An Accident and its Aftermath

February 2017. Originally copyrighted and posted in "Type for Life" by the Center for the Applications of Psychological Type, Gainesville, FL. Used with permission.

I got the email late in the afternoon from Barbara, a woman in my condo building. She was hit by a car while she was in the crosswalk going to her yoga class, hit so hard that her shoes flew off. She was badly injured (broken pelvis and knees, bruises, scrapes, etc., but no concussion!).

Her message was straight forward describing the event and what she knew then of her injuries. I asked permission to let others in our building know and said I'd check with her later to figure out what she needed.

Barbara is an ENFJ, always making life better for others. It was her time to let others make life better for her. And that was hard for her!

ENFJs are sociable souls who usually know many people. Lots of friends were at the ready to help her. But she was in a great deal of pain and really didn't feel like talking to people much. She carefully monitored her visitor list — that was hard on her and hard on us!

After a week in the hospital, she was anxious to get home. But given that she couldn't walk, she needed a daily shot to prevent blood clotting.

As an ESTJ, I love to organize things. I quickly got the names of all medically trained residents of our building and sent out an email asking if they could help. Most of the physicians, by the way, admitted they learned how to give shots into oranges in med school, but developed a different skill set in their actual practices. But I found a nurse and a physician ready to help out.

I saw this process as simply a matter of organization. Barbara didn't want to give herself shots and described my finding people to do this for her as "lifting the dreaded self-inoculation and worry that allowed me to focus on rehabilitation and lower the level of physical pain and discomfort." NFs are typically able to focus on the broad picture and tune into their emotions. This ST was simply focused on getting the job done!

Friends stepped in to help with shopping, meal preparation, and rearranging furniture so that it could work with a wheelchair. Barb with her NF view of metaphors saw this as circling around her and cheering her on.

Barbara religiously did her rehabilitation, including physical therapy; one resident who had had a knee replacement told her exactly which halls in our building were best to walk in! There was quite a pooling of knowledge and tips! And Barbara is recovering well. She was good at setting a schedule and sticking with it. She walked a month before the doctors thought she would.

Once she had her physical recovery underway she said she could then visualize "what ‘recovery' looks and feels like," and next it was time for "an inner examination of the trauma and its experience on me and on the people that matter."

We were all inspired by Barbara's gratitude to enjoy each day and be grateful to be alive. Stopping to enjoy the little things — a flower, a view, a sunset — meant even more.

And Barbara decided this was a good time for soul searching as well — what else was there for her to do, to enjoy, to experience in life? She explained that "a crisis is a terrible thing to waste" and she wasn't about to let that happen.

She used her ENFJ type to its fullest both for herself and those who know her. She taught, she communicated, she grew, and so did we!