Survival Of The Non-Fittest #6: This is Survival Of The Non-Fittest

It’s the second week after Molly’s car crash. She fell asleep driving her car. Bad timing for a siesta … I’ll tell you that.

One time I fell asleep driving a VW Bug on the highway, in the wide open spaces between San Antonio, Texas and the border of Mexico. I fell asleep … and woke up just as I left the highway and started driving onto the desert. That woke me up.! Scared the you know what out of me. I turned around and went back to San Antonio. It was a smart move!

I tell this story because, let’s face it, how many of us have fallen asleep … just for an instant … while we were driving a car?

Most of us have had that experience, right?

Here is a picture of Molly’s car that shows the roof that crushed her head. Look at the steering wheel!


This was one of those times when falling asleep while driving didn’t work out so well because Molly was now in the intermediate intensive care ward at Stanford.

She was the last person in a shared room with 3 other people, so she got the only open spot in the room, which was in the front, closest to the doorway. Around her bed, there was a set of those hospital curtains they use like walls, to make temporary rooms, and to give privacy to whomever is in them. There was nothing to look out at … there was no out. Just curtain walls.

As I mentioned before, Molly was fresh from her week at the hospital where she was first taken to, and fresh from two very invasive surgeries. She was drugged out from the anesthesia, and the backside of two back-to-back surgeries, plus the opiate based pain medication they had her on. She told me that she was very alone with her thoughts during this time, and that she was thankful she had not taken anyone with her in the accident. No other cars were involved and no one else was injured.

Molly never lost her ability to speak … so I guess you could add that to the list of movements she was capable of. She could shrug her shoulder, wiggle her nose, move her lips and she could talk. It was a very short list.

For the most part, the nurses in intermediate intensive care were used to taking care of people who didn’t say much, and who certainly didn’t express their points of view, or give input or feedback or direction about their care. People in the hospital, in general, and especially intensive care, tend to be somewhat subdued, submissive, and sort of comatose while they recuperate from whatever trauma they have experienced.

Molly could talk though, and one of the first things she said as she began to come out from sleeping all the time, was to ask if she could be moved to one of the window beds if and when one opened up. To have someone like Molly, who spoke up even though she was in such a compromised state, and who was also so in touch with her body, was unusual for the staff.

After the first two days, Molly asked the doctors and nurses to stop giving her pain medication because she didn’t need it, or want it.

The medical staff did not agree with it, thought she was wrong, and did their best to talk her out of it. Molly stood her ground and insisted they take her off the pain meds, so they did … reluctantly.

Molly was right however. She knew her own body and system better than anyone, and wanted to follow her own knowledge, understanding and intuition, which she knew she could trust. She was also absolutely clear that the doctors were completely wrong about her prognosis. She had years of practice and experience, accessing and working with her own body and mind connection.

To both Molly and I, she has been the perfect person to go through this challenging experience, so that she could bring important information forth that so many others would benefit from.

Stanford is a teaching hospital. Within the first few days of Molly’s being there, a doctor showed up at Molly’s bedside with 3 students. They began to discuss Molly’s condition and prognosis, referring to her as the spinal cord injury. No name … no physical contact, and no recognition or acknowledgment of her, the person lying there. The doctor wanted to do some pain tests to show the students how Molly had no feelings. Of course … he had one of those pins to stab her with, and as he started to aim for a very sensitive area, the following conversation took place:

Molly: STOP! Please don’t jab me with that pin. It’s not even sterile. I am not a number or a spinal cord injury. I would prefer that you connect with me, and treat me like I am a person with thoughts and feelings. My name is Molly.

Doctor: Sorry (Quite embarrassed and turning several shades of red, he turned around and left with his students in tow) He never came back. Sad isn’t it?

Oh no … they were not used to people like Molly.

After a couple of days, one of the window spots opened up, and Molly was moved. You would not believe how she responded immediately and brightened up … from the light. She was delighted and so happy to see the sun and trees and the outside!

A number of people have contacted me, and I want to thank you all for your generous support and comments. My email address is readily available on this website where this blog lives, so anyone and everyone is welcome to contact me.

Some of the comments I have received are from people who want to know more about some of the deeply personal and emotional territory that I have only touched on so far. I will definitely talk more about these topics in the future, but it’s too early in the story to go any further into them now. It would be like jumping to the end … from the beginning.

First, I wanted to describe and share some of the important background and the history of events, and the many and diverse things that have happened which became the catalysts and vehicles for so much personal expansion and growth for both Molly and I individually, and for us both collectively as a couple.

Remember, I am only in the 2nd week after Molly’s accident in this blog so far. Many things happened that pushed me way beyond my normal edge and comfort zone. So many radical and unexpected things that I had no preparation or training for.

Yet … it has been out of those unexpected challenges that I have experienced some the most profound growth and understanding in my life.

If you are new to this blog and have not yet seen the film documentary made about Molly and I called Moment By Moment, you can see it here: MOMENT BY MOMENT.

The film portrays some of the early experiences I am relating here, and takes you up to around 2003, but I am going into much more detail in these writings, and so many more beautiful things have happened between 2003 and the present which the film does not show. The real point I want to make is that even with all of the adversity that Molly and I have faced … this story is about amazing and wonderful things coming out of tragedy, and about overcoming great odds and challenges in a very powerful and natural way, and about expanding the possibilities and potential for rehabilitation from spinal cord and other traumatic injuries.

This is Survival of The Non-Fittest.