While going through some old files recently, I came across a disability income insurance application form I had filled out when I started my speaking, training and consulting business in January 1997.
At that time, I had just left a faculty position at Ohio State University. I had the good sense to begin shopping around for a DI policy, knowing that I would be at risk starting my business without it. Disability income insurance had been a part of my OSU benefits package.
In my investigation, I found out that my DI policy at OSU was issued through the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio. This policy would remain in effect for two years after I left the university. When I realized that my income would be insured during this time, I tucked the insurance application into a folder for future reference. I fully intended to purchase an individual DI policy before the two-year window elapsed.
I never had to buy that individual DI policy. Life changed for me an instant. On June 13, 1998 while riding my bicycle, I was crushed by a 7,000 pound falling tree and paralyzed from the waist down.
My spinal cord injury severely limited me in daily living skills as well as pursuing my career. I was too weak to roll myself in my wheelchair on the carpet in our home. Since I lived and worked out of my two-story home, 50% of my home was not accessible. When I got home from the hospital, I focused on my rehabilitation and I went to physical and occupational therapy 3 days a week for 2 years.
At the time, I also owned a publishing company. I decided to dissolve it since I had no access to my basement where the books were stored for shipping purposes.
Since I was unable to travel, I could no longer deliver speeches or training programs. There was no income from either business in those early months.
My DI policy kicked in and started to replace my income within a few months. It was a life buoy. It relieved my stress as well as that of my husband, Mark. At the time, Mark was in a sales position and his sales plummeted due to the time he spent visiting me in the hospital and taking care of me at home. We hired a personal care attendant as soon as I got home from the hospital so he could go back to work. My attendant helped me get out of bed, take a shower, get dressed, cooked our meals, cleaned the house, and drove me to therapy and doctor’s appointments. She worked for me for almost a year. The money I paid her came out of my DI benefits checks.