Tuesday, April 21, 2009

One week

This time last week I was sitting in one hospital waiting to be transferred to another.

At least that's what I think was going on about now.

So much happened in one day, but I actually have a really acute memory of everything that went on. I even remember names of first responders, EMTs, nurses, doctors and other various medical professionals who I saw that day.

I remember feeling how messed up my bottom teeth were. I've never had braces and instant panic set in. My right ankle hurt, but I just assumed I had aggravated an old injury because the pain wasn't unbearable. It really only hurt when people touched it, and they touched it a lot. I think people assumed it was the only thing safe to touch. Turns out it was broken by the force of the floor board being pushed in.

My nose never hurt though they told me pretty much immediately that it was clearly broken. They didn't have to do an x-ray to tell me that. They also said I had a bad gash on my chin. They didn't tell me just how bad though; I'm not sure they knew. The skin was pulled away from my chin from the force of the impact. It did some sort of nerve damage and haven't been able to feel half of my chin and bottom lip since that afternoon. The doctor's aren't sure of the extent of the damage, but as I slowly feel things every day I think it's just badly bruised. At least I hope so.

More pains started to present themselves as my adrenaline wore off. My seat belt put several welts on my torso before it broke in two. My right side around my ribs was particularly painful so they did extensive x-rays. Nothing showed up, but for a couple of days they were afraid I'd injured my liver because my blood levels were off. Somehow, miraculously, I didn't have any internal organ damage, or a concussion despite the giant knot on my forehead.

I remember everyone being so kind. And I kept thanking them for being there. My inner southern belle came out and I responded to every new person with "nice to meet you" and to each question with a mam or sir tacked on at the end. Everyone kept telling me how sweet I was and I remember telling one nurse that really I wasn't. I told her I was usually pretty surly and that just the other day Andy had told me to call the cable company to complain about something because I was meaner than him.

I went into surgery early Wednesday morning and woke up the next day in ICU. Except I didn't know I was in ICU. All I knew was that my arms were tied down and I was intubated. I went in and out during this. I know I was PISSED off that I couldn't move my arms or talk. I finally communicated to my family that I wanted to write my thoughts to them. I found the paper later that I'd scrawled on and there were some things on there not at all congruent with my southern belle persona.

Finally they took my tube out and I was able to breathe. The next couple of days were filled with visits from family and friends, and of course the multiple doctors who had been assigned to me. No less than three specialists.

I spent two nights in ICU and one in a regular room before being released on Friday to go home. My mother was my driver and she was a nervous wreck. I think she would have rather paid a stranger to make that drive than have to do it herself and feel like she might damage me more.

Yet, somehow, amongst all this, the thing that haunts me most is the vision of the white car in my lane. As I heal and become more aware of everything that has gone on, that's the one thing that keeps me awake. I close my eyes to drift off to sleep and I see it, then I start awake gasping for breath the same way I did when I regained consciousness in my car. That was the only time I ever thought I was dying. Not being able to breathe was the single most scary thing that happened that day.

Then my lungs filled and I heard the sirens and voices around me. I opened my eyes and saw my hood crunched up in front of me and my steering wheel folded back from the force of my body. And I cried out for my car. I surveyed my injuries second, but my car was my first concern.

I still can't think about it's mangled appearance without crying.


  1. Wow, I followed your link over from what you said on Pioneer Woman and I am floored. I am so glad to hear that you are slowly getting better and I am so sorry to hear about the trauma you went through. I wish you a speedy recovery.

  2. despite all the pain, it sounds like you were a very lucky gal! ive been thinking about you a lot- let me know if you need anything- a beaded necklace, the Aladdin soundtrack, i'll hook u up ;-)

  3. You recap is excellently written for all you went through. Take it day by day and don't push yourself because your body needs to heal. 9((hugs))

  4. You know we all have our battles and right now your is recovering and mine is taking care of Megan Grace.

    We all support each other :)

    All the thoughts and prayers are much appreciated and you are in ours as well.

    I'm sorry you won't be there Saturday but you need to rest and recover. There will be pictures to share I'm sure :)