Hi everyone, My name is Bob Lowe and in September, 1997, I was from and lived in Mechanicsburg, PA and
was working as a traveling Ground Operations Manager for a charter airline operating worldwide airlift missions
for the US Air Force, NATO, Red Cross and the United Nations along with private clients. I was also the bass
player for an up and coming hard rock band. I also enjoyed riding motorcycles with my band friends.
On September 14th at the end of a 150 mile ride an inattentive driver pulled out in front of me and I hit the car head
on at almost 50 miles an hour, and continued thru the air another 25 feet before landing on my back in the middle of the road.
I had 3 different head injuries, a ruptured aorta, a burst L-1 fracture with severe spinal cord bruising, a complete
"open book" pelvic fracture and a broken ankle along with a host of major traumatic injuries which are to numerous to list
along with a host of post accident infections and injuries. I was airlifted to Hershey Medical Center where I
was sent to emergency trauma surgery to repair my ruptured aorta. I "flat lined" on them twice and the aorta surgery
required my spinal cord to be clamped off while the repair was done, which added to the other back and pelvic problems.
I spent 3 weeks in a coma and two months in intensive care on a ventilator and was held together with bailing wire
and tape. Everything I could do before, from speaking or writing, to going to the bathroom, to feeding
myself or just about any other basic human need was gone and replaced with machines, tubes, bags and a 100%
dependence on others. I was transferred to Health South in Mechanicsburg in November 1997 where I met Dr. Lupinacci
and Dr. Hills and the serious rehab began.
At the time I had little or no feeling from my upper abdomen down, a still open gaping wound in my abdomen and was still
on a ventilator. This was a very dismal time for me as I struggled to do anything for myself. Some
things came back fast, speaking and writing on my own, or brushing my teeth. Some things didn't come easy at all
such as dressing myself, using the bathroom or getting from my bed to the wheelchair and back.
I so desperately wanted to try and at least stand, or even sit upright without support on my own but the spinal cord
injury, broken back and pelvis didn't want to cooperate. My therapists were working full speed
to get me acclimated to using a wheelchair but I wasn't the most cooperative and came up with some "alternate" ways
to get things done without using a wheelchair, transfer board or other items needed by those of us with paraplegia.
I willed myself to keep pushing forward and kept setting small goals for myself to get some independence back even though
at times the odds were 99.9% against me.
I will never forget one night I woke up and felt a "tingling" in both my legs and was able to slightly move
both legs. The next day I insisted a try and stand with support and my therapists who initially doubted my ability
ended up getting me going under my own power. I progressed from wheelchair, to standing for 15 seconds,
to using a walker with leg braces (and 4 aides to help hold me up), to loft strand crutches with leg braces. I
was finally discharged from rehab in May 1998 and immediately went back to work moving airplanes around the world.
The sight of a crew member using crutches and having leg braces must have been unnerving to some of our passengers but no
one ever said a word and I was able to keep my "mental" rehab going of doing the job I love effectively and safely.
I had the BEST EMT's Paramedics, Doctors, Nurses, Aides and Therapists in Central PA from that afternoon in September
thru today. All of them along with my family, Mom, and all my friends who came to the hospital
at all hours of the day and night, my girlfriend (now wife :) along with God gave me back up support I
needed. I had (and still do) the drive in my head to get the most out of myself and push myself to the edge
of the envelope. I instill this on other people I meet in every facet of life that think things are
over for them in one way or another and do what I can to make sure no one gives up ....
By the way in May, 2007 I'm still a traveling Ground Operations Manager for a charter airline operating worldwide airlift
missions for the US Air Force, NATO and the United Nations along with private clients. I am also the bass
player for an up and coming hard rock band in Central PA. I don't ride motorcycles though anymore .... some
things do change .... :)