Sunday, December 21, 2014

Touched by Angels


      Each week as I ready for blog writing, I let my topic come to me as I go through my every day activities.  Not knowing until I was in church this morning, sitting, listening to the homily, I had  to look down for my eyes were whelming with grateful tears as I remember my first church visit four months after our collision.  Yes, this is what I should share today as the holiday season is among us, as we sit, look back at all we are grateful for and bask in all that we are given.  At the suggestion of a wonderful high school classmate of mine, I want to bring up how each one of us can be someone's angel, right here on this earth we live on. 

    Easter was late that year, April 24th.  Our priest suggested that I wait to come to church until my pain lessened and I became more mobile.   Unable to drive or attend many of my families activities,  unable to stand being cooped up any longer, I asked my husband to take me to mass.  Rolling me into church, I could feel warm eyes on me, although welcome, I felt small in that wheelchair, stripped of my independence.    Dragging my bottom from the chair to the hard, wood bench, I cringed.  I had forgotten to bring a seat cushion.  Weighing around 110 lbs, there was not much padding for my sore tailbone that I had been sitting on, without relent, for many months.  One of our daughters finally gave me their coat to ease my discomfort and stop the grinding sound that came from my constant fidgeting.  

     With that taken care of my ankles started talking to me, before long they were barking and by communion, howling.  Since they are elevated most of the day to relieve the pressure of my injuries, an hour of hanging down has caused deep aches and a pounding each time my heart beat.  We all know that Easter mass is a tad longer than a normal Sunday devotion.  Admitting silently that this was not one of my best ideas, communion commenced, meaning we were close to ending.

     I sat on the right side of church, in the front row, at the end of the pew, farthest from the aisle.  I had not heard or absorbed a single word of mass since entering the church.  Concentrating solely on increasing my comfort and berating myself for being impatient with my progress, I had lost the purpose of even attending with my family. 

      Keeping my head down as parishioners received the Eucharist, I felt the first soft touch on my right shoulder.  Gently smiling, I
covered this man's hand and nodded thank you.  Lacing my fingers together, I laid my clasped hands in my lap as another hand gingerly touched my shoulder as they passed by me, another patting, another squeezing, another caressing, another and another and another. 

      Each one of these wonderful angels spoke volumes to me as they moved past.  No words, just touch.  Soft, compassionate, reassuring shoulder embraces.  This was not sorrow or pity from what had happened to me.  This was normal people being sent as angels to comfort.  One hot tear fell from the corner of my right eye and then one more.  As more parishioners moved past me, more tears fell.  I could not lift my eyes for fear of completely collapsing emotionally.  So many hands that I could not count touched my heart.  

     With nothing to wipe my eyes, I sat there, slightly bent, watching the tears fall from the contours of my face to the fabric of my pants as the line moved forward.  My face was hot from the cascade of emotion sliding down my cheeks.  Silent sobs racked my chest in even increments as I earnestly kept them from escaping.   Unable to hide what was transpiring within me, my soaked eyelashes laid on my cheeks for the remainder of the hour.  

     Incapable of succeeding exclusively on my own, I accepted the help of others for the first time that I can cite.  Beholden with gratitude at what God asked these individuals to do that day and their willingness to accept has been the foundation of my successful rehabilitation.  Never knowing when we will be called upon, we should live gratefully and selflessly all year long instead of growing a soft heart only near the holidays or when tragedy beats on our door.  It did not matter that I heard no words recited from scripture this day, He said everything I needed to hear transmitted through your touch.  

  It is said that if angels exist, they have wings and halos above their head.  That they only show themselves when we reach so deep within ourselves that we touch a place we never knew we even had.  

But I see angels every day and they look just like you.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

He Helped me Answer my Own Question

     I wrote about this day many months ago waiting for one of my children to be released from practice.  I stored it in a notebook I carried with me to write down my random thoughts.  Several months ago, I tore it out of my notebook and discarded it, knowing I would not share this experience for fear of what others would think.  Fear of others rejecting the brilliant hour that turned my torture into something elseSomething that changed my perspective and eased the hurt from that deep bruise that was imprinted into my heart since December 29th. 

     Three months I had been lying in a hospital bed in my living room with the same question running into and invading every thought I had.   It wasn't even a conscious question at this point, I couldn't control its interference in my life.  I visioned it as someone terribly annoying poking me in the shoulder every half second, not stopping when asked.  " Am I going to be okay?" it vibrated fiercely . 

