Sunday, September 9, 2012

Road to Recovery; Path to Discovery

Hey world, it's me again.  I feel like I've been neglecting this blog and I really need to get my write-on, right now.  Since my last entry there has been one personal experience that I felt I should write and share with you all, as it has made an major impact on my life.  As with most stories, I'll start at the beginning.

One very sunny Friday the 13th, July 2012, I was involved in a car accident.  My boyfriend Dave and I were visiting my hometown; he was staying for the day and I for the entire weekend.  I was really excited to visit that particular weekend because one of my best friends that I grew up with and her husband were visiting from Calgary.  This would be the first time her husband and my boyfriend would meet, as Dave wasn't able to attend their wedding the previous year.  

After a long ferry ride over from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay terminal, my dear ol' dad picked myself, Dave and another pair of friends up, who coincidently were visiting Nanaimo that same weekend .  We dropped our friends over at my besties mom's house which is a short drive away from my parents'.  Then we left on our merry way to my childhood home.  My dad was stopped fully waiting for some oncoming traffic to pass before turning left onto our street, which is a 3-way intersection.  For a millisecond I saw in my peripherals my dad glance at the rear view mirror and make a small gesture of incoming danger.  It was an "uh" that was missing an "oh."  I at the time had been reapplying chapstick, in which I lost the cap inside the car and Dave had started to turn around to see what my dad reacted to, but never managed to fully turn around in time to see what it was.  It all happened so fast; then time went slow, then time stopped for a moment and there was nothing but an instant flood of white haziness.  Queue the shock, fear, adrenaline and etc.

I didn't move; I was in shock and worried about the state of my boyfriend and father.  I also had quite the whip lash motion and was worried what that meant for myself, but that thought didn't form right away until my dad and boyfriend exited the car.  I didn't undo my belt buckle or move until the paramedics showed up on site.  The other driver admitted he wasn't paying attention.  He explained he was a mechanic and mentioned he was distracted looking at another car.  He took full responsibility.  So him being distracted, mixed with him speeding, equals to a lot of bad luck on Friday the 13th for all involved.  

I never saw the damage to either of the vehicles and I was unsure about the state of my father and boyfriends emotional and physical well being.  I remember the stress and worry on my dad's face, as he went to grab a pen and some paper from the car.  I could hear my boyfriend outside of the car talking to the other driver, the witnesses, passing traffic and helping my dad deal with the situation at hand.  He would check on me periodically to see if I was okay and I was stuck in a mix of emotions; mostly shock.  It was explained to me that the impact from the other car had bent in the metal frame and took off the bumper from our car, and the front end of the other car was smashed in and 2 fluids were leaking out.  

The paramedics showed up on site and took me first.  They asked me a few questions, asked me to turn my neck to access the situation, put me in a neck brace, strapped me down in a stretcher and lifted me up inside the ambulance.  When I got inside the ambulance it had occurred to me that my mother was awaiting our arrival for some time; we were originally going to sit down for lunch at home.  My dad shares a cell phone with my mom, but my mom usually is the one carrying it.  So I knew no one would've called her yet.  

Now let me introduce to you Wade.  Wade was the paramedic that rode in the back of the ambulance with me.  He was an integral part of keeping me from being completely hysterical.  Since I was laid back out in the stretcher he was trying to find my Care Card out of my wallet for me, in fear that I would spill everything out.  He was unable to find it and handed it over to me.  I filtered through my cards without being able to overlook the contents of my wallet, and on my second card pull I was able to find it.  He then told me, "My wife tells me you need to have a uterus to find anything."  I would say this is true in most cases, unless I'm trying to get ready in the morning for work.  

Back to having to call my mom; Wade tries to fish out my phone, again unsuccessful and hands me my full purse.  Without fail I pull it out immediately, which is kind of a surprise for how messy and open the contents of my purse are.  I then dial my parents number and get a hold of my mom and calmly explain the situation so that both her and I don't freak out, which Wade prior to the call mentioned happens quite often in this type of situation.  The caller ends up crying hysterically putting the callee in complete panic and worry, which in turn leaves major gaps in the information being given to the callee.  I was successful in giving my mom all of the information I knew and kept calm during the call but after I hung up, it all started to settle in.  Here I was in the back of this ambulance going to the hospital and tears started to flow out of my eyes.  It wasn't the weird crying face or whimpers type of thing, just silent tears.  After I wiped away those tears, Wade and I chatted during the whole ride and we safely made it to the emergency room.

