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Inspired to Improve Skiing

A few days ago, I saw a FB post by Jim Harris (another High Fives Athlete) who was paralyzed by a freak wind accident when he was practicing hang gliding to shoot some photos (he’s very talented photographer; see his work here). Although every injury is different, he wrote about how he thought he would be a much better skier after taking the summer off and allowing his body to recuperate. He wasn’t better, which was disappointing. Yet he used that issue as motivation for him to become a better skier. (He even skins up things- I used to do that all the time, yet haven’t tried since by accident. Maybe it’s time?)

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from Jim’s FB page

I have trouble with my right side- left turns are easier while skiing (because my right foot is downhill). What inspired me was that Jim talked about his frustrations, yet he had the willpower to push through them. Rather than being annoyed and disappointed that my right turn is more difficult, I will focus on that every time I ski. What prompted this was the thought that I could improve. Yes, I’ll be angry that these things happen (when they didn’t before), but instead of wallowing in despair about it, I can work to make my right turns better. That means putting more pressure on my right leg when I turn to the left side and bending my right knee more.

I’m posting this here because I want to be held accountable for it! I would not like to keep this idea to myself- I need YOU to ask me if I’m working on it, and if the left turns are improving. Hopefully, I’ll improve on that this season, and probably find something to improve for next season.

 

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New goals at work

Let me just start out by saying I’m so grateful to be at work again. However, things are much different for me now, and I haven’t really accepted/understood that.

At my current job, memory is a giant struggle. The other day, one of our bloggers’ photos were too dark, so I thought I was helping the company by lightening the photos and then re-uploading them. However, there were captions along with the photos, and I totally forgot to include them after my change. One of my coworkers (and my former boss) told me the blogger emailed her and asked where they were. She’s asked me not to edit a while ago, but I did it anyway. Also, my memory didn’t remind me that there were captions with those photos, so I didn’t attach them.

 

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Hotel Review: The Palace in San Francisco

What’s a bigger problem than memory, though, is my unwillingness to respect the requests I was given. I don’t know why I’ve gone above and beyond what they’ve asked of me, but I have. My goal is to understand their orders and not usurp them. I haven’t been happy at work, and this is the reason why. My goal is to listen and respond to requests when I’m asked.

What’s a bigger problem than memory, though, is my unwillingness to respect the requests I was given. I don’t know why I’ve gone above and beyond what they’ve asked of me, but I have. My goal is to understand their orders and not usurp them. I haven’t been happy at work, and this is the reason why. My goal is to listen and respond to requests when I’m asked.

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There are a variety of physical disabilities…

Since a spinal cord injury is a pretty severe injury, I often feel like TBI’s are overlooked. While SCI’s have to relearn, basically, everything, I think that injury is focused on more. They have to relearn how to shower, sleep, drive, hike, ski…

But I had to relearn those things, too. My TBI (although pretty severe, I think) resulted in a drastic change in my balance, so I have had to change how I shower, drive, hike and ski. I ride a bike on a tandem, I have to shower seated, hike with a pole (and I get very tired quickly), and drive with a left-footed gas pedal. My right side is weaker (because I had a left-side brain injury), so I often fall when I’m turning left while skiing, with my right leg the downhill one.

As a result of my accident, I also haven’t found independence yet. I live at home, haven’t found a job that I love as much as the one during my ski accident (although I don’t think anyone will ever be as lucky), don’t have my drivers license yet, and don’t have many friends in Colorado Springs.

For me, there’s a difference between capability and enjoyment.While I can’t do as many outdoorsy things as I used to (telemark ski, ride a bike solo for many miles, etc.), I still love them just the same.

That’s the end of my rant. I just wish people who’ve had TBI’s were given as much attention as SCI’s.

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Your Head 

Donny O’Neil recently wrote this post about head injuries while skiing. Only professional athletes are explained, but it can happen to anyone (I am proof).

