My life before my injury was a great life. I studied at college, I went to the gym every day including holidays, and I went out with friends, my girlfriend and my family. This is what I liked to do the most—spend time with my family, my girlfriend and my daughter. I never tried alcohol, much less cigarettes.
On December 7th, I went to Juarez City to visit my mother and my brother. Around 8:30 pm, I decided to leave my mother’s to go home to my house in El Paso. When I went down the steps, I opened the door, turned my back, and heard a shot that in seconds I felt in my back. This made me turn my body and fall to the sidewalk. While my body fell, I saw a man walk towards me with a gun pointing at me and he shot me three more times. These shots damaged 8 vertebrae in my spine, perforated my two lungs, fractured two ribs, and a bullet remains in my left scapula.
We choose RHSNM because of their experience and certification in treating spinal cord injuries, as well as it’s experience in health care and knowledge. What influenced my recovery was always my family and the way the therapists made me feel while I was doing the exercises. There were many highlights of the staff members who had an impact of me. The one that had the most impact on my motivation was Arturo, COTA. In him, I found a friend who from the first day had the right words to motivate me to get excited for therapy. He was always looking for a way to make me feel confident and comfortable in all aspects. Every day he would make me smile. He always worked toward my goals and celebrated my progress. Without a doubt, he was the one that most impacted my motivation. On the other hand, Jacqueline, PT, made most of my progress. Her exercises and the way she used them was great. She always had ideas to improve my progress. Her way of being happy when I achieved something new was motivating and I felt certain that nothing bad would happen to me. And of course, Jaime. He always made me try something new, challenge myself, and made sure that I gave more than I could. He taught me different ways of being able to perform exercises and made therapy fun by making jokes.
My motivation to recover in addition to my family, my daughter and my girlfriend were three quotes, “the worst shame of a man is not knowing the limit of his body, ”you are not what you achieve, you are what you overcome” and the most important thing my mother told me, “if you do something, be the best at it.” These quotes were my greatest motivation to overcome and give my best in each therapy session. Success for me is to surpass myself and to achieve what I thought was unattainable.
Going forward, I’m excited to learn more about my capabilities and what I can achieve with my injury. My goals and future plans are to be as independent as possible, to do everything by myself, and to be more like I was before my injury.