Kristi’s Story

17 Apr

After many of you read my blog about the miracle of my son’s birth, I am sure that some of you were wondering why I’m a paraplegic and in a wheelchair. I think that is a pretty reasonable question to ask. So it just seemed like the right time to share with you my story.

There is a lot of suffering that has happened in the US, and all over the world for that matter, this week and the last several months. Sometimes we forget that there is a lot of suffering that happens every day.  I am by far not the only person with a difficult story to share.  But just maybe by reading my story you will be able to face the world and all its obstacles with a little more determination, strength and hope.  I proofed this myself so please be gracious if you see a silly typo. 🙂

It is my prayer that by learning a little bit more about me, you will gain a better understanding into why I write about the topics that I do in my children’s stories.  I want to help our precious little ones to be prepared to face all the adversities that life can throw at them with the power to overcome, not succumb.

June 9th 1986.  I don’t know if you can recall what you were doing, but I do.  I had
flown to CA to see my brother’s girl friend (soon to be fiancée).  It was my birthday, and we had decided to start the day off horseback riding.  I was not an expert rider but was competent. We had ridden around the property for over an hour and had decided to
head back to the barn.  I only remember glimpses of what was soon to follow.  I distinctly remember coming a good five feet away from the large barn door opening into the horses feeding area.  I remember him walking towards it and me pulling on the reigns to try and stop him. Then I recall ducking my head to go through the doorway.

The next moment I found myself completely flat on my back in a pile of hay in a massive amount of pain, unable to feel my legs.  The most likely conclusion was that my back must have hit the door beam and dislocated my vertebra causing instant paralysis.  I must have then lost my balance and fallen from the horse to the floor…pretty reasonable conjecture.  None the less, I was now finding myself waiting for an ambulance to arrive and from here on things progressed rather quickly.

The paramedics arrived only to see a young woman with not a scratch or bruise on her body, just lying in the hay relatively calm.  I distinctly remember telling the paramedic, when asked what was wrong with me, “I am paralyzed.”  I know that I totally
shocked him because he gave me the funniest look.  I was soon put on a board and sent to the nearest hospital.  I was in a pretty rural area so I had to travel on a dirt road.
I remember not liking that part too much on a board.  But by this time all the meds were kicking-in to help with the pain I was in, and things started to get a little more blurry.

I recall telling one nurse that was trying to get the hospital gown on me that she needed to make sure nothing happened to my “guess” jeans because they were my only pair. I laugh now when I think about saying this. Only a teenager would be more worried about their jeans than being in the hospital paralyzed.  I remember telling everyone I saw that it was my birthday today, and I was turning 15.  I was also getting very annoyed that they kept asking for my address.  I know why now, but at the time I thought all these nurses really must be stupid if they had to keep asking me the same questions over and over again.

I learned at a later date that the hospital I was sent to first was too small to accommodate my injury so I was then ambulanced to another hospital.  This hospital had a doctor that could do the surgery but not the facilities to house me afterwards.  It was then decided to air-vac me to another hospital so I could be at the right facility
after surgery.

The bad news, to add to the obvious bad news, is that all this hospital hopping was eating away at my 24 hour window.  This is the amount of time that you have to fix a spinal cord injury before scar tissue forms around the area permanently blocking any nerve signals from the brain to the lower half.  By the time they got me to my final destination the surgery could not get scheduled in time, and my 24 hours was up.  Now the hurry was over and things went into slow motion.  So my accident happened on a Monday, but I didn’t have surgery until Friday.

Things continued to get worse.  I was too small for the bed.  I was too big for a child bed, but too small for an adult bed.  The bed was slated to try and immobilize the body. My head was bolted straight with large padded ovals on either side.  The idea is to keep you totally still so the bed moves for you.  It rotates your body completely sideways and then it moves back to the other side so you won’t get bed sores.  They had tried to stuff
pillows around me to keep me from moving when I went vertical.  But pillows have a bad tendency to squish.  This meant that my whole body moved several inches once gravity took hold. Then the screaming would begin.

The x-rays seemed to show a clean break, which should not have been that painful after medication.  But as anyone knows who has experienced a dislocate themselves, the pain does not let up until the pressure is gone.  Once under the knife (eight hrs total) they soon realized the problem.  My spinal cord was described to me as the consistency of a smashed banana.

Needless to say I felt a whole lot better on Friday when I awoke nine hours later.  I felt so great the next morning that I was actually able to sit up (in my stylish new back brace of course) but ha! I was sitting up.  After the sheer elation of being out of that bed and sitting up wore off, the reality of my new permanent situation started to kick in.  I was informed that the chances of me walking again were almost zero.

