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Tuesday, 16 June 2015

How one event changed my Life!

2 powerful lessons learn from one of life’s BIGStuff moments

Michael H Ballard from Resiliency for Life

Well, it’s been many years since this happen to me. Yet almost every day I approach most every situation from the lessons learned from that life-altering event from when I was a kid. So many lessons compressed into such a short period of days.

It often seems like only yesterday that it happened. Yet, its’ been more than a few decades since that moment when life changed in the blink of an eye. Suddenly my view of things came to a rapid halt that included quite a bit of pain. Then confusion, then annoyance and eventually in the longer term quite a bit of clarity and insights that money just can’t buy.

Michael Ballard
What is he yammering on about? Well to go back in time before this event happened to me, I had learnt to ride a two-wheeler. I was about six. I’d graduated from a magnificent three-wheeler to this bright red and white two-wheeler. My parents had bought it off of my Dad’s sister Hilda, my cousin Jim’s Mom. As a six years old it was a sweet ride. It meant a chance to gain a little more freedom. Now, I could go around the whole block up and down the hill around the (cue joy and awe voice) whole block!

Little did I know after just a few weeks that bike would “assist” me have a life altering experience. I’ll be the first to admit I was not that athletic as a kid.  Learning to ride that bike took me on the gravel road we lived on dozens and dozens of times.  My father had legs like a marathoner by the time I’d finally learn to ride.  Up and down, up and down that street we went. Yet I eventually got the hang of it. Mastery of the bike came slowly to me. Learning to balance, peddle, steer, long look and short look, brake and signal direction and stop. Did I miss anything? Writing it down I can hear my Fathers voice from those many years ago like yesterday. He had the patience of a saint.

Now to cut to the chase. Out for a ride one bright sunny spring day a little girl about 3 decided to turn at the last moment and run in-front of me! I managed to avoid hitting her, however that’s when my life long lesson started. Seems I can avoid people but not so good at avoiding things. I went into a shallow ditch and went of  and over the handle bars. I don’t remember a thing after that for 2 or 3 hours. I’m told (Bike helmets where not yet made for Kids) I went over the handle bars and hit the only rock in the ditch with my head.  That created a headache like I’ve never experienced before or since.

I ended up with a concussion. Faded in and out for about two days. I was x-rayed, inspected, weighted and poked and prodded. Now the lessons started once my parents got me to the hospital.

A video capture from a program I do
Once I was diagnosed and placed in my room, I was supposed to rest. Sounds like a great idea. Except, I had a concussion. Protocols of the day then stated that a Nurse or Doctor would examine me for swelling at point of impact every hour and wake me to look in my eyes to see if one pupil was dilating more than the other was. Tough to get quality sleep if you’re  unconscious and or being woken up ever 55 minutes until you stay conscious and are lucid.

The first part of the lesson started about three hours once I was in my room. I heard adults say it before so I figured I’d give it a try. “Could I have a pill for my head ache? No, was the quick response. The pain location and type of pain helps us understand what has happened and what is happening. So, not nice for you but helps us understand if your healing or other things are happening. Wow, what a lesson. Stay in the pain and we’ll learn something from it. Don’t mask it over. Learn from your pain.

Next lesson happened within a few of hours. I was not floating in and out of consciousness. I got a roommate. He too had a head injury. So and observation room for the two of suddenly got very VERY loud and bright. What a difference in styles. My injury had me wanting complete darkness, no sound, and no movement. I was suddenly hyper sensitive to everything around me. My new roomy demanded (Hey he was also only 6 or 7 – so we have to cut him some slack) that the lights be on, the blinds open to see outside, then he proceeded to not do as he was told and stay in his bed to rest. Things got louder and his behaviour escalated.  Suddenly a larger bed arrived with stainless steel  bars  like a very over sized crib and he was placed in it. Then he got really very loud and angry.

That’s’ when I asked to be alone. By now he’d had many hours of crying, screaming and wailing. His angry was most likely his fears and frustrations expressed. But wow… my lesson and take away from this are that two people with a very similar or same issue can have two very different reactions.  

What lessons has life offered up to you during your challenges? Care to share with us? How have you used them?

So until next time, Imagine Yourself with more Resiliency for Life.


Michael Ballard specializes in helping people, schools, organizations and communities learn how to become more resilient.

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