Luck has nothing to do with my surviving my accident. I now serve the one and only Almighty God.
May 19, 2007… The day I can’t remember but will never forget
————————————————————————————————————————– Statistics on DUI fatalities:
In 2007, an estimated 12,998 people were killed in
alcohol-impaired driving crashes
– a decline of 3.7
percent from the 13,491 fatalities in 2006.
Despite what is known about brain injury, which isn’t much, my injury is overall some degree better than bad. What degree? To every person, the degree is different. For like every person is different, so is every definition.So are injuries, an injury that might be seen as a personal hell by one, is bearable by another. I “created” “WAY BETTER THAN BAD” an undetermined amount of time after receiving my brain injury. “better than bad” started in the hospital as a simple response to the doctors asking “how are you doing today”, or “how you how are you feeling?” Which I chose to answer honestly, seeing that I could not walk, I could talk in nothing but a whisper, and most importantly, (DUNH, DUNH, DAAA) I could not eat. Which turned out to progress for an indefinite six months.
My stubbornness paid off, though, and it wasn’t till halfway through the year 2011 that I began steadily walking. I guess that all depends on what my definition of steady is. Walking across a room with no falls.(My Definition)
That brings up another topic and so I shall digress on it. In HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital, my home away from home, where they sent me after my three months and some days hospital stay. In the physical therapy section separate from the hospital, but still part of. In there it was “recommended” to me that I should shy away from gracing the floor with my presence. Which I semi-successfully did, minus a few times. All the while something didn’t itch my head quite right.
Throughout the next four years, my maimed brain kept falling back on that question. “Why would they be so concerned with falling?” I mean, yes, there was a fair amount of uncertainty involved in the whole ordeal, but there is uncertainty involved in everything. You face uncertainty on a daily basis, every time you eat, drink, whenever you drive, and the list goes on. So again I asked, mentally, why would they be so concerned with falling? I mean babies fall all of the time when they are learning to walk.
Now “they” may say otherwise for various reasons, but the answer finally came to me. “MONEY!” Besides being the root of all evil, it stood in my way of recuperation. Now my family, being not materially with riches, had to rely on the one thing that they are wealthy with.
I am not saying that my mother or my family has loads of faith but as a whole, and individually, we have way more than not.
I shall now take you through a mix of what my memories, pictures, and what mother has told me happened on May 19, 2007. Other people might have slightly different take on this story but seeing that everyone else has a slightly different goal than my own well-being. And I believe I will stick to her version. I pray that situations, including lives, get changed.We have all been blessed. It is bad that it took me almost losing my life to fully realize that, but at the same time it’s good to be alive. Now you may be saying to yourselves, “He should have known that before the accident”. And I did know that before my accident, but, placing God on the back shelf where He doesn’t belong, I chose to go my own way. Only He allowed me to live through my “incident” as a simple reminder that only He is in control. If you are putting off turning to Him, what are you waiting for? No one really knows when their last their last minute will be.
Hello, my name is J Monroe Clo and I am the survivor of a car accident that left me to contend with a severe traumatic brain injury. I have physical limitations and am not the same person as I once was. But I still consider myself fortunate and blessed. I have the way better than bad life and have been granted a second chance simply to tell my story in hopes that someone will be saved. I choose to thank God instead of cursing Him. Everything, like how we respond to negative situations, is a choice. A night of what seemed like fun turned into many nights in the emergency room of UVA hospital.This is my story…
This pic was taken on the spring of 2007 on the Blue Ridge Pkwy. The year of my accident, the accident that saved my life… In more ways than one. First you have the literally saved, you know. Alive/dead. I am now a Christian so that would be the other way my accident saved me. Brain injured and spilled out. Only the Lord really knows how many times I could’ve died so the number is up there, a good deal more than two.
Having dropped out of school in 2001, I was not furthering my education and was barely employed, laying carpet with a friend. Despite many options given I was simply living life by the day with the “good-enough” mentality. I remember, but I don’t, the uneasy feeling that comes with everything. Although I cannot remember what they were, many concerns plaguing my head, but all could be grouped into four categories: money, drugs, food, and females.
The Cunningham school in the County of Fluvanna during my kindergarten year. My mother raised me in the church. I went to open-door Christian school until ninth-grade. So I knew right from wrong. I believed in Jesus. I think I went around wanting to be liked by everyone. From an early age, I went fishing, hunting, played soccer, and did the usual Fluvanna country boy things– except I am willing to bet that none of you ran away from school in the second grade.
