Pushing Through the Wall of Despair

IS THE “IMPOSSIBLE” POSSIBLE?

by national host and singer to Dr. Road Kill Dr. Laurie Roth

From Dr. Roth’s Facebook page

(May 20, 2016) — I have been hit many times with the seduction to just give up. The first time involved the flattening of my only dream at the time to make it as a singer and songwriter. From childhood on I had entered contest after contest, choir after choir, then sent off tape after tape trying to get noticed.

Finally, after years of pushing, calling and selling myself and songs I finally got what I thought was a break. I formed a little production company, established a team I believed in, raised money and signed a distribution deal with a major label Mogul/BMJ. The reviews were coming in and great. When my record was starting to go up the charts and it seemed I was going to finally make it as a singer after all these years….the unbelievable happened. I ended up being a victim of crime, had hard-to-raise money stolen by a company overseas and my record promoter was linked to a major crime family. My prize for finally starting to make it out of a small town was to go bankrupt, watch my record fall quickly off the charts due to an absence of stolen promotional dollars, become yesterday’s news overnight and fall into despair for losing my long-fought-for career and everyone’s money that I loved.

Oh, yeah, along with so many being mad at me for losing all their money, being evicted from my home and my car being repossessed, I was sickeningly aware I was too old to start all over again in the music business. Now what? Too old and too poor. Don’t feel any pressure! I disappeared into the woods with my dogs. Maybe I could sing to the trees in between crying and praying.

It was finally out of my boredom of my whining and feeling such despair that I started thinking that maybe I could do something else, like talk radio. I felt I was too old for a recording contract now. So I started volunteering at a small station in Eugene, OR and developing a national radio show out of my music disaster. Maybe I could compete here somehow.

From the startup of my national radio show in 2003, I was working hard as an Independent, growing markets, ratings and advertisers. Maybe my life would start to go in the right direction now. My listeners quickly nicknamed me “The Annie Oakley of the Airwaves” due to my hard-hitting and satirical style. I was just having fun; that is all I knew.

Things were going great until August 2005 when I made national news by nearly being killed on my motorcycle after a deer slammed into me as I turned a corner. My skull split open on the hot pavement. I’m told I was about two minutes from death at the scene and my lungs were filling with blood. I had severed an artery in the back of my throat. I was suffocating.

First responders expected me to die. My forehead was fractured. My cheekbones were shattered. My jaw was broken in three places. My eye socket caved in. The roof of my mouth was severed. It was suddenly the end of almost everything for me. I slipped into a coma and did not awaken for several weeks.

It marked an abrupt close to my broadcast career. Along with breaking nearly everything from the neck up, I had bruises and severe damage to my cranial nerve, inner ear and immediate recall and memory storage area of the brain so that I would easily forget any new conversations. I remember my close friends and husband telling me how I would repeat myself in a conversation for the first 3-4 months of recovery. How lovely, a formerly pretty girl who looks like Frankenstein now and acts like she has Alzheimer’s. Isn’t that special!?

The other huge hit for our family was financial. Our only income had been the small income we received from my little but growing radio show. My husband and I had made this show our only income so he and I could be home since we had foster adopted two precious and needy children who needed much attention. We thought at the time that being there for the kids was more important than two incomes at the moment. In addition, we had no health insurance when this accident occurred. We couldn’t afford it. I had no disability insurance and I had no coverage whatsoever. My annual income was less then $30,000. That was covering a family of four.

As the massive medical bills started to climb quickly past $250,000, my husband applied to Medicaid for help. They checked out our income and tax records, and then said we qualified; otherwise we would have quickly gone bankrupt. Medicaid at least paid a lot of the major stuff.

After a month and a half in the hospital I came home. My show was off the air after three months of guest hosts. After six surgeries, a year of braces on my teeth, therapy and endless visits to doctors I saw enough healing and growth so that when I looked in the mirror I saw back the reflection and face I had always known. With my cranial nerve being seriously damaged to my left eye, and struggling with seeing double for nearly two years, my munched inner ear began healing ever so slowly.

After ten months of daily work and practice with walking, talking, exercising my very injured eye and more, USA Radio Network offered me the opportunity to return to my national radio show, 7-10 pm each night again.

