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The Lookout | July 13, 2020

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Disability doesn’t rule LCC Professor

Disability doesn’t rule LCC Professor
The Lookout

Jaimie Bozack
A & E Editor

Thursday, April 17, 2003 seemed like it would be an average day for former LCC student and current sociology professor Deb Bishop.

She had spent that day teaching at LCC, attending a school board meeting in Perry and going in search of a quick bite to eat before heading home.

Around the time Bishop hit the road to go home that evening, a young girl had just been kicked out of a party for acting recklessly.

The girl took the road after consuming a fifth of Jagermeister, along with three or four beers. She was traveling 65 miles per hour, her car lights were off and she was talking on her phone, trying to find the next party.

Bishop came to a stop at a blinking yellow light. Just as she began to crank the wheel to make the turn, she heard a loud explosion to her left.

The next thing Bishop remembered was looking into the night sky while laying on her back. The young women had T-boned Bishop’s car and sent it spinning out of control.

“It could have only been a couple of seconds, but it’s like time slowed way down and you have this conversation with yourself,” Bishop said. “Somehow I had this weird out-of-body experience.

“I was over the top of the vehicle and was watching it spin. All of a sudden I rushed back down into my body and was back in the vehicle.”

Bishop said she thought the vehicle was on fire. The airbag released powder into the air and the flashing red and yellow lights morphed into flames. She tried unbuckling her seatbelt but three of her left ribs were broken. Bishop couldn’t breathe, so she fell back.

“I thought I was trapped in a car that was on fire,” Bishop said. “I remember saying a quick prayer. I said that I didn’t want to feel myself burning and I wanted my kids to be OK. Then I blacked out.”

Bishop woke up moments later to the sounds of the “Jaws of Life” cutting into the car and paramedics yelling back and forth.

“The paramedics were asking me questions like, ‘Can you feel this? Does this hurt?’” Bishop said. “It dawned on me that I wasn’t in a lot of pain, but they were acting as if I should be.”

“I looked at Jeff, the paramedic, and asked, ‘Are you telling me I am paralyzed?’” Bishop said. “He said he didn’t know, but at the same time tears were running down his face.”

Bishop was taken by helicopter to Sparrow Hospital. There she spent nine months recovering from injuries that included a bruised spleen, paralyzed bladder, head injuries, a pelvis broken in 16 different places, a broken back and more.

Bishop was told by a doctor she would never teach again due to her injuries.

“It’s not that I wanted to be a sociologist, it’s that I am a sociologist,” Bishop said. “When they came in and told me I was never going back to the classroom I looked at the doctor and said, ‘That cannot happen.’ I don’t know who I am if I am not a sociologist.”

Bishop, who grew up in Holt, has now been teaching at LCC for 23 years.

“I really wanted to come back to LCC to give back to my community because they had given me so many opportunities,” Bishop said.

“It was hard coming back for many reasons,” Bishop said. “There are days where I wake up in so much pain that I don’t want to get out of bed and go into work. I have to because if I don’t get up and go then it will get more difficult.”

Bishop still wears pain patches to deal with pain. She attends acupuncture sessions once a week and sits in a wheelchair.

“It’s not a load I have by myself … it’s one that I share with my husband and family,” Bishop said.  “It’s a simple choice. You are either going to let the disability rule you or you’re going to rule the disability. You just get up and face the challenge.”

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