February 18th 2006, I came to sitting on the ground in my paraglider harness after having collided with power lines, a mis-adventure I was lucky to survive. A year later and I guess I can reflect a little on what has happened since.
It’s strange, that still, all I can remember prior to the accident was the moment I saw the power lines in front of me as I was headed in to land. I can’t recall the 10 minutes or so that it must have taken to fly from where I last remembered being in the air to this precarious location
You would think something like this would have a profound impact on your life; shake you up; make you realize what’s important; maybe find a new purpose to it all. Well, to be honest, not much has changed, maybe it’s too early to judge, but, life goes on.
Don’t get me wrong, I feel very fortunate to be alive and for me the fact that I’ve been able to get back to life, so fully, so quickly is pretty darn amazing. I don’t know if I need to find anything more significant than that.
I never imagined something like this would happen (who would?), losing a hand wasn’t at the top of the list of things I figured for my future . I’ve enjoyed participating in a number of “risk” sports and in hindsight part of that enjoyment required a suspension of disbelief that anything would happen…even though there were numerous people who it did happen to each year.
Do I wish I’d never gone paragliding that day? You bet! And at the same time, there’s part of me that knows I have grown with the experience, I feel stronger for the experience. To face adversity and come out the other side smiling gives you a sense of certainty about life. So I’d love to have my hand back, but, I don’t want to lose who am I today. I’m a better person, a better husband and I’m happy.
Losing a limb doesn’t need to be the end of your life and how you handle it is down to you. You decide the meaning, the significance you attach to a situation. It’s all about your state of mind and the state it’s in is down to you.
Interestingly, searching google for the phrase “It was a year ago today” turns up about 16,400 results, I guess that’s 16,401 now…
Any chance you will fly again? There is already a one handed PG pilot in the Bay Area – he manages flying one handed very well so long as the wind isn’t too strong for launch.
Keiron McCammon says
Indeed, I’ve been thinking about that very thing recently as the paragliding season opens in the next few months. I know Gary quite well (the other one handed pilot in the Bay Area) I was fortunate to hook up with him via mutual friends in the paragliding community. It was great to meet another amputee at that time, only a month or so after I was out of hospital.
I’ll see what comes, I’d like to at least get airborne one more time I think.
Glad to hear it – Gary is a great guy and I always enjoy talking to him about flying when we meet at The Dumps and Benicia. I spotted the SF Chronicle article about you today and I think it speaks volumes about your strength and determination one year on.
My son’s situation is a little different. He was born without a left hand. He’s almost two and he can do anything with or without hiss “helper hand”. We had him fitted early for a prosthetic at four months of age. He was fitted for a basic “cookie crusher” myoelectric at 10 months and uses it very well for his young age.
I’m finding your prosthetic research fascinating.
Incidentally, we are in the Bay Area too.
Thanks for a great blog.
Susan LaBuda says
You are a true inspiration! Bravo to your courage! I lost the use of my left hand to a stroke, but it is very slowly coming back. Reading your blog really inspired me to work harder and do better Thank You and contuining health and much happieness! Susan
goosebumps reading this entry…
“Do I wish I’d never gone paragliding that day? You bet! And at the same time, there’s part of me that knows I have grown with the experience, I feel stronger for the experience. To face adversity and come out the other side smiling gives you a sense of certainty about life. So I’d love to have my [fill in the blank] back, but, I don’t want to lose who am I today. I’m a better person, a better husband and I’m happy.”
i also experienced a life-changing adversity nine years ago; today i feel this way as well:
“So I’d love to have my [fill in the blank] back, but, I don’t want to lose who am I today.”
Thank you Keiron.