Trauma Survivors Network - provided by ATS

Survive. Connect. Rebuild.

A Program of the ATS

Phil's Story

In December 2011 I survived a major accident with the terrific help of Dr Toan Huynh and the Trauma Team at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC. I sustained something like 15+ fractures to my bones, a heart attack, a tracheotomy, other complications and was in a coma for weeks. But I survived and have made a terrific recovery. I couldn't walk for 7 months while the bones healed but I have learned to walk again. I have learned to drive with a left foot accelerator on my car and I'm very appreciative of having been given a second chance at life.

I know that I was very lucky to survive and I have a few things I have learned  that I would like to share with other survivors.

(1) My drive to survive came from within and I'm surprised how strong it was. For some it is a religious experience, but not for me. That is a personal matter for every survivor to come to grips with.

(2) Learning to walk again was a helluva lot harder than I would have expected. I actually stumbled and was caught by the physical therapist on my first step. Be patient, do your exercises and don't beat yourself up if you don't do well. Hang in there, the human body is an incredible instrument and has a terrific capacity to recover. Don't underestimate your ability to do things.  

(3) People don't want to hear you whining and moaning - put it behind. I'm playing the cards that I have been dealt. This is the start of the next chapter of my life and I embrace it.