Before we go much further into that, I must add that my prayer support was off the scale.  In one day alone I received more mail than the entire wing of the ICU.  My final
count was over 200 letters and cards.  My father was a computer programmer for Doubletree Hotels at the time.  Ten Doubletree Hotels sent me flowers.  There were 31 flower arrangements total.  My mother had to take pictures of them all so I could remember them later.  You can’t bring flowers into the ICU.  It was actually rather comical. She would bring in a flower arrangement and say, “Look what you just got, isn’t it beautiful?” and then leave the room.  My Uncle worked for a Christian radio station
in Tucson and he had told my story on the radio as well.  I had people praying for me and sending me letters that I didn’t even know.  Rather overwhelming for a quiet teenager.

Amongst the fan fair and flowers I was starting to wilt inside.  Three days had passed since my release from bed bondage and things started getting hard.  This is when God choose to make a big move in my life, in the form of my mother.  My mother is far from perfect.  She struggled most of my childhood with depression and suicidal tendencies.  But she does love me and loves God, and God was going to use her in a mighty way. That morning she sat by my bed and said to me, “Kristi, you can feel sorry for yourself.  You have a good reason too.  No one will hold it against you.  This is a tough thing.  Then again, people that feel sorry for themselves are not very happy.  They don’t have many friends because no one likes to be around people that feel sorry for themselves all the time.  So I guess you can be that way, or you can take what you got, and let God make something beautiful out of it.  You will have a lot more fun, you will be happier, and everyone around you will enjoy being with you.”

Yes, I know that some of your jaws have hit the floor.  This seems rather harsh.  But then again when God is talking to you, you really should lesson.  From that moment on things changed.  I knew she was right.  My own mother had been a perfect example of how depression can consume the joy out of you.

When you let God do miracles He just starts performing one right after another.  God laid on me peace the size of a football field.  My attitude was so noticeably different than everyone in the ICU that they felt it necessary to send a physiatrist to examine me.  I mean everyone else on the spinal cord injury floor was on meds for depression.  They were concerned I was in denial.  After talking to me for over a half hour I am quite sure that they didn’t know what to think of me.  I should not have been that happy.  I cannot describe the peace and joy that I felt, or still feel today, because our human finite minds really can’t comprehend it.

I could go into gory detail,after gory detail of all the events that followed this, but everything comes down to this.  God is God and I am not.  He was not asleep while all this took place.  He was not unable to take proper bed measurements. God saw fit to allow an incredibly shy insecure teenager to show just how loving, powerful and big He is.

Is it a bigger miracle to heal the body or a broken soul, emotionally and spiritually?  Jesus brought up this point once before with another paraplegic much like myself, in Luke 5:23.  Jesus says, “Which is easier, to say, ’Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ’Rise up and walk’?” The real miracle was the transformation of a soul for eternity.
God heals people from the inside out, not the other way around.

The people of the day needed to see a physical miracle to give proper claim to His deity.  I think that people today need to see more than that.  We need to see miracles that defy reason and understanding.  We live in a world so preoccupied with physical comfort and appearance.  If all our bodies looked and worked perfectly, would we be happy then?  We all know the answer.  God longs to give us His joy, but how often do we choose not to take it.  We thrash out—“Why me?  Why can’t I be like her/him?  She/he has it so easy.”  That of course is always a lie from the father of lies himself.  We all have wheelchairs.  Some are seen and others are not.  What is yours?

My accident and your issues are no different.  I cannot claim the corner of the market on suffering. I don’t want you to look at me as disabled, but enabled through Christ to do all things, and go through all things. God longs to bless your socks off!  Please don’t stand in His way by looking at your wheelchair and seeing only giant mountains to push up.  Let Him lift you up on wings like eagles so you can soar over the tops of them.

My life is not ever going to be easy.  My body will never function right on many levels, not just my legs.  Will I, and do I cry sometimes?  Absolutely!  But then God fills me up again with His joy, and I can be reminded again of all His promises.  I don’t have to keep this body because it is only a temporary shell.  Someday I’ll get to turn it in for a new one, and then I’ll fly.

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17 Responses to “Kristi’s Story”

  1. Christy Garrett April 17, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    Kristi,

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are inspiring and a beautiful woman on the inside and out. I love your honesty.

    Your mom was wise beyond her years and I always try to see what God wants me to do with my own situation. While I have physical limitations, I don’t have mental or emotional limitations. I am still human and have a heart to love those who may not love me back. God is using me to help others and I believe that with all my heart.

