okay so there's this really nasty picture that I've been dying to put up here.
you may not want to see it.
so i'll tell you when it gets closer so that you can prepare to close your eyes and scroll back up.
but you may be scarred for life.
literally....haha i'm so funny.
actually wait..that's probably not funny to you because you haven't seen it yet.
okay. here we go.
In a lot of ways this is better than Christmas. Right now I'm sitting on the couch using Vivian's iPad to "entertain" myself while Val and Vivian put neosporin and bandages on the holes in my legs and arms. I'm wearing a new nightgown that they just bought for my comfort. Whatever I want to eat, I get. If I need something, I get it. I've gotten to see friends and cousins all in the same place and I literally have people waiting on me hand and foot. The pain is bad, but the treatment is worth it.
the picture's coming...right after this next paragraph...brace yourself
The second day in the hospital was the surgery. I don't remember one bit of that, hallelujah. After the surgery I'm not sure that I remember much. I am told that I kept asking if the surgery was over, long after it was finished. The surgeon, named Josh Demke, did a beautiful job sewing it back together. He said that the skin was so detached that he could stick his whole entire hand underneath my skin. Which, I guess if I were a surgeon I would try to stick my hand under people's skin while they were unaware. That's cool. Anyway. The coolest part of my surgery: my hair. Throughout the hour-and-a-half surgery the anesthesiologist took up the overwhelming task of cleaning and combing out my hair. The general consensus was to just cut it all off, since it was bloody and dirty and tangled. But the surgeon, bless his heart, defended it saying I was 19 and I needed my hair. And I did. That may have been too much of a tragedy. It's taken me a loooong time to grow out my hair and I would have literally been heart broken to lose that on top of everything else. they had to cut a couple pieces off because it was too knotted or bloody, and I have several patches of hair cut really close to my head where they put the staples. Oh those staples. I have a LOT. Apparently as she combed through my hair she just kept finding more and more cuts. And I have about a million skull fractures, two of which resulted in my lovely black eyes. It looked like I was wearing some weird purple eye shadow. It was lovely. Anyway. The surgery was finished and my semi clean hair was pulled back in a nice braid and they were pumping me full of morphine. I was content.
this is not the picture. it's right after this.
See that lady on the left? I owe her. She is the reason I have hair.
This is what my ear looked like after the surgery.
this is the picture. are you ready?
I realize I look like a burn victim. That's just the neosporin they've been slathering on my face everyday. It's healing quite nicely!
After that I just remember sleeping for a while. The nurses would periodically roll me on my side and stuff pillows under me so that I would stay on my left side. My right side is the most fragile. Between my broken collar bone, smashed face, and lacerated ankle I'd definitely say that was the weaker side. So it felt good to not be resting on it.
After a while I started getting more visitors. Cathy and Berny and Patti all flew out from Florida and John and Joy had driven out. Cody had driven from Arizona simply because he couldn't get a flight out that night. My grandparents were on the way. Rod and Jan had driven down from Colorado. Rio and his wife came from New Mexico. People were flocking to the hospital to help. [At this point my mom and Kenyan had been given ambulance rides from Amarillo to Lubbock. Wouldn't you know that after all this I have STILL never been in an ambulance. Dang it.] I was so overwhelmed as these familiar faces, people that I loved but never see enough. All of them in one room. It was one of the best days of my life. That may have had something to do with the morphine...
I love this picture. Just love. It makes me feel all warm inside.
The days and nights all seemed to meld into one. The first day or two they needed to take my blood pressure every hour. That was probably the worst part of this whole thing. I'm pretty sure I still have bruises from that stupid thing. It also meant that I slept in fifty minute periods. Every four hours I got pain medicine. Other than that, it wasn't much of anything. My brain usually functions at higher speeds when I'm doing nothing. That's when I get my best blogging material--when my mind has nothing to do but observe the things around me and the way I feel. But let me tell you, there was no cerebral activity for the first few days. I didn't turn on the TV, didn't think about anything, didn't feel any pain or wonder about my injuries. I just sat in my bed existing. It wasn't horrible, but it's not something I'm eager to do again.
I had another nurse named Anna. She was singing. That was the first thing I remember. Actually, if I recall correctly, she and Dusti were singing the first night I was there and I got in trouble for telling them that Kirstie said they were bad singers. Oops. But Anna was Nice to me anyway. The night that Anna was my nurse was the first night that seemed long. I didn't sleep much and when I did I would wake up in uncomfortable positions. The first time I managed to roll over so that I was almost on my left side. I was probably trying to roll over onto my stomach since that's usually how I sleep. But I'd gotten less than halfway when my collarbone popped, incapacitating me with pain. It took every drop of energy I had to reach out and hit the call button. I explained my predicament to Anna who graciously returned my body back to the way it should be. Then later in the night I woke up stiff as a board, realizing that I'd slid so far down that my feet were jammed against the foot board of the bed and I couldn't move one bit. It took an eternity to reach the call button, but Anna came and saved me again. I appreciated it. The degrees of pain and discomfort change when you're in the hospital. Simple things like her picking up my dead leg and moving it to the right one inch felt like she was lifting 82765876358762876 bricks off of my face. I loved her. Instantly. Ha.