      Each day for three months I spent my days with this question alternating with my body begging me to stop the pain.  "AM I going to be okay?" *PAIN!* "Am I GOING to be okay?" *PAIN!* "AM I GOING TO BE OKAY?!" ***PAAAAINN!***  No rest, no reprieve. It was maddening!

     A weekday afternoon as I lie in that bed, I grew weary of watching tv.  I cannot focus enough to read, it is painful to write, I tire of my own thoughts.  Closing my eyes, I drift to some meditative state.  Still hearing voices from the television, still knowing my surroundings, that blasted question even intrudes my thoughts here.  For Gods sake, just leave me alone for a bit. 

     Sensations.  Odd sensations come over me.  I am smiling.  With my eyes still closed, a big easy smile spreads across my face.  I don't understand it but I love it, I want more.  A feeling slowly washes over by body. I had been cloaked with a calmness and it swaddled me as a mother swaddles her infant.  

     Peace.  It was splendid peace, warming my body, mind and spirit.  With a trust so unbelievably complete, I knew the answer to my unending inquiry.  Yes.  Even if I do not walk well or ever again,  I will be just fine.  If that means living life in a wheelchair, I will be just fine.  Our girls and I had survived and that is all that I cared about.  Vivid, clear thoughts were mine.  Heaviness lifted its weight from my heart and it began beating again in earnest.

     My world inside of our home stopped as if Mother Nature had stopped time, except for myself.  I was in a whirl wind, everything around me was blurring as my mind whipped with comprehension, with awe, with disbelief.  He wasn't here with me, I did not hear him say the words, but he let me feel my answer.  He was allowed to let me know I was going to be okay.  He was allowed to let me feel peace.  It was him, the man who hit me. 

     I sat up in bed, overcome with emotion and exploded into tears, heart wrenching tears as I held my head in my hands.  I sobbed submissively, "I'm so sorry." "I'm so sorry you died."  " I'm sorry you died and I did not, I don't know why, I'm sorry."   I could not picture his face because I did not know what he looked like.  I did not know his life or personality, but I felt his heart this day.  It felt like this was a way that God let him help the person he caused so much pain for.  He was sorry.   

     He was finally at peace.  I don't know what that meant, but I knew it as well as I knew my own name. 

     It was the first time I had addressed him.  Acknowledged that he had changed my life.  Now he had changed it twice in a matter of three short months.  I know the reality. I know the explanations and excuses of everything else that this can be.  I was dreaming, it was effects of the pain medications I was ingesting, it was my own mind wanting something so badly that I imagined it.  

     But what does it really matter?  I had found what I had been searching for.  My spirit was at ease.  That question no longer haunted me.  I don't care what it was, I loved what it did for me.  I choose to believe because it grants me peace, courage and composure.  I choose to believe.

     I do not wish this pain or these struggles to be in my life.  I wish I could learn these lessons in a less tragic way, but this is my path now.  My journey.  God does not leave you on Earth without a reason.  I have asked him a few thousand times what am I supposed to do for him, what is my reason for being saved because when I look at my car, at the scene, it does not look as if anyone should have survived that.  

     I have heard his silent wishes and this past week, in a room full of three hundred plus people, I finally accepted.  I smirked as I said, "Well you ornery son of a gun." HE says, " Do the thing that you have been most afraid of your entire life." 

 Speak. Up. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

There were Angels all Around Us

     I can only speak from my perspective when I relay the delicate details of my memories, but in conversing with our children, they feel as strongly as I do about how each one of you who helped in any way has been an Angel sent to us.  

     There are few memories from my extrication and transport, but those few seem like such large remembrances.   There were people surrounding our car, helping keep the girls and I calm while waiting for the emergency crew to come to our aid.   Per my husband's communication, he arrived in record time and he skidded our truck to a halt in front of our scene. There was only a fire truck and a few cars on the highway.  Jumping out of the truck as his vision was tunneled only to see our white car, he regarded that the air bags blocked his vision of us as he hurried towards the passenger side.  Speaking with our girls he calmed and reassured them as the ambulance crew started to assess the situation.   Looking at the passenger side of the car, he thought, "Okay, this might not be too bad", then as he rounded the back of the car toward my side, he was shocked by the devastation staring back at him.

