Life Is to be Savored

I get surprised by people’s complaints sometimes. For example, when someone complains about not making enough money because they simply want to earn more and say over and over how they deserve it. It frustrates me.

I get shocked by the things people worry about because they are usually things I would not even consider. Having experienced a tragedy at a young age helped me put things in perspective. I wish that people could start to see the glass ‘half full’ instead of empty.

You can never truly know how precious life is unless you nearly reach the end of it.

Every moment is special. Don’t take life for granted. Stop looking to what you don’t have, and look to all that you do. Breath in your lungs, a place to rest your head, clean water, food, and the basic necessities mean a lot to many.

Even if they do not seem like enough to you. I read in an article that the average American donates less than $2,000 per year to those in poverty, and in third world countries. I find this disappointing.

We are the richest nation. When the Soviet Union broke apart after World War II, the United States was left as the only super power. Giving is a good remedy for depression too. That’s how you turn it around by extending your hand out to others.

You will never know the preciousness of a moment until you can no longer have it. ~Zina Hermez

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages. Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming challenges, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, newsletters, and medical journals among many other publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

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My latest article on Spinal Cord Injury Zone!

People sometimes write to me from other countries. I recently got an email out of India, and it was a plea for help. The writer has a family member that was injured in an accident, and the family member now has a spinal-cord-injury (SCI). I believe that in countries such as India, medical insurance (especially for those with spinal injuries) can be harder to afford than it is in the U.S.

He wrote: “Dear Zina, my brother in law had an accident 2 weeks back and is now a paraplegic even after 2 spinal surgeries. He has a T11-12 fracture. The Dr. says he won’t be able to walk again it’s too depressing. We live in India and we don’t have enough money for survival. My sister and brother in law are so depressed as they are having a 2 year old son. Can you guide us in what we can do to get recovery. Please guide us for recovery. Kind regards, Ruchi.”

These kinds of posts are always sad. I have already responded, but I would like to address Ruchi’s request and answer here for him as well as for the others that have written to me with similar requests on my blog. I have posted this advice several times. After a spinal-cord-injury, health insurance could very well not be affordable. However, you may be able to find a personal-trainer that is willing to help you at a reasonable cost. He or she can design a safe but challenging exercise program designed specifically for the patient’s needs.

Of course the physical therapist or trainer would determine when it would be safe to start exercise/physical therapy after spinal-cord damage. A family member also may be able to help if hiring a personal trainer or physical therapist is not an option. But safety must come first! You don’t want the person with SCI to become worse by risking further injuries.

I am not a doctor or psychologist. I don’t have a non-profit. I‘m a teacher and a writer and I started my blog in 2012. I have separated articles into categories and have given free tips, inspiration, and medical information. I also wrote a book, Not Without God: A Story of Survival and it describes how I healed from near-fatal injuries as a result of an accident that left me paralyzed at sixteen. While crossing the street to get to my friend’s bus stop, I was hit by a car. It’s a miracle from the Lord that I’m alive and able to walk.

In my book, I explain simple things I do such as getting daily exercise and taking fifteen minutes a day for prayer. It may be helpful to keep a food diary to know your body as spinal-cord-injury can also affect your digestive system. Another tip is to know how to listen carefully to your doctor without neglecting “your own doctor” within. Trust your intuitions–they can really help you! My book is more than just a personal story because it focuses on recovery.

Chapter five is called Some Quick Tips on How I Heal, and I suggest simple methods to recover such as prayer and exercise. I offer a short homework assignment at the end of the chapter where the reader is the student as well as the teacher. I encourage you to assess yourself! Please read my latest update, news, and article about my book on Spinal Cord Injury Zone:

http://www.spinalcordinjuryzone.com/info/12978/book-without-god-story-survival-published

Last but definitely not least—don’t forget to pray! Pray Always!

“Prayer will always change things! …you can’t talk to God and not have it change things!” –Bishop T.D. Jakes

 

My article in “SCI Access”

SCI ACCESS: Insights and Information for People with Spinal Cord Injuries published my article.

