The Day That Changed Our Lives- A Guest Blog From Steve Palermo

Gail Davis, 30 July 2013

I was shot and paralyzed from the waist down when the mugger’s bullet hit my spinal cord at the L1-L2 level.  I was rushed to Parkland Hospital where exploratory surgery was done shortly after my arrival.  My wife, Debbie, was at our home in Kansas City.  She was notified at 3:43 a.m. by her parents that I had been shot and was going into surgery.  Debbie was standing at the OR door as it opened around 8:00 a.m. the morning of July 7, 1991. She stayed by my side at Parkland Hospital and the Dallas Rehabilitation Institute until we left for home four months later.  We came home on a Saturday afternoon and immediately began the rehab process the following Monday in KC.

Our lives didn’t change as dramatically as they did drastically.  Gone was my independence and Debbie’s as well. This is what happens when you are taking care of someone from morning until bedtime.  Umpiring baseball was a thing of the past.  So was walking, according to my neurosurgeon.  I began learning how to do things that I had once learned while going through childhood.

Was I bitter? Angry? Hating the shooter?  Quite honestly, those emotions weren’t allowed in my life.  I had too much regrouping to do and those things would only slow the progress needed to get some semblance of order back in our lives.

I am so proud of where we are now from 22 years ago.  Was it easy?  Not really, but it wasn’t even supposed to be a possibility. The doctors were just a little off with my prognosis. They looked at the films and the charts and the MRI’s and whatever other advanced sciences and gadgets there were at the time,  but I believe they should take a picture of your heart to find out how big it is because, when dealing with something this difficult to overcome, it definitely comes into play.  Everything was a team effort.  That newly married couple discovered how strong their love was for each other and that bond grew even tighter while working as a team. We proved that two is near impossible to beat compared to just one.

Most of you have a birthday that you celebrate once a year.  I have two birth dates - the one when I was born and the one when we had to start our whole life over as we knew it.  It’s taken years, but as we have learned from a calendar, after’s just another day.

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