I had to share one of my paintings for this part of the blog. It deals with a very traumatic time. Seeing that path to lead me on, was in my heart... now here to see. I had to stop writing but will be back soon. It is titled I CRIED and I did...then and now, but Life really does Go On and I am alive and living life to the best of my ability.
When you suffer a serious injury or trauma or even illness time is experienced differently. The staff was not only capable, knowledgeable, efficient and competent, they were caring and compassionate. They were exceptional. I had the maximum amount of pain medication and excellent care. A person could not ask for any better, but still the pain was almost unending…except when I had drifted away completely. The problem was that it was all so hard. I hurt so much and was so tired. Just to be awake was an enormous effort but to drift away would be so easy. I believed there was and is a place waiting that is so wonderful there are no words to describe…or stay here in pain with a future I chose not to think about. I did not need a mirror to know that a broken windshield could do a lot of damage but living with it would be something I would have to think about later or I just might be too tired…..Every breath I took hurt. Everything on me hurt.
My family and friends came to visit and I could not leave. I had to keep trying. They kept telling me they loved me, believed in me and knew that I could do it. Everything would be fine….It would NOT BE FINE…but it might work out. I had no idea how to make it work out but then again I was to sick and hurt and tired to do much of anything. I just put it in the Lord’s hands and then drifted back away where it hurt no more.
The first thing I said was about time and time did come and go. Time also passed and I grew stronger and more alert. At first I puzzled that there was nothing in the room that could reflect an image. As I became more alert I understood they were protecting me but I had to know. I was so sure that I could handle it no matter how bad it looked. I had to know so that I could try to find a way to work it out in my mind and begin to deal with it.
I demanded a mirror. The staff dealt with it beautifully explaining there was nothing to worry about…a lot of the bedside trays were the same as mine and I should relax….and so on. I understood that there are medical orders and they could not discuss or do anything that might cause a severe reaction or cause me to become distraught.
I told my husband I had to have a mirror. He tried to persuade me not to worry. He finally told me no. He did not feel like it was something I should worry about. I should worry about getting stronger. He was not going to budge an inch.
I tried to explain that I could not deal with what I did not know. If they want me to find a way to deal with all that had happened then I had the right to know the truth.
“The truth is that you do not need a mirror. It will not help you right now. What you need to do is get stronger and know that we love you. Everything will work out.”
Before he could say much more a visitor was outside the door talking to the nurse and getting the usual instructions not to mention my appearance or show shock. The woman assured her that she had seen things about as bad as they could be and it was not problem.
Now I admit that I was hurt beyond description especially if you try it from the inside out but even I had to keep a bit of a sense of humor. There had just not been anything I found too funny at that point…until….then and for some reason the situation struck me funny. Maybe the stress and all played an emotional factor or maybe I am just a little bit warped.
I need to explain about the art stuff. I have always loved arts and crafts. I like to make sculptures and even playdoh flowers. I like to paint a path and sunsets. I might take a piece of charcoal from the bag for BBQ’s and do a sketch. At Halloween there were dozens of people that would come by the house and ask me to do their makeup. I can do
a great witch face. This woman had always compliment my little art projects.
I had my glasses so I could actually see her. She strolled into the room full of love, enthusiasm and a mission to cheer and show she cared. Stopping midway her mouth fell open with a gasping sound as she clutched her chest and staggered a step backward. I thought for a moment she would actually pass out.
Finally drawing in a deep breath she spoke softly almost like a person suffering some great shock. “Oh my God, it even knocked off her eyebrows. Her whole face is gone!!!!”
She did not intend it to sound mean or hurtful at all. She was so shocked she could not contain the emotion. My husband instantly reacted with a protective and almost angry outburst….but before he could even get started……..
I started to laugh. It was the first time since the accident that I had laughed. It struck me funny even though it was so sad. She was so sure she could handle anything, but this must be really something…it knocked my eyebrows off.
I told her not to worry. “It will not be that bad. After all these years messing around with art I will just draw them back on.” She regained her composure somewhat. She saw no humor in my statement but realized the intense look from my husband showed his protective nature.
After she left I explained I was not trying to be stubborn or difficult but I had to be able to see for myself. He became angry at the reaction and comment from my visitor but I told him it had done me no harm. She was upset because she cared about me. She was shocked by what she could see that I could not. It was my face and I had the right to see it.
He would not give in until I threatened to climb out of bed and go until I found a mirror. He knew that there was no way I could climb or get out of bed with all of the tubes and all but he did not want me to try. He calmly explained that he did not feel that I was ready for that yet and because he loved me he wanted me to give it more time.
After talking he realized that I had to see or it was all I could think about. He agreed to bring a mirror the next time he came because they had orders not to allow anything that would show my reflection in the room.
During all of this time I have to say that the nursing staff was so diligent and caring. I never needed to call a nurse because there were there. Maybe it is always like that in acute care but they were outstanding. The doctor was the same way. He was so patient and there in and out at all different times. It was not the daily visit. He cared. He was and is amazing. He also is very good at avoiding the discussion of a mirror.
Albert came into the room looking depressed. He silently sat in the chair with shoulder drooping as he stared at his hands. I knew what it was. He had promised to bring me a mirror and did not want to. He wanted to protect me. He also had promised.
I asked and he handed it to me. I did not use it right then even though I wanted to grasp it and see what was left of me…see what had happened…see it all. I did not want to risk getting upset and have him see it. I reassured him since I had a mirror I was satisfied. I would look later when I was ready.
We had a nice visit but strained as I wanted to use that mirror and he wanted to snatch it back and take it away. When the time neared he would have to leave he finally told me that he had to be there when I used the mirror. He was not leaving me there alone to see something that he was sure would get better and he thought I should quit worrying about.
“It’s no problem. I am sure no matter how bad it looks it will be a lot better when all of the stitches are out and swelling. I can handle this. I have to. It is my face and I have to wear it the rest of my life.”
Before he could answer or argue, I opened the mirror and held it before me. At first I felt confusion. I peered into the mirror but could not find my face. I could not see any face. There was a mess of horrible colors similar to a modern art horror piece with eyes filled with pain, confusion and sadness that gazed back at me.
I could not breathe. For long moments I could not breathe. I realized that Albert was watching with concern waiting to see what would happen. “WOW….I….ah..ah…wow.” Emotions were building with such intensity I could barely hold them in let alone act as if all was going to be fine. He looked as if he was ready to call for medical back up.
Breathe…breathe…a little deeper…long…slow…breaths….I can do this. “I understand now why there were no mirrors. I understand why you worried, but I am going to be all right. I may never be fine, but I am glad that at least now I know.” The eyebrow thing did not seem quite so funny anymore.
He stayed for a little while longer watching me closely. When he was finally convinced I was as good as I might be expected to be he kissed me gently and told me he would be back as soon as he could. I think he went straight to the nurses’ station. I could hear people outside my door and knew they were there if I needed them.
I held the little mirror in my hand but did not feel the desire to look again or any closer. What I had seen was etched in my mind and heart. It was so horrible and it was me. It almost seemed to be someone else….with sad frightened eyes. I can still see those lost eyes looking back at me in that mirror.
I cried. It poured out in gasping tortured sobs. The nurses came in and it was time for my meds and I slept.
I can write no more right now but will be back soon.