Click the picture for the story of Calypso, the Three Legged Green Sea Turtle, and why she's my symbol

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Three Finned Turtle

This post is primarily for anyone who doesn't know my story. For an explanation of the turtle, skip ahead:

I was the backseat passenger in a car accident somewhere around the DC beltway. I was asleep when it happened, way back in December. Driving home from visiting with family, I slept up against the door of the car, thinking I would sleep through the boring endless car ride, or at least not have to deal with most of it. From what I've gathered, a truck ahead of us was sitting on the road, stopped (possibly a car accident but I don't know). Trying to avoid the car, my father (the driver) turned the steering wheel to avoid the sudden obstacle. He hit what I can only assume to be a patch of ice. We spun around, smashing my side of the car into the truck; I broke both my arms, fractured my spinal cord at L1 and L2, ruptured my spleen and bruised my kidney. I wasn't the only victim (my mother and father both suffered head and neck injuries, from which they have thankfully recovered) but I was the most severely hit. I was rushed to the hospital, where numerous surgeries were performed, saving my life. When I woke I was able to use my arms but was paralyzed below the waist.

Three months down the road, things are much brighter but by no means clear. I've regained full function in my right leg and have begun the first steps toward standing and walking. I've been through hell to get to the point where I can stand on my one good leg, so I try and use it at every opportunity. The right leg gets stronger by the day while despite
stretching and exercise my left leg slowly atrophies. My therapists are confident that I will walk one day with bracing on my left leg, worst case scenario. There are more surgeries on my back considered for the future, but for now I'm told to work hard and get back as much function as I can.

The name of the blog comes from a visit I recently made to the Baltimore aquarium. I have always had an affinity for turtles; they drift slowly in the ocean but in the moment that action is needed, there are very few things that are faster than a sea turtle. I even got a sea turtle tattoo (if you don't like tattoos, chalk it up to youthful stupidity). At the Baltimore Aquarium, at the end of the ramps with the shark tanks, there is a sea turtle with three fins. Even though she's missing a fin, she swims eloquently, gliding through the water. I need to go back and get a picture for her to be a proper mascot for a blog that is meant to talk about traumatic injury and the road to recovery.

I'll post more on my recovery and how I got here later. I also want to focus on other people who have walked down this same road, so to speak. I have been extremely lucky that my injuries weren't more severe than they were and I thank God for that every day. By all rights I should be gone but I'm not. This blog is part coping mechanism, research tool, and information sharing device. Whatever part you come seeking, I hope it helps you in some way. If there's anything I've learned in all this, we're nothing without those who help us along the way.


***link to Calypso, the three finned turtle:***
http://www.aqua.org/animals_greenseaturtle.html

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