While I was in treatment I was given Recovery Workbook by my one on one therapist. There were many sheets on which to detail the progression of my disease. When I was in active addiction I would try to write, … Continue reading
A falling star fell from your heart and landed in my eyes
I screamed aloud, as it tore through them, and now it’s left me blind
Last night, after I placed the cannula from my temporary oxygen machine in my nose, I laid back and placed my ear buds in my ears. It had been months since I’d enjoyed any kind of music because it seemed like every time I listened to it all I did was get pissed off or sad.
Tapping the touchscreen of my smart phone I selected Cosmic Love by Florence and The Machine. Letting the sound envelop me, I tried my best to slow my breathing, enjoy every nuance of every note, and feel every word wash over me. I needed to be taken under the waves and made clean, and I figured Flo singing about standing in the darkness listening to a heartbeat would push me through the abyss.
Then I heard your heart beating, you were in the darkness too,
So I stayed in the darkness with you,
At the utterance of these words, my body began to shudder. I wasn’t sure if it was from the steroids that I was tapering off from or the words that had finally hit me. Tears began to stream down my face and I wrapped my arms around my waist. I whispered into the air, ‘hold me, just hold me, I’ll be okay if you just hold me.’ I didn’t know who I was speaking to, but I didn’t want the experience to end.
Still shaking, I fingered my iPod to play Never Let Me Go. The tears continued, but with it came a sense of calm. Through the sounds of the oxygen machine, the fan, the music and my tears, I heard a crash. My old spirit was breaking free and I was on my way back to myself.
Finding the love of music again made me want to listen to more, but I forced myself to turn it off. I placed the phone beside my bed, rolled over and fell under the wave of sleep. I dreamed of Him, and fell even deeper into oblivion. I dreamed of the promise of him, and hoped that he was dreaming of me too.
Looking out from underneath,
Fractured moonlight on the sea
Reflections still look the same to me,
As before I went under.
And it’s peaceful in the deep,
Cause either way (Cathedral, where) you cannot breathe,
No need to pray, no need to speak
Now I am under, Oh.
And it’s breaking over me,
A thousand miles down (on)to the sea bed,
Found the place to rest my head.
Never let me go, never let me go.
Never let me go, never let me go.
And the arms of the ocean are carrying me,
And all this devotion was rushing over (out of) me,
And the crashes are heaven, for a sinner like me,
But the arms of the ocean deliver me.
The opening lines from The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, floated around my head while Meggie drove me to my follow up appointment with Dr. Perdue. The day wasn’t particularly sunny. In fact, the skies were threatening rain and the humidity slicked my skin with moisture. All I could think about was taking my first steps after a 95 day journey that changed my life.
Meg helped me with my last wheelchair ride, all the while calling me an ‘old lady’. We laughed together, me and my Chica. We checked in, had x-rays taken, and were guided to the surgeon’s cast room. I hopped up on the exam table like a pro, and removed my boot cast. I conversed with Meggie and the nurse while my vitals were taken.
“Is it hot in here?”, I inquired after the nurse left.
“No old lady, you’re anxious”, Meg chided. “Stop fidgeting.”
As we waited, I surfed through the pictures on my phone, until I landed on the ones I took at my two week check-up. There, in full color was my ankle, purple and swollen. The three incisions still angry and fiery red. Black sutures protruded from my skin looking like railroad tracks to hell. You would have thought I would be disgusted by the sight, but I was utterly fascinated. I grinned as I slid my finger across the smart phone screen and viewed the progress of my recuperation. I had come so far.
“Mom, you look weird.”
Dr. Perdue and Pete the PA joined us in the cast room. The surgeon smiled his teddy bear smile and shook my hand. We chatted about progress and recuperation. He said the Talus bone was turning white, meaning it was getting blood flow.
“I’ve never seen healing like this after such a traumatic injury,” Perdue said.
“Are you saying we are like Wolverine from X-Men?”, Meg asked.
I giggled anxiously, “I just did everything you told me to, I didn’t want to screw this up.”
“You’ve got good genetics.”
“And I had lots of people praying for me. I prayed a lot. I yelled at God too, but mostly I prayed.”
We talked about the future. That I wasn’t out of the woods yet, when it came to the Talus bone dying. For right now, we focused on walking. I got the go ahead to stop hopping on my left foot, and start walking on both feet. I laughed like a little kid and shook the doctor’s hand. After 95 days, I was going to learn to walk again. The busy doctor left the room and I secured my boot cast. I ruminated on the exam table.
“So…are you going to walk?”
“Gimme a minute, I’m trying to psyche myself up.”
Meggie aimed her smart phone at me and took video of me walking for seven seconds. Every tendon, ligament and muscle from my right knee to my foot screamed as I bore weight. Right foot first, then left foot. And so on. I…was…walking. Again…
We pushed the wheelchair out into the vestibule by the elevator. Meg carried my purse as I took my first walk outside in 95 days. Sure, I’d been outside, but it was not on my own. It was in a wheelchair or hopping with the support of a walker. No, this was different. I could walk on my own. In sunshine, moonlight, darkness or rain. I was free.
The rest of the afternoon was a blur. Lunch with Meggie and Adam Boy. My phone being blown up by friends and family asking if I was walking. A script filled and then home. For the first time in three months, I walked up the 13 steps to my apartment door. I unlocked the door and there in front of me was an old friend, my wheelchair. I burst into tears when I realized the magnitude of the change in my life. I had been reborn.
Last night rain poured down, and I craved to walk in it. I wanted it to wash me clean while I drew in the scent of clean earth. To baptize me. Though exuberant, I was too sore and tired go outside. My right knee hurt more than anything. I’m thankful for the pain, because it’s nothing like I’d felt three months ago. My body ached, but my spirit is soared. You know the next time it storms, this woman will be out in the middle of it. In a summer dress and barefoot, hopefully.