    Kneeling beside my window in the frozen grass, he lifted the airbag and asked, "Carey...... are you doing okay?"   At the sound of my husband's voice I felt my resolve shatter.  I was trying to stay so strong for our girls.   " It hurts so bad" I whimpered softly, but no tears could come with this cry as I was in shock.  I could only see an outline of him, but every part of me felt his presence.  He filled me with words of confidence and affection and moved back to the passenger side as the paramedics began to remove the girls from our demolished car.  I floated in and out of consciousness for the remainder of the extraction. 

     Feeling fairly calm this entire time,  I knew that my husband was able to comfort the girls so I had given into the darkness waiting to claim me.  Firemen and paramedics continuously woke me and I was able to give yes and no answers.  My personality is usually mellow and that seemed to stay true with me during this traumatic occurrence.  I'm sure if I could have formed the thought, I would have surmised that acting like a raving lunatic would have gotten me no where except being told to quiet down so the firemen could get me out more quickly.   

     As customary, I sat quietly and answered when spoken to.  I remember very little of this process.  I do remember once looking out my window and my gaze landed on my husband and my Dad, standing by the railroad tracks.  My vision had been only in black and white when I initially awoke, now my vision was again in color.  They both had their hands in their pockets and were staring at me with solemn faces.   Anguish for them consumed me.  I reassured them I was fine and not to worry, but that I was grateful they were both there.   

     They didn't respond, I discerned after a few moments that I hadn't actually spoken the words.  I was speaking novels in my head but the words were not emerging from my mouth.  I tried to show emotion through my eyes but by this point I was incapable of accomplishing much on my own.  I knew because I was in shock that I had that hollow stare and hated that they had to witness this from someone they loved.  I allowed my eyelids to fall shut. 

I believe the 'health care' training I've received helped me

understand the phases I was going through and how I needed to respond.  I also was consoled at the thought that at least one person out of all of the emergency crew would have to know me personally.  I didn't recognize any voices, but they were fantastic in how they handled me.  They were firm and direct when asking me questions or disclosing what action they were taking next, yet extremely consoling and supportive.  Never once do I remember any derogatory words, yelling or anything that would make me panic.  They were professional and compassionate in their work.  I will forever be grateful for their demeanor as a team.

     In the midst of cutting the car apart, one of the firemen advised me that they would have to remove the roof off the car.  "Okay" I acknowledged.  The next thought that entered my mind was sarcastic and I chuckled as I reflected to myself, 

"Well Greg's sure gonna like that!"  Like it really mattered, right?   It is amazingly odd how our minds work. 

      During the extraction, there was always someone to the right of me in the car, soothing me, quieting any fears I had.  Having this person there since my husband was unable to be near me as this transpired was essential.  After the roof was removed my husband leaned over the hood of the car and told me the ambulance was leaving and transporting the girls to the hospital in Rolla.  

     He asked me what I wanted him to do.  The girls couldn't be alone!  I told him to follow and take care of them and I assumed I would be following them shortly in my own ambulance.  I'm sure he had already come to this conclusion.  He translated that my Dad was going to stay with me so I wouldn't be alone and that Dad would give him regular updates of my progress.  I was comforted at the thought that he was still going to be there with me.  My husband's position was appalling .  

     He watched his family being separated from each other.  I did not follow them to Rolla.  We were taken to two hospitals in totally different directions.  He was being forced to make a decision to leave me, not knowing how severe my injuries actually were.  His strength is admirable, but his situation is not envied.

     I remember very little until I was pushed into the ambulance. 

Immediately paramedics cut off my clothes and when the woman had to lift my right leg I couldn't help but to moan out in pain.   I vaguely remember the Emergency Room sign as I was being wheeled into the hospital in Sullivan.  They performed CT's and many xrays and I remember nothing.  Having been conscious at some point when my Dad arrived at my bedside, I relayed in a childlike voice, " Daddy, I broke both of my legs".   Funny how tragedy makes you revert to childhood endearments.   

     As I was being pushed back into the ambulance the woman paramedic was overly apologetic to me.  She delivered the news,stating, " We can't fly you out because it is too foggy.  I'm so sorry, but we have to drive to Barnes Hospital and it's going to be a long, rough ride."   Moaning my disapproval I begged, "I don't care, just give me some medicine so I can go to sleep."  I believe that is just what happened next.  There is not even a vague recollection of that ride to St. Louis.

    By this time Dad has given my husband the news that I miraculously did not have brain damage or organ injuries.   My bone damage was severe, but I would survive.  

