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Long road homeNear-fatal accident robs man of vision but not zeal for living
As Dr. Boyko worked on Ulstad, a nurse asked empathetically, “He’s not going to make it, is he?”
The Ulstads received a lot of emotional support from friends and relatives. Jacque recorded nearly 600 visitors during Vince’s hospitalization in Bismarck and then in Fargo, where Ulstad continued rehabilitation. Six months after the accident, Ulstad was discharged to go home.
“I had always been healthy and guess I took good health and caregivers for granted,” Ulstad said. “But there’s not an individual who has cared for me that has been anything less than outstanding. When Jacque and I went back to Sanford Health, I had a whole different attitude of respect and appreciation for those doctors and nurses.”
Faith in God has helped Ulstad cope. He focuses on the positive outcomes. Amazingly, he had no internal organ damage. He has learned to walk again. North Dakota Vision Services and the School for the Blind have helped him learn Braille and how to live productively without sight. Because the accident happened on his way home from work, North Dakota Workforce Safety & Insurance covered the majority of his medical care and rehabilitation, and he has a good long-term disability policy.
Using a new computer, Ulstad is able to communicate better with the outside world and appreciates the doors it has opened to staying in touch with friends and family. Specialized software reads aloud everything that appears on his monitor. Ulstad continues to work at learning to operate the computer using keystrokes and keyboard commands rather than the traditional point-and-click mouse.
“It’s been quite a year for us and it’s certainly not been without its ups and downs, but I can honestly say I have never wished I had died that night,” Ulstad said. “I am grateful for all the good things that have happened and all the people that helped me, from the doctors and nurses in the hospital to all our friends and family members who helped lift my spirits and encouraged me along the way.”
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