I never questioned: “why me?” following my near fatal bike accident. I remember almost everything but for some reason I wasn’t afraid when I fell of my bike. I knew that I had broken bones but had no clue that my brain was bleeding. I even managed to walk home from the accident and ended up watching half a movie until my dad got home. I honestly did not think anything was really wrong. The worst part was waking up in the ICU surrounded my three other patients in critical condition. My dad was right next to me, obviously unable to sleep considering his only daughter had undergone brain surgery. I begged him to look into a mirror because I could feel that half my head was shaved. I was hooked up to machines and unable to move so he managed to get me a mirror. I did not recognize the person looking back at me. My face was disformed, swollen, bruised and half my head was shaved with staples running down the right side of my head. I was totally freaked out and obviously felt awful but I never questioned: “why me?” My parents probably did though. Now that I am a mother I cannot imagine the fear my parents felt during this time. Throughout my recovery I never asked “why me?” Maybe I was too young to understand, maybe I loved the extra love and attention I was getting from everyone: whatever the reason I honestly was not that upset.
Once I was “fully” recovered from my accident life was back to normal. It was not until the symptoms of my chronic pain started that I began to ask “why me?” After about my first ten different doctors and specialists I definitely began the “why me?” questions. I was in pain, frustrated, angry, depressed, and so fed up with feeling pain non stop that I wanted to die. Every day I asked: “why me?” Why did this have to happen to me? I was hating my life, hating my friends and family members who complained of a headache or toothache because I would have given anything to just have a headache…pop two Advil and feel better. After twenty more doctors and surgeries the “why me?” question was a question I asked, pleaded, yelled at least every hour if not more. Drinking with friends would turn into tears every night because that was the only time I really let it out. I knew the next morning I would be faced with the same damn pain, struggles, and no answers.
I remember once I entered the Mayo Clinic Pain Rehab Program I asked one of the doctors: “How could this happen to me, I am so young!? I understand why I had brain surgery but I do not understand why I have to live in pain every day for the rest of my life. I won’t be able to get married, have children, work. I’m screwed for the rest of my life and my life is supposed to just be starting! WHY ME???????” Is there an answer to this question? Of course not.
It took many years and much wisdom to know that there is absolutely no reason to ask “why me?” Yes I still have very difficult days, yes I still have chronic pain, yes it makes me very depressed at times but “why not me?” My good friend who has led an amazing, beautiful life always giving to others has a young daughter who has just been diagnosed with cancer. My best friend who has tried for years to have a child, finally gets pregnant and is spending most of her pregnancy in the hospital on bed rest: worried all the time. I had a patient once who was a well known doctor, just married and one month later diagnosed with Frontal Temporal Dementia; a form of dementia that hits people at a very young age. His wife and young children had to see him go from one of the most amazing psychiatrists in the Philadelphia area to someone who no longer remembered how to brush his teeth. Who the hell am I to ask “why me?” “Why them?” Why do bad things happen? No one has the answers to these questions. I spent ten plus years of my life asking “why me?” Instead now even when I’m ready to punch a wall because my chronic pain is making me crazy I try and say “Wow, I am lucky. I am blessed with a husband I love and the most beautiful little girl in the world.” I have so much to be thankful for that I don’t have a right to ask “why me?” Life is too short to ask questions I will never know the answers to.