By Daniel J. Vance MS, LPC, NCC
My grandmother likely would have said Maurice Shoen of Fairmont, Minnesota, has had more physical challenges than “Carter's has liver pills.”
For starters, said 65-year-old Shoen, “I have a degenerative spine, which I believe came about because I was run over by a truck at age three. I have a flattened pelvis because of the same accident and I also probably had a brain concussion then.”
At 12, he severely crushed his right foot, he said, which, along with the pelvis and spinal injuries, would greatly affect his ability to walk for long distances the rest of his life.
In an unrelated incident not long ago, his heart began beating 230 beats per minute and that led to emergency heart surgery. However, as a result of the rapid heartbeat, his pancreas “died,” he said, and in turn gave him Type 1 diabetes. He said, “So I'm required to measure my blood sugar level up to nine times daily now to try regulating it. And I have an insulin pump that has eliminated having to inject insulin into myself every time I want to eat.”
In addition over the years, he's had four surgical repairs to his right leg and three to his left, and not long ago had knee replacement surgeries. He also has had three major brain concussions, including one in which he fell asleep driving and hit a concrete bridge abutment and another in which his car was broad-sided by someone running a stop sign. In a third, a building collapsed on him.
“One major change in me as a result of the last concussion was that any (repetitive) beat in music now creates a rage inside of me,” he said. “Doctors say that was part of the change in my brain due to the injury. My body thermostat also changed. I went from never feeling cold (in winter) to feeling cold—and that began immediately after the accident.”
Today, Shoen is a licensed independent clinical social worker co-owning a 29-employee agency. His wife is a therapist and the other co-owner. While in fourth grade, she became legally blind after being hit in the face with a dodge ball.
Said Shoen, “The things my wife and I have gone through in life have helped us support and encourage other people. We speak from experience and clients recognize we are speaking from experience.”
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