     There are angels all around, wrapping their beautiful wings around us in our time of need, disguised as ordinary people, living ordinary lives.  Most of us believe in angels, but have you ever thought of that angel as You?


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Acceptance is the Key to my Happiness

I Can't?

     The absurdity of the words, "I can't walk", emanating from myself felt foreign.  Rarely have I ever spoken words of that nature.  Not being able to stomach that phrase, it soon became,
 "I can't yet"

   Teaming with two surgeons, I began a quest of moving forward with a philosophy of "Let's see how much of my life I can get back."  It has been a long road to my best recovery from that car collision. We are just a month shy of four years since our world has been rocked.  Four years of frustration, tears, lost memories, living in slow motion and sheer joy at the most trivial advancements. That brings us to the splitting of tracks.  I have envisioned myself the small but mighty engine that may not be able to pull the largest of loads anymore, I may have to be more creative about which route I must take, but I am persistent and always make it to my next station.  

     My upcoming visit with my surgeon in December should be my release into the real world.  Providing all goes well, I am free of surgeries and free to live as I want to live until the day arrives that "I can't" anymore.  Enthusiasm envelops me at the thought that no one but myself has authority to tell me what I can and cannot physically do.  The other side of the sword is that this truly means I am at my peak.  There is no getting better anymore and that is all that it has been for four years.  This is as good as it gets.  I have worked hard and my family and I have practiced extreme patience with my trials and I believe we are all proud to have this moment upon us.  But this means, I must now accept that this is where I will stay.  So I must swallow those bitter words of "I can't" and accept that there are some physical activities that I just will not be able to achieve.  

     Entering into a small shop I chose a gift for my daughter.  Walking into a back room, the owner wrapped that gift with care as she asked, "Carey, how do you do it?"  "What is that exactly?" I inquired.  "When you have tried everything you know how to do and you know you will not get any better", she spoke.  Thankful that her glance was cast down as my eyes darted to her face, I felt my lips part in astonishment.  Did she know?  How could she know?  Tears sting my eyes as I perceive that it was a honest inquiry and that she has no idea that question has been slowing invading my thoughts as I near the end of my own recovery.  She was speaking of her own trials. 

      As my emotions released their hold on the lump they had placed in my throat, I admonished,   "When I know that I have done all that I can do, that I have put one hundred percent into the effort and feel proud of that effort, then I accept.  Actually, acceptance is the key to my happiness." 

     Hearing my own words, I softly smiled.  I also smirked at God because He knows I now listen.  He has a way of working through people.  This shop owner helped me take my own advice that day and maybe my words helped her through the next step of her own journey.  She does not know how that short visit affected me or that it nudged me out of that rut of vulnerability.  

     Recovery is as much mental as it is a physical.   My husband has cited a pledge to me many times over our almost ten year liaison, especially this last four.  A great friend passed it to him, he has passed it to me and I will pass it to you.  I altered it a bit to tailor to my situation, but in the end we receive the same message. 

Acceptance is the key to my happiness.  When I am disturbed, it is because I find -- some fact of my life -- unacceptable to me, and I can find no happiness until I accept that situation as being 
exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.
Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake.  
 I must accept life completely on life's terms or I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in 
me and in my attitudes.

   My happiness does not hinge on what was thrust upon me.  My happiness does not hinge on my ability to walk.  My happiness clings onto my attitude, that if I cannot change my circumstances then, I make peace with it by accepting that this is how life is supposed to be a this moment.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

What is a BAE and how do we Get Rid of It?

     If you have not yet heard of this new word then you are behind the times and fortunate, in my opinion.

     I first saw this word in print, wondering what the heck it was.  It is all over the Twitter scene, in every tweet, comment, photo.  Then, I heard it in my house, vibrating off the walls.  Sometimes it was pronounced in valley girl style, others in drooling admiration, usually as some hot, teen hunk flashed his abs across the television screen.  That is because I have a house full of Teenage girls.  My son, at age twelve, has not entered the social media scene or started using slang.........yet.

     So what is it?   Noun, verb, adjective?   Apparently it can be used any way you desire.  

bae-noun -abbreviated form of "babe".

     This is the slang meaning of the new word as it progressed through modern dialogue.  Babe is a shortened form of "baby", babe has now been shortened to "bae".   Like it needed to be shortened anymore?  I believe society just keeps getting lazier.  

     Other meanings I've come across are:

*Boyfriend/Girlfriend/ BFF

*Awesome, sweet, sexy ( he is so bae)(that car is bae)

* Concern( you bae, right?)



