Happy re-birthday to me. The day I should have died. 15 years later.

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“Never be ashamed of a Scar. It simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.” Scars are tattoos with better stories.

15 years ago I was given the greatest gift of my life.

A second chance

I know the value of my life and continually appreciate it, no matter how ‘tough’ things may get. Today is my re-birthday. 15 years ago on September 15, 2001 someone made attempt on my life.

I’ll admit it. Before that fateful day, I was just as jaded, jagged and miserable as many other human beings who occupy this earth are.

I was always pissed off at the world. I continually wanted to know when the universe would stop shitting on me. I bitched at everything and everyone. My temper roller-coastered like it was my full-time job. I had your typical bad luck, bad girlfriends, bad relationships, bad jobs, etc, etc.

Yeah, I was a mean ole’ cuss. I can’t say ‘positivity’ was part of my repertoire. I was going nowhere fast, and I just couldn’t seem to get a leg up. I was simply treading water.

Then someone tried to kill me.

Yes. You read that right.

I blogged about it in 2008 on this very blog (hard to believe). Every year I re-share the original blog post. It’s cathartic for me and my loved ones. It’s important to me, because I want the reminder. I want to remember and never forget my gift.

And I’d like you to have the reminder too, life is fleeting.

Let me tell you a story (in the original words that I wrote several years ago)…

It’s been 7 years.

This time of the year always has a special place in most of America’s hearts. September 11, 2001 is a date none of us will soon forget. It changed the face of our nation and impacted our world in a way none of us could have ever imagined. Emily (crzegrl) shared here views of how it impacted her.

At the risk of diminishing or making that day any less than it really was. This time of the year has a very different meaning for me. I do remember September 11th. I do remember what I was doing that day. I do remember how I felt and how the world around me changed. But it’s not what is in the forefront of my mind.

September 15, 2001

My Re-Birthday.

It’s been 7 years.

It was a Saturday. (Yes I remember it that well)

There was a time in my life when I was not active in healthcare (It was a short time). I had stepped away from the healthcare setting and returned to my career in retail. Retail had helped pay my way through college, and then it was the way to put food on the table after college was over. My career in healthcare wasn’t paying the bills, and retail was a better option (at the time).

It was a typical Saturday night. I was one of the midnight managers on duty. Part of my responsibility as a manager was to hold the night-shift meeting with the over-night employees.

This particular night we decided to have an open forum concerning the difficulties people may or may not be having with the current state of affairs. The terrorists attacks were affecting everyone, and we wanted to let our employees know we cared.


I can’t say I remember how it happened.

I can’t say I was prepared for it.

It happened in time ‘slices’.


I was talking with the over-night group of employees. It was me in front of approximately 20 others. Half-way through the meeting and in mid-sentence I can vaguely remember an ‘itching’ or ‘biting’ feeling on my neck.

….??

It wasn’t anything out the ordinary. I chalked it up to one of the bodily aches or pains I have no explanation for. (Like when I get a shooting pain in my finger that comes a goes in a matter of 7 seconds)

It got more quiet. It was like I could only hear the fans of the air conditioning running. I guess the only way to explain it… is things seemed to slow down.. immensely. Like the slo-mo option on a VCR/DVD player.

I don’t know what happened next. Or should I say I don’t know which came first. The banshee-like shrieking screams or the shadow of a person coming out of my left peripheral vision. All I know is that it was a startling moment.

The Scream.

The Shadow.

And I reflexively look to my left.

I remember saying to my self, “Hmm, why is Jane (we’ll call her Jane for identity purposes) standing so close to me. She should be sitting out in the crowd with the rest of the group.”

She’s now advancing towards me. “What is she doing?”

Her left arm is raised in the air. I think she’s going to take a swing at me. So out of reflex, I block her left arm. I block her arm with my R arm and grab her swinging arm with my L hand. Then I grasp her swinging arm with both hands.

I can’t quite figure out why she’s trying to hit me?

Another handful of screams.

Through the tussle and wrestling of her arm I realize my hand is full of blood??? In fact I have blood on both my hands?

