The man who cut his own arm to survive

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Attendees of the opening session of the biggest transfusion medicine conference, the AABB annual meeting, had a chance to listen to Aron Ralston speak about his experience; the same experience that was featured in the movie 127 hours.

 

Aron is such a good speaker, and how can you be any less than that when you are talking about your own personal extraordinary experience. I haven’t seen the movie and I just got my signed copy of his book Between a Rock and a Hard Place, but I already knew the story. Aron is an adventurous engineer who enjoyed mountain biking and exploring canyons. In 2003, while hiking and exploring canyons in Utah, his right arm was crushed under a large boulder. He remained in that canyon; his arm crushed under that boulder, unable to move or seek help, until he successfully cut his arm and broke free on the 5th day.

 

Aron’s experience is extremely inspiring and hard to replicate. There are lessons in it for all of us though. We all have boulders in some form. Major challenges will affect our personal or professional lives one day. One has to understand the lessons that the challenges bring to us. In his case, Aron realized how much his family meant to him. He realized his family was his priority. Not thinking about his job at that stage, he realized that “what matters is not what you do, but who you are”.

 

Experiencing extreme (unimaginable) amounts of pain, Aron started panicking and his heart was pounding heavily. Shortly afterwards he was losing more blood from his injured arm as his heart rate was higher. He realized “pain was not going to kill me but my reaction to it was”. I can certainly think of times where challenges where made more difficult because of the way we reacted to them. I’m the only person responsible for my negative emotions. Choosing to continue living them is prohibitive to moving forward.

 

Lastly, here is something that Aron mentioned and I’ve personally experienced. Peace comes when you realize you are not in control. Only then you will really accept things and be able to make the best of what you’ve got.

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