"I live in the now."
Amar Sandhu and his wife, Ammol, were traveling on the I-45 North feeder road when they were hit from behind. As Amar got out of his vehicle to assess the damage, he was hit by another car and thrown over his truck. Both legs were broken, one a compound fracture; nine ribs were broken and his lung was punctured; he had a cut above his left eye; and he had injuries to his skull and vertebrae.
"I don't recall being hit," he says, "just landing very hard on the road."
At Ben Taub Hospital, Amar had three surgeries to repair his skull and both legs. He required a brace for his back, an external fixator for his right leg, a chest tube to drain his lung and an epidural for pain.
He spent two weeks at Ben Taub and another two weeks at Quentin Mease Hospital for physical therapy. "The care was amazing. The nurses and doctors were so positive. I needed that. I had lots of questions, and they answered them all."
Ammol says, "The people at Ben Taub haven't forgotten why they became doctors and nurses."
Amar is a long-time member of Alcoholics Anonymous, so it was important for him to have as little pain medication as possible. AA taught him a lot about how he wants to live his life. Material things, for instance, are of little importance to him. Sobriety and learning to communicate better are important.
"I'm blessed to have survived this accident," he says. "At my first doctor's appointment, I had to decide to let the doctor be in charge of my physical recovery. As far as getting back to normal, I'm finding a new normal."
Ben Taub caregivers were a huge help. One of his evening nurses convinced Amar he could move around more. "He was my nurse for just one night, but he made things happen." Michael Segal, a patient liaison and Ben Taub's chief encourager, also visited. They helped Amar find the strength to make a full recovery.
He's working hard at it. He exercises with a personal trainer, plays competitive pickle ball (a paddle sport with elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis) and hopes to participate in the 2019 BP MS150.
On a personal level, "I used to live in the past or future. Since this accident, I live in the now," he says.