why people surrounded themselves around me. But now I was weak. I couldn’t lead anyone. Just being around me made you as depressed as I was.
This life was nothing…
Obese. Depressed. Angry. And Lonely. (See blog here) All that kept me way down. My wound healing wasn’t making progress, and the stress was tearing my life apart. My support level wasn’t what it needed to be. The ones around me didn’t push me to be better. They simply went along with me, and that only brought stress to their lives as well. Before my second to last surgery, I had to lie on a specialized bed for six weeks. I picked a location close to some of my siblings so I could have some extra help and company. Let’s just say that experience helped me focus more on myself.
It took searching hashtags on Instagram for me to regain confidence. I would search things like #wheelchairuser, or #wheelchairfresh. And I found people in chairs with more SWAG than a person standing. It gave me a different outlook on how I could handle this situation.
Building my strength
I figured I could still be ME—just a little different. I focused on how to be more independent. I learned how to control my bowel and bladder. I even gained great mental and physical strength from dieting and exercising.
Being a father was the absolute key to my strength and independence. To be the strongest man my daughter knows, has and will always be my mission.
Over time, the reward of being strong-minded was the ability to reach out to others like myself. I had to get out of my comfort zone to realize there was more to life. I was confined to a world that was seen daily and within reach. The only help I thought I could get was from people I was used to seeing. Growing up, all you had was the ones next to you; people on the outside were just that.
I’m strong mentally because I’m FREE. My doors are open to the world. I know the struggles of not having support, or should I say, “not having support from the ones close to you”? Being down can break you. No support can tear you apart. And not loving yourself will kill your soul.