OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Steven Lowery, 33, has called the Ocean Springs Nursing Center home for a little more than two years. He's comfortable here. He can only move his arms slightly, but not his fingers. His legs are lifeless. His body may have changed, but not his optimism.
You see, on June 4, 2008 Steven's life changed forever. That day he was spending time with friends at a local river. He dove in, broke his neck, and was left paralyzed.
He remembers what happened right after the accident.
"They actually had a psychiatrist come in and was talking to me, trying to ask me and tell me, 'I know you're going to be feeling down and everything.' And I said, 'Actually, no, I'm not,'" Lowery recalled.
But it wasn't easy at first.
"For me, it was when I was laying down in the bed and knowing my friends are out there and I can't go and do the things I did before."
He works on his computer a lot, using his mouth to guide a stylus. He also has a close knit support system that helps him stay positive.
"I didn't feel sorry for myself. I just look forward to spending time with my daughter still, and just being there with family," Lowery explained.
I only spent a short time with Steven, but walking out of his room, I was incredibly impressed with his can-do attitude. Now think about how he impresses the people who actually work with him every day. One of them is LPN Dominique Fowler, who has grown very fond of her favorite patient.
"Despite what he's been through, he still has a positive attitude. I love caring for him. He just has a great energy, he doesn't let anything stop him, he is very determined and motivated, so for us here, he's just an inspiration," Fowler said.
CNA Antwon Davis feels the same way about Steven.
"We really enjoy working with him and being able to do things for him as far as his daily activities and care that we provide for him," Davis said.
Nursing Center Administrator Roxann Davidson couldn't agree more.
"He's very inspiring. His ability to spend each day doing those things that he loves doing, working with his computer and basically continuing to have a quality of life is encouraging," Davidson said.
Steven has advice for anyone who may be going through the same ordeal he is.
"I know it's hard to be like this, but if you give it some time, everything is going to be alright. Just don't quit in the beginning. It took me a couple of years for everything to come into focus," he advised.
That focus also means one thing for him.
"I'm here, I'm here for a reason and you just kind of keep your head up about it."
Steven also spends a lot of time working on a website that offers support and advice for caretakers of quadriplegics. You can find it at http://ethanksms.org/