This is Kirstie, Anna, and Dusti from left to right. Oh and I'm the one in the hospital bed. I look super pathetic. I don't know why no one sat my bed up just a little higher...I think it would have made me look less handicapped.
Notice how here Dusti is in normal clothes? And in the above picture Kirstie isn't in scrubs either? Well that is because my nurses came back to the hospital ON THEIR DAY OFF to come visit me. Seriously. I just can't believe that. Anna did the same thing later. How crazy is that. I had the best nurses ever.
The night seemed to go on forever. Around four in the morning I started counting down the hours to visiting hours. After the longest five hours of my life, I brightened and asked Anna to raise my bed up and prepared for the flocks of people that were surely lined up to see me. I was eager and bright and happy, despite the dreadful night. At 9:10 I was perplexed. There was no one in my room. I wasn't sure why. But oh well, surely they'd be here soon. At 9:30 I was frustrated. At 9:45 I was sad. At 10 I decided everyone must have gone home and left e there to die. Right then people paraded in. Apparently visiting hours didn't start until 10. Oops.
People brought stuffed animals and stories and jokes and laughter and hope. Jan fixed my neck and fed me the first food I'd eaten in four days--chicken. Strangers showed up, people who'd just heard of our situation and decided to come by. It was wonderful.
That night my dad came. He'd flown in a few days earlier. I hadn't seen him since New Years Day. There was still a lot of hurt and sadness that made me apprehensive, but it was still good to see him. No matter what has gone, he is still my father and I do still love him. He stayed until I had to kick all my visitors out, which wasn't long because i had a hard time staying awake for more than an hour at a time. In fact, the next day I went to visit Kenyan and my sleep habits caused troubles. It was a big ordeal to go see her. It took tons of energy to scoot to the edge of the bed, lots of help form nurses to get to the wheelchair, and every weak muscle in my body to sit down. Then they carted me across the hospital to Kenyan's room where I said hi, asked how she was doing, and fell asleep in my chair. How embarrassing.
But it was okay because she was pretty out of it herself.
They took me back to my room and, after letting me take a nap, decided it was time for physical therapy. Ew. I had to stand up, sit down, flex my feet, (you would not believe how hard that is) and walk to a chair. The most monumental part was brushing my teeth. I had to drag my body to the side of the bed, push myself up using my one good arm, and stagger over to the sink on my one good leg. (The lacerations in my right foot were deep enough to hit some nerves, making it useless for walking. The first few times I used the toilet I had to stand on one foot and shuffle sideways across the room. It was entertaining to my nurse who openly laughed at me.) I made it to the sink and went to painstaking efforts to squeeze the toothpaste on the brush (the therapist unscrewed the cap for me. She thought it'd be too much for me to handle.), and then wrapped my clumsy left hand around my tooth brush. All of that took so much effort that I needed to sit down. The therapist drug over a chair and let me sit. Actually I guess collapse is a better word--I nearly fell into the chair. So there I sat, awkwardly using my lazy left hand to try and jab the tooth brush around my tender, swollen gums. It was a long, tiring process but it made a world of difference. So kids, next time you brush your teeth be grateful that you are physically capable of doing so. Same thing goes for peeing on a toilet. And all sorts of other simple tasks :)
The next day I visited Kenyan again, and I stayed fully awake the entire time. Proud, proud moment.
Alright, last story for this post. One more experience that will be cheapened by words, because I can't describe it well. I had another wonderful nurse. Her name was Stephanie. She was quiet at first, which made me nervous that she'd be a standoffish nurse. Not my favorite kind. But I was wrong. She was attentive, just gentle. She treated me as fragile and precious. She listened to me and let me cry some more. There were times when I wanted to kick my visitors out so that I could just hang out with her. She was angelic. Honestly, she didn't even seem human because she was so kind and pure. She reminded me of Jada. At the end of the day it was time for me to be transferred upstairs, out of the surgical ICU. She helped me clean up and she washed my hair. Then she offered the most beautiful, touching words I've heard. My heart was full of gratitude and I was sad when she dropped me off upstairs in my new room.
In all honestly, this hasn't been that hard. I've been blessed so much that it's hard to sit and wallow in sorrow. People have been wonderful to us. And I'm healing at inhuman speeds. And I'm catching up on my blog. Everything is wonderful :)
[Title from Daughters by John Mayer]