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Lou's Diary

So here I am looking down on to my iPad because naturally on the day that I planned on starting my blog the shady water bottle on my desk decided to jump my computer, the innocent bystander. It is currently hanging upside down because that is what the internet told me to do, hopefully in a few days it'll turn on with all it's parts working if not... Welcome to the club buddy. 

Anyways, this is my first blog and really my first time writing anything like this (I'm more of a talker) but I guess I will start with a little bit about myself, how I got injured and why I started this blog. Let's begin.

My full name is Luis Guillermo Gonzales Garcia and I'm very well aware of how stereotypically Latino my name is. I was born in Lima, Peru which  lies on the west coast of South America on January 6, 1989. I grew up there surrounded by a very large family who loved me very much and was always there, we all literally lived on the same street. My parents divorced right after I was born so that's all I've known they bicker all the time and point fingers at everyone but themselves but overall they are really interesting humans beings and I love them very much despite their flaws. One of my parents is a closet genius and the other can charm your face off so genetically my sister, Fiorella, and I were set and that's all I could really ask for. Did I mention that I'm also pretty hot? Haha just kidding. But not really.

Around the the time that I was 9 my sister and I were secretly rushed off to the United States out of nowhere. The person that took us didn't tell my family of these plans and one day we just got in the car and drove to the airport, I think all I had was my always handy bag of toys that I always used to carry around. The next thing I knew we were in America and there were a lot of confused people left back in Peru. I was young so a quick trip to Disney world had my mind in Peru-who? mode. It took a while for it to sink in that I would not be seeing my family for a long long time. Without a chance to say goodbye I can't imagine what they went through looking for us back in Peru, speaking for myself I grieved but also let it go. You see I learned at a young age to be decisive about things I could control, this would later be the cause of my successes and failures in life. For the record while the method in which I was brought into the states might have been questionable I want to put it out there that by doing what they did this person insured that I was able to be well taken care of, get a great education and have a chance at a bright future in a great country and for that I am forever grateful and glad it was done.

Anywho, I went on to have a great second part of my childhood in beautiful Fort Walton Beach, Florida. I thrived under the sun making friends, playing sports (mostly soccer because it rules), with my studies and occasionally being a troublemaker. I admit to having put my social agenda ahead of my do-something-with-your-life agenda during my high school years and despite a few trips to the principal's office I did manage to scrape by with like a weighted 4.0 and a chunk of college credit thanks to taking the International Baccalaureate advanced classes and probably mostly due to the fact that I'm a total beast, muahaha! I'm playing I give all the credit to my wonderful teachers who had to put up with my lazy beach bum all those years. During these years my sister and I also rekindled ties with Peru and went back regularly to see the fam.

To this day I still wish I would have tried a little harder but oh well I made it to Florida State University where I got an apartment with my sis and spent the next two years working for college, enjoying college, and taking road trips with friends fulfilling our adrenaline addiction wakeboarding, snowboarding, sandboarding.. okay, maybe it was more of a boarding addiction but I did enjoy bungee jumping a lot haha. Oh to not have a care in the world, those were the days.

Well those days were cut short. I got in trouble. Serious trouble. While I believe what happened was unjust and I'm not going to call anyone out behind their back my reaction was my own and even though it was in self defense it was the wrong one, I got charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. I had never been in real trouble before and I was lost, confused and scared for my future. Even more to pay off the lawyer I had to leave college and go back home. Being back home was surreal and alliteration aside I fell down a slippery slope of self-destruction, drinking excessively, partying too much, I picked up two wreck less driving charges which should have been d.u.i.'s and more. Needless to say I just did not care and getting my own place did not help either it just enabled me, everything happened so fast. I'm sure a lot of people had given up on me (I was rapidly loosing control) and my stepfather who by now I had gotten extremely close to tried to steer me in the right direction as I was spiraling. I wish I had listened.

On May 19th of 2010 my friends and I planned a cabrewing trip to Panama City. This is where you go down a river and pretty much just get hammered with your buddies. It was another perfectly sunny day in Florida and another day where I would push my problems to the side. Under the influence of drugs and alcohol I did not care about one thing in the world at that moment and as I dove into the cool water I'm pretty sure I was symbolically giving the world the middle finger.

