Told No? Now What?
Rehabilitation was an education in Attitude formation and the importance of teamwork. For me, a strong Winners Don’t Quit Attitude and super valuable teammates wouldn’t let the motorcycle crash that left me brain damaged and half paralyzed steal my freedom to drive. Come to think of it, I’m the only one who believed I would drive again. My teammates tried to comfort me by telling me I could get by without driving. What were they thinking?
Harborview Hospital doctors and psychologist said I’d never drive. The doctors seemed way more concerned with keeping me alive than with helping me to actually live.
They gave me all kinds of therapy to strengthen my Attitude and help me do things like walk, talk, eat and get dressed again, but what about driving? Driving is more important than tying my shoes with one hand!
They insisted I’d never drive.
After my release, I visit a Seattle hospital that has a driver retraining program, but a doctor at this new hospital tells me:
“I’m sorry, you won’t be able to drive again!”
What does he mean, “I’m sorry?” Why does everyone have such beaten Attitudes? Why is everyone so negative, so discouraging?
My 5thgrade music teacher had an old Buick he let us use. With Dad in the passenger seat, I drive between and through all the small towns on Seattle’s East side. One time, as I’m driving out of the small town Redmond, these blue lights flash and a siren wails.
.“Oh no! What does he want?”
I pull onto the wide shoulder and coast to a stop. I look in my rear view mirror as this short, stocky cop climbs out of his car. I think he set a coffee mug on the roof of his car before doing the John Wayne march up to my car. He glares through my open window.
“How much have you had to drink?”
“None! I blurt.
When he hears my speech impairment, his expression changes so fast his glasses almost fall off.
Dad jumps into the conversation and explains that I sustained a head injury in a motorcycle crash and I’m currently preparing to get my drivers license back.
Admiration crosses the officer’s face. “I hope you do it.”
I’ll never forget sitting in my psychologist’s office and saying, “So sir, do you think I’ll ever drive again?”
“Al, we’ve been over this and over this. You will never drive again!”
I smile as I reach for my wallet. I smile even wider as I pull out my reacquired drivers’ license and hold it up. (Bam!)
WINNERS Don’t Quit! Winners DON’T Quit!! Winners Don’t QUIT!!!