Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tough Times Don't Last, Tough People Do

     I recently acquired copies of some of my x-rays and came across the ones of my pelvis.   Three surgeries on my pelvis have been performed with the first occurring four weeks after the collision.  External fixators had already been placed in both of my lower legs.  The trauma surgeon had tried to piece my right fibula back together and he set my dislocated left ankle back in it's correct position, while screwing those pieces back together as well.   So I had already had a few surgeries before this first pelvic one.   Viewing these x-rays brought back the memories of that surgery because it was the first surgery that I remember.   I'm saying I don't have even a snippet of the first surgeries of my ankles in my memory.  None.  

     Apparently that was a blessing for myself.  Reconnecting my bones, tendons and nerves bore a pain so barbaric that my conscious has blocked it out.   The high and thick wall of Dilaudid was not enough to overcome the waves of torment that crashed into my body relentlessly those first few operations. But, let me tell you, that first pelvic surgery was combined with another surgery on my right ankle and I was blasted away by the severity of the pain.  

     We hadn't anticipated  a pelvic surgery at all because only 3-5% of the type of pelvic fracture that I have, doesn't heal themselves.  Well that was not the last time during my recovery I would enter into that narrow margin.  Just trying to write my own text book instead of following the one already written, I suppose. 

      During my first check up with my surgeon, Greg reminded me about the most important complaint I'd had.  How could I have forgotten?  Relaying to my surgeon that my pubic bone had been "popping" for the last week was imperative.  It gave a pretty big wallop, one that Greg could hear and if he was carrying me, he could feel.   My surgeon stopped walking and talking instantly.  I did not enjoy the look on his face.  After a few questions, he immediately scheduled me for some x-rays and a CT of my pelvis.  He dropped the bomb on us that my pelvic fracture did not heal as expected.  The surgeon must put two bolts in my left posterior pelvis and a plate and screws on my pubic bone to hold my pelvis together.  Had I known, how many more surgeries I would have to recover from, I probably would not have taken this unplanned surgery so hard.

     Fast forward to the surgery date,  as Greg and I entered the pre-op room, some of the hospital staff had recognized us because I had already been there three times in a matter of weeks.   I was baffled since none of these smiling faces were recognizable to me.

       It seemed the next minute I was lifting my eyelids open and knew instantly I was leaving the operating room. I awoke to the huge lights moving above me and noticed the door thresh hold as we passed through it.   Nursing staff were wheeling me to Recovery and only seconds had passed when an atrocious pain began to radiate from my lower abdomen.  Within moments it was unbearable.  I asked the nurse where I was and why I was feeling so much pain.     A male nurse stated that I wasn't supposed to be awake yet.  He  informed me that I was at Barnes Hospital.  I truly did not believe him.   My teeth started chattering violently, I had no control over my body as I began to shake.  He asked me if I was cold or if I was in pain.  I told him it was horrible and pleaded with him to make it stop.  As soon as we made it to Recovery I was given Morphine, but the pain would not lessen.  This was not any different than the other surgeries, the only difference was that this time, I was remembering the experience.  The nursing staff could not give me anymore morphine as it slowed my heart to only four beats per minute.  I was transferred to the Orthopaedic floor where I could be injected with Dilaudid and finally I slept.  

       The last morning of my stay the Physical Therapist announced that I would have to start rolling to each side if I wanted to leave the hospital.  I can't describe how badly I did not want this order.  I was in anguish laying flat on the bed and NOT moving as much as possible.  They also announced that I did not have a choice. 

      It took several nurses along with PT to accomplish this exercise.   The staff positioned pillows and pulled up sheets as they rolled me to my left side.  Uncontrollable, horrible groans involuntarily rushed past my lips and grazed hard against my teeth as it felt like muscles were being torn from my bones themselves.  My God, how much more, just how much more pain?  I wanted to sob and tell them to leave me!  They were patting me softly as they told me what a great job I had done and that they would be back in a few hours to roll me to the right side.  I mentally groaned as I thanked them for their unwelcome torture.

       The right side movement wasn't as terrible as the left roll, but the last feat I had to accomplish was sitting up.  This is killing me.  I must have given that poor physical therapist a look of,  "Are you flippin'  kidding me?"  because she snickered and told me that I could do it.  I knew I could do it, I just didn't want to!  She was patient as I was moving at the speed of a slug.  It was absurd how difficult this was.  I had finally sat up and she let me rest a mere  moment before exclaiming, " Okay, now into the wheelchair!"  For the love of Pete, just smack me with a two by four and put me out of my misery!  I knew of course I had to move or I would not be leaving.   I also realized she was correct when she told me the more I moved the better I would feel, so I obliged.