“OK. Who’s blood is this?”, I blurt out with a sense of sarcasm.

… ??

More screams.

… ??

Wait a minute.

What’s that in Jane’s hand?

Is that..?

No way.

Wholly SH#T. Jane has a knife in her hand.

“The blood is YOURS! She cut your throat. Your bleeding from your neck!!!!!!”, a voice from the crowd cries out hysterically.

Now, I’m no idiot. I know the inner workings of the human body. I’m pretty well versed in what anatomical structures are located in the neck.

I know I’m still breathing. I’m not chocking. Not having any trouble moving air.

???

At the same time Jane is tackled by a single employee from behind. Then another, then another. And then more. It takes close to 5 people to get her down.

I put my hand on my neck.. and sure enough … nothing but blood.



Yep. It’s a true story. I was attacked from behind with a swiss army knife by an employee of mine, in front of approximately 20 people. She sliced my neck almost from ear to ear.

Here are the finer points of the story:

– she used a very dull and old swiss army knife

– she did not use the blade side of the knife and drag it across my neck to cut me. She used the knife in a stabbing motion and scraped the tip of the knife across the length of my neck

– she never spent a night in jail. She had a psychiatric evaluation. Her medications were adjusted. And that’s the last thing I was told (Please don’t ask.. I don’t know what the heck happen concerning her lawful conviction)

– Yes, I have a Keloid scar that has taken 7 yrs to slowly diminish on my neck. (The intent of the ED physician was to use the smallest/thinnest suture possible so to NOT leave a scar, and it did the exact opposite)

-The only entertaining piece of all this was that when the 911 call was made. All the EMS arrived expecting to see a decapitated man. And I mean ALL of the EMS. For the small town I was in, I think I counted 4 Ambulances and 6 marked Police and 2 unmarked Police cars.


There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about that day. It changed my life. We always whine and complain about some of the most ridiculous things in life that seem so very important at the time. Everything from being late for work, being stuck in traffic, having to wait in line in the grocery store, having a poor wait staff wait on you at the restaurant, or having to sit in coach for a 4hr flight… the list is endless. Everyone hates having a bad day.

I touched on my theory about life and how bad your day really was in a previous blog post: Blinking & Breathing, I can’t complain.

I’m not perfect. I do have stress in my life. I do have those ‘Pull out your hair’ moments and those “all I wanna do is scream” moments. But I’m always grounded and reminded by my profession and by my past that maybe you and/or I not having THAT bad of a day.

September 15th is my Re-Birthday. I was given a second chance at life. For some strange reason, I survived that incident. I will never know why. I questioned it for a long time, and never got the answer I wanted until I realized there was no answer. I’m here. I’m staying here. I’m not going anywhere. And while I’m here, I’m making the most of my stay.

Here’s what scares me sometimes when I think about my attack.

As an employee for the retail store I worked for, each employee is issued a box cutter. The only reason I’m still here is because Jane had bad aim, and a dull swiss army knife.

What if she would have used the box cutter instead of her swiss army knife?

Nope.

I don’t have bad days anymore.

Carpe Diem

Via Happy Re-Birthday To Me | My Strong Medicine


Fast forward to 2013…

We moved to a new city. With the move came new friends. When my face was still new, I had a friend comment on my ‘positivity’ and being ‘always happy’. I told her there was a story behind my obsessive passion for being happy, but that I’d explain it to her later. I shared this post with her.. (Thanks Allison).

This is the reason I’m always positive. Why I greet every morning with my:

“Gewwwwwwd morning”

I get to be here another day.

Many great things have happened to me since that scary day.

I became a Registered Nurse, I met and married my soul mate, and now I’m working as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, a job I truly love.

I’ve re-kindled my love for teaching as well as coaching. My love for exercise and fitness blossomed into becoming a CF-L1 Trainer and Level 1 USAW Weightlifting coach at my CrossFit gym.


I’m not too sure where I’d be today had I not gone ‘under the knife’ so-to-speak. I can admit that I wouldn’t have the abundance of happiness I possess now.

