THE JOURNEY BECOMES A NIGHTMARE
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Trapped in a car after a head-on collision is not a memory one wants to relive and in part there is no memory. I faded in and out even with the best efforts of those helping me. I do not know how they got me out and have not asked.
I remember the paramedic asking me if I was on drugs. I thought that was silly…I do not take drugs. You also are not thinking clearly. He seemed emphatic and asked several times if I was sure I was not on any drugs.
I could no longer see but I could hear. It sounded as if he was talking on a telephone and I heard him say “dad.” I was so confused. I thought I was dieing and he is making a phone call…until more words penetrated the haze that threatened to consume me. “I think she‘s going to be a bleed out. I’m doing everything that I can but she has a real problem and will need the best that she can get if I can only get her in. Would you take her if I can get her there? I’ll meet you there.”
I was still confused. Why would his father meet him there and why would he want to take me to his father? BLEED OUT! I had worked in an ER years ago and knew what that term meant. It was bad and they were talking about me and then I remembered…
I have had problems with my back and arthritis for most of my life. I live with the pain but take BC’s which is powdered aspirin. Later in life I developed a heart problem and they wanted to put me on blood thinners. Some in our family have had some severe side affects so I chose to continue with the aspirin since it was a somewhat high dosage everyday for years. I was able to manage to say BC’s. I remember only brief sensations of the trip to the hospital. I could hear the siren wale and feel the sensation of speed in our travels and then it all faded away. There was nothing.
Far away I could hear voices again. There were many voices. Tones and sounds of urgency but I could not focus to listen to what they said. They were still so far away. It was so hard to hold on to even be that close but then I heard another voice. I knew that voice. I had to come back from my far away place to reach that voice.
My husband’s name is Albert. He was talking to me. He did not yell or shout to me. He spoke with more than his voice. He spoke from his heart and I could feel his words and hear him. He told me what I wanted to hear. He knew what my question would be. My daughter was doing fine. She was going to be all right. She may think that she is grown but she will always be my little girl. I wished I could hold her, comfort her and let her know momma says it will be ok.
He continued to speak to me. He was there and would not leave me. He would run back and forth between my daughter and I but would not leave me. I had to hold on. The doctor was working on me and sewing me up and they needed me. He said that he loved me. He told me that the children loved me.
I was hanging on. I was trying. I could see a glimpse through all that was left of my face and the doctor was sewing me back together. Oh what a nightmare. How could it all be true? It was true. I had to hold on. Then they all faded away.
The paramedic that worked to save my life took me to the hospital where his father waited. His father was and is such a talented and good hearted doctor. My life was in his hands and the good Lord above.
I could hear Albert’s voice. There were undoubtedly others talking but I could only hear Albert as he comforted, reassured me and explained what was going on. Then I heard a loud voice filled with its own authority demanding that Albert leave.
Before anyone could answer the doctor replied curtly “He’s not going anywhere and you need to leave…and leave now.”
The police officer said that he had authority and he decided Albert needed to leave the room.
“I am the authority in this room and the only authority. He will not be going anywhere. He is her only link right now and if he leaves we could loose her. Her death would be on your hands and I would see to it you get the credit. Now, get out!”
The voices were gone again. I could hear Albert now and then, but was at peace and far away from all of the trauma.
I do not know how long they worked sewing and doing all that they could to save me. I could hear bits and pieces, here and there. I must have been in a room but still could not see. I heard Albert explaining to someone that it would be hour by hour. It could be several days before they knew if I would make it. I drifted away for a while. How long??? I do not know.
I could hear Albert again and he was telling me that he loved me and I could do it. He explain he understood how hard it was but they needed me. They needed me. The words echoed in my mind. The kids were grown. He said they needed me and loved me. You can hear songs sing about love can carry you through or make the world go round or a dozen other things…but they loved me? They needed me? I could do it? And then it was all gone again.
Time is a relevant thing. It is relevant to the one experiencing it at the time. That may sound strange, but for me time would stop and start. I was not having dreams or even felt a sound sleep. There was nothing. There was not even the void of nothing. Time stopped and then resumed again. I came and went.
I do not know how much time passed but I was able to be there more. I was able to hear more and then see some. My glasses were broken and I can never see much other than light and dark and blurs of color without them. I complained I needed to see. What had happened to my face?
My hands were damaged and sewn back but I found shredded tissue and glass shards with every touch of my face. Pieces of my face were like ground beef. My family became concerned as I frantically pulled bits of glass and other things from my head and face. The nurses assured them if I did not seem overly upset to let me work things out in my own way and that it would hurt nothing to remove as much as possible. They mentioned it would be years if ever before all of the glass was out. They were right. I still have bits and pieces work their way up.
Albert brought me glasses so I would not feel so helpless and blind. The room was always so dim. I asked for them to open the curtains but he said they were supposed to leave them closed. Little by little I began to notice things. There was no mirror in my bedside table. There was no mirror over the sink, but there were holes where there had been one. There was nothing in the whole room that would reflect an image.
I did not realize that they were protecting me and allowing me time to gain in strength to survive and endure not only the broken bones, cuts, and pain but the loss of something very personal…my face as I had known it.
They were allowing visitors but they were approved and cautioned before they came into the room not to discuss my face or show a reaction to my appearance. I had not seen my face but in my heart feared I no longer would even appear human. I had a small pile of pieces of pink shredded flesh in with the broken glass.
I would like to find words to explain what I felt at that time but there is such an intensity and confusion mixed with fear, and pain, and morphine there are no words. I kept hearing things though. I heard they loved me and needed me and that they believed in me and I could do it. I was going to be fine.
This next part will undoubtedly be something debatable. To some it will be explained away by realizing the traumatic and stressful situation of enduring such an accident and the consequences to body and mind. Some will mention the medication for pain. Some will say it is just wishful thinking but even realizing all of the things that it could be I will tell you that to this day I believe with all my heart it was more. It was so much more.
From the beginning as I drifted in and out I could feel a presence in the room and near me other than the people that were there or came and went. I felt protected and comforted. I felt a helping hand or force….there are no words. If you ever thought about the possibility of an angel at your side….I did not see a glowing person or flowing white robes. I did not see….I felt…..
I did not say anything because I did not understand or have the words or desire at that time to tell or explain. It just was, but it was... for more than me. There were at least 6 of the people that had worked with me that later told me they though they were crazy because they really did feel the presence of someone or something in my room and there was no one there…or was there?
What I really found amazing was when my sister-in-law visited holding her small grandson. Babies will often reach out to be held or picked up. This child was very shy and clung to his grandmother until he looked beside my bed and reach out as if wanting to be held so abruptly she almost lost her grip on him. He smiled happily as if he were seeing something or someone that no one else in the room could see.
I believe that God reached out to help me in my darkest hour and there was someone there with me. Did I have an angel at my bedside? All I know is what I believe.
I would need all of the help that I could get. I will be back again soon and continue sharing the journey of Journey Home.