Learning to Laugh and Heal After Facing Danger

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by Ari Anderson |

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Have you ever been in a deadly serious situation that you looked back on later with humor? Perhaps you’re doing your normal activities and suddenly slip. Or, maybe an object accidentally falls and smacks you in the head.

Don’t get me wrong, a slip and a fall or a smack on the head can be deadly for anyone, especially those of us who are medically fragile. You want to do everything you can to prevent these things.

However, if they do happen, and everything turns out all right without any bodily damage, down the road you could say you’ve experienced your own slapstick comedy! Like my mom says, “You can either laugh or cry about things.”

In this column, I’ll be talking about several dangerous accidents I was in that I can laugh about today. As they say, don’t try this at home.

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When I was in grade school, we lived in an apartment. I only had to drive my chair down one sidewalk between my front door and the school bus stop. One section of the sidewalk was made of wood and elevated by almost a foot. My family and I called it “the bridge.” There were no side rails, even though it was slightly elevated.

One day, I was driving across this bridge, and I don’t remember if it was slippery from rain or if I simply misjudged how far to the side I was driving. The fact is that I drove right off the side, and my chair and I hit the ground sideways. My family quickly picked me up and carried me inside. By some miracle, I wasn’t hurt at all. I was simply stunned by what had happened.

This could have turned out very badly. I could have broken multiple bones, or my chair could have landed on top of me and crushed my body. In either scenario, I could have died. Instead, with God’s protection, I am alive today and can joke with all of you by saying, “No, I wasn’t driving drunk, I was only 7 years old!”

By the way, the apartment complex put side rails on the bridge after that incident.

Another time, when I was in grade school, I was having a bronchoscopy. It’s a relatively simple procedure in which doctors stick a very tiny camera down my tracheostomy to see if I have any scar tissue around my trachea or lungs.

Afterward, I was exiting the hospital and being raised by the platform lift on the side of my van to go home. For whatever reason, the safety guards on the front of the lift didn’t come up. Soon, my chair slid right off. For a few seconds, I was flying through the air, heading toward the concrete face first. Because I was about 8 feet in the air, hitting the ground would have more than likely resulted in a fatal brain injury.

You will be astounded to know that I never hit the ground. Someone who had gone to the procedure with me caught my 300-pound chair midair, and like Superman, threw it back on the lift. It was one of those moments when everyone asks, “Did that really just happen?”

Although it was terrifying at the time, my family and I now joke about the incident, saying, “It’s amazing how strong you can be when your adrenaline kicks in!”

By the way, as I wrote in my previous column, I have a much faster and safer van lift now, which includes a rear-entry ramp.

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You may be asking, “How do these incidents relate to ‘Soaring With Hope’?” It’s all about the healing effects of laughter and the hope it brings. I don’t think laughter is the greatest medicine, but it’s a great thing to fall back on, excuse my pun, in the face of what could have been a tragedy.

Finally, lighthearted sentiments remind me how much God is looking out for me, and will continue to do so until my time on this earth is complete.

Nobody knows when their time is up, though, so please do whatever is necessary to prevent life-threatening accidents. I want you to be around to keep “Soaring With Hope” with me!

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Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.

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