My life has been one, long, on-going adventure. It started in the early 80s when I enlisted in the US Army and began a 20-year career. What I’ve discovered over the years, particularly when I reflect on my life, is that there are turning points. These turning points are those actions that cause a move from one place, one person, or one attitude for another. This change, in my experience, has always been better for myself and those around me at the time.
Once such turning point came in August of 2003. One morning, I awoke and complained to my wife at the time that it felt like I had dislocated my hip. She got up and immediately called a doctor and I was set up for a meeting on a Monday morning. When I went to the doctor, he mentioned that I had been in for numerous visits concerning my lower back. In light of this, he recommended that I get an MRI and have it analyzed by a neurologist.
A few weeks later I got the results. They felt it was a herniated disc. The doctor upon receiving the results felt it might be a little more and sent me on my way to a neurosurgeon, who, in his opinion, would have a better idea of what might be going on. I met with this neurosurgeon about a week or so after that.
When I met with the neurosurgeon, I was surprised by the small office. I figured a neurosurgeon had to make a lot of money and would have all kinds of staff running around, a large office with all kinds of books, and a large desk with all of his degrees on the wall behind him. This wasn’t the case. To my surprise, his office was small, because he was never in it. He was one of many doctors in this office complex who split their time between this small little office and an operating room in the nearby hospital.
When I settled into my chair, the doc showed me a model of a human spine. He showed me what discs were affected and what he proposed to do, to alleviate me from the pain I had been experiencing for over a month. He also had me take a look at the pictures of my MRI, showing me what a normal disc looked like, compared to the distorted pictures of my discs in the MRI pictures. Obviously, I agreed to surgery. I was in a lot of pain, and my discs, the two largest discs in my back, were ruptured, with fragments of them drifting about. The doc told me the key problem is the lower disc, which has been rubbing on the nerve bundle that runs down the left leg, called the Sciatic nerve.
After my surgery, the pain was gone, but I had lost some feeling in my left leg. This was caused by the nerve damage the disc had done to that nerve bundle. It rubbed a hole in this bundle of nerves and did damage to them that would take a long time to heal. In light of this surgery and the result, my Army career was over. I opted to retire and put in my retirement paperwork when I hit my 20 years in October of 2004.
This turn of events also motivated me to go to school to get a degree before I retired. I was laid up for some time and had plenty of time on my hands. I earned a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree before I left the Army and got a great job with a prestigious firm in Los Angeles. Because of this move, so many things have unfolded.
This turn of events motivated me to get a degree, motivated me to retire, and motivated me to work in a field that was highly lucrative, which is why today at the young age of 53 I was able to retire and truly pursue what I love—writing. There are many more of these turning points throughout the last 12 years since my Army retirement. Interestingly, when the decision was made to leave the Army and go to work in the civilian sector, a calmness overtook my life, like a recognition that I had done the right thing. Have you ever experienced a turning point like this? A point which resulted in a major change in your life where the situation you found yourself was monumentally better than the situation you were in previously? If so, comment here. I’d love to hear your story.
Until next time…