04 June 2014

Why I am Thankful :: Bruce Snyder's Status

In previous posts since the accident, I have thanked many people who have helped to get me through this very difficult time in my life. This accident has changed my life and changed my of view the world.

When I arrived at Craig Hospital, my doctor was reviewing my case with me and he mentioned the collapsed lung, the chest tube and then he told me that my other lung had deflated as well but somehow it re-inflated. Then he referred to me telling him I was gasping for air between my screams of pain as I lay in the street after the accident. He told me that my gasping probably is what re-inflated the lung and saved my life. This statement really shook me to my core. It was the first time I think that I realized I really could have been killed. That night the nightmares stopped and the next day I awoke with this feeling I had never felt -- I was absolutely elated to be alive. At that moment, my life changed again. No longer was I trying to figure out this whole experience, all I could think about was the fact that I was alive and I could still be with my family and friends. My next thought was that the accident could have been so much worse. And since that day, this has been my mantra for everyone -- it could have been so much worse. For this reason, I suddenly became extremely thankful for all the things in my life.

Below is a list of items for which I am thankful that help to describe how I'm feeling since the accident:
  • I am thankful to be alive. I may not ever walk the same as I did before and that's alright. If I'm meant to be in a wheel chair or walk with braces, so be it. I accept that this terrible accident took place and I have chosen to move on with my life. 
  • I am thankful for the friends and family who have kept me in their thoughts. I have had so many people reach out via email, text, phone, tweets, hospital visits, etc. to let me know that they are thinking of me. I was especially moved by these messages because they have helped me more than you will ever know. 
  • I am thankful that my injuries are not worse. I am in the Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) unit on the third floor of Craig Hospital. Down on the second floor is the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) unit. I see many people on the second floor whose mental existence will never be the same again. I have meditated on this many times and I have so many things to look forward to because I was spared a head injury. Even if my feet remain paralyzed, I am thankful that I still have my head, my hands and my heart intact. 
  • I am thankful that I can still do the work for my profession. Because I have my head and hands, there is nothing stopping me from eventually returning to my work. I have many people in the office who will assist me with difficult tasks, but for the most part I can continue after I have healed. 
  • I am thankful for compassionate people in this world. I am so grateful that Gareth acted so quickly to help a stranger in distress. None of the other folks standing around me got down on the pavement to provide me a calming voice. This is probably the biggest overarching lesson that I have learned from this experience. Without compassion and love for your fellow human beings, people would not exist. 
I encourage anyone who reads this to take the time to show some compassion to the people in your life. My family and friends, the folks here at Craig Hospital, even some people who I have never met all demonstrated to me that compassion can help to heal many wounds, both physical and emotional.


  1. Bruce, wishing you the best. Lots of love, man.

  2. Im happy to read how well you are progressing! Our spinal injuries are different but i can tell you that 5 years later im healing. Your outlook is lovely and you have such a positive list that you already acknowledge. Daily battes are still going to be there for a long time, but so will the best personal victories. 4 years into mine i was finally able to bend over and touch the floor with out falling, not a big deal for any one else but ill tell you the personal reward was like winning the Olympics. Keep up the good fight!

    1. Thank you so much for the wonderful comments from your experience with your own SCI injury! It is very inspiring for me to hear that you are still progressing so long after the injury. This matches with some other folks with SCI injuries who I met while in the hospital. The human body certainly is capable of some amazing things. I wish you very good luck in your continued healing, my friend!

  3. You always had treated me well at all the Apachecons. Most people treated me like I was different and difficult. I was hit, hurt spine and brain... survived in 2009. I'm still healing. Hopefully I can help you, or be a sounding board... With my back I haveL4 L5 S1 damage. I suffered quad equinis and R leg pararalys.after surgery and time I'm back to work, walking now, I had 4 years of neurological and physical therapy and finally graduated from my neurologist in December. I'm only able to stand a few hours and can only physically handle work 3 days a week... But I still work. I'm glad you didn't hurt your brain. That's been harder to deal with than my body. Chronic pain is real, but exercise & therapy(emotional and physical) has helped so much. I wish you well

    1. I don't recognize your name, but if we met at ApacheCons then I would definitely remember your face. I love meeting new people, especially from different cultures and backgrounds. It's probably my favorite thing about conferences.

      Hearing about your progress makes me very happy. I'm sorry to hear about your head injury, I witnessed many folks with such injuries in the hopsital. I know how truly lucky I am to have escaped a head injury. Please keep your positive attitude and continue to move forward. You are living proof that people recover successfully!

    2. That's exactly what I've been thanking the heavens for. It was bad, yes that isn't even questionable, but boy could it have been worse. When it happened I was SO HAPPY to hear that you didn't suffer any traumatic brain injury. You kick major ass Bruce and you will continue to ;)