When Life Takes a Dreadful but Temporary Detour
Diane Dusek, advertising manager for The Jewish Outlook newspaper, and her husband Ron were recently involved in a motorcycle accident that left Diane hospitalized for five weeks, in intense pain, yet filled with gratitude…seemingly an incongruity.
Her gratitude is directed at G-d for what she describes as a second chance to walk again despite seven cracked bones including in her spine. But her nerves are all intact. And her gratitude is also to the Austin Jewish community for the outpouring of prayers, love and help. It’s not that she is surprised at the cohesiveness of the Jewish community, it’s just that one may not grasp the closeness of the community until one is in her circumstances.
“I recognize that my circumstances may not be as dire as some other’s and that others may have experienced this same outpouring of love,” Diane said. “However, I want to tout, and don’t want to take for granted, how tight and solid is our community. You may not see it because we don’t brag about it. But, it’s there for you. We do have each other’s back.”
She also expressed her gratitude to the Shalom Austin marketing staff who stepped in to cover for her during her absence. Although, it is not surprising to anyone that Diane even sold some ads for The Jewish Outlook while in the hospital; not surprising to those familiar with the stories of some of the most unusual times and places Diane has sold ads. Your imagination would not be wrong.
The motorcycle incident happened April 29 when Diane and Ron were riding to Westcave Perserve to go hiking. They love to hike and Diane usually leads the way, singing the same old song at him “Hurry up slow poke. Put some snap in it.” And Ron’s refrain is always “I’m going as fast as these old knees will let me.”
They enjoyed the beautiful area and on the ride back home they encountered the same blind, hairpin turns as getting there. As a motorcyclist for decades, Ron always avoided being close to the center stripe, especially around blind curves. Unfortunately he was too close to the edge of the road around a particular hairpin curve when the road unexpectedly narrowed, pavement was washed out and there was loose gravel. They slipped off the side of the road into a steep slope.
Luckily they were going only about 10 mph and were wearing helmets. Ron suffered some injuries that he says are not worth speaking about compared to Diane’s injuries when the 750 lb. bike flipped over her. Most motorcycle accidents are more serious and even fatal.
“My focus and trust in G-d over the past several years has grown, but this second chance I have received has sealed it for me,” Diane said. “I will not take for granted the simple things in life, like being able to walk, friendships and the compassion of even strangers. And, of course, the power of prayer is immeasurable.”
She is grateful to the several Rabbis who came to pray with her on more than one occasion; and visits from her son, Mike Harnisch, and daughter Shana Levenson who brought her additional strength and moral support. Shana gave her mom her personal Wonder Woman necklace to wear through her recovery.
Diane says it is important for those who have gone through such devastating experiences to share their positive stories of recovery with others in the middle of such recovery. She says it is uplifting, encouraging and at a minimum a temporary distraction from misery. Diane is motivated to volunteer at hospitals to be a cheerleader for others in similar circumstances and to listen to them express their feelings about their situation. Such release of emotions is also important, Diane says.
One additional take-away from this accident, Ron said, is that when you make up you mind to stop doing something for very valid reasons, stop doing it. Do not do it one more time for old time’s sake. Ron had decided that because of his age it was time to sell the motorcycle. They planned to put the bike up for sale that week, but decided to take one last ride “for old time’s sake.”
The latest news is that Diane has been released by her doctors to begin walking therapy and by the time of this publication she should be near walking with little or no assistance.
“I can’t wait to go hiking with her again and I’m sure I’ll look up to heaven with a smile and tear in my eye when I hear her say ‘Hurry up slow poke. Put some snap to it,’” Ron said. ■