I’m Counting My Blessings This Holiday Season… and One in Particular

David Fessler
by David Fessler, Energy & Infrastructure Strategist

This holiday season, I have many things to be thankful for: my wonderful family, devoted friends and a rewarding writing career, to name a few.

This year in particular, however, I have one blessing that counts more than all the rest. I’ll tell you about that in a moment, but first, let me tell you my story.

If you’ve been a regular Investment U reader, you’re probably wondering why you haven’t heard anything from me for almost a year. It’s not because I got tired of writing about energy and infrastructure.

Frankly, there are few things in life I enjoy more. The reason I stopped was the result of a freak accident. It happened to me while I was in a remote area on the southwest coast of Nicaragua.

This past February 1, I was enjoying a few hours of downtime before the beginning of a two-day Oxford Club seminar. This particular seminar was focused on Latin American investment opportunities. It was being held at the newly renovated clubhouse and conference center at Rancho Santana.

With all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed on my presentations, I was having a blast: I was body surfing in the warm Pacific Ocean with a few fellow editors. Then, as sometimes happens with body surfing, a rogue wave flipped me upside down.

Except this time, it smacked my neck hard onto the sand. After tumbling me around, the wave left me floating in less than a foot of water. There was just one problem: I was completely paralyzed from the neck down.

I was face down and I couldn’t lift myself out of the water or turn myself over. I just lay there, hoping my friends would see me, spread eagle and holding my breath.

Fortunately, they did. They ran over and turned me over. My next breath would have been salt water. When I initially returned home to the States a few days later, I could only move the big toe on my right foot.

The neurosurgical team that attended to me gave a grim prognosis: They thought I might never move anything else again. Fortunately, they were wrong.

Since February, I’ve been slowly recovering from the devastating spinal cord injury that resulted from my accident. As of this writing, I’ve regained some movement of everything. I’ve even started walking again with the use of a $250,000 machine called the Exoskeleton.

Functional movement and independent living are still in my future. Perhaps next year at this time, I’ll be writing to you about those achievements.

The Blessing I’m Most Thankful for This Year

This year, however, the blessing I’m most thankful for is a small, modest medical clinic just off a dusty road in the southwest corner of Nicaragua. The Roberto Clemente Santa Ana Health Clinic was started by my boss, Julia Guth. Fortunately for me, it’s located just outside the gates of Rancho Santana.

The clinic’s ambulance transported me from the beach to the clinic. There, the staff administered initial intravenous fluids and other procedures consistent with a spinal cord injury. Were it not for the quick actions and the following of proper protocol by the clinic’s staff, I wouldn’t be writing to you today.

So this holiday season, my heartfelt thanks go out to all of those who helped me during those first few critical hours after my accident. You know who you are.

The Roberto Clemente Santa Ana Clinic is currently undergoing a facilities’ expansion that will double its size. The additional space is sorely needed to keep up with the demands of patients seeking medical services. In 2011, the number of patients quadrupled over the previous year.

The new building expansion will provide more space, including two consultation rooms, a room for observation of critical patients and a small surgery room with all the necessary equipment to perform non-invasive procedures. In addition, an open room for training and classes related to diabetes is also in the plans.

Please consider joining me this holiday season in supporting the clinic’s expansion program. I can tell you from first-hand experience that it’s a worthy cause. You can click here if you wish to make a donation.

While I’ve made great strides so far in my recovery, I won’t be satisfied with anything less than 100%. Family, friends and colleagues aren’t surprised by my determination.

That determination has led to my decision to return as a regular contributor to Investment U. You can initially expect one or two articles by me per week as my therapy schedule permits. I look forward to the opportunity to provide you with timely articles on the energy and infrastructure sectors.

Best Regards,

David Fessler

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