My Miraculous Family
I never considered myself unique, but people are constantly telling me, "you are a miracle." To me, I was just an ordinary "guy" with realistic goals and big dreams. I was a 19-ye ar-old student at the University of Texas and well on my way toward fulfilling my "big dream" of one day becoming an orthopedic surgeon.
On the night of February 17, 1981 I was studying for an Organic Chemistry test at the library with Sharon, my girlfriend of three years. Sharon had asked me to drive her back to her dormitory as it was getting quite late. We got into my car, not realizing that just getting into a car would never quite be the same for me again. I quickly noticed that my gas gauge was registered on empty so I pulled into a nearby convenience store to buy $2.00 worth of gas. "I'll be back in two minutes," I yelled at Sharon as I closed the door. But instead, those two minutes changed my life forever.
Entering the convenience store was like entering the twilight zone. On the outside I was a healthy, athletic, pre-med student, but on the inside I was just another statistic of a violent crime. I thought I was entering an empty store, but suddenly I realized it was not empty at all. Three robbers were in the process of committing a robbery and my entrance into the store caught them by surprise. One of the criminals immediately shoved a .38 caliber handgun to my head, ordered me to the cooler, pushed me down on the floor, and pumped a bullet into the back of my head - execution style. He obviously thought I was dead because he did not shoot me again. The trio of thieves finished robbing the store and left calmly. 。
Meanwhile, Sharon wondered why I had not returned. After seeing the three men leave the store she really began to worry as I was the last person she saw entering the store. She quickly went inside to look for me, but saw no one-only an almost empty cash register containing one check and several pennies. Quickly she ran down each aisle shouting, "Mike, Mike!"
Just then the attendant appeared from the back of the store shouting, "Lady, get down on the floor. I've just been robbed and shot at!"
Sharon quickly dropped to the floor screaming, "Have you seen my boyfriend? He has auburn hair." The man did not reply but went back to the cooler where he found me choking on my vomit. The attendant quickly cleaned my mouth and then called for the police and an ambulance.
Sharon was in shock. She was beginning to understand that I was hurt, but she could not begin to comprehend or imagine the severity of my injury.
When the police arrived they immediately called the homicide division as they did not think I would survive and the paramedic reported that she had never seen a person so severely wounded survive. At 1:30 a.m. my parents who lived in Houston, were awakened by a telephone call from Brackenridge Hospital advising them to come to Austin as soon as possible for they feared I would not make it through the night.
But I did make it through the night and early in the morning the neurosurgeon decided to operate. However, he quickly informed my family and Sharon that my chances of surviving the surgery were only 40/60. If this were not bad enough, the neurosurgeon further shocked my family by telling them what life would be like for me if I beat the odds and survived. He said I probably would never walk, talk, or be able to understand even simple commands.
My family was hoping and praying to hear even the slightest bit of encouragement from that doctor. Instead, his pessimistic words gave my family no reason to believe that I would ever again be a productive member of society. But once again I beat the odds and survived the three and a half hours of surgery.
Granted, I still could not talk, my entire right side was paralyzed and many people thought I could not understand, but at least I was stable. After one week in a private room the doctors felt I had improved enough to be transferred by jet ambulance to Del Oro Rehabilitation Hospital in Houston.
My hallucinations, coupled with my physical problems, made my prognosis still very bleak. However, as time passed my mind began to clear and approximately six weeks later my right leg began to move ever so slightly. Within seven weeks my right arm slowly began to move and at eight weeks I uttered my first few words.
My speech was extremely difficult and slow in the beginning, but at least it was a beginning. I was starting to look forward to each new day to see how far I would progress. But just as I thought my life was finally looking brighter I was tested by the hospital europsychologist. She explained to me that judging from my test results she believed that I should not focus on re
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