What I do know is that I took a tragic, frightening and possibly life-paralyzing event and turned it into something positive. Positive for me, and hopefully positive for anyone who’s around me.

This might sound a bit cliche’… or it might sound a bit phony..

but I needed someone to try and steal my most prize possession (my life) for me to truly appreciate its merit. And for that, I couldn’t be happier.

Thank you all for being a part of my life.

 

Dear Angel, Happy Anniversary. Thank you for saying yes.

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Every year with this woman gets better and better. We’ve grown since that amazing day 11 years ago, and I couldn’t be happier.

This year we are spending our anniversary packing up our worldly belongings and moving into our new dream house, a process that has been a long time coming. While most couples would be disappointed in the “lack” of traditional celebration, we couldn’t be more content.

No new words, no new thoughts this year. I thought I’d share some of my thoughts I’ve posted over the years on my blog about my marriage to this amazing woman….


It all started over 10 years ago. This beautiful red head I met while taking pre-req courses for nursing school. We went on to attend the same nursing school, and ironically sat next to each other in class. (I thought she was quite the looker)

We ‘danced’ a while during nursing school. We played the on-again-off-again dating game for quite some time before we both figured out how to live in the present. Late night phone conversations lasting til three in the morning. Instant messaging conversations that distracted me from studying. And text messaging conversations that grabbed my attention.

10 years later, with now 9 years of marriage under our belt, and I still love her madly.

The crystal poem in our glass cabinet at home
The crystal poem in our glass cabinet at home

She is the air I breathe, and is THE reason for all my happiness. During our diploma nursing program graduation ceremony, we all got to thank those that helped us get through school. I of course thanked her, and said, “Jill, you are my everything

The day of our wedding, I surprised her with a gift in her dressing room with a crystal, that had a poem etched into it. At the end of the poem it read, “you are my everything“. I told her a long, long time ago that she is my everything.

And she still is.

She is everything good in my life. She is the rock. She is my sounding board. She is my sage listener. She leads by example. She never gives up, ever. She’s quite the problem solver. She always finds a way. She is tough as nails. She lifts up others. She is self-less. She is passionate. She is funny. She loves to laugh. She has a mesmerizing smile. She has the biggest heart. She has the kindest soul. She gets more beautiful each day I am with her (yep… she’s a hottie). She’s one hell of a dresser. Not to mention a talented jewelry-maker. While not the most graceful, she is full of grace and poise. She has a glow about her, that infects all those who come near her. You can’t help but have a better day when you are in her presence.

I am a better person, a better husband, a better man  because of her.


I couldn’t stop smiling when I was looking through all our pictures.

I’m still madly in love with you.

You still warm my heart with just your presence.

I still smile every time I think about you.

I still smile every time I see you, or see your picture.

Your smile is still as radiant as ever.

I become a better man every day that you are in it.

I love being proud of just being your husband.

You have been, and will always be my everything.

Thank you for being you.


September 10, 2005 changed my life forever. It’s the day I became a husband to most amazing women I had ever met.

She saved me.

I was a lost soul until she found me.

I still am thankful every single day of my life that she said “Yes”.11988309_10206729368570475_283013600377497831_n

From my wife: I woke up to this on my bathroom mirror! “Thank you for saying yes!” And “Here’s to another ten years angel!!” Along with a note by my breakfast bars! Such an amazing man! Sean Dent you are the light of my life! Happy Anniversary baby!

…I wanted her to know how just how excited I am about making this milestone as a married couple. So I wrote that on her bathroom mirror.

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Thank you for saying “Yes” angel. I love you.

Hey Nurses: Why Snapchat? The power of relationships. [update]

 

I’m a Nurse mentor, Educator, Leader, Coach, Motivator and Consultant. I want to connect with and provide value to everyone who can benefit from my skills and knowledge.

I’m also an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, blogger, vlogger,  (former) podcaster and mediapreneur. I’ve been a Nurse and Nurse blogger for over a decade, and in that time I’ve acquired a broad range of life expertise and professional wisdom.