Okay, I get all of those, but here are some definitions that I bet those who use it didn't know of.

*a person that is your best friend AND you get naked with

(bae, let's get naked) 

*Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering (BAE)

*Yes/Right? (you wanna go with, bae?)

*Biggest A** Ever! ( She has a bae!)

*Butts are ev.ery.thing(bae, man, bae) as guys are checking out a woman's backside or vice versa 

*The Danish word for "POOP"(my favorite) (Heath took a big bae in my bathroom, how rude!) or you can recall this meaning as you tell your loved one how much they are your most treasured bae.

     Each time I read or hear this word, I cringe.  It should not last in our culture too much longer because of it's daily overuse.   We know from history, once something is so popular that even your Grandma says it, it is done for.  It's time if over, it's ran it's course and what was once the most bae slang term has become outcast.  You are no longer bae if you use it.  That was so, like, six months ago just like the term, "yolo". (good for you if you missed that slang also)

     If you do get through the time period of this slang term with minimal interaction, I applaud you.  You have missed out on nothing.  It is just a fad that will be tossed out soon along with last years "can't live without" Coach purse.

I'll leave that up to you.







Sunday, November 9, 2014

Cyber-bullying: The Silent Threat

     How would you react if your child received messages or posts like, " You are the ugliest person on this earth, why don't you just die?"  

      Now, let's turn this around. 

      How would you react if you found out your child was the one posting these messages?

      Hopefully we react with the same intensity to stop this foul mouthed hatred in both cases.  

     My children love, no, I mean adore, their electronic devices.  This generation has been reared on technology.  It is in every aspect of their lives.  Although my family enjoys the outdoors, you can bet your bottom they will not leave without their phone or Kindle.  Even if it must be left in our vehicle or they have no signal, it has to be there, just in case.  So, when it comes to discipline, guess what gets taken away first?   

     Kids are surfing the internet constantly.  Social media and gaming sites are the big ones in our home.  This much activity leaves the door open to misjudgements or misinterpretations of an individual's  post.  As I sit and type this, I say, "children", because I automatically assume that adults hold themselves to a higher standard and know not to do this, but I sit and recall comments on Facebook that are clearly negative and are pointed at another adult that we all know, even though the name is not mentioned.  I guess that I could actually put them in the "children" category then, can't I?

    Last year our home had it's first case of bullying. (that we know of)   Children are not vocal creatures when it comes to being bullied.  They keep quiet for fear that their character will come into question in the hallways of their school.

      Cyber-bullying is not different.  To those who execute this action, hiding behind a computer screen does not give you power, it makes you a coward.  In most cases it doesn't even make you anonymous anymore.   Fake confidence is not attractive.   The old saying of "words will never hurt me" are not true.  Words do hurt.  They can be apologized for, but never taken back.  They are read or repeated in our heads over and over again.  As adults who have lived through at least one episode of bullying, we can say that this school yard crap means Nothing in the real world.  Although it may make your skin thicker and you can learn from the experience, it means nothing in how we should let it control our lives. 

      Our world is busy, not every child has a positive role model or someone to take them to the side and educate them on right and wrongs.  Unfortunately if that does not happen, we have those individuals who never grow personally and forever stick to their playground antics.  Adults who bully with their words.  They are words said by mindless, weak adults who are trying to bring you into the tiny circle they have drawn around themselves because they are too afraid to step across that line into your confident world and see what they are actually made of.

     Thinking about this and how much influence the internet has on our children brings me to wonder, "who will remind my kids of appropriate behavior when I am not around?"  My hopes are that the voice of my husband and I will be booming in their heads or that they have grown into that confident child that can stand up for what is right and make the correct moral decision.  

     But sometimes they act before they think, just the same as you and I.  Emotion gets the better of us, good or bad.  With social media on every corner haunting us, posting has become automatic.   There is little self-regulating on this.   Every moment or feeling is documented.  Many times for the good, but sometimes not.  What if it could be somewhat regulated or we, as well as children could be reminded of what is morally appropriate to post?  

     I researched this.    What I found is a fourteen year old girl who had the same question.  She has in fact, brought this into reality.  A science project.   That is how her idea started.  

Her question was,
 "What if every time you posted a negative comment, you were questioned, Do you really want to post this?  It may hurt another."  

     Would it work?  Do you think it would make us rethink before we type?

