In total, I wound up undergoing 36 surgeries over the course of three years. As you might imagine, I still have some lingering health issues that doctors haven't been able to resolve, but I've learned to cope with them.
The impact of the shooting on my mental health, though, showed up in surprising ways. I endured bouts of PTSD during the first few months after the shooting. Once home, I began counseling sessions with two psychologists, both PTSD experts. For a while, I was terrified of being in a car going over 35mph, and I'm not exactly sure why, since driving doesn't seem to have anything in common with guns. I suspect it was the fear of losing control of my body in the face of that kind of speed, but eventually the fear faded away.
My first few forays back into attending our regular Sunday second line parades were particularly loaded. I was hyper-paranoid, terrified that someone would break out a gun, start shooting, and I would be too frail to run and protect myself.
But I knew my quality of life would be worthless if I allowed the shooting to take away something I loved so tremendously. So I made a pact with God. Now, before I leave to go to a parade or any event in a sketchy neighborhood or questionable environment, I check in with myself spiritually. I meditate, ask The Most High to guide and protect me, and let me know if I should avoid this event or group of people. That way, if I again find myself in a dangerous situation, it will have been for a higher purpose. When I do this, I release the fear and worry, knowing that God has me covered, and I go have a good old time like always.