Our Stories

The Power of Motivation

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Gino Vos

I wish that nobody would have to live through what I experienced without guidance.

My name is Eugene Vos. Born in Seattle in 1958. I was a very athletic and active child as well as artistic and creative. When I was in the 4th grade I was reading novels, and writing constantly. In the 6th grade I wrote, directed and acted in a play at the school I attended. I organized school football games after school and was the assistant coach of the girls’ basketball team.

I changed in my teens into a bit of a renegade. I think I was bored of school. At age 16 I dropped out of school and joined the Laborers Union so I could use my strength in the construction industry. By age 20 I fathered a son and I was proud of myself. 10 years later I fathered a daughter and once again I was a proud dad. Soon after she was born the mother of my children decided to move on to a different direction in life which didn’t include me. I eventually took custody of both kids and we moved 30 miles south of Seattle.

Then in 2005 my life changed in a flash. Driving home from dinner with a friend, a deer jumped out in the road. I swerved and we hit a tree. I suffered a dissected Aorta and needed to be airlifted. I died a few times but they were able to restart my heart. I went into surgery immediately.

I woke up with a tube in my throat not knowing what had happened. My feet felt like they were in ice water and I couldn’t move my legs. My right forefinger was broken and my right eye was shut. I also suffered a severed vocal cord. I had suffered massive blood loss resulting in lack of oxygen which rendered me paralyzed from the waist down. I’m in the fight of my life.

I was in ICU for 4 days and then upgraded and moved to another room for 6 days. The surgeon told me that this is a new life since I was not expected to have survived. I did have some sensation but was told that I would most likely not be able to walk again.

After 10 days, I was moved to a rehab hospital. This is where I was able to get my inner power to fight my condition. I was determined to walk. After a few weeks, I’m up in a cardiac walker swinging my hips to move my legs. I grunt and groan and use my upper body strength to hold myself up. I did not give up. The hospital staff was very impressed and asked me to talk to two new patients and I did. I was feeling my power now.

After 5 weeks in rehab I was released to go home. Within 2 weeks I was at the gym strapping my legs together and forcing my legs to peddle the bike using my hands. I needed to keep my brain connected to my legs.

3 months go by and I started getting movement in my legs which created more motivation. 1 year later I forced myself out of my wheel chair and into a walker wearing knee braces. This was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life. It took months to walk a thousand feet. I started swimming at a pool which I still do today. After 2 years, the wheel chair is parked. 1 year later I park my walker and have been in forearm crutches ever since.

I did all of this with pure determination and motivation realizing that emotions and depression can be kept under control. The chronic pain that I suffer is no fun. I use distraction to ignore it. Deep breathing also works as it sends oxygen throughout the body and calms the nerves.

I was on Social Security disability until 2007 when I decided to go back to work. I am a research analyst in the construction industry. I have been working with PT students at the University of Puget Sound for 11 years. I have spoken there and at another college. I am involved in the chronic pain study at the University of Washington. I have just finished a motivational book and  I am ready to publish. I wish that nobody would have to live through what I experienced without guidance. I have written a very powerful tool from what my doctor and the PT instructors have told me. They have all read my draft. If I get 1 person out of their wheel chair, I have succeeded. My doctor claims I am a testament to the challenge of paralysis.

The injury that I have battled for over a decade has changed my life dramatically and I now see things from a different view. I believe that at age 58 my purpose is to pass my life experiences and knowledge to the next generation so they can use it to better their lives and that of their children. Life is a learning experience and we are here for a very short time.

I look forward to becoming a motivational speaker in the future.