     Two bolts and four very long screws were installed that day.   Yes, we estimated maybe they were a little too long in length for my anatomy.  Six months later the plate and screws were removed, only to allow my pubic bone to start popping again.   This meant that one side of my pubic bone was overlapping the other and when I moved, it popped or scraped against each other to return to it's original position.  Not great.  Four months later  a plate and six screws were reinstalled and this is how I will always stay.

        Things do have a tendency to "catch".  At that time I stop and move around until movements are attainable again.  I cannot move fast and cannot perform some actions at all.  Exercising is a trial and error process.   My sanity is modification, being creative with my thought process.  I do develop frustration at times and I also develop patience and gratitude for the lessons that these injuries teach me. 

 Especially that

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Kids & Social Media: Have that talk

     By now, most of us have heard at least a smidgen about the Jennifer Lawrence scandal regarding her nude photos that were leaked.  Obviously she is a free choosing adult who can take nude photos in the privacy of her own home.  She most likely took them with someone she was in love with and never in her life time thought they would be posted for the public to view.  This is at least what I am hoping because she seems like a genuine person instead of a celebrity looking for attention. 

     Instead of getting wrapped up and rolling around in the hype about this, my immediate response was, "This is exactly why my husband and I have spoken and reiterated to our children about the danger of camera phones, texts and social media." 

     At my thirty-eight years of age, I can admit that none of that was an issue we had to deal with while maturing.  Eh hum............we didn't even have cell phones.  

     While everything today is documented, as little as fifteen years ago all we had was he said/she said.  Rumors.  You defended yourself with spoken words.  Today most, especially children don't speak, they text as much as possible.  That means every thought they have is documented, because they type All of their thoughts.  That means with those abnormally deft thumb muscles  the younger generation has grown, those texts and even worse, photos, can be shared. Our children are natives to social media.  They are much more comfortable sharing personal information than older generations are.  

     The points that we try to incorporate into our children's core are that even though we are "old" we understand that times change.  We accept certain parts of that change, but there is still a line that shouldn't be crossed and if you do cross it, realize there are consequences.  To children and teens, reputation is everything in school.   How many "likes" you receive, shape how they are perceived by their peers.  Too much influence is put on this.  Make a mistake in judgement and you may be branded as something you are not.  Make a mistake in judgement and you may hurt or embarrass someone you care about, including yourself.  Make a mistake in judgement and you may lose your scholarship/job.  This can bring a level of stress and pressure so great to teens who are already overwhelmed with school, social status and hormones that they crack, rebel or retreat so far into themselves that they are unable to find the person they once were. 

     What children don't share with us, as parents,  is a concern over their privacy and how that can be abused by peers, hackers or companies looking to use their images or words.  If I am correct, in the cyber world, even if we delete a post, it is still out there, floating around somewhere.  Even if it is not, you can bet someone has downloaded or copied it for a reason not yet known.  Until it shows up, months or years later.  Now with the invention of iCloud, it's always out there.  iCloud is supposed to be secure, but just ask Jennifer Lawrence about that.  

     I, myself, am a member of many social media networks to spread my blog to many audiences.  I do select my audience, but my blogs are always posted as "public".   Posting publicly is mostly used for marketing and I can tell you that it is exhausting just posting once or twice a week to all of them because I end up researching or finding someone I know and looking at their profile.  Then I've wasted an hour of my life, sitting on my butt when I could have been interacting with someone, making memories and at least doing something productive.  I take that chance that someone or a group will manipulate my words or images each time I post.  I try to be conscious of copyrighting my images and hopefully writing words that inspire and cannot be construed as harmful.  As we all know, there are miserable individuals out there who have it down to an art on how to manipulate.   Those are the ones that we continually warn our children of.

   So the easiest and most efficient way to avoid this situation is to just not do it.   Simple, yet at some point we have all made a mistake in posting.  Whether our words or photos were meant in a certain manner, it is all about perception.  How it will be viewed from another party or how they can alter how it is viewed.  

     We, as parents, will lead a positive influence for our children regarding this, as the future can only include more technological advances.  We will allow a certain amount of privacy as our children grown into teens and at the same time we will do our job that we accepted when we decided to create a human life and keep our children safe.( no matter how much they whine about it!)