Four inspiring survival stories
Finally, we are on daylight savings time in North America, which means that spring, for those of us that live farther north, is coming!
I hear many people who live in warm climates dreaming of “experiencing all the seasons” and those who have them would love to live in the tropics with summer all year round. Somehow, nature has encoded humans with a propensity to want exactly what is hard to attain. This human tendency towards dissatisfaction is very common except when life gets hard and we see what we have lost. (To say this, some losses can lead us to a window of opportunity 😉.)
During these first few months of 2019, I have had the opportunity to connect with four incredible people, all animal lovers, who have faced major life challenges.
1. The first person is a veterinarian/rock climber, who fell from a rock face a few months before his graduation and, as a result, became quadriplegic. When I learned about this accident that happened to my nephew's best friend a few years back, I was very upset. How does one cope with such a drastic change? The injury made this young vet's dreams fall like a house of cards.
Nevertheless, despite all the hardships this young colleague faced since the injury, reliant on the help of others, he still plans to work as a vet in the field of radiology. His determination is truly inspiring.
2. The second inspiring person was a long-time client, dog lover, and friend. She called me to share the great news that she just reached the five-year milestone of being cancer free. She also shared that she has new and exciting business plans for helping animals. Her phone call made my day!
3. The third person I connected with was, Mr. V, a friend who survived spinal cancer and has now been cancer free for 17 years! Spending some time with Mr. V and his family (including their dog 😀) allowed me to see the face of true gratitude for being alive. 🎉🎉🎉
As you can see in the photo below, we celebrated life with some dessert!
Naturally, people who have such close calls are drawn to saving the lives of others and Mr. V volunteers regularly for the Search and Rescue Organization in his own town.
When we saw each other last, he shared the events of a rescue that occurred a few months ago. He operated the long line of a helicopter to medivac a mountain biker, who broke his back and neck in several places, multiple ribs as well as puncturing his lung and aorta.
As I listened to Mr. V, I was shocked to realize that the critically-injured biker was a friend of mine from twenty years ago, Mr. T! I was also relieved to learn that a miracle had indeed happened!
4. The fourth inspiring person, Mr. T is alive, able to walk, use his hands and is recovering. I visited him and his wife and saw how grateful they were. The story of Mr. V saving Mr. T is special because it shows how interconnected peoples’ lives are and that saving one life inadvertently leads to saving another.
I must confess, today was one of the best days of 2019. Less than 24 hours ago, I made a commitment to wean myself off negative news, and this is what happened; I have been touched by positive stories of survival and gratitude. This was a good reminder that life brings us what we want to see.
I admit that I too sometimes forget to be grateful and often wonder, why we humans are “wired” to see things as more negative than they are? Perhaps we have evolved to see more negativity and danger to increase our potential for survival?
Today, I am inviting you to forgive yourselves for being flawed and to make a commitment to focus on the bright side of life. It may be another lesson we can learn from our beloved dogs!
© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM