Chris gives the reader a brutally honest, soul bearing glimpse into the day-to-day recovery efforts of a brain injury survivor. Follow the author on his gripping journey of self-discovery, self-acceptance and ultimately self-love. Learn how alternative health and energy therapy changed Chris Lee’s life and how he empowered himself to change his reality for the better.
Are You Sure It’s Monday?
It was a free and easy Monday in July 2007. One of those days where you wake up and the house is still cool from the night air. My wife Angela and my daughter Alexis were sleeping soundly. My son Jameeko was away, staying with friends for the summer. I moved about the house quietly because it was 5:30 a.m.
I hit the gym for a good cardio workout and some lightweight lifting. After my workout, I showered, got dressed and sipped on a protein shake as I cruised to work in my weather-beaten 1994 Ford Ranger.
I was feeling good, so good in fact that I could’ve sworn that it was Friday instead of Monday. As I got closer to downtown Detroit, I decided to take the side streets because the freeway was backing up. I knew those old streets like the back of my hand and could shave 15-20 minutes off of my commute by taking the shortcuts.
As I drove down the tiny side streets, I reflected on my childhood. My grandparents once lived in this same neighborhood I was now driving through. I had fond memories of corner bakeries, five & dime stores, and gas stations or “filling stations” as the old timers called them.
The old neighborhood was now reduced to a burned out and boarded up war-zone. Feeling optimistic nonetheless, I came upon an intersection where an elementary school used to stand. My uncles Derrick and Al once played my cousin Derrick Jr. and I in a game of two-hand touch football on the front courtyard of the school.
Now there was nothing but an empty field, an inhospitable barren wasteland…as if there was a sign posted: NO WEEDS OR GRASS ALLOWED. I smelled smoke faintly in the distance as I approached another intersection with a flashing yellow light.
The Begetting of a Disconcerting Vexation
As I reached the intersection, I began to hear the faint sound of a siren. I looked left and had one of those “Oh Snap” moments because I knew that the source of the siren was emanating from the blind spot behind the building to my right.
Within a millisecond, there was a fire engine barreling toward me. I was so certain that my death was inescapable I did not even tense up. As the inevitable was about to occur, my final thought was “So this is how it all ends?”
When I came to, I saw several firefighters jogging back to my vehicle from about a block away. I was facing oncoming traffic, partially on the sidewalk.
My truck was smoking very badly. My instincts told me to get out of the vehicle as soon as possible. I immediately unbuckled my seatbelt and pushed on the door, but it wouldn’t budge.
The impact from the crash bent my Ford Ranger so badly that even though the passenger side was struck by the fire engine; the driver’s side door was jammed nearly shut. I was weak and dazed although the physical pain of the accident had not set in yet. I mustered every bit of strength I had, my body gave me a rush of adrenaline, and I was able to force the driver’s side door open enough to slide out of the nearly folded in half, mangled heap.
Once the adrenaline rush wore off, the physical pain of the accident hit me
hard. The pain was gripping as if my body was possessed by the most evil and vile of spirits. Surely death would have felt better than this agonizing pain. I collapsed into the arms of the firefighter closest to me and he helped lay me on the ground. I glanced up at the street signs of the intersection, saying to myself, “My life will never again be the same.”
The firefighters looked at me with embarrassment and awe. They comforted me as best they could. I could hear one firefighter on the radio, “We got into an accident, someone else is gonna have to respond to the alarm, and uhh we need an ambulance…fast…as soon as possible.” What did they know that I didn’t know? Was something broken? Was I bleeding? Why did the firefighter sound so afraid on the radio?
We made awkward small talk while we waited for the ambulance. I was trying to keep my mind of off my injuries. We talked about our families and sports.
The Tigers were having a decent season coming off a trip to the World Series in 2006.
Soon paramedics arrived on the scene. “What were you guys doing?” the driver of the ambulance screamed as he slammed his door. He was a portly darker-skinned white man with dark hair and a thick, dark moustache. His arms looked big enough to pull tree stumps out of the ground with his bare hands.
The man’s pants were too small and his belt buckle disappeared beneath his big belly. Now grabbing his gear off the rig, he said, “You idiots are going to kill somebody one day!”