It was initially common in football players, which led to a study on it. “Concussion” is a movie about chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) as a result of repetitive head injuries-they can be as simple as a concussion. Say  you hit your head while skiing, but feel  good enough to ski the rest of the day. The more of these that happen, the more likely you are to develop CTE.

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from this Freeskier story

In “Concussion,” Will Smith learns that some football players with multiple head injuries often commit suicide. He plays a forensic neuropsychologist who looks inside the heads of deceased football players and notices CTE, which probably led to depression and suicide.

O’Neil’s story in Freeskier shows that this is indeed related to skiing. He gives an example of a ski racer who developed CTE and committed suicide. Jamie Crane-Mauzey sustained a TBI at the 2015 AFP World Championships in Whistler. While she truly injured herself while competing, she said “there’s no financial gain unless you do well.” Which might lead to pro skiers trying to achieve something beyond what they’ve practiced- and succeeded at- before.

I wish that what I’ve experienced (and am experiencing) was not so common, but O’Neil’s story shows that it might be. I just want you to think about that- with winter approaching- and don’t overstep your boundaries, because the results might last forever.

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Getting back to work

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Image from : travelupdate.boardingarea.com/review-westin-phila-presidential-suite

I was lucky enough to be hired about six weeks ago, but it’s been challenging for me to stay on top of things. Before my ski accident, I could (and would) do what I thought was needed for work, and I remember one time where a boss was really impressed with my work ethic and attitude. Now, I get to do the social media for a company that owns three travel-focused websites, and we work with bloggers from around the world. My main focus is TravelUpdate, and I do the Facebook, Twitter, and I started a Pinterest and Instagram account (that’s still in the works) for them.

However, things don’t come as naturally or easily for me now. I thought I knew everything about Pinterest, but I should have realized that, like Facebook, things change every week. I’m still learning how to make it best for our company, and I’m kind of frustrated that it takes more mental focus to get things done in the correct way at work. Social media thoughts don’t come as easily for me like they did before my brain injury, and rather be annoyed by that, I need to find ways to accept my limitations. I’m blessed that I have a boss who’s stuck by my side, even though I keep making these dumb little mistakes.

I guess that’s the takeaway from a brain injury. No, things are not as easy or simple as they used to be, and that has frustrated me. But rather than being depressed that things are not as good at work as they used to be, I’m fortunate that I’m still respected enough to get work done.

What are your thoughts? Have you overcame an obstacle at work- or in life? How did you rise above that?

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Update

I realized it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything, so I realized I better jump on it!

Rather than move back up to Boulder, I think I’m going to stay in Colorado Springs for now. My driving practice through Penrose Hospital is going well, but my family goes camping/fishing/biking/skiing all the time, and I know I’m not capable of driving on I-70 or I025 yet. So, rather than forcing them to pick me up in Boulder and then drive to our destination, I’ll just live here for now. I absolutely love Boulder and would move up there again tomorrow, but I think my situation requires me to stay here.

Before my ski accident, I had a wonderful career and got to do many things for work that I still pinch myself for how lucky I was. I’ve volunteered at many places which my friends were kind enough to offer me those opportunities, but I still am heartbroken that I’m not working. That’s the toughest thing I’m going through right now.

Thanks for reading my news, and I hope my next posts have better news!IMG_1230

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Nothing to Report

My four year accident anniversary is tomorrow, and last night I got to celebrate by having dinner at a delicious sushi restaurant in Denver. They were all in Idaho Falls (the hospital I was at) right after my ski accident. It was so great to see all of them! Two people are married since before, so it was great to celebrate with them again.

It’s blizzard-ing here today, and it’s extremely windy. Yesterday it was warm enough to wear shorts and a t-shirt, but now it’s very overcast and snowy. That’s Colorado for you.

I still haven’t found work. An interview I had a couple week ago went very well, but they’ll take a really long time to decide- they even told me that in the interview! I’ve applied for a few more jobs, but part of me wants to wait until they decide.

That’s it for me. Nothing new to report, but I figured I might as well keep you all updated!