45 Year Old TBI Disabled Single Father Seeks To Provide Better For His Son
by Joseph DelliGatti
(Reno, Nevada, USA)
Me and My Boy
I'm a 45-year-old father of a 17-year-old son. I'm the product of a very dysfunctional family, where abuse both mentally and physically was prevalent.
In the years that I was growing up, it was not the most enjoyable time of my life. Both my mother and father beat me physically. The emotional scars are still present.
When I was 14 years old, my father beat me so severely that I was just inches from losing my life. That incident pretty much altered the course of my life forever.
The remaining few years of being a teenager were difficult at best. I encountered a lot of emotional and physical difficulties, and I never really felt comfortable within my own skin.
I had real issues with trusting, loving, and ultimately withdrew from all social interactions.
Over time until I reached my early twenties, I felt as though I was just taking up space, and had no real guidance or direction.
One day with no real explanation, I decided that I wanted to enroll in a community college and learn about medicine.
From the very beginning, I discovered that I enjoyed the process of learning about something that I knew nothing about.
After I reached completion of the course in Emergency Medicine, I was granted a license to become an Emergency Medical Technician.
I immediately sought work in the field, and landed a job almost immediately. It seemed that I had finally found my true calling, and relished the opportunity.
After spending almost 2 years working, I wanted to increase my knowledge, so I enrolled into Paramedic school.
This was a very difficult venture, as it required a lot of time and way more knowledge than I ever could have expected.
I spent a considerable amount of time learning all the aspects of this potential career upgrade, and with the effort and hard work I put into it, it paid off handsomely.
I became certified as a Paramedic, and began working almost immediately within an urban 911 system.
I was exposed to things most people could not imagine. I had so much life and death come through my hands that it was mind-boggling.
One day four and half years into my career, I was working up a critically wounded patient in the back of the ambulance.
I was unrestrained and moving about the compartment, trying to save this guy's life.
As we were going through an intersection en-route to the trauma center, a car broadsided us.
The force of the impact was so great that I was thrown about the interior compartment of the ambulance and rendered unconscious.
I woke up 9 weeks later in an Intensive Care Unit with no recollection of the events.
I had sustained my 2nd traumatic brain injury within a 10-year time frame.
Because of my injuries from this accident, and the prior head trauma as a teenager, my career was effectively over before it really went anywhere.
I am a survivor of 2 traumatic brain injuries, that left me in comas of 12 weeks, and 9 weeks, within a 10-year time frame.
I have numerous orthopedic issues with my shoulders and back, and I have had over 30 corrective surgeries through the years.
I suffer from depression, and am dealing with diminished cognitive abilities everyday.
I have been deemed 100% disabled by Social Security, and that brings me no joy, as it limits what I can do, and prevents or eliminates me from gainful employment.
My biggest hardship is that I am a single father trying to raise a teenage son. I do not have the financial means to ensure that he is cared for properly, and feel as though I am a failure as a parent.
I want better for my son than what I had growing up, and I cannot achieve that.
Although my son has a really good understanding of what his father's life was like growing up, and the residual issues that have followed me, I do not feel that he should be punished for how my life is turning out.
I want to be able to see him happy, and know that what he projects on the outside, is not what he is feeling on the inside.
My earning potential is non-existent, because of the many physical ailments that I have.
Over the years I have tried to work doing whatever was available to me, but it always ended faster than it started, because of my limitations.
I am thankful that I receive Social Security Disability, however it's not enough to be able to care for myself let alone trying to raise my son.
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