Every single day, Cornelius Myers feels lucky to be alive. On April 8, 2009, he was cutting down trees deep in the woods in South Carolina. A sudden gust of wind blew a tree over and it landed on top of him. Myers was pinned to the ground, face down, alone in the woods.
He managed to maneuver his cell phone out of his pocket and dial 911, but there was no signal.
“I was not feeling any pain. I must have been in shock. I was losing a lot of blood, but I didn’t even realize I was bleeding. I just knew I was getting weaker,” said Myers.
He kept trying his phone and finally managed to pick up a weak signal and call for help. He remembers people arriving and pulling the tree off of him. He also remembers hearing the sound of a rescue helicopter landing nearby, and then everything went black.
Myers woke up three weeks later at Memorial University Medical Center (MUMC). The tree had crushed his pelvis and broken several ribs. He could not move and recalls healthcare workers sliding his body onto a board to help lift him in and out of bed. He was moved to a room in The Rehabilitation Institute to begin his recovery.
“Rehabilitation was not painful for me, but it was a very long process,” recalled Myers. “We worked on my upper body first, because I couldn’t move my lower body. Then, we started therapy on my lower body, and that’s when I started getting a little bit of life in my legs,” said Myers.
When Myers left MUMC two months and 10 days later, he could walk with the help of a walker. He credits the healthcare team at The Rehabilitation Institute for helping him get back on his feet. Myers continued outpatient therapy in South Carolina and today he can walk unassisted. However, he often carries a cane with him to help him cross uneven surfaces. Myers wants to go back to work cutting down trees, but he still has internal injuries that need more time to heal.
When he talks about his accident, Myers’ voice cracks and he gets emotional. It is still difficult for him to comprehend all that has happened to him. But, he is very grateful to be here today, and he offers this advice to others in rehabilitation:
“Don’t give up. Keep doing what they [the therapists, doctors, and nurses] tell you to do and you’ll be all right. And finally, always keep your hands in God’s hands.”