    I have tried to change my outlook on life and try to live my life strictly for HIM because I know he is the only one who can heal me and change my thoughts, heart and feelings.

    • kristigrimm April 17, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

      I have to admit, it was hard to share my story. I didn’t want to share it to get attention but sometimes that can be a response to a story like that. I just want to give people hope. I know you can understand what I mean because that is why you started your new blog. Thank you for your comment. I really don’t talk about my accident very much, for one it was so long ago, and second it just really isn’t that important an issue to me anymore. I just pray it might help someone else. Blessings!

  2. Teddy (@MultitaskMomma) April 17, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

    Kristi,
    I am so happy that you shared your story with everyone. You are such a wonderful woman, a great friend and one of the strongest people I know. This post is so inspiring, just like you!! I am so happy I met you and we became friends!!!

    Keep it up Momma!!

    Your Mommy Friend,
    Teddy.

    • kristigrimm April 17, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

      Hey Teddy! I am so glad to have you as my friend as well.

  3. CF Winn April 17, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

    I do not have the words to describe how you have moved me. Your spirit is bigger than anything on this Earthly plane and I can only pray that one day I can be as enlightened and feel the love, joy, and peace that you enjoy most days. CHEERS to you and all whom you inspire Kristi! CHEERS x a million! You are beautiful and amazing! *clink*

    • kristigrimm April 17, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

      Your words are so kind but it is my relationship with Jesus Christ that makes me who I am. He wants to give you joy just as much. It’s not about me and all about Him my dear friend! Have a blessed evening.

  4. Rosann April 18, 2013 at 9:27 am #

    Kristi…yes! You are a bright light shining God’s glory, my friend. You have certainly turned something awful into absolute, jaw-dropping beauty. Keep on keeping on. You are doing kingdom work in your writing here. I will be sharing this with my readers because the message is SO important. Thanks for sharing your link. You’re right…it very much blessed me! 🙂

    • kristigrimm April 18, 2013 at 9:49 am #

      Thank you so much for your comment. It is sometimes hard for me to share my story. Not because I have a hard time with it, but because of the attention a story like mine can bring. I want the attention to go the the One that give me the joy. With all the sorrow that has been going around I felt God was telling me that it was time to try and bring some hope to the hurting.

  5. Theresa Higby April 19, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

    I just love the way you are so willing to share your story. God picks the most amazing people to show us His compassion and His strength. You are such an inspiration to me. Thank you.

    • kristigrimm April 20, 2013 at 11:32 am #

      Thanks Theresa! I’m so glad we met.:)

  6. David Massongill April 21, 2013 at 5:50 am #

    Kristi I am so glad I read this today. As I read this I remembered you telling me parts of this at BIOLA but not to this detail. It was a huge encouragement to me. I have been struggling alot with lies from the evil one and feeling anger over my 11 year old struggle with lyme disease. The pain gets so old and I get so tired of people not “getting it” as to what my body is going through. My body looks fine on the outside but the pain and depression at times is overbearing on the inside and people can’t see that. The transparency and truth of your story and your use of scripture really encouraged me just now and I wanted to say thanks. I have a long way to go in accepting where I am at. I have laid this at God’s feet so many times. Thanks for helping me today friend.

    Dave Massongill

    • kristigrimm April 21, 2013 at 6:13 am #

      Dave, Thank you for sharing. When I saw Bill last he told me just a little bit about your struggle. I am very sorry. To be honest sometimes it is easier to have an issue on the outside that people can see and you have to face head on. I am so very thankful that my story has blessed you. That means all the world to me.:)

  7. malia May 7, 2013 at 11:55 pm #

    You are an amazing woman and I admire your courage. I believe that things happens for a reason, and only GOD have all the answer. Stay positive and embrace life each day. Take care K and may God bless you and yours always….

    Aloha nui loa kuuipo

    Malia

    • kristigrimm May 8, 2013 at 12:04 am #

      Thank you so much for the sweet note. I really appreciate it Malia. Blessings!

  8. Jillian @ Hi! It's Jilly May 13, 2013 at 2:18 am #

    What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing it! I’m glad you were able to have a cheerful attitude. That can be such a difficult thing!

  9. Patty & Rick Davis July 16, 2013 at 3:27 am #

    Patty & Rick, Kristi you are an amazing woman, mother and wife. Your story is an inspiration to all of us. Thank you for being our friend. Love you dearly!

    • kristigrimm July 16, 2013 at 3:59 am #

      Patty & Rick- I am equally blessed by your friendship!

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