I want to share my experiences with other Nurses, Health Care professionals and the like so they may benefit from the lessons I’ve learned with less effort and in a fraction of the time.

I’m a story teller, counselor and guide. The reason for my success (both professional & personal) lies solely in the relationships I’ve developed. Which is a concept I’ve also heard over and over from the most successful.

My blog writing, video producing and  (former) podcast broadcasting are the foundation of my communication. But I’ve discovered how Snapchat can springboard my relationship with my audience.

Snapchat is gaining has gained guru-level attention because it provides a unique platform for one-on-one communication like no other [Update: thanks to Instagram stories, Snapchat’s communication is no longer unique].

Quick snippets of multimedia communication in the form of an editable picture (or video) called a “snap” that has a *24-hr shelf life. It can be posted to your personal “story” (similar to your Facebook/Twitter timeline) or sent via private message to your friends on Snapchat. (It disappears from your timeline 24 hours later and private messages disappear 10 seconds after opening)

[*Side note: There are ways to save your snaps]

It’s a great medium for fielding questions from fans as well as provide small slices of information-sharing gold with anyone who is your friend on the platform.

 

[Snapchat Murders Facebook]

You see, unless you make the effort to share it on other platforms, the information on Snapchat is exclusive and (mostly) private on Snapchat’s platform. [Which at the time of this writing was mobile-only.]

I’ve communicated and shared information with fellow professionals, students, bloggers, vloggers, podcasters and others who were seeking direction and advice on a personal level that would not be possible on other platforms.

Here’s how I have used Snapchat:

  • sharing snippets of my daily personal life (including my journey through surgery)
  • providing valuable professional advice
  • sharing mediapreneur topic advice (blog/vlog/marketing/podcasting)
  • real-time private professional communication and networking
  • offering educational and career advice
  • sharing behind the scenes information on upcoming projects

The “convenience-factor” is something I failed to understand until I started using Snapchat more. Instead of spending 5 minutes or longer on a 140-characater limit update to Twitter or a psuedo-long-formed post update on Facebook or Instagram, I can just “snap’ a 10 second video snippet of whatever subject is on my mind. If I need to share more info, I just pick up where I left off with the next “snap”. Instead of spending 10-30 minutes on a thought through worded text, I just take sequential “snaps” to tell a story.

This type of communication dialogue can be used when chatting one-on-one, or you can opt for the more traditional worded-text message. If you’re interested in bells & whistles, yep the app has them too. [Check out the articles on filters]

I initially started to use the app to share my personal journey through my right knee surgery, but it’s molded into a wonderful way to make deep connections with my audience.

How can I help you? Come follow me on Snapchat: @seanpdent

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UPDATE: (last updated August 11, 2016)

Here are some great how-to articles on using Snapchat:

The ultimate guide on how to use Snapchat

The ultimate guide on how to use Snapchat, explained by a 23-year-old

How to Use Snapchat

The Snap Generation: A Guide to Snapchat’s History

How to Snapchat like the teens?

How to get Snapchat’s new selfie Lenses

Getting to Know the Ghost: The Complete Guide to Snapchat

Snapchat is Growing Up: Everything You Need to Know About Snapchat’s Latest Update

The Beginner’s Guide to Snapchat

How to use Snapchat new features: Snapchat adds new face swap feature, Chat 2.0, Emoji stickers for video

How To Use Snapchat Lenses So You Can Puke Rainbows Like Everyone Else: A Step-By-Step Tutorial

15 Hidden Snapchat Hacks & Features You’ll Wish You Knew About Sooner

How-To: Add Snapchat snaps to Instagram Stories [Video]

The Strategy Behind Snapchat’s Memories Update
Snapchat Tutorial (video below is lengthy… 39 minutes long)

 


If you haven’t noticed, comments have been disabled on my blog. I would love to hear your comments, questions and concerns.  So let’s connect. Or drop me a message on Snapchat @seanpdent:

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I hope to hear from you soon.

 

-Sean