May 21, 2011

My Dad

Don't you love those days when the good guy wins, hard work pays off and everyone lives happily ever after?

Today is one of those days. 

I haven't talked about my dad a lot here, but his story is what motivates me to keep going when things get hard. In April 2009, he was riding his motorcycle when he was hit head-on by a truck. At that moment, time stopped, and my happy family's world fell apart. He was air-lifted to a hospital over a hundred miles away, and he and my mom didn't see home again for six months.

He was unconscious for almost a week. He broke his jaw, crushed both wrists, and had multiple compound fractures in both legs. One hand was almost severed. The doctors said his right leg would likely need to be amputated. He woke up with no memory of the accident, with his teeth wired shut, breathing through a trache, and all four limbs bandaged so that nothing could move. He had no way to talk or communicate for several days. It was a nightmare.

He had multiple surgeries to repair his broken bones. All in all, he spent 100 days in the hospital and rehab. It was the longest summer of our lives. He endured unimaginable pain, and he handled it with the most grace I've ever seen. Even though he was miserable, he always smiled, said thank you and joked with his nurses. With my mom by his side, he worked. He was determined to get better, to learn to feed himself, to walk again. He spent night and day in bed, moving whatever he could move to regain the strength lost from weeks of immobilization. Six months after the wreck, he went home in a wheelchair with one leg still very broken.

After a year, he could stand up without help. He spent countless hours in physical and occupational therapy, pushing his body to get better. When his therapists said their job was done, he still wasn't satisfied with his progress. He could barely walk 10 steps unassisted. So he joined a gym and got a personal trainer. He fought and worked and never gave up, and he got rid of the wheelchair. After 18 months, the stubborn fracture in his leg finally healed.

When he got hurt, we thought he would never walk again. I thought he would never have a normal life. He's permanently disabled from this accident, but he's strong. He rebuilt his body, and now he can take care of himself, he can drive and he's independent.

And today, he walked a 5K. 

Magnolia Blossom Festival 5K

Everyone faces adversity at some point in their lives, and some people don't get a happy ending. But today, he did. He has amazed his doctors, and he continues to amaze me. I'm proud of you, Dad!


  1. Great post and great story! Way to go dad!

  2. I took the liberty to check your blog when you replied on one of my twitter posts. Your dad's story is truly inspirational, very encouraging. I was really moved after reading your post, especially after watching my mom going through 2 years of therapy and continuing, after her stroke. And you captured your family's story brilliantly! Great job!

  3. Wow. What a testament to the human spirit. I justblove the look on his face, post race. Accomplishment. Way to go Dad - his story is an inspiration!!! (you should submit this post to your local newspaper, running club - for reals!)

  4. What an amazing story! Your dad is a huge inspiration to many!



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