Even though I can’t remember the accident, being at LA County hospital, or my rehabilitation at Ranchos Los Amigos, I remember what I was thinking during that time. I thought I was being tricked and this was a cruel game everyone was in on—even my parents. I thought I was experiencing something like the movie The Game –and I was Michael Douglas.
My parents remind me of the real events through stories they tell about that time.
In order to go to rehab, I had to wear my body brace, neck brace, and a helmet. My parents actually went out and bought me a helmet and put foam padding in it because the hospital helmet kept falling in my face.
I didn’t want to go to rehab. It was miserable. People asked me questions constantly and, no matter how I answered, they acted like I didn’t know anything!
There were days I fought so much not wanting to wear my armor that I didn’t go to rehab.
Obviously, my parents were upset by this. Since then, they have filled me in with the real details because all I remember is my own thoughts of everyone trying to trick me. I’m fascinated how the brain is so complex and how I remember my thoughts and dreams during my recovery at the hospital, but I can’t remember the six months before.
Once, I caught my reflection in a mirror wearing my armor and I, apparently, stared into the mirror, thinking.
He explained to me I wasn’t retarded, but in a car accident and have to go through rehab. Wow. That must have been a really difficult moment for my dad.
It’s hard not to get emotional when I realize the gravity of what other people dealt with during that time. The therapists were asking me all those questions to test my cognitive ability and it wasn’t until I saw myself in that hospital equipment that I even realized something was wrong with me—and, the only reasoning I could come up with was that I must have been mentally broken.
I will never not appreciate it.
The Favorite, a family film based on true events, is set to open in theaters nationwide September 2019