I lay waiting alone, wondering what was going on and really needing to pee.  It was a peemergency!  Shortly after, another paramedic comes along and asks me, "Do you know who's here?" and I reply "I can hear him!" and another stream of tears come out of my eyes and I smile to feel the grasp of my boyfriends hand in mine.  He too now laid out in a stretcher with a neck brace.  

I eventually tell the nurse that I need to relieve myself and she says she can't take me out of the stretcher and I would have to use a bedpan.  She wheels me to another room/office (I'm not sure what kind of room I'm in because my point of view is mostly facing the ceiling, due to being in the stretcher.)  She shuts the doors and she slips a bedpan under my heiny.  So here I am asking the nurse, "So I just go?  Like this?  It won't spill on me?" A girl has to know!  She promptly answers "Yes." and leaves the room, although I can hear someone else in the room with me...awkward.  Time for me to commit, I am ready to take a "wicked yes" and eliminate the strain on my bladder, but no matter how hard I tried to find a place of serenity, not a single drop of pee would come out.  I swear I was there for a good 15-20 mins trying to pee before I just gave up.  I had pee anxiety, or just anxiety from it all.  I don't know if I actually had to pee, or if I was coming off from the shock and my system was just being pumped full of chemical reactions to feel this way.

So I wait and wait and wait.  I get accessed by one doctor and they have to take me in for x-rays.  I wait some more.  My parents arrive, my mom hangs around for as long as possible until she had to leave for work.  My dad ended up taking the day off but he leaves to drive my mom to work (since we are now down to one car) and returns home as we coordinate for him to leave and wait for our call.  Then we wait and wait and wait.  

Finally I get wheeled into the x-ray area.  The x-ray technician asks me to move off my stretcher onto another bed under this huuuuuge x-ray machine that made me feel it would drop down on my body and crush me.  A few snaps sent up to another doctor and he confirms nothing is broken.  Whew!  Off comes the very uncomfortable neck brace that I had been wearing for hours!  I then follow up with the emergency doctor from earlier and he prescribes me a muscle relaxant for my whip lash.  My boyfriend turned out with the same injury but maybe worse since he was in the back seat of the car.  He left with a prescription for T3's I believe and he got a huge shot of it as well while we were there.  Then we were released back out into the wild and my dad picks us up at the hospital entrance.  I did not want to be in a car, but it was the only way to get home.  We get our meds from a nearby pharmacy and head home to deal with multiple phone calls and papers to report and record everything related to the accident. Our whole day is gone and Dave ends up staying overnight.  So from about 12:30 in the afternoon to about 8 something in the evening we were dealing with all of this.  

So flash forward and I'm back on the Mainland.  I take a few days off work to visit a doctor, and a physiotherapist.  Dave and I have been doing physio ever since.  A recent visit with my doctor and he says I'm getting there.  It's nice to know I'm on the road to recovery.  Although I really worry about "aftershock" effects though, if it's something that will bother me for life every now and then, or as I get older.  This is the first serious injury I have received.  I'm almost at the 2 month mark :S, although I keep being told these type of injuries take some time to heal, and with the nature of my work (desk job) even longer.  It's nice to know that even though I do still feel pain, that I am getting better.  I will be able to enjoy the lifestyle I had prior to the accident and be more active.  Going through something like this is kind of a wake up call though.

What have I learned from and since the accident? (Another excuse to make a list) 
  1. Things could be worse, much worse.
  2. I should keep flexing my existential muscles.
  3. Laughter is the sugar that helps the medicine go down.
  4. I can be more patient of a person than I ever thought I could be.
  5. Cuddling a furry animal makes things a little better...okay a lot better.
  6. Our health care system truly is awesome and I'm so thankful for people like Wade, and my Physiotherapist.
  7. Really savour the little things, because sometimes those are the only things you are able to enjoy.
  8. Vancouver slash Brooklyn based comedian Phil Hanley is really funny.
  9. Kegels give you a much flatter stomach.
  10. Life doesn't slow down in your mid 20's, that's when it ramps up!
  11. If what I love to do is laugh and make others smile, then I should feed my soul more of that and find a way to do that daily.
  12. Friday the 13th is no longer considered my lucky day.
Some of you may be wondering, "Hey, where's the super sappy part?"  I wanted to leave this for last, 'cause you guys are the cream of the crop.  Life has its ups and downs, but there is one constant I can always rely on.  The support system in my life is definitely incredible.  I'm very thankful for all my friends, family members and colleagues who have supported me throughout this entire thing.  I really have appreciated everyone who has helped me where I haven't been able to fully pick up since the accident.  You guys know who you are! Love each and everyone of you!  Any ways that's all for now folks -- more exciting things to come :).



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