Here is the link. Be sure to scroll down to page 14 and read “Alumni News.”

http://www.med.umich.edu/pmr/modelsci/Newsletters/SCI%20Access-Spring-2013.pdf

In a previous blog post I wrote that I would share the full article when it was published on the internet. This is their May 2013 newsletter issue. If you’re interested, check it out! I hope you can be inspired by some of the amazing stories of recovery and efforts to find a cure.

SCI Access is a newsletter provided by the University of Michigan Spinal Cord Injury Model System. UM-SCIMS is one of only fourteen SCI model systems in the United States.

They call me periodically to complete survey studies. I always gladly cooperate. I love to help U of M in any way I can, because that is the hospital that saved my life. You can also visit their main page: http://www.med.umich.edu/pmr/modelsci/

And this is a blog post I wrote about them back in July: https://zinahermez.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/university-of-michigan-c-s-mott-childrens-hospital/

I was there for almost three months after my accident in October of 1994. U of M became my home. When my future was unpredictable and grim, I felt safe there. When my discharge date drew nearer, I felt afraid and depressed. I did not want to go home because I developed a system there. I had learned how to deal with my injury.

The doctors and nurses were so friendly. Dr. Geiger had a smile that could light up any child’s life. Dr. Polley’s compassion was incomparable. Robin and Julie, my nurses were very kind. It amazes me that it’s been over eighteen years, and my team of doctors and surgeons are still there. Walking the floors of Mott Children’s, saving children, saving lives.

Love is a force that is able to heal the worst of situations. I pray for anyone in the hospital or ill to have the best care, the kind of care I was blessed to have at U of M.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ck1ZLuDBQUI

“What can Martin Luther King teach me about faith?”

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” – Helen Keller

Staring at the DVD on my coffee table, I begin to have many thoughts. “In remembrance of Martin,” a documentary I’m showing to my students tomorrow is resting on it. Others will be commentating on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King. I wonder, what do I want my students to get out of this? I think, what if he never came? How would the world be?

America would be divided. Schools would be segregated. Blacks would go to one restaurant, and whites to another. Even restrooms would be separate. We would not ALL be able to vote. America would be bleak, an ugly place.

It amazes me that when I ask my students, half of them know nothing about how unequal America used to be. As I teach on Dr. King, I plan to ask them–“If it wasn’t for his efforts, do you think you would be here?” I personally believe it would be harder for even foreigners to migrate.

My advanced class consists of people who come to the U.S. to further their study of English. Most of them have degrees in their former country, but sometimes they want to achieve higher degrees or simply better their English.

Martin Luther King had a dream. He fulfilled it. He wanted equality. He said, “I just want to do God’s will, and He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I looked over, and I’ve seen the promise land. We as a people, will get to the promise land!” I thank God he had the courage to follow it.

I have some dreams too. But mine are more simple. I may not have the same prophetic abilities but I have an intrinsic gift of having a dream, and the ability to make it come true. We all do. It’s a gift from God. Like Martin, we must have the courage to follow it.

At sixteen I was injured in a pedestrian/motor vehicle crash. While crossing the street on my way to school, I was hit by a car. It’s a miracle I’m alive. I was paralyzed. I’m now able to get around on two forearm crutches. I’m practicing with one cane. It was my dream to walk again. I did. I still hope to walk one day with no walking device. I know the power of having a dream.

But my dream stretches further than the simple fact that I’m determined to walk. My dream is for others with spinal cord injuries too. It can take so much from our lives. We not only lose the ability to walk, life as we know it changes. SCI not only paralyzes our bodies, it can paralyze our hopes, dreams, and positive outlook on life. When you’re sitting in a wheelchair, it’s difficult to see past it, especially after you’re first injured.

My dream is for others with SCI to know they never have to give up. I’ve worked hard to walk again all these years. I’m still not walking as good as I’d like. But I don’t plan on giving up. It feels good to not have to put a wheelchair in the car several times a day. My crutches weigh less than two pounds each, they are light weight.

Although walking again is not a promise, it takes extreme determination and faith. Maybe if those injured work hard enough on exercise in physical therapy, they will get return of their muscle function, arms, and possibly even legs too. And maybe their dream can come true.

“We’re all connected as humans. No matter how vast our differences may seem, no matter how we each propel ourselves through this life; we all touch the lives of those around us.” From the movie – Intouchables

Do you have a dream? What’s your dream? Feel free to share in the notes.