Through My Eyes

By Moshua Rivera • October 7, 2015

I was born on December 4th, 1990 in Jacksonville, North Carolina to two wonderful parents, Iris and Ernesto Rivera. I was told that the first year of my life was lived in the trailer park, but I don't remember any of that of course. Lots of my memories were made where I grew up for 12 years. It was in a neighborhood down at the west end of Galveston called Jamaica Beach. I lived there until 2004, then the parents decided that it was time to move. Ever since I was little I never really struggled in making friends. I didn't have a bunch, but at least I was able to make a little handful. My parents, especially my dad taught us to respect others. We later found a house located in Santa Fe, Texas. One of the good things about this place that my family came to realize quickly was that everyone seemed to be very friendly and laid back. Our neighbors are very friendly as well. I missed the first day of high school because I decided to go on a trip up to New Jersey with my dad. The trip was to go grab an ice cream truck and drive it back. That took way longer than we had expected do to some mechanical issues.

My first day of high school is here. For once I had realized what it felt like to be "The new kid". I didn't have any trouble at all making friends in high school, even with being the new kid. I actually got into a band pretty quickly. They found out I was a drummer and really wanted one that could play. I've been playing the drums since I was about six years old. I used to play at my church back when I was nine, but we decided to move on. I got my sense of rhythm from my mom. She's played the congas since I could remember.

At 15 years old, and anticipating getting my licence, I was able to get a great running truck for $1,000. The truck belonged to my friend Beau. and the reason why he was selling it was that he had gotten a new truck. Ever since I was very little my life was about cars and music. My dad has been taking me to car shows since I was very little. I always loved buying Hot Wheels, and playing racing video games.

After I had gotten my license, I had my fun for a while. If you wanna have fun you're gonna need gas money. So it was time for me to get a job. My first job was at McDonalds. I was set to be the burger man. I was the one that cooked the patties. That job lasted for about a week and a half. I really enjoyed doing the job.

The Last Day Of Me

It was the day March 19th, 2008, It was my day off from work. I was woken up by a phone call from my dad. He called because his truck ran out of gas on the highway. It was a good thing he wasn't but a few miles away. After I had taken the gas to him, we started heading back to the house. He had already been on his way out by the time I was getting out of my truck. "Have a nice day dad, bye" I said. "I'll see you later on son I love you" My dad says. "I love you to dad" I replied. As I watched his truck drive away, not a single thought came to my mind about how my life was about to change in a big way, and I was not prepared for it.

A Leap In My Timeline

I woke up after a bad dream feeling pretty scared. I was in a dark room in an unfamiliar place. "Mom, Dad?" I said in panic. "Joshua? Are you alright?" asked a soft voice. "Where are my parents? Where am I at?" I asked. "Just go back to sleep, everything is okay" she tells me. "Okay" I say as I lay my head down swiftly falling back to sleep. The next morning arrives as my monitor wakes me up. "Good morning Josh, did you sleep well?" he asks. "I think so, I had a bad dream" I told him. "Well come on it is time for breakfast" he says. First we need to get you washed up and ready" he said. He helped me with getting dressed, putting toothpaste on my toothbrush along with getting the tooth brush wet, and the other things included with preparing for the day. We went to the cafeteria and waited on the cart that brings us our food. When we receive our food he began to feed me like a parent would a small child, (Keep in mind that I'm just going wi! th it at this point, because I have no idea what is going on). Every morning during breakfast one of the staff members would come and interview me. They would ask me questions like "Joshua do you know why you are here?" Another question they would ask me would be "What do you remember about your accident?" I would usually reply back with "Going to sleep, then waking up here". That was the best answer that I could give them at the time. After breakfast we were off to our daily routine. A couple of therapy sessions, lunch, then my favorite part of the day which was called 'Hang Time'. Hang Time was a lot of fun because we got to do different activities or even go out. For my memory and speech I was in speech therapy. I had problems with remembering little things and my speech was not the best. I would slur my words every so often. The exercises really helped me. For helping me getting off my wheel chair to re-learn how to balance myself so I could walk again there was physical therapy. Physical therapy was my least favorite and the most painful. The whole time I was trying to stretch a muscle that wouldn’t stretch without surgical help. I had cognitive therapy to help me retrain my arms and hands. Occupational therapy helped me relearn how to do the things that I needed daily. After a couple of months have passed it was finally time to move on to the next level of the recovery process.

Home?

