Kendell 

To play, press and hold the enter key. To stop, release the enter key.

press to zoom
press to zoom
press to zoom
press to zoom
press to zoom
press to zoom
press to zoom
press to zoom
press to zoom
press to zoom
press to zoom
press to zoom
press to zoom
press to zoom
press to zoom
press to zoom

My “Road to Recovery” was much like my little sister, Andrea. Considering the fact that my mother was a single parent of two children critically injured in a gas explosion accident; it was imperative that one of us was more independent before we could be admitted home. Since I was the oldest  and the male, I was encouraged to take that role. My physical therapy sessions were much more vigorous than those my sister had to endure. My therapist was really determined to help me fulfill that dominant role. What would be a day of picking up small items like Cheetos for Andrea, would be a more in depth exercise like forcefully bending my fingers to make a fist. 

Shriner’s Hospital has apartment styled living spaces within the hospital where victims would live with their parents to help them get better acquainted with the concept of living back at home. I was the first of me and my sister to live in this type of housing  with our mother. It was extremely beneficial with expediting my recovery process, but I recall many times walking down the halls and seeing my younger sister still in the Intensive Care Unit. At this point she was able to talk and interact with people around her, but she still relied heavily on feeding tubes and other equipment to help her survive. She would look at me with such a piercing sensation in her eyes that I often led me to believe that she hated me. However, I knew that wasn’t the case; she was simply tired of being compelled to that hospital bed and dependent on the hospital equipment. At that point, all I wanted was for my little sister to be able to get up and maneuver freely, just like me.

I honestly never slumped in my situation. Of course, there were days that were mentally and physically challenging for me. However, I would free myself of any self imposed depression and quickly uplift my spirits and keeping myself busy. Shortly after being home, I wore a mask on my face to heal the scars that the gas explosion had left me with. I remember one day, I entered a convenient store with my mask on. The store clerk got really scared and loudly demanded that I take the mask off my face. She must’ve thought I was playing a game or trying to rob the store. That particular incident made me feel extremely uneasy and from that point on I stopped wearing my mask altogether.  I went on to play football, basketball and indulging in many of the activities that the other young boys my age enjoyed.

Today, I am a father of two joyful little children. Yet, my “Road to Recovery” hasn’t ended and my scars are a constant reminder of that. Every day has its challenges because just as my sister says, “our scars are new to new people”.  However, I keep my head held high and proactively tackle each challenge just as I did during my healing process.