As an immigrant from Vietnam, I was very quick and really enjoyed playing soccer with more goals than a normal ten-year-old boy would have, even within only a short time before becoming permanently paralyzed on the left side. It was not until I slowly lifted my eye lids from a three months coma that I learned to accept and deal with the differences and challenges in my body and life.
Lying flat at Harborview Medical Center then a recovery site for months, I could only wiggle my right arm and leg a little. With tears not leaking in mind, I mostly sat and wondered as I felt like a baby bursting into tears, I slowly learned that I had nothing left…
Though listening to mom telling me not to cry in order to prevent more damages on my brain, I wasn’t aware that I had a brain vessel ruptured one early morning about two months in the United States leaving about ten percent of my skull as artificial material until years later, but the egg size swollen next to my right ear was a sensitive reminder and hard to deal with. Not until about a year total after being fed through a stomach tube and baby food then doing rehab like physical, and speech therapy and others that they put me back to the remaining days of fifth grade at Redmond Elementary School with a care provider continuing all the therapies, even at home…
Once more, I have no choice but to keep up as quickly as I could in a wheelchair knowing the challenges I must face being so slow. One time I hit a bump and fell out of my chair leaving some scratches on my knuckles and it was then that I could really feel the bitterness of my life, and realized I must aim more precisely aggressive to score bigger goals. That was my life, pushing up and down Highland Middle School’s hills with one hand. Many Sammamish High School Friends called me Speed Racer and Homey G until I got a power wheelchair for the sustainability of my only working arm. That certainly helped me become more determined, racing from one class to another and professors offices at the University of Washington getting my BA in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing, an MFA in the same area and learned to write songs to express my feelings of life and the most gorgeous only first crush better. Just in case, my best college buddy from our wheelchair brotherhood club told me to minor in disability studies, which I did, but could never find him again after he moved to Georgetown University. Despite the fact that I have double and partly sighted vision in that my eyes don’t work together well, I still pursued my love. Therefore, late nights after another I sat under dim lights reading textbooks and on the computer dealing with a glaring second layer of mostly texts shifting back and forth. Most times, though covering one eye or putting vinyl on my eyeglasses to focus better didn’t do much…
It doesn’t get any better trying to do business in every way possible to improve my life in certain situations, rushing after the public bus, Access more since 2015 living alone in low income housing. Because of how challenging it is to accomplish in the business world, I was so determined to walk and to learn to drive. Up unto this point, my life had been unfortunate enough that the driving instructor at University of Washing Hospital Rehab clinic refused to give me driving lessons because of my vision without refunding $1500 paid. This added more to my business debt after Hiring Idea Buyers to produce and market Foodjiff, an app that connects restaurant users to their customers via a notification tone on their smartphones and computers. Once more, I became busier and more determined to score bigger goals as business owners at Eastside Business Awards ceremony encouraged me to “keep pushing it”!
I wasn’t strong and brave enough to walk with a small base quad-cane the first time by myself from one end of Crossroads Mall to the other, back and forth for hours until doing strengthening exercises standing up and sitting down by my kitchen counter. I always tempted to, trying to stand & walk during the day to but couldn’t get out of the shell of a surrounded four wheeled walker with a left-hand grip and elbow support. Determined to not use the wheelchair, I practiced walking with the cane about three or four times a day. Many encouraged, even the beautiful girls at Bellevue Square Mall, and the manager at the Mariners Team Store lets me park my wheelchair in the store. A rehab doctor at Harborview I follow up every six months said injecting Botox into my leg to relax muscles would be the only way to progress walking.
Sometime during the months of injections, the foot turned outward, knee cramped inward, muscles stiff, twisted, wobbly. The leg started feeling shrank, ached almost impossible to keep up with walking. I still do my best and keep trying as I hate to give up. When I found the strength to try again, I was only able take small baby steps for ten minutes, not the big, more comfortable and flexible steps like I could before. Now after almost a year of doing so many things in every way including acupuncture, physical medicine, massaging, etc., I am still progressing very slowly. I was recently seen by the team at Pushing Boundaries where after an evaluation, the therapist was confident she could solve the problems. It is my only hope of recovery. Help Hope Live has been my greatest advocate and joy as most of my expenses are not covered by Medicaid, my only health insurance. Please consider making a donation to my campaign. Thank you so much for your support.
Family and friends of Tho Nguyen are raising money for the nonprofit Help Hope Live to fund uninsured medical expenses associated with Catastrophic Illness.
Tho has chosen to fundraise for Help Hope Live in part because Help Hope Live assures fiscal accountability of funds raised and tax deductibility for contributors. Contributors can be sure donations will be used to pay or reimburse medical and related expenses. To make a tax-deductible donation to this fundraising campaign, click on the Give button.
For more information, please contact Help Hope Live at 800.642.8399.
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