From my vantage point, lying on the ground, I could see the two paramedics grab a neck brace and a plastic stretcher. The cross-chatter and conversations stopped. Actually everything stopped. There were no cars driving past and no one walking the street.
A nervous hush continued for a few moments. The previously angry paramedic broke the deafening silence. In a calm and apologetic pitch, he said, “Okay boys, I have to turn on the recording. Tuck your shirts in and watch your language.”
The two paramedics walked over and laid the plastic stretcher on the ground next to me. “We’re going to roll you over, sir,” they said. I was about to ask if they could just slide the stretcher under me when I felt my body being rolled to one side. I let out a mighty yelp and squeezed my eyes shut. I began cursing aloud. The pain shot up from my hips, up my spine into one of
I opened my eyes in time to see the slender paramedic, who had not yet uttered a single word, place a brace over my neck. When he secured the neck brace, I felt as if I were being choked. I began to panic. Desperately trying to free myself, I reached for the neck brace.
Grabbing my hand, the slender paramedic leaned in and growled, “I don’t want to have to place you in restraints sir…don’t touch the brace. This is standard procedure. We don’t know the extent of your injuries, so we have to secure you.”
“MOVE,” the portly paramedic bellowed. The slender paramedic stood up and backed away. The other paramedic knelt down and loosened the foam and plastic neck brace. “Take a deep breath and relax,” he told me, looking back at the slender paramedic with contempt. In a firm yet assuring tone, he continued, “Take another deep breath and when you breathe out, I’m gonna fasten the brace and this time you’re gonna be more relaxed.”
I exhaled and he fastened the neck brace. A smaller rush of panic hit me then I began to relax.
They got me stabilized and began asking me questions:
Paramedic: What’s your name, sir?
Me: Chris Lee.
Me: (It was on the tip of my tongue) I know I live in Belleville…
Paramedic: Why don’t I just get it off of your license, is that ok?
Me: Okay, sure…
Paramedic: What’s your social security number?
Me: (I had no idea) Uhhhhhh…
Paramedic: We’ll come back to that, who should we call to tell you’ve been in
Me: My wife.
Paramedic: Well…what’s her number?
Me: Oh…uhhhhhh…let’s see…
Paramedic: Don’t you have a cell phone or something?
Me: I think I left it at home today.
Paramedic: Well we better get you to the hospital, just ask someone there to help you get in touch with your wife, it looks like you got your clock cleaned pretty good.
The panic began to rise again as the two paramedics along with two firefighters approached the stretcher. The eerie silence returned. “Okay guys, on three…one…two…three.” With a hearty grunt, they lifted me onto another
stretcher with wheels.
I imagined how the very same silence would feel at my own funeral when the pallbearers lift the casket and carry me out to a waiting hearse.
Once inside of the ambulance, the portly paramedic said to the slender paramedic, “You drive, I’ll ride with the accident victim.” Now turning to me with a frown on his face, he added, “We have to put these restraints on you while we’re in transport to the hospital.”
He put a belt-like restraint on my shoulders, mid-section and feet. Trying to comfort me, he said, “The wheel locks are broken on this stretcher, but I’ll do my best to hold you still.”
As the emergency rig began moving and the driver hit the siren, tears began streaming down my face. I was strapped down and was suffocating from the neck brace.
The stretcher would slide around the inside of the rig each time the driver turned a corner, the mighty arms of the portly paramedic unable to steady the ragged stretcher. It was like being in a fight and not being able to defend yourself.
I begged the paramedic to just loosen one of my feet so that I could brace myself. “I’m sorry…” he said, momentarily looking at the ground then resolvedly fixing his eyes ahead.
I still didn’t know the extent of my injuries. My neck could barely move and my back and legs felt like they were on fire. I also had an insidious disconcerting vexation; I couldn’t remember my wife’s cell phone number, my address or my social security number. Worst of all, I still was not 100% sure whether I was going to live or die at this point. One thing that I was sure of was that this was the worst pain that I had ever felt in my life.
One of the firefighters that was slightly injured rode to the hospital with us. He was on his cell phone yucking it up with his relatives…at least someone was able to find some humor in the situation. I made small talk with the paramedic to try and take the focus off of my pain.
