I'm a single, 47 year old paraplegic from Albuquerque NM. I was a 44-year-old contractor/carpenter from Albuquerque when I decided I needed a change in my lifestyle. I was offered a job traveling around the country remodeling & outfitting retail stores. I had pretty much lived in Alb. all my life, so when the opportunity to work on the road came up I jumped on it. I sold my house, bought a van and me and & my dog JT hit the road. I started enjoying what I was doing again. During the year and a half we were on the road met some great people, went from coast to coast. I was lucky all my jobs were in nice cities, it was almost more a vacation then work. Little did I know what lie ahead? During Christmas vacation I got a call saying someone hadn't shown up for a job in Houston they needed me down there ASAP. We drove all night and got there 15hrs later. Less than a week later I was injured while doing demolition on the existing store. 1500 miles from home it was time to embark on my new life, I wanted to change my lifestyle but not this much! In A Heartbeat It happened in a heartbeat, I was a traveling carpenter, a "mall rat", going from city to city remodeling and setting up retail stores. I had been in Houston less than a week when I had a rolling scaffold knocked out from under me. I didn't fall farÖless than 8 feet, but I flipped head over heels flat on my back landing on the cold concrete. I knew it was bad as soon as I hit. It didn't hurt but then again I couldn't get up. While my partner called 911 I used my cell phone to call my family in Albuquerque to break the news to them. But before I could tell my family anything except "I really fucked up this time" rescue came and took my phone leaving my family in the dark as to what happened. I recall turning down pain med's because I really didn't need them. The life flight arrived quickly and as they were taking me out the only thing that concerned me was making sure my dog JT was taken care of. I was loaded into the helicopter (I'll never forget that sound!) and flown to Herrman Memorial Hospital. All during the flight while the crew was working to stabilize me I was disappointed because I always wanted to fly in a helicopter, now was my chance and I couldn't enjoy the view. Then they knocked me out! What went on for the next couple of days is pretty much a blur. I remember talking to the doctor, signing the consent form, I remember praying and feeling at ease. I worried about my family and kinda sad they weren't there but at the same time relieved they weren't. Everything went well and four days later I was admitted to TIRR to start rehab. It took me almost 6 months to realize just how much I had gone through, and to this day I am told I minimize things. I don't know why but for some reason God has given me the strength and temperament to accept what happened that morning. Lying on that concrete floor in Houston, in January 2002 I knew I was never going to walk again but I felt at peace with God and with the hand I was dealt

Just A Minor Inconvenience The scaffolding went one way I went the other. As soon as I hit the ground I knew by life had changed forever! I had Broken my back....diagnosis T-11 paraplegic. Disabled they say, people tend to think you are not the same, not a whole person because you live your life in a chair. I found I am the same as I was before the accident only stronger mentally, physically, and emotionally! The same is true for anyone that has gone through anything like this, DON'T EVER SELL YOURSELF SHORT! I don't consider it a handicap, itís more an inconvenience. I always had a positive outlook on my situation, I was determined to be able to do the things I loved again. Now I do them, some are a little more difficult than before, but they are even more rewarding. Part of rehab was talking to people that have been in chairs for years and still manage to do amazing, extreme things. I set my goals even higher. After a while I realized that I was the same person I was before my injury, I never did extreme things before, so I will never do or even try some of the things these people did. But my conversation with these people helped me to see that there are very few barriers itís all a matter of what you want.