In mid-April, 2006, a flyer arrived at my home. Usually, it would have ended up in the recycle bin or got plopped upon my table already laden with inches of read later mail. I am not sure of why this particular flyer caught my interest but it did! Being in a rather procrastinating frame of mind, to my own surprise, I telephoned the number provided and, after an initial hit and miss, I met with Assistant Instructor Nate Patterson, whom I called Nate, not knowing the proper protocol. The rest is history, a history still to be written….but it will be of a most positive nature, I am certain!

Just for some background, in October of 2005, I had a rather severe fall. My dogs, who are escape artists, with a combined weight of about 120 lbs., and who, after having been retrieved by me and put into their harnesses, (I had wrapped the leashes around my wrist to get a better hold and held the leashes very taut) pulled/dragged me hard on the way home. Having no leverage as I was wearing improper shoes, I went down unto the asphalt when they saw a dog across the street. I just could not free my wrist in time so I fell into the street with my right arm outstretched but I don’t remember much from that point on.

I was in a comatose state (as I was told later on…little solace… my beloved dogs sat right beside me and barked at everyone coming near), until, some time later, an ambulance arrived. I did suffer hematomas, brain contusions/concussions, bruised right side of my body, as well as a fractured humerus (at the shoulder), and brain damage. Black eye (I look good in purple but green and yellow…hmmm…not my color), hematomas all along my right side but luckily, no fracture of hip or wrist. After a few days in the hospital, arm/shoulder immobilized, I was stuck at home, unable to drive anywhere on my own, dependent upon some medical home care services my insurance provided, the kindness of friends and my children. I followed a regimen of go see this doctor, this neurologist, this orthopedic physician, go there, do that, don’t do that…but eventually, I had to discontinue the physical therapy ordered due to expenses that my budget did not allow (I am a retired employee of our local school system).

In March of 2006, after suffering a series of mini-strokes (paralyzing the entire left side of my body), again, I was hospitalized. Ct. Scans showed bleeding on the brain, to put it into non-medical terms. Another cat scan, MRI, angiogram, etc. were done but finally, I was discharged with undetermined cause. There I was, once again, without permission to operate my vehicle, with a rather high level of cholesterol to boot….all bad (even the good one). I was prescribed a statin-based drug. After two weeks, I could not even hold a postage stamp. I discontinued taking the drug and still shudder at the thought of having taken it. Next visit the doctor brought diagnosis of osteoarthritis, something I had not heard about before, in addition to other medical problems, i.e. high blood (long treated and controlled) pressure. I also have a benign brain tumor (Acoustic Neuroma) which affects my ability to hear in my right ear but mostly, it affects my balance….and then, there was the matter of neglected teeth needing repair…on and on it seemed to go. I wondered, it had been 40 plus years since I had been hospitalized (last was when I delivered my youngest child)…. What gives, I asked myself? My morale was at a very, very low point!

Back to the positive part though. After waddling in (I had left my cane in the car) to the school of Oom Yung Doe and having met with who was to become my future instructor, it was an almost instant decision on my part to participate in the two months program offered.

Now, after two months of almost daily sessions….What can I say? With the guidance and teaching of two Assistant Instructors, as well as input from a visiting instructor at a higher level, with support of fellow students, friends, even family members, the range of motion in my shoulder is near where it should be, my balance has improved, my skin no longer has that sallow hue, muscles are regenerating, my balance has improved, my overall health has as well… perhaps even better than before (many days, I feel like I am in my mid-thirties rather than in my sixth decade of life). I no longer waddle and can skip down the aisles at my local grocery store. Better still, my energy level is higher than ever, my outlook is positive. The response I am receiving from others is absolute amazement and positive feedback.

The best yet though, after having lost a granddaughter in 2004 (she could only be with us for three or so weeks) I now can scoop up and hold my new 18 month old granddaughter. We go for walks, stepping on cracks (she calls them quacks), feed the fish in my goldfish pond, toss balls for touchdowns, and act silly as grandmothers are allowed to do.

I still freeze up and wander in circles when I become frustrated (the latter word that really is banished from my instructor’s vocabulary) but, in my estimation and, though not totally mastered, I can do some movements which I, previously, thought of as impossible.

Still, I have to work on calming my mind, abandon some self-destructive habits of long-standing. It may take a long time to achieve true balance of mind and body so to achieve harmony in my life. LIFE IS GREAT where I am now and once again, enjoyable! Perhaps it was divine intervention. I am not particularly religious but I believe, it may well have been.

Just recently, I extended my association with the School of Oom Yung Doe in Largo and signed up for the senior degree program, not so much to obtain a degree but to keep in focus and learn the discipline that will keep me on track and on the right road. Challenges are ahead but, in my mind, I could not have chosen a better investment for the future to improve my physical and mental health


Mind, Body, Harmony!

Sigrun Sigi Donegan Largo, Florida June 2006