Upon arrival at Henry Ford Hospital, they took the firefighter right away. It was like a celebrity had arrived. “Captain Prevost!? What are YOU doing here?” an older nurse hollered in a disingenuous yet flattering voice.
Another disproportionately shaped, middle-aged nurse with weather-beaten skin stopped to perk her hair before going over to give the firefighter a hug. “What happened?” she asked. More than happy to tell his version of the story the fireman began gloating, “Ahh some nut job hit the engine while we were on our way to a fire. I came in to make sure that I was ok, I feel fine though.”
They whisked him away with several nurses and doctors in tow.
Meanwhile, I was checked for weapons and left alone for about an hour on a gurney in a hallway. In some strange kind of way, I figured that if I was going to die I would’ve died already. I was getting angrier by the moment. At this point I just wanted to pee, get something to eat, and go home.
Finally a slim redhead pushed me into a makeshift ER room and started an IV. She was a bit frosty toward me as she asked questions about my medical history and the accident.
I got a pretty good feel for what it must be like to get injured as a prisoner of war and receive treatment from the enemy. I had asked several times for someone to help me get in touch with my wife, but they told me that they couldn’t help me if I couldn’t remember any numbers.
They carted me off to get a CT scan and some X-rays, then parked me back in my ER room. About 30 minutes later, a friendly, soft-spoken doctor appeared through the curtain. He didn’t even look old enough to be a doctor in my skewed, unscientific estimation.
“Good news, Mr. Lee, no broken bones and no internal bleeding!” I was only mildly relieved. Actually because of the way the staff had treated me, I was a little apprehensive about totally believing him.
“Thank you, doctor, will I be needing to stay overnight?” I asked with anxious pessimism.
“That won’t be necessary, you’ll be discharged soon…oh and sorry about your Tigers shirt, good luck on your recovery,” the doctor whispered as he faded back through the curtain.
I glanced down and noticed my favorite Detroit Tigers t-shirt in shreds. I didn’t realize it, but at some point they had cut my shirt open. I thought to myself, What gives, they ruined my shirt too!
Before the curtains stopped moving, a generously proportioned woman with a clipboard barged in. She barked out, “You ’bout to get up outta here, we need these beds, who is out there waiting for you?”
I remembered her face, she was one of the women that refused to help me get in touch with my wife five hours ago and now she was trying to make me leave. Infuriated, I yelled at her “There is no one out there waiting because none of you people would help me call my wife.”
Just then the slim red headed nurse came into the room and dismissed the plump woman. The nurse pulled out her personal cell phone. She asked me where my wife worked. I told her the name of my wife’s employer. She called information and was connected to my wife’s job.
After a brief conversation she assured me that my wife would be arriving as soon as she could. Sure enough, my wife and my mother arrived about an hour later. A member of the hospital staff brought them to me. I went off one last time before we left. Yelling out to no one in particular, I expressed my anger about how I had been treated during my stay. The bustling ER fell silent momentarily.
We left and went to Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn for a second opinion on all of my injuries. Everything turned out to be about the same except with much better customer service.
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Connect with Chris:
Chris Lee, the author of “From Frustration to Fulfillment”, has a passion for helping people
to identify and successfully manage the self-imposed limitations that hold us back from pursuing and achieving our dreams, goals and ambitions.
Chris wrote “From Frustration to Fulfillment” to help anyone that has ever faced a seemingly hopeless situation. The book started as a diary to help him cope with his brain injury. He found the writings to be a vital part of the healing process and thus decided to share his story with the world.
Using warmth and humor to help people to ‘open the doors of change’, Chris is a dynamic speaker and energetic workshop facilitator. Chris has put his unique skill set to use helping numerous people throughout the United States and Canada. He combines the Law of Attraction and the philosophy of energy medicine to offer a very unique and powerful experience for those that attend his various workshop and coaching sessions.
Chris is a Specs Howard School of Media Arts graduate that currently holds certifications as a 365-Degree Manifestation Consultant, Certified Law of Attraction Facilitator, Certified Natural Health Professional and Body Talk™ Access technician.
Chris loves spending time with family including his son, daughter and granddaughter. He loves fine food, baseball and is a music enthusiast. He can occasionally be spotted around town enjoying live jazz.
For your enjoyment, here’s a youtube from Chris Lee’s Channel about about his mission.