     With any problem, we try to fix it at the source, right?  She developed a software program to do just this.  Her science project was to add this program to over a thousand computers and collect the data.  Her results were outstanding!   The majority of offensive posts were canceled.  Ninety -three percent of the time, the user changed their mind about hitting Enter on their computer.  

    Here is her video presentation.  It is 11 minutes, but it is interesting and well worth the watch.   Remember, she is just fourteen years old and already an incredible innovator with her idea of Rethink before you type. 

     Now, if we could only have a safe software for Rethink before you speak..............


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Saying Thank You to All of YOU!


     These are just a scattering of terms that I owe to all of you. 

     Four years is a long time to recover.   Four years is a long time for your continued support, but you have never given up on me, which in turn, causes me to not give up on myself.   We have been granted a gift of  86,400 seconds in a day, it only takes the use of one of those seconds to say, "Thank You" but I am going to use quite a few more than that today.

Silent gratitude is not much use to anyone, so

      It amazes me that the effects of this collision have spread so far.  Society may not know my name, but I hear, " Ohhhh, you're the one, " quite often.  I receive hugs from citizens that I do not know because they said a prayer for my family and I in church.  The same goes for cards, texts and private messages.  They start by explaining who they are and that they have a friend who knows us personally and felt compelled to write us.   Then............there is you.   Still receiving random, "how are you doing?" messages or cards.   I receive the best hugs when I venture into town.   Smiles are everywhere and if one of those smiles are a little droopy, then I hug you and you have no choice but to hug me back, because that would just be bad manners.  

     I rarely shake hands anymore unless the occasion truly calls for it, I encompass my acquaintance in my skinny, woman arms and hope they feel every bit of indebtedness that I have.   I have so much to give and give back.  

     I cannot recall if I have communicated this story to you or not, but this moment calls for it.     

     When I roused in my room after one of the surgeries, I'm not sure if it was my personality, God or something called Dilaudid, but I awoke in a great mood.  As long as I received my medicine routinely I was in moderate pain, light-hearted and didn't think much about my situation.  While I was holding my Mom's hand after a surgery I vividly recall a divine sense of prayer.  I spoke genuinely to her, " Mom, I can feel everyone praying for me, I can feel it.  That's why I feel so good."  I can only think of one way to explain this titillation.  When you watch how fans 'people surf' at a rock concert, there are many hands supporting that person as they travel along the crowd.  This is how I felt about everyone who was praying for us.  You were carrying me with prayer at a time when I could not carry myself.  It's an inspiration that I could never forget.

     When I speak of "you", I speak of everyone.  My family, friends, acquaintances and unique strangers that took time to help me, even in thought.  My family put their lives on hold until I could function on my own.  Our children practiced patience, nurturing and bred independence in their new roles, while my mind, body and spirit were reclaimed.  There were times when my own light diminished and was rekindled by a spark sent by one of you, whether you knew this or not.  I will never be afraid of saying a prayer or sending a message to someone because of awkwardness.  It was at the oddest junctures that a short note from someone revitalized my ambition to survive and live, like I wanted to live.  

     It is said that, "if you were not grateful for what you had before, that you could never be grateful for what you are to get."   I believe this to be true.  I do not wish this experience on anyone, it is painful in so many ways.  I am grateful to live thirty-five years as I did, but I am grateful to live any way I can now.  This is a promise to you, that I will pay it forward til the end of my life here on this earth.

If there was a way that I could touch you, to transfer my emotion of appreciation,  so you could feel what is in my heart, you could have endless peace just from that smallest gesture.   

 Gratitude has, undeniably, been my best attitude.



Sunday, October 26, 2014

Let's Go Home

       During those days after my second surgery there was an instant when my husband and my Mom were in the room with me, I was curious as to what actually happened to us.  Not quite understanding the details or maybe the details were blocked as a safety measure by my own instinct, I asked them for specifics about the crash. 

     I had no recollection that there were four vehicles involved.  I thought it was just him and I.  Four vehicles,that's a big deal.  Inquiring about the other motorist, they broke the news that we were hit by a drunk driver and that he did not survive.  

     Time froze in that moment of realization, complete shock encompassed me.  I could barely obtain a clear thought anyway, but this had me in astonishment.   Their images were obscured as I tried to grasp their words.  I was involved in a fatal car crash, this was hard to fathom.  I asked many questions.  Sometimes asking the same questions over again because I didn't recall asking them the first time.  This stage replays in my head many hours of the day as I try to comprehend.

