Week 11, 2009
STORY OF THE WEEK
The Winner of the Readers' Choice Story of the Week
Ely Lazar and Adele Thomas
Your Story How A Second Changed Our Lives has been chosen as the Winner of the Readers' Choice Story of the Week.
|ELY: The date was 16 January, 2009. The place was Brian Head, Utah, a great place to ski. It was our last run downhill for the day. I was skiing a couple of hundred metres ahead of my wife, Adele, coming around the last bend and I made a mad dash for the bottom of the slope by the ski shop. I looked behind me expecting to see Adele coming around the bend as well, but she wasn’t there. I thought, she must be going a bit slow. I let another minute pass, but no Adele. Suddenly, fear gripped me! I had a gnawing pain in the pit of my stomach. I knew something was wrong.
ADELE: The slopes of Brian Head were beautifully groomed with a 45 inch snow base with wide, open, long runs. Ely looked over the beautiful scene while we were going up the ski lift for our last run of the day and said, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have another two weeks of holiday here”.
As Ely disappeared around a corner below me, my skis hit a rut left by a snowboader. My feet flipped up and I landed on my back. I hit my head quite hard on the snow and my goggles flew off. When I stopped sliding, I noticed that my right ski, still attached to my boot was twisted inward over my my left foot. When I tried to move I had a sharp pain in my right leg. Using my ski pole , I unclipped my skis from my boots and tried to get up. Again, when I tried to move my right leg, I experienced severe pain. I yelled for Ely but he was too far ahead.
ELY: After several minutes I knew I had to do something. I removed my skis and started up the slope in my ski boots. Believe me that is no easy feat climbing up a mountain in ski boots. Suddenly a ski instructor appeared and asked me, “Is you name Ely?” “Yes, what it is it?” I replied. “Your wife has had a fall and she is badly hurt, but don’t try and climb up, I’ll get the ski patrol to bring her down”, he said. I thought to myself, “Expect a miracle”.
ADELE: For some time, I lay on the snow. Completely alone and unable to move. I had no control over my body, it would not respond to my commands. I started yelling “help” “help”. There was silence in response.I felt entirely alone and the cold of the snow on the exposed parts of my body startted to cool my body. I was floating in and out of a strange twilight zone half conscious half not. I thought how easily one could die in the cold. My other thoughts were -”expect a miracle” and I started listing the benefits of this happening to me. The first was that I was experiencing what I most feared.- 1. not being in control, 2. letting myself be helpless, 3. appreciating Ely’s love 4. being brought back to basics, and there were more.
Shortly after, I heard the sound of snowboarders approaching and started yelling again. Before too long the ski patrol had organised to bring me down to the Ski Patrol Medical Centre, where I heard Ely’s voice and knew that I was going to be okay.
ELY: After some agonising time, Adele was was taken by ambulance to Cedar City Hospital. She had broken her right hip and the next morning she was going to need surgery.
Later that afternoon, as she became semi-conscious she uttered to me, “I love you”. The second thing she said to me was, “Do you have an Expect -A -Miracle card?” We had brought many of those gems with us and I pulled one out of my pocket and gave it to her. The following morning Adele had a hip replacement performed. The staff including Dr Nakken, the surgeon, Dr Bunker, the physician (who incidentally is an osteopath) and the nursing staff at the hospital were all highly professional, caring and cognizant of preventing complications such as deep vein thrombosis which is a high risk when contemplating air travel following surgery.
ADELE: After 4 days I ws transferred to the Kolob Rehab Centre and came under the care of an amazing team of OTs Physios and Nursing staff. The senior Occupational Therapist, Garland was a white haired, pony tailed man, a left over from the 60’s. His caring and generosity had no bounds both to me and to Ely. Howard , the Physiotherapist was a retired professional skier - injured, and encouraged me and assured me that I could certainly ski again. Janis the Enrolled Nurse was a fellow quilter and we shared many discussions about our projects. Vicki, the Director of Nursing gave me a grand tour of the Centre which was an interesting combination of acute rehab, slow stream rehab of older people, Nursing Home and Dementia Hostel.
For the week I was at Kolob, it was as if Ely and I had been accepted as part of a family. Garland even invited Ely to go skiing with him!! As I started to venture out into the outside world, I realised that something in me had shifted. I felt grateful for small things that I took for granted before my fall. I felt overwhelmed by new experiences but each day and each adventure with Ely strengthened me.
ELY: Ten days after Adele’s fall, she was well enough to travel in a vehicle to Las Vegas. This was the next stage in her recovery with exposure to the wider world. While in Las Vegas, we had one of our most memorable meals at a 3 Michelin Star French Restaurant at the Hotel. This was a celebration of our love for one another, being alive and our 20th wedding anniversary. After three days we boarded our flights back home to Australia.
So how did our lives change in that second it took Adele to fall?
ELY and ADELE: That one event totally shifted our values on many levels. We were confronted with the fact that Adele was badly injured. I didn’t know how badly, I didn’t know if she was unconscious or worse. It was like time stood still. I didn’t care about my chiropractic practice back home, about skiing, about running seminars or about what I was going to eat. My whole presence was with Adele.
The experience has reaffirmed that our number one value in life by far is our relationship. We also suddenly felt closer to our other family members. We realised how fragile life can be. Living life at the frenetic pace at which we had been doing before, running practices and doing seminars at age 62 was going overboard. We felt we could let go and not have to ‘prove’ anything anymore.
We learned many things from this experience. We’ve heard people say, be careful what you wish for, you may just get it! Well it dawned on us that on the ski lift prior to our last ski run when Ely said , “Gee it would be nice to spend another two weeks here“, it somehow manifested. We had two life changing weeks in Utah.
We will not take each other for granted. The experience made us stop and appreciate one another and we can empathise more with our patients.
One of the most incredible things about the accident was the professionalism, caring and competence of the doctors and their staff. There is a tendency in the chiropractic profession to trash a lot of what the medical profession does. Well this experience showed Ely that the medical profession is no different than those in the chiropractic profession, only the methods are different. . We both came away with a great respect for everyone in Cedar City. It really shifted our perspective and we will never forget these people.
This experience was truly a miracle. We have been saying to one another, “expect a miracle”, and we have been experiencing that miracle. Five weeks after the injury Adele is making a wonderful recovery and has started back to part time work. Our relationship has jumped to a new quantum level because of this experience.
Where are we going from here? We are both reviewing how we live our purpose in life and achieve balance and gratitude, and live our true values in life.
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A SPECIAL MESSAGE OF THANK YOU FROM JOHN
A HUGE THANK YOU for purchasing my book You Can... Expect A Miracle. Sales have been fantastic worldwide.
As you know I launched the book in the USA in September and the Australian edition was released in late December.
Currently major publicity is happening in the USA and Australia and I need to ask a huge favour. If you brought the book off Amazon, Expect A Miracle website or via our flyer mailing and you have at sometime in the past purchased through Amazon, please go onto the Amazon site and post a review for the book.
Many kind souls have posted some amazing 5 out of 5 reviews. Your help in pushing this number over 100 in the immediate future would be a massive help in assisting me in the PR plan I have put in motion.
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I have recently spoken on a high traffic New York evening radio program and on Sydney's radio station 2UE one of Australia's leading radio stations. On New Year's Eve I did a very interesting half hour interview on Radio Norfolk.
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"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle" - Albert Einstein