I am still recovering regarding struggles and distortion with my left eye, regulating my sleeping patterns, energy issues and numbness in my mouth. Only last summer I was finally able to receive surgery on my damaged left eye. Now it tracks with the other eye and has 60% less double vision. I thank God for this. In December of 2015, I received two major spinal surgeries, where L3, L4 and L5 were fused. My surgeon feels strongly that the deterioration and pain emanating from my spine had everything to do with the major trauma of my motorcycle wreck. I am now walking several miles a day, and five months after my spinal surgery have started carefully to jog again. Now, I am more like a Renoir painting than a beautiful, clear landscape – A little abstract and broken but still beautiful.

‘Dead’ and I don’t get along – Life is way better. I can run again, sing and do concerts again, look like me again and am busy putting together my multi-faceted career as I can. I don’t do victim well, but I do dream big and walk forward into those dreams.

Over 18 years ago I started writing a crime drama in which I would act the lead. My character would be a forcibly-retired CIA agent who has many secrets and is being pursued by many. She is hiding her background in Spokane, WA and sings in a local jazz club at times to work out her personal demons. Now my character is also recovering from a near fatal motorcycle wreck as she pieces her life back together. Hark…where did I get that idea?

This, you may think, is a ridiculous and very hard goal for what I have gone through – my limitations, age and the toughness in the media world. You would be right. It is not hard; it is impossible…just the way God and I like it. I am excited to see what the Lord has next for me. Because I belong to Him, I know it is big, successful, and meaningful and God will use it all…the hardships, dreams, successes and failures in my life. I’m not so organized but He is.

‘With Christ all things are possible’ Phil: 4:13. Remember to dream big and practice living, not dying. Take your shaky dream and place it in God’s hand. Trust Him, then take a step, then another and another. If you stumble and fall, dust off the dirt on your pants, notice the cool rip in your jeans and take another step.

Progress and real achievement is always made at the hands of broken and tried people who trust in the Living God and just keep going no matter what people say or the obstacles are. If I can come back, so can America.

2 Responses to "Pushing Through the Wall of Despair"

  1. David Pickhardt   Saturday, May 21, 2016 at 9:24 AM

    While Laurie Roth’s recovery is inspirational, and no doubt a product of her faith, I find her account somewhat paradoxical.

    In 2005 the insurance market did not provide for portability of coverage and preexisting conditions were generally not covered. One of her family’s biggest concerns was the mounting medical bills being racked up as a result of her accident. At that time, I believe the largest factor in personal bankruptcy in the United States was related to medical costs.

    With an annual income of $30k and medical bills approaching one quarter of a million dollars, if she were to live, bankruptcy was her most immediate concern. Where did she turn? The government’s Medicaid program! A social safety net which permitted she and her family to move beyond the most pressing concern of immediate financial ruin, the possible loss of her two foster children, and onto a path through her very real “wall of despair”.

    The beginning of her recovery was in 2005 and by 2011 she was announcing her candidacy for president as a member of the American Independent Party, which she lost, and then contemplated continuing her run for president as a member of the Tea Party, as in Taxed Enough Already.

    It makes me wonder how she thought the funding for her Medicaid coverage was provided. Additionally, by the time of her presidential run, if she was now off Medicaid and on her own insurance, it would have been as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Her preexisting conditions would have been covered as a result of that and the two major spinal surgeries performed in December 2015 would have been able to be covered as a result.

    While she talks about self-determination and the power of God, let us not forget that she was able to move on because of the “power” of insurance and taxes. In the coldest most calculated sense, she is one of the takers but seems to overlook that fact. Does anyone really think she has paid more into an insurance pool than she has taken out?

    She was actually provided a hand and took it but appears to only see the hand of her God and not the hand of her government.

    Why is that? Largely because and as a result of the fact that many people are healthy and pay into an insurance pool to cover those who have fallen on misfortune. That, it seems to me, is an action worthy of whatever religion to which you may subscribe.

    She closes by saying: “If I can come back, so can America”. Seems to me that America was there for her and somehow she missed that fact.

  2. Ed Sunderland   Friday, May 20, 2016 at 11:53 PM

    Wow, I had no idea. Powerful story.

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