I was born on January 15th, 1975. From then on I would give my family nothing but turmoil and woe. I could have very easily fit in with the death defying role as Evil Knievel's son! I think I was forever pushing my limits as well as my parents' nerves to the extreme. On May 22nd, 1989 around 7 pm, at the fearless age of fourteen, I lost a battle with a skateboard. I boldly held tight to the bumper of a car in hopes of making my skateboard hover the earth below me. It lasted all of three seconds then - I came crashing to the Earth.
I picked myself up, dusted myself off and walked home not realizing the damage that had been done. My Mom took me up to my Aunt Kathy's to get checked out. Because she is a Registered Nurse, we valued her opinion. It was also my cousins Kara's birthday. I went to bed at about 10:00 with a massive headache. My Mom told me to leave my door open, so she could listen to me to hear if anything was wrong. By midnight I woke up vomiting. My parents immediately rushed me to the emergency room. I must have lost consciousness by the time we reached the ER. On the way to the hospital my parents were stopped by a train traveling through the city. Although it was a small train, my parents told me it felt like it took forever to pass them.
I awoke eleven days later from a coma, only to remain in a semi-coma for the next two weeks. When I was fully awake I knew who my family and friends were, but I did not understand what had happened to me. From my fall I sustained a Sub-dural hematoma, or TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). During my life flight to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh I had a massive stroke. Although I received a smack to my brain, my brain is in good working order! As a result of this I am bound to a wheelchair unable to walk or verbally communicate. I have little use of my hands and arms. I have limited vocalizing skills, but I am able to communicate via computer, as well as spell to family and friends and my fiancÚ is great at reading my lips. My family has been wonderful. Their love and care has kept me from sinking into despair. As well as my love and smile has kept them from falling into depression.
I spent a year in a rehabilitation hospital then I was able to come home. I went back to high school and into the ninth grade. High School went well. I had a wonderful aide, Mrs. Jenny Milliken, who helped me throughout my five years. I graduated in 1995.
I spent one year up in Edinboro University of PA. I studied general courses. I didn't really enjoy my time away from home that well, so I decided to come home for a while to see what I really wanted for my future.
In 1996, I spent a few months at an independent housing facility. Not my idea of a fun way to live. Home again. My life was becoming monotonous.
On November 19th, 1997 I met someone who changed my life for the better. She said that it was the beginning of a new and wonderful life. I hired her to work for me as a personal care attendant. I have had several personal care aides, but little did I know I hired the "right woman" for the job this time.
I began a computer school in February of 1999 and graduated with an A average on August 12th, 1999. I am currently waiting for my next computer class to begin. I will learn more about web page designing. I am hoping for a career dealing in this area.
In October of 2001, I moved into an apartment complex. It was scary at first, but I got used to it. I'll tell you one thing; I'm sleeping much better! (Shhh, don't tell my parents)
On November 20th, 2001, I took a Microsoft FrontPage class. That's the program I use to build websites. The next class was on December 5th, 2001.
I proposed to Tammy Black on May 22nd, 1999, 10 years to the date of my accident. Now the anniversary of this date can be a happy one to remember!
Update to make this story complete: On February 7th, 2002 Tammy had a doctors appointment. My Father had to take the day off from work, because at this time I was trying to live on my own in some newly made handicapped accessible apartments. Someone has to be with me 24/7. When Tammy came to the apartments, I could tell something was wrong. Dad and I asked her how everything was and she said in a stuttering voice, "I'm okay." When my father left, she looked at me and tears came streaming out of her eyes. I looked at her wondering why she was crying. She looked at me with a "nervous" smile on her face. "I'm pregnant", she utters. I looked at her in disbelief, and smiled from ear to ear. Almost fainting, she wraps her arms around me and hugs me for a very long time. She told me that there could be complications and we might lose the baby.
One week later on Valentine's Day, we told our parents. First, we told my brother Todd. Then her other son, Nathan. Next, my grandma came and I told her. My parents were having a Valentines' Day supper and my grandma called in the middle of it. When they came out, I kept saying, "Hi Grandma!" to my mom. She didn't get it. So my grandma had to tell her why I was saying that.
On September 21st, 2002 at 4:24 A.M. we became proud parents of a 6 pound 1 1/2 ounce baby boy. My face was dripping wet with tears, and Tammy's face was one big smile from ear to ear!