Just when I thought that next step was gonna take me home, it actually landed me in another recovery center that was called the Transitional Learning Center. My parents told me that I still need more time to become more independent. I still went on with the same daily routines as I did back in the other rehabilitation center. The only difference is that there is a bit less of the assistance around, and more intense on the rehab. I had great therapists all around that helped me out in different areas. One of the things that I liked about this place was that it was closer to home. Therefore it made it rather easy for my family to visit on weekends. Hurricane season was about to end for the year, but Galveston was about to catch the worst of it. A hurricane that went by the name Hurricane Ike was in the Gulf and was making it's way toward our direction. We got word that they are issuing a mandatory evacuation for Galveston and Galveston County. The next morning arrives and we are moving quickly to get some clothes packed for the road. "Where are we going?" I asked."We are going to Conroe to stay at a camp site for the night until the storm passes" says Mrs. Zelma. The next morning arrives. Ron, a staff member comes into the cabin. "I have news about whats going on" he started with. "Our facilities in Galveston are flooded. The good news is that there is a T.L.C in Lubbock that is letting us accommodate some rooms for the time being". Back on the road after breakfast. The ride was a lot longer than I thought it would be. After we had gotten there we get assigned to our temporary dorm rooms. It was easy getting acquainted with the staff from this facility.

On the following Monday we had started with our daily routine again. While I was up there I had some great experiences, and met some great people as well. Lubbock also had some interesting places to visit. On Halloween it was finally time for me to transfer back. They sent me with my speech therapist to fly back down to Houston. She was going to meet up with her parents who live in Houston. Not too much longer after we had gotten off the plane we had found her parents, which were very lovely people. "Your ride should almost be here Josh" Said Jane Ann.

When we had finally met up with Demetria which is who was taking me back to the Galveston crew, we went ahead and grabbed my suitcase and started to walk back to the Suburban. "So where are we staying at now?" I asked. "We made some connections with an old folks home in League City" she replied. The good part about where we were staying was that it wasn't too far from my home. Do to that I was able to see and hang out with my family more often. So after getting back in to my daily routine, physical therapy was probably the worse for me. The reason why it was so bad was because do to my head injury the muscle in my left leg had spasms causing it to be unbelievably tight. I had surgery to give me some help stretching it thankfully. On December 19th I graduated out of the program. The rehabilitation was not over yet even though I was back home. My parents would walk me up and down the street to help me get my walking back in order. I also needed to build up endurance and get my balance back. A teacher from the high school comes to my house to ask me if I wanted to get back into school. She had first started with explaining to me the connections they have made, and also the assistance I will be receiving. I gave her a big yes to getting back in school. "Are you sure about this?" asks my mom. "Yes" I said looking back at her. " I want to graduate. I want to be able to feel great about myself walking across that stage on my graduation" I said. "Well okay then!" says Ms. Crawford happily. I finished the rest of the remaining semester, and followed with Summer school. I had to stay for two more years to regain my credits back. Soon enough I had found myself walking across the football field in my cap & gown as they called my name!

It has been well over seven years since my life took a huge turn. I would have to say that when my life took a turn, it was almost like taking a shortcut that you're not at all familiar with. You have no clue about how rough the terrain will be. Well that is the way it went for me. However when you're in this certain situation the best thing to do is to remain with a positive attitude, a great state of mind, and a great outlook on the future.

Graduation has passed and I am happy! The only thing that had been on my mind was the question,"What now?" The first place I ended up going after high school was a school called 'Criss Cole'. That was a school intended for me to try becoming very independent. It is based in Austin, Texas. When you arrive for orientation, you are given a bag with some tools that are used daily. The other thing they want you to have is a Straight Cane. It's a lighter, but stronger cane than one of the normal folding ones you would see me using. It is a major requirement that you use this cane during module time. Some things inside that bag included was a sleeping mask that you are required to wear during module hours.

Fast forward the clock a few months. I have decided to leave Criss Cole and I had been given the opportunity to go to college. The cool part about it is that it would be paid for, books and classes. I love doing things on the computer and tweaking with the sound equalizer to get that perfect sound. So I figured why not go to college for Audio Engineering. Alvin Community College had a similar program for what I wanted to do. The only thing was that I lacked in transportation. My parents had both told me that they do what they could to try and make it work. So of course I needed to get my basics out of the way first. I got some basics done,but by that time I had done some thinking. I thought I'd shoot for a different career, Psychology. That only lasted for semester.

Fast forward the clock a couple more years and now I have been given the opportunity to get a job. I ended up getting a job as a 'Donation Attendant' at Goodwill. I passed my 90 day probation period! The reason why that is a big accomplishment for me is because before my accident, the amount of work experience was just from a week of working at McDonalds. That landed around the same time I had that accident.

I wrote this story to hopefully inspire people out there. I just wanted you to know that even when life doesn't go as planned. it's not over.

Just in case you were wondering what happened. On March 19th, 2008 I suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of my truck falling on my head. Everything in my life changed after this occurred. If I can make the best of things after something like this happening I know that you can do anything too. My life may never be the same, but hey at least I still have it.

God bless everyone!

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