  I was  involved in my own thoughts when I heard my Mom say something about my face.  Oh my Gosh!  I had been consumed with my ankles and hadn't even considered that I may have lacerations or burns.  In fact, I had not even looked at myself above the waist, at least that I could recall. 

      I asked for a mirror and they explained the left side of my face was burned from the airbag.   When I viewed my image I was a taken aback by the reflection.  I scanned my face and it was red from the burns and starting to peel in some places.  There was a perfect line down the center of my face since I had apparently turned my head to the right when we were struck.  

      I examined the rest of my body to find it was beaten up as well.   My left shoulder had a deep throb in it, like something was torn.  I had minimal movement with it.  Bruising was shown everywhere on my person especially on the left side of my body.  Deep, purple bruising.  My body was riddled with them as well as cuts and scrapes.   How my face and upper body were spared from the glass I can't figure out.  The glass had only penetrated once at my hair line and once above my lip.  Minor scars for such a severe tragedy.  


   Daytime softened into night and on my ninth day of being stationed on the orthopedic floor of the hospital, the day before I was released, I was jolted to consciousness by an immeasurable pain afflicting my right lower leg.  It was centered exactly over my fibula that had been crushed.   It stole my breath and ability to speak.  My husband was swiftly by my bedside asking what was causing such drama from me.  In the midst of expressing my thoughts, I could feel the spasms forthcoming.  It began slowly, as to let me know I had better prepare, then it rushed in a wave of convulsions.  I thought my leg was being shattered all over again.  

My husband called for the nurse as I collapsed back to my pillow.  The lines around my eyes grimaced as my eyes slammed shut, gasping.  There was a traction device over my bed and with the next spasm I grasped the handle and  growled as my teeth clenched together furiously.  Involuntary short grunts were coming out between my gritted teeth as I endured the torture.  

     This happened time and time again, never relenting.  This behavior is not an action I am accustomed to.  I have no control over this.  A sob escaped my lips as I was fighting another convulsion,  I can't take anymore.  "Please!" I begged silently.  In desperation, my husband grieved, " Oh Carey" as he laid his head on the bed beside me while grasping my right arm,  my amazing nurse let tears fall as I fought through this. She frantically called for the physician to obtain permission for an additional dose of Dilaudid.  My cries were great as she pushed the brilliant fluid through my IV.   Quickly the spasms subsided as I abandoned awareness.

     The humor of my coming experiences were just beginning.  The next morning all thoughts of the previous day were forgotten as my nurse entered my room explaining that I could be discharged as long as I had a bowel movement.  She was candidly holding a suppository in her hand and asked if I wanted her to insert it or if I preferred to do it myself.  My head whipped over to look at her hand and I was bewildered and appalled.   It was like she was asking me if I wanted cereal or eggs for breakfast.   "Uh, I'll do it" I stammered.

  Good grief, the things I have to go through!  I knew anytime you have surgery or an extended hospital stay that this was policy, I just hadn't thought about it for myself.  Later, I was abash when my husband informed me that this wasn't the first time I had encountered the nurse with a suppository.  I'm overjoyed that I don't remember these incidents. 

     A physical therapist taught me how to get out of bed and transfer myself to the wheelchair.  We toured the orthopedic floor as I learned to maneuver my new ride.   I giggled at the thought that they let me operate it while under the influence of such strong pain meds.   We were in good spirits and on the tenth day I was released to go home to live without Dilaudid.  

"When something bad happens to you, 
you have three choices.

You can let it define you, 
let it destroy you, 
or you can let it strengthen you."



Sunday, October 19, 2014

Angry Enough to Stand: That Ugly Cry

     This day I awoke impatient and agitated.  My muscles atrophied quickly as my bones took their time healing.  Although my mind is becoming more clear as I decrease my narcotic use,  I still could not guess the date or even month we are in.  I assume it should be late April, I am hoping.  Each day I receive more clarity, is a day that my active personality slowly returns.  I find my time sitting in a wheelchair has become mundane.  Winter refuses to lessen it's grip and I have rolled around every room in the house trying to find adventure. 

     Rolling myself down the hall, for who knows how many times that day, I stop to rest near the top of our stairs.  I am exhausted from the attitude I am carrying around.  My attention is constantly compelled by thoughts of walking.   My life is in limbo and that is what I am most frustrated about.   I want to know if I will be able to stand again or should I just accept that I will "roll" forever?  Sitting deep in thought, I work myself into a frenzy.   I am angry.  I am angry because I cannot stand.  I am angry because I cannot retrieve my own plate or cup from the cupboard.  I am angry because I cannot do any activity without pain.  I am angry because I cannot visit my basement!   Basement.  Oh, yes.   I still sit at the top of the stairs, while at the bottom, leaning against the wall, are a pair of silver crutches, smiling.  Winking.  Beckoning.

