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I’ve had a good life

PAULETTE BALLARD

Guest Columnist

As told by Ann Farr

 

My career has been as a family nurse practitioner. My story begins when I was a nursing student at Wilson Memorial Hospital. One patient admitted to the hospital during that time was a 17-year-old young man named Tony Farr. Tony had been running errands for his father when he was involved in an automobile accident. He was driving a Ford convertible and was in his lane when a car came over the knoll on the wrong side of the road. He immediately veered to the right side of the road as far as he could to avoid the car. He hit some stones and lost control of his car. His car turned over causing him to sustain a broken back. Seatbelts were not installed in cars at that time.

Because of the trauma he sustained, he had to undergo a year of rehabilitation to learn to live a life he never expected to have – being a paraplegic, maneuvering in a wheelchair.

Tony had been a football player and was captain of his high school football team. Now his life was going to be completely different from the life he had known before the accident. Tony was not the kind of person to give up, feel sorry for himself or seek pity from others. He decided to get his life back together, and after his rehabilitation he went back to school and graduated. He wanted to go to college but was not able to stay because at that time colleges did not have the much-needed ramps and accessibilities for a person in a wheelchair and it was just too difficult.

After he was released from the rehab program, he called me and asked if I would like to go out for pizza. We dated for nine months and were married in 1962. We bought an old farmhouse, restored it and made it easily accessible for him to maneuver in. Tony went to work for IBM where he worked for 31 years. He later worked for the Richard Petty Driving Experience for 8 years and he is an avid NASCAR fan. He reminds me not to plan anything for days when NASCAR has a race on TV.

We adopted two children who are now in their 40s and we have five grandchildren. Our life has been good. Tony continues to enjoy his life. He loves to drive his boat and fish. We have had a wonderful marriage, a life filled with joy and many wonderful moments.

 

Paulette Ballard collects interesting, funny and unusual stories from people in and around Lincolnton. If you have a story you would like to submit for her column, e-mail it to pballardnc1029@yahoo.com. In the subject line type “For your column.” Include your name and phone number for her to contact you.

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