HOPELESSNESS TO HEALING
WITH RUTHIE LINDSEY
APRIL 2ND, 2020
Ruthie Lindsey talks with Dr. Hillary McBride and Michael Gungor about her experience with pain and trauma. They also discuss some things we can do during the COVID-19 crisis. Ruthie’s new book, There I Am: The Journey from Hopelessness to Healing, will be released on April 21, 2020.
At seventeen years old, Ruthie Lindsey was hit by an ambulance near her home in rural Louisiana. She was given a five percent chance of survival and one percent chance of walking again. One month later after a spinal fusion surgery, Ruthie defied the odds, leaving the hospital on her own two feet. Just a few years later, newly married and living in Nashville, Ruthie began to experience debilitating pain. Her case confounds doctors and after numerous rounds of testing, imaging, and treatment, they prescribe narcotic painkillers—lots of them.
Ruthie became bedridden, dependent on painkillers, and hopeless, when an X-ray reveals that the wire used to fuse her spine is piercing her brain stem. Without another staggeringly expensive experimental surgery, she could well become paralyzed, but in many ways, she already is. Ruthie goes into the hospital in chronic pain, dependent on prescription painkillers, and leaves that way. She can still walk, but has no idea where she’s going.
As her life unravels, Ruthie returns home to Louisiana and sets out on a journey to learn joy again. She trades fentanyl for sunsets and morphine for wildflowers, weaning herself off of the drugs and beginning the process of healing—of coming home to her body.