     I was done with fragile lady words today.  " Oh, *%#! this!", I yell at my empty house as I slam my palms on the arm rests of my wheelchair.  I am done with this sitting on my hind end, relying on everyone to help me.  Rolling to the steps, I stare and lament.   Locating my children's step stool, I place it on the floor in front of the stairs.  Unable to lower myself directly to the floor, I must proceed to the stool, then to the floor, now to the top step.  I weigh nothing, have no strength and movement is painful.  What the hell, I've already been broken and survived, it couldn't be worse.  I've used up four minutes moving just from the chair to the steps, which is about two feet, it could take all afternoon to master the stairs. 

    My attitude plunges me forward into the task.   Each and every step, I start by placing my left foot, then my right onto the next stair down.  Gingerly I would lower my bottom down.  Reaching the bottom, I leaned forward, grabbed the crutches and hurled them as far as I could up the treads.  Looking back up the steps, it is like the hallway in a movie that grows longer the more you stare at it.  I retreated back up the stairs just as I had come down them and safely returned to my metal chariot.  Covered in sweat and sucking some wind, I glance at the clock, Holy!   The clock says it took me nearly thirty minutes to achieve this.  

     I will stand today.  I just have to figure out how.  Rolling to the doorway, I park facing the wall.   Assuming this was the tactic that was most safe, I locked the brakes of my chair.   If I were to fall, I would either hit the wall or fall back into the chair, maybe.  Lifting the footrests, I place my braced feet to the floor.   I was still wearing my original black braces that were not manufactured for standing.  Rocking back and forth in the chair, my fourth attempt landed me cheek against the wall, gripping the door frame, scrambling to find a crutch before I crashed. 

     Thinking this may be the most stupid decision I've ever made certainly crossed my mind.   I did not have permission to do this, had never attempted this with supervision and here I am doing it alone in my house.  What a half-wit I am, which is most literally true in this case.  

     Well, I am already up, I shouldn't waste the opportunity.  For whatever reason I don't feel the carpet is stable, the kitchen hardwood is just a step away.  Placing my weight on the crutches I hear my braces slide against the oak wood as I drag them forward.  I look across my kitchen and I am dumbfounded by the view and feelings that overwhelm me.   My Lord!   I am so tall!   I have not viewed anything from this level in months.  I am enormous, feeling as if I loom over the counter tops.  Deliriously happy, I break into uncontrollable laughter, it comes from so deep that my belly aches.  I did it, I stood!   

    My open mouth laughter promptly turns into sobbing.   Drooping on my crutches, my shoulders are racked with deep, anguished sobs.  My cries come in pulses, matching each sob.  I suck in a deep gulp of air as each episode ends and another begins.  The emotion engulfs me to the point that no sounds are forthcoming anymore.  My eyelids have seized shut. I sob so hard my mouth will not close, my face is contorted with the pain I have survived these past months as I still hang on these metal contraptions. 

   Many minutes later as I finally release the last of my pent up grief.  I open my eyes and my shirt is wet from the river of tears I set free.  My first real cry.  I was not sad.   This was a healing cry.  I just needed release.  Staring down at the floor, I found an actual puddle of drool.  How ridiculous that must have looked hanging from my gaping mouth as I cried like an infant.  That is what you would call an ugly cry.  Ugly, but much needed.  

     After wiping the floor of my grotesque amount of saliva, because all I would need now is to slip in it, I had to share this with my husband.   Even though it was the middle of the day and he was at work, I had to share this with my confidante.  I confessed my drama of the afternoon and he remained quiet as my voice became thick with feeling.  He may have held is head in his hands and thought, "Woman, you are surely going to give me a heart attack", but he had nothing but compassionate words for his wife.

     I would say to anyone who made a decision like this, the same as I said to myself, " That was a foolish and hazardous decision, what the (bleep) were you thinking?"   It wasn't based on intellect for sure, it was a decision based on emotion.  I am stubborn and I don't regret it and it wasn't the last time frustration won over common sense.  

     What it did, was give me was hope.   
  Strength can only give you power, but hope can give you success.