I almost forgot it was Wednesday with the long weekend! I have loved finding people to share their stories, it helps me get out of my comfort zone, and learn more about the people around me. There is power in a person’s story. This week’s post is written by Morgan. I met Morgan a few Summers ago while working EFY. She always had a sunny disposition that drew people to her. I was impressed with how she looked at life. As you read her story you will see!
The summer of 2010 was full of life-changing events; high school graduation, a senior trip, registering for classes at BYU, and falling off of a zip line, breaking seven vertebrae and my top right rib, cracking my sternum, and getting 11 staples in my head. It was one of those moments where my life flashed before my eyes and I can honestly say I had no idea what my future had in store in that moment I woke up from being knocked unconscious after flying up-and-over a 15-foot tall zip line.
I was at my friend’s cabin where a few of us were spending the weekend. Toward the end of our first day there, we decided to ride their recently finished zip line. I had ridden it one time before so I didn’t think much of it as I proceeded to climb the ladder to reach the seat of the zip line and brace myself for the short, exhilarating ride. I hit the end of the zip line harder than usual and the momentum caused me to lose my grip, fly off the seat, and do some sort of acrobatic back flip over the top of the zip line, landing on the ground headfirst, knocked unconscious.
I don’t remember much about what happened from when I got on the zip line to when I woke up with a profusely bleeding head, but my friends who watched the whole thing said that it looked pretty intense.
I woke up on the ground, totally confused. I knew where I was but I had no idea how I got there and how seriously hurt I was. One friend was at my side when I woke up while another one was on the phone calling 9-1-1. They explained to me what had happened and kept reassuring me that everything would be okay, but it was hard to believe them when I knew they had no more medical knowledge than I did, and I was freaking out. None of us had any idea how serious my injuries were, so it’s a miracle that I got up, walked to the car, and let my friends drive me down the bumpy private road to meet the ambulance. As I got out of the car, the paramedics were asking me all sorts of questions – none of which I remember, but apparently I answered them all correctly because they didn’t seem to think my injuries were very extensive based on my coherence. They strapped me down to a backboard, put me in a neck brace and got me into the ambulance (I felt like I was staring in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy or something).
As we arrived at the hospital, I was in shock. I felt like I couldn’t breathe and I was confused; it was like I was in the middle of a bad dream that wouldn’t end. The doctors proceeded to do CT scans to determine the extent of my injuries. While waiting for the results, they decided my head was bleeding badly enough that I must have had an extremely deep gash in my head and, sure enough, the gash was deep enough that they could see my skull. They shaved a small section of my hair around the gash, gave me a numbing shot, and stapled it shut with 11 staples. A shot into my head was never something I thought I would cross off my “never have I ever” list, but it makes for a great getting-to-know-you crowd pleaser now.
The results of the CT scan came back shortly, and as the doctor was explaining my injuries, he kept saying, “You are so lucky to be alive.” It was an extremely humbling experience that was only about to keep getting humbling as I learned all that could have gone wrong that didn’t. I was experiencing miracle after miracle, in every sense of the word.
The neurosurgeon met with us the next day, describing my course of treatment. I was immediately fitted for a brace that would become my best friend for the next three months. I’m ashamed to admit that my immediate thoughts weren’t “I’m so grateful I won’t have to have surgery” or “I’m lucky that in three months of wearing a brace I will be completely healed.” They were more like, “Three months? I can’t do this.” And “What about starting college in six weeks? What about my social life? Why did this have to happen?” I started crying for the first time since the accident occurred the night before. Ironic, isn’t it?
I stayed in the hospital for a total of four days, after which I was able to go home to begin the recovery process. I had to defer my schooling and start college one semester late in order to fully recover, but the things I learned in those three months taught me more than one semester of college ever could and I would not have had it any other way.
It was scary going home, not having doctors and nurses available 24/7 to check on me and I suddenly felt extremely vulnerable. It took some adjusting, but that adjusting brought a whole different perspective into my life. It changed the way I look at the world. It strengthened my relationship with my family, close friends, my Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ. I realized that I needed to rely on these people more than I ever had before, and I learned to be grateful that I wasn’t paralyzed or killed. I learned to be grateful that I had such loving, supportive friends and family to turn to in my time of need. I learned to be grateful for life itself and the optimism and peace that come from living the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
My attitude in that hospital bed was completely changed by the time the three months were up. While I still felt somewhat vulnerable, I began to realize that bad things can happen to anyone and, in turn, it is possible and likely that good things can come from those bad things. It all comes down to our attitude. My favorite quote quickly became “Think happy; be happy.” I learned that positive thoughts lead to a positive attitude, and that lesson has been so valuable.
It might sound pretentious, but I am so grateful for the blessing of falling off a zip line and breaking my back. I am grateful for all it taught me, how it strengthened me, and the perspective I gained through it all. God is good—always.
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