Back Again

Nants ingonyama bagithi baba
Sithi uhhmm ingonyama
Siyo nqoba

After attempting to read that you’ve likely come to a few different conclusions.
A) I’ve officially lost it
B) I fell asleep at my keyboard and forgot to correct all my typo’s
C) I have some sort of point concerning what appears to be the gibberish written above
D) I’ve always wondered what they’re actually saying at the beginning of The Lion King‘s “Circle of Life” song and finally decided to google it

I guess in reality, the answer would be a portion of all of the above. Well, except B. I’m shockingly wide awake after a delicious cup of coffee, workout in my racing chair, and am sitting outside in this ridiculously marvelous 55° and sunny weather that makes being indoors feel like a crime. Pretty sure I couldn’t fall asleep right now if I tried — but that’s beside the point.

“Circle of Life” is one of those everybody knows kind of songs. After all, with music composed by Elton John and those well known lyrics by Tim Rice, it’s hard to NOT belt into song when that chorus arrives. It’s a great song in an even greater movie, but I tend to just let things stop there and never found a reason to get all philosophical over lyrics to a classic children’s movie (Note: I say children’s movie, but I may have just watched Pocahontas last night so… yea). I guess I really should say I never found a reason until a good friend of mine recently made a pretty profound comment that caused me to take pause.

You see, last week I headed out to Denver, Colorado for what is called an outpatient re-evaluation at Craig Hospital (where I did my 2-month inpatient stay after my spinal cord injury in 2013). A re-evaluation is basically a chance to meet and work with therapists, doctors, etc who really know and understand spinal cord injuries. After all, it’s a pretty complex injury affecting so much more than simply the ability to walk. With that in mind, having the opportunity to work out any kinks in health, refine techniques, and even check out seating posture/equipment is a good one.

20170211_154242I ended up flying out to Denver by way of Minneapolis (flights were remarkably cheaper out of the cities) so was able to spend a bit of time in my ole’ college stomping grounds at a coffee shop with some friends. We recounted some of our most recent life adventures and talked about our various futures ranging from the journey of a new marriage, to making a tough decision over which school to attend, to actually joining the workforce as a large animal veterinarian. Not gonna lie, my immediate future of heading to Craig the following day was feeling a bit more like looking backwards than looking forward.

“You know Sam, that’s pretty cool. Colorado then and Colorado now.
It’s like you’re coming full circle.”

Full circle.

That’s a pretty cool way to look at the events of the past 3 and a half years of my life. Yet, I can promise you the way things looked (I mean, even the way I look) at the start of that circle are drastically different. But I think that’s the remarkable thing about returning to a place from your past. That ability to stop and recognize the change in attitude, perspective, and maybe even a level of thinking compared to “back then.”

My world, while it’s still the same one, I sure look at it differently. Instead of struggling to find some semblance of normal while learning how to transfer myself into a wheelchair, dress a paralyzed body, and deal with my own perceptions of disability; I’m now proud to be independent, planning to move into my own apartment in a little over a week, and am doing what I can to cause others to stop and think what “being disabled” really means.

Maybe “full circle” doesn’t put enough emphasis on how different things are between then and now.
Then: A time where I was simply hoping to make it through the day intact while learning enough to be able to live in the “real world” after discharge. A time where I felt so confused, overwhelmed, and helpless.
Now: A time where I’m enjoying the adventures I’ve been able to take and look forward with (nervous) excitement to my upcoming academic endeavors. A time where I’ve learned there is a HUGE difference between being helpless–and needing help.

Then again, maybe full circle puts just the right amount of emphasis on the differences. Maybe what’s important are the similarities .

My passion for medicine simply refined from veterinary medicine to human medicine (I jokingly say medicine of the two-legged instead of medicine of the four).

My amazing family who has stuck with me through every ridiculous idea, every really bad day, and every little (and big) achievement.

It was a great week out at Craig. A great week to meet up with various nurses, caregivers, therapists, and doctors that have become more like friends than people who work at a hospital I spent so much time at. A great week to look around and remark upon this journey that has been life with a spinal cord injury.

I great week to remind myself that no matter how different things may seem and sometimes are, this circle, my “circle of life” filled with its challenges and life lessons will continue to rotate.

Things have changed as that circle spins, but regardless of those changes, I’m still me.
And “me” seems like a pretty legit person to be.

10 thoughts on “Back Again

  1. Janice Ingalls says:

    Sam, I think you should consider writing a book. Your outlook in facing what happened to you, your attitude in gaining your independence, and just YOU in general, I know could certainly help others. Just something to think about when you have some spare time….lol. Medical school – no spare time!! Keep up the great work!


    • schro907 says:

      Goodness Jan, that’s quite the compliment! Who knows if I’ll ever try and flex my writing muscles and become an author… I guess time will tell. Thanks for reading 🙂

  2. Jayne Zuleger says:

    I’m so glad I am part of that circle. You amaze me! I always thought medical school was in your future. My faith in God tells me He has great plans for you and prayers for this new step in your life.

  3. Beverly Dagneau says:

    Another very enjoying post..absolutely LOVE your attitude..keep up the good work and good luck in your new apartment..

  4. Ann Oberschlake says:

    You have always been and continues to be an inspiration! Please do write your story.. you are so gifted and take us all along on your journey! Thanks Samantha. We look forward to how your gifts will be used☺️!

  5. Kathy Shipstad says:

    I do not know you personally – but have followed your journey. My goodness girl! You can write! With what happened to you and how far you have come….you are awesome! Share your story! I love your updates. 🙂

    A “friend” in MN.

  6. sarabirdene says:

    All the best as you move into your own apartment, Sam! That’s incredibly awesome!!! Do you need any moving boxes? Bill can bring some home from work.

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