My story begins in the late hours of August 23rd, 2005. The outer bands of Hurricane Katrina were hitting south Florida at the time. Katrina, as we know, eventually made its way up the Gulf of Mexico and slammed into New Orleans and many other states. I was driving home on the Florida Turnpike in Palm Beach County around 1 A.M. There was a torrential downpour as I came across an overturned SUV that was on its side in the middle of the highway. I pulled over, put my hazards on and ran into the highway to assist. There was a tractor trailer coming towards me, I could tell from the size and luminosity of the lights.
A girl was trapped in the SUV, as the driver’s side was pinned to the pavement. I attempted to kick in the windshield at first, but my foot kept slipping because of the rain. I then climbed up the tires, broke the passenger window and proceeded to pull Julie out of the wreck. As I pulled her out, we were standing on the passenger side door. I had her in my arms as we prepared to jump down to the road when it hit… The tandem trailer smashed into her car and threw us over 300 feet across the highway and into a grass ravine. We were on the side of the road, in and out of consciousness when the Trauma Hawk arrived. I thank the passing motorist that called 911 because we found out later that the driver of the tractor trailer who had hit us never called for help.
Instead, he called his Depot Manager. I can also never thank the Trauma Hawk team of Palm Beach County enough for saving my life. That’s the accident. Now it’s time to talk about the rehab and my struggle with opiates for the several years following the accident. As a result of the impact, I lost my left eye, broke both legs, both arms, suffered a fractured skull and was placed in a medically induced coma for the first 9 weeks of my recovery. I was in rehab for two years and the struggle to be normal and regain my life back was the toughest fight I’ve ever been in (and I’ve been in a few tough ones). I was on and off Percocet for almost 7 years. I finally got myself help in the form of therapy to understand the toll these meds were taking on me and my relationships (it cost me a lot of them). The problem was that I became dependent on narcotics to get me through my days and nights. I would get off prescription pain killers and sleeping aides for months at a time and regain my perspective, but every time I wanted to get in shape or be active, I had to go back on them in order to deal with the pain it caused. Over time, I realized that it was inflammation that was causing most of my pain. I knew I could never be the same as I was, but my mind would say one thing and my body would tell me another.
After years of abuse and a miserable existence, I started to look for alternative ways to keep myself healthy while circumventing the painful consequences that conventional exercises were causing me. I tried Yoga, bike riding, etc. But, the pain was still unbearable. I started using CBD topicals about a year and a half ago and with them, found legitimate relief for the first time. Understand something, I am not saying that CBD takes the place of opiates – there is a real need for opiates as they do a great deal of good for people when it comes to pain management routines. However, our current healthcare system is abusing them. They are being over-prescribed to a point that their abuse has become an epidemic. We have a rampant problem with prescription overdoses and addiction in this country. It is time that we find an alternative approach to pain management that will alleviate our dependence to dangerous narcotics.
Since I started using CBD to treat my chronic inflammation, I have noticed beneficial results both physically and mentally. I am able to exercise without having the consequences of excruciating pain and sleepless nights. I have been able to climb up mountains and function normally the following day.My ability to be active again has also improved my attitude and quality of life substantially. I no longer have to rely on prescription drugs to see me through day to day activities. I have been able to mend and sustain meaningful relationships again. I am truly marveled by the effects that CBD has had on my life and I believe it is one of the keys to the future of pain management. With the extent of the injuries my body has been through, it is a miracle that I am still alive. With the subsequent invasive surgeries needed to put me back together (33 to date) it is even more of a miracle that I have any semblance of a normal life. However, it is not without daily limitations and pain that I am able to live. CBD has had a remarkable impact on my body in that it allows me to combat my inflammation and myriad aches and pains without having to feel desperate and dependent on pills. It is an amazing feeling that I hope to share with the world. – Joseph A. Infante