Yesterday was a great day. Today was a great day. Every day is a pretty great day.
Six months ago. SIX MONTHS! I was life-flighted to Des Moines Methodist Hospital after being rushed to the Boone Hospital. I remember none of it. My poor family does, but not me. I have fragments, but for heaven’s sake, I was in a huge helicopter and don’t remember. How sad is that? It’s just fine. Conversations and experiences that I recall tend to focus on the crazy stuff, as well as the kind people who cared for me.
Like the aide who, in the middle of my crazy held a grape popsicle to my mouth so I could find cool relief. Or the technician, who I still believe used magic to heal parts of me. Or the young nurse who stayed with me even though there were so many others who needed him. I remember my brother kissing my forehead when he had to leave each time and the night he turned on his Spotify account so I could hear familiar music (Queen and Earth, Wind, and Fire were my choices.) I cried because it was so good to know that I was in the real world, though I had trouble finding it.
One of the things my brother encouraged me to do with the hallucinations was to tell stories in my mind, to capture fiction so that I could distract myself from reality. Well, I was pretty disconnected from reality, but I remember creating the craziest stories, thinking maybe they’d be useful. They are SO NOT! But they worked to keep my mind on anything other than trauma. I have no memories of the severe trauma my body went through. Okay, well, some of the wound debridement wasn’t fun, but that was always temporary.
Three major surgeries in less than two weeks, in and out of intensive care, my family and friends terrified that I wouldn’t live … and then … I did. I am so grateful.
Surgical wounds are healing, pressure wounds are slower to heal, but the changes are amazing. I’m getting stronger every day and when my strength flags, I have family and friends who remind me where I’ve come from and what the ultimate goal will be. It’s pretty amazing.
See, I’m not one of those people who focuses on the problems, the pain, the difficulties, or the challenges – other than to deal with them. I don’t need to spend my days and nights being miserable. That is not where my joy comes from.
Memories from the days in the hospital are flickers – sometimes not even that. I remember the weird stuff, traveling through hallway after hallway on a gurney to get to an imaging center or to another part of the hospital. I don’t remember coming up and out of surgery. Apparently, in one of my crazed hallucinations, I told a nurse (Carol called her Nurse Ratched) to eff-off. She was ticking me off something fierce. That’s when Carol was certain that all of me was still inside my head and doing just fine.
When nurses and doctors tried to tell my family that they needed to allow me to die – that’s what I wanted – they were quite confused. It didn’t sound like me at all. Fortunately, an amazing surgeon walked in on the conversation and stopped it. Oh, the story he and I have is a treasure to me and will get written someday, but he saved my life and forced me to say out loud in front of everyone that I wanted to live. That changed things. He stayed with me until I was released and transferred to Omaha, to the rehabilitation center.
This last week has been filled with great things – with small milestones and big steps. I am not yet sitting upright for long periods of time because of that stupid pressure wound on my butt. That slows me down and I hate it. But it keeps getting smaller. The docs at my wound clinic now tell me dimensions in comparison and wait for me to ‘woohoo’ for them.
My home health discharged me on Friday and I am a girl free of medical issues – except for wound care. Life is amazing. God is good. Your prayers have meant everything to all of us.
Ween I built the Bellingwood FB page, one thing I desperately wanted was to build a community. I grew up with a pastor-father who believed in the power of community to change lives and to care for each other. I’ve been told over and over throughout my life that I should have been a pastor, but the idea of managing a church was abhorrent to me. I worked too closely in a church and discovered how hard it is to maintain your joy there. Other people are amazing at it. Me? Not so much. A community that gets to know each other – no matter how slowly, is what is important to me. You are important to me.
I tell my sister your stories when you share them with me and the two of us get emotional sometimes and other times just cackle and laugh with glee because of you. Thank you for all of that.
Focusing on the past and the ugly that happened during November / December is worthless. Seeing the beauty of tomorrow is amazing.
Carol and I were talking once about the whole thing and I said, “It’s amazing. I get to live again.” Then I stopped, looked at her, and said, “I get to love again.”
That’s what these last six months have given me. Life … and love.