Here you will see a picture of my grandfather, Lionel Clowater and I. Just by the look on his face I can tell he’s whispering some tall tale. Overall my family loved me so that wasn’t the reason for the drinking or the attitude. But more and more, I began going through the motions of being a “good Christian boy”. I knew the right things to say and do in public, but my imagination was going in the opposite direction.
The next pic is one of the few pictures I have of my earthly father. If it wasn’t for those pictures I wouldn’t of been able to tell that I was darker than light. No but seriously I didn’t remember a whole host of things, like my dad dying when I was 18. It was and is still hard to remember details about him. For close to five years I barely even remembered I had a father. Instead of vivid memories I have still frame snapshots like this one.
Speaking of still frame snapshots, my mother took this one of me and my cousin. I’ve been to Canada about five or six times but cannot remember it and it is only pictures like this that help me fill in the blanks.
This is me with my friend Alejandro in Mexico. I went there about 4 or 5 times on vacation, but if it wasn’t for this pic I wouldn’t remember that either. Memories get stolen from you. This Is the last picture I have in my possession of the happenings of all the memories that I have lost between then and…
My prom picture in which I rented a zuit suit with my own money. I don’t remember prom as I don’t remember Sarah Beecher, the girl I went with. By this time, I was involved in drinking, smoking, and drugs.
On May 19, 2007, moonshine and cocaine had me very distracted. I was over at a friend’s house in Crozet. When we were done “partying”, I decided to drive home to my house roughly 40 minutes away. The result is what you see here. Do not leave here thinking that this could never happen to you. One of the reasons I lived through my accident so you can hear my story, and learn from it. Do not feel sorry for me, just learn.
Like I was saying, I was a half an hour away driving home after midnight. I should never have been driving in the shape I was in. Halfway down I 64 just where it overpasses 250 I blacked out, swerved off the road into the center strip, and the passenger side of the car slammed into a Cedar tree. Since I did not wear my seatbelt, having stopped at the age of ?, I slid over from the driver’s side to the passenger side of the vehicle and my head hit the tree. Cedar is some degree harder than soft wood. My mother had always said that I was hardheaded. Problem was: the tree was harder.
The cops found me there and an ambulance rush me off to UVA hospital. Nobody expecting me to survive. I remained minimally responsive for about a month. In this picture the head strap did what my neck could not, because of muscular atrophy. I cannot remember this part, nor do I want to.
Like I said, I was in a medically induced coma for three weeks here I am coming out. People tell me I am lucky. I stopped them and say luck has nothing to do with this. I am alive because God preserved me… Because He loved me… And He loves all of you, maybe someone in this crowd would hear me and because of that, will make a better decision than I.
At That time they had to deal with my brain swelling, seizures, and pneumonia. My wild night at a friend’s house led to many wild nights in the UVA hospital room. No food for six months, I had to sit and watch this pasty stuff go into my belly through a tube. Now I have two belly buttons and you just have one.
The tree demolish the passenger side, where Budweiser is still riding shotgun. Notice the driver side looks like a car still. If I had worn my seatbelt, maybe I would’ve broken something. But I would not have a brain injury as severe as I do.
What happened to me can happen to anyone… But people like me will live recklessly, drinking, doing drugs, and then getting into a car, are more likely to meet their own Cedar tree. Put your trust in the Lord. The key word is, if you survive an accident such as mine you have choices in front of you. On the one hand, you can keep trying to get back something you used to have. On the other, you can go forward into a new life with its own possibilities.
Upon waking up in the hospital I knew who I was but did not know why I was there. After a few weeks I grew weary of answering the doctors’ and nurses’ ever so common questions of “how are you feeling today?” with the usual “half-truths” with such answers that usually follow, because that’s what they were. Lies. I mean how is a fellow supposed to answer that question given the circumstance I found myself in. I couldn’t walk, couldn’t eat, and could barely talk, not to mention the severe, closed traumatic brain injury. After mulling this question over for what seemed like two weeks but was more like a month.
My broken head lighted on a particular TV show I used to watch with my cousin James called “Ren & Stimpy”.
And on this show they had a particular Log song that goes, “It’s Log, Log, it’s big, it’s heavy, it’s wood.” And ends with “It’s Log, Log, it’s better than bad, it’s good!”. Well I dropped the whole nonsense pertaining to logs, “it’s good” from the end, and replied, “Better than bad” to every question of how I felt. I placed “Way” in front simply for drama’s sake. Later I made my Email reflect that by placing WayBTB front part of the email to read “WayBTB@….com”.