Sunday, August 16, 2009

October 10, 2008

My husband, Leo, our two dogs, Willie & Chillie and I were driving in evening rush-hour traffic to get up into the mountains to go camping for the weekend. I was thinking about the groceries we still needed to buy, and the lateness of the hour. It was 8:15 pm on a Friday night, and I knew my sister and Vice-Queen would be getting worried with us not having shown up @ the campgrounds yet. My husband was driving his usual slow self, leaving yards and yards of space in front of him, cars darting back and forth in front of him taking our space! It was exasperating, “but then at least if we had an accident, we wouldn’t hit the car in front of us”, was my thought. The next thing I knew, I woke up screaming in pain, and “my chest hurts, oh Leo, my chest hurts”. The dogs were crawling all over me in the excitement, “get the dogs off of me!!” I yelled. Leo spoke to me in a calm voice, calling the dogs away, telling me that we had been rear-ended by another car. “I hurt, my chest hurts so much” I cried.
I don’t remember much except for scattered pieces, paramedics talking to me, Leo answering, being covered with a sheet so that they could break the glass in my passenger side window, the ambulance ride with the paramedic holding my hand, explaining away the bumps and jolts from the road. The next thing I remember is my family being there, my mother’s voice calling my name, my sister holding my hand. I remembered Leo telling me we had an accident; I could feel the cervical collar around my neck, the relief from the worst of the pain from the Morphine being injected into my leg. My mouth was so dry, as if my body was in the desert. My two sons and their wives came to the emergency room. My husband was in the other emergency room being evaluated. Usually it feels like time will never go by, it seems forever to get medical care but I was so out of it, time is remembered only in segments. My children said good-bye but mother and Kathy stayed until I was taken up to my room. I woke in the night and nurses helped me to the bathroom, but I guess I had so many drugs in me that while painful, I handled it okay. That morning Kathy came in with some clothing for me, and helped me in the shower. I was only able to stand for a minute or two but how nice it was to get clean. The water ran red and flecks of glass fell to the ground. Kathy cleaned my hair carefully but with longer hair, it wasn’t the best. It wasn’t till the next morning that the full extent of pain was felt. I found out that I had broken my ribs, a thick band about 8-10 inch band fully encircling around my chest and back was in pain. I had some minor cuts, (scalp), and bruises on my legs but that was the extent of my bruises but not of my pain. Have you ever lifted and carried a #10 tin can, the biggest size they sell in Smart N Final? I felt like someone had taped my boobs to the top of those #10 cans and strapped the dang thing around my back. I tried to sleep in bed but kept waking up with such dreadful pain. During the day for short breaks of time, I would sit in the recliner chair in the den but was so tired that I would have to go to bed, until I realized that I could sleep in the recliner. It was to become my bed for the next 4 mos. I was able to return to work 5 weeks after the accident but but I was very cautious of riding the train. It wasn't until March that the rib pain went away, the #10 cans were gone. And that’s when I realized that there was an enormous amount of pain in my back. I would cringe when well-meaning people would want to pat me on the back or give me hugs. One time, a good friend came up behind me and gave me a light pat on the back which resulted in my screams echoing the halls of the church. Everyone turned to look and with tears of pain in my eyes, I had to tell her I was okay. The skin on my back had been numb since the accident, but underlying the rib pain was the back pain. I went to an acupuncturist to get some relief from the pain. When he started the first of 8 treatments, I didn’t feel a thing; no touch, no needles, just nice warmth from the heat lamp. Gradually the skin on my back for the most part has returned to full feeling although I still have a patch the size of a large grapefruit on my left shoulder blade, which is still numb. Everyone was kind, caring and concerned. I received flowers from my coworkers and lots of cards. My mother was my nurse, feeding me, giving me my medication, rubbing lotion into my skin, taking Leo and I to doctor appointments. The whole family pulled together, with Eric, mother and Leo taking turns getting up with me during the nights til I could get up and down by myself. I learned to sleep sitting up, sleep longer and sleep deeper. Leo took upon the last part of my care with all the love and concern he has always had for me. It is now August and I still take pain medication in the morning and then again at night before I retire for bed. But hey! The good news is I lost 20 pounds!
My husband suffered a mild concussion and was in intensive car for observation but fortunately wasn’t injured further; he has enough medical problems with out the accident. Unfortunately, he suffered from extreme headaches for the longest time.
Of course, the guy who hit us was a drunk driver with no insurance driving a big, old 1987 International Scout (SUV), which totaled our car. He hit us in the rear passenger side, came up and over smashing the passenger side roof and rolling down onto the freeway.
He got a few stitches and overnight in jail.

Our Heavenly Father is good to us, we are still alive and can enjoy our life with children, grandchildren, family and friends.

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