I blinked.

I was underwater.

I needed air. 

I couldn't move.

Surprisingly I never lost consciousness so I pretty much knew something was wrong immediately. I wasn't under water for very long before my friends noticed something was wrong and pulled me out. To tell you the truth I don't even remember taking a breath of air as I was pulled up I was just looking up at my boys from what seemed to be really far away. They set me down near the water and I tried to get up, that was a no go. Just so you know I'm one of those people that can remain calm during a natural disaster so I rationalized and started to check what I could move, the result was being able to lift up my forearms and watch my hands flop around like those air blow up people at car sale lots, not good. 

"Can somebody help me up?"

Excruciating pain shot through my shoulders.

"Okay, no put me back down!"

"Hey guys.... Somebody should probably call 911 now."

As we waited for the ambulance It seemed like all my friends were freaking out, it's funny how fast you sober up when you know what hits the fan. I was glad that the person I was currently involved with had some nurse training and besides me appeared to be the only one not to be running around like a chicken with its head cut off. As she looked me over and tried to keep me from not getting sun burnt words like 'pinched nerve' and 'broken neck' were brought up. I tried to loosen the mood with a few jokes until the ambulance got there. They were surprisingly fast considering we were in the middle of nowhere.

When the ambulance got there I told them what happened. They strapped me to the stretcher and lifted me to the car. The paramedic was pretty honest with me about my situation, I was paralyzed. I guess the crooked neck gave me away. They asked me for a contact, I remember not calling my mom because she had an important job interview. My sister it was.

Ring ring.

Hello?

"Hey Fi, don't freak out."

She freaked out. 

I'm glad everyone freaked though I think it helped me more trying to calm everyone down. We ended up getting to Bay Medical Hospital fairly quick, all the nurses looked like super models... I hit on every single one (I was 21 and I it helped me cope with the situation). To keep me from moving my neck too much the nurses had to cut my bathing suit off. I remember being extremely unhappy with this seeing as how I had just dropped 50$ the day before on them. Petty, I know but for some reason it was of the utmost importance at the time. They proceeded to Cath me so I could urinate and while I knew I couldn't feel it the thought alone made me cringe. After getting some X-rays done the doctor came in with the verdict. My spine was 'crushed' at the c5 and c6 vertebrates. Welcome to quadriplegia.

I don't think it hit right away but as many quads know or will find out the first year or two, maybe even more, are filled with a lot of thinking time and that can be pretty harsh if you, like myself, were social and active before. Please don't let it get to you. Start by surrounding yourself with family and good people but most importantly try to stay positive and know that it's not over. With a lot of hard work you can still have a very productive life and while it may not be ideal only you have control of which way your life will head. Make it mean something. 

This is where this blog comes in. I haven't quiet reached full independence but like southern rapper Waka Flocka said I'm "going hard in DA paint" and will get there sooner than later. If you can overcome this you can do anything, the sky is the limit. I just want to share my experiences whether you want to be independent too, want to make a part of your life easier on yourself or someone else, help a friend or family member out or just want some friendship because I hope I can be here for someone, quad or not, even if it's just one person. Facebook me, haha.

EDIT

I wrote waaay too much but I just wanted to add a thanks to my family for ALL of their support and a special thanks to my sister and her boyfriend for giving me a home, care and a place to start building from when I had nowhere else to go.

1 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing details. This was written while back so who knows if you even check it anymore. You seem like a very strong person.

    ReplyDelete

 

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Meet The Author

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Hey! Welcome to my blog. My name is Luis Gonzales. I have made this Page to share my experiences. When I was 21 I suffered A diving accident that left me paralyzed from the chest down. Technically speaking my injury is at the C-5 and C-6 vertebraes. There was so much to learn during the first few years but to be honest wether you are getting used to life in a wheelchair or just Life in general the learning process never stops. Hopefully my experiences can help those who are searching for answers. At the very least maybe brighten your day. I'm a very positive person and if you're trying to make yourself a little more independent than you were yesterday in any form I am always happy to help in whatever way I can. If you need to contact me you can use any of the social media devices I am on. You can find all those links at the top left corner of this page. Have a great day. Si es mas fácil... Aunque yo no escribo en español si lo puedo hablar.