‘You look so pretty’, I told Lo as she walked up the stairs.
‘You do too’, she replied. ‘Why are you wearing a dress?’
‘Because none of my shorts fit.’
‘They will again, ya dork.’
I gave her a tiny smile while I put the brakes on my chair and lifted it over the threshold of my apartment door. I have to admit, I feel pretty bad ass when I do that. Who knew I’d be able to lift a wheelchair while standing on one leg? I stood at the top of the stairs as Lo walked past me and took my chair down the stairs. I laughed as she banged the damn thing down every step. She laughed as I hopped on one leg down those same steps. I’m sure my neighbors hate all the noise I make. When I run into The Old Lady that lives beside me, she often gives me the stink eye for absolutely no reason. Bitch! I digress.
Lo waited for me at the bottom of the steps. I hopped and fell into the chair.
‘I’m so damn sick of this shit!’
‘Think about how I feel’, Lo exclaimed. ‘I have to carry that damn chair of yours everywhere.’
We laughed as I hopped yet again and maneuvered into the passenger seat of her car. As we traveled to Saline, we caught up on the events of the night before. She went to visit a mutual friend of ours and I hung out with Bette. I tried not to cry while she told me of her happiness. I sat next to her and smiled, but behind my sunglasses the tears flowed.
‘I often think it would be easier on everyone if I died in the accident.’
‘Nae, God saved you for a reason.’
‘What is that reason though?!’
I for reasons I can not fathom think it would have been easier if I’d died. My family and friends would have grieved, and I wouldn’t have felt any more pain or loneliness. I would have stopped incessantly crying, or the constant wishing for things that are never going to come to me.
‘Lo, I feel so broken.’
‘Honey, we are all broken, in our own way.’
‘At least you have the prospect of someone to love you.’
God saved you in that accident. He hasn’t shown you the reason you were saved, because you’re not open to Him.
Our conversation died when her phone rang. I sat with my hands crossed in my lap and tried to compose myself. Rolling down the window, I let the fresh air dry my tears. I inhaled the scent of summer and freedom. All of a sudden, I was slammed with the urge to tuck and roll out of Lo’s car and find a pool to jump into. Wheelchair and advisement from my surgeon be damned! How I’ve missed my rebel spirit.
Before grocery shopping we met T at Cancun for lunch. I was so glad I’d done my hair and makeup. I felt pretty, even though I was sitting in a chair, and had gained so much weight while I’ve been recuperating. T’s daughter joined us and Lo and I made sure to talk about inappropriate things while we we ate. Sex was often the topic. T admonished us more than once, which seemed to make Lo and I act even more lewd. T’s daughter didn’t seem to mind, though she did blush a time or two. The young woman was so fair complected, I bet one could see her red glow from a mile away. She had a gentle but guarded smile, and all I wanted to do was hug her.
At Wally World, Lo brought around scooter for me to shop with. I drove the thing like a pro. I didn’t have my brace on and was constantly hoping other shoppers didn’t think I was using it because I was too fat to walk. I have no idea why I gave a shit what perfect strangers thought of me driving around in a Walmart scooter, but I did. I made sure to smile at the people that stared at me. Often, I balanced on one foot to grab items from a high shelf. Lo may have to drive me, but I did my very best to be independent when shopping.
After checking out, Lo took me home. I waited while she took my groceries up to my apartment and placed them on the table. Her car radio blared because we needed to hear how the Tigers game would end. While Martinez struck the ball with his bat, I raised my face to the sun and breathed in my last bit of summer and freedom for the day. The Tigers won while she wheeled me to my door. She dragged my wheelchair up the stairs, and I went up the steps on my butt. I slid into my chair like Lieutenant Dan and lifted that damn chair over the threshold on one leg. My BFF and I hugged and said our goodbyes.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but that was the last time I would be lifting my chair over the metal molding in my apartment doorway. It was the last time Lo Lo would have to drag my chair up and down the stairs. It was the last time I would have to take my wheelchair on a shopping excursion. It was the last time she’d have to push me around in my chair while I stubbornly tried to push it myself.
Two days till touch down…I hope I find out why God saved me on that snowy night in March…Maybe it’s something as simple smelling the aroma of summer and freedom…Maybe it’s for something greater…Maybe it’s to experience the joy of becoming a grandmother…Maybe, maybe, maybe…
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Yesterday, Amelia wrapped her fingers around the arch of my right foot and began to gently massage the tiny bones beneath its surface. She tugged and stretched the atrophied ligaments and tendons too. I could feel the bones cracking and every once in awhile we heard a popping sound. They surprised us both, but I told her not to worry, she was not causing me any pain. More and more tension was eased as she worked her way down to my heel. I closed my eyes and laced my fingers behind my head. Shifting in her seat, Amelia began to move my foot outward and down. She told me I had to reeducate the signals of my brain.
The signals in my brain have become numb, and I feel like a drone. I’ve numbed my brain and body with food, mundane television and an addiction to Facebook. I’d hoped to write a book while I was off on medical. It didn’t happen. Instead, I wallowed in ice cream and fast food delivery. I’ve gained weight while being sedentary. Food didn’t make feel any better. It didn’t fill my soul.
I think in abstract instead of full sentences. Thoughts and ideas start, then stop. They become dead ends and hide somewhere in the synapses of my brain. Romance. Love. Anger. Doubts. Pain in the ankle. Pain in the heart. Thoughts muddled. Scarred soul along with the ankle. Loneliness. Independence. Faith. Fear. Prayers.
I worried about being dependent on pain meds so I weaned myself from them as quickly as I could. Tylenol does the job when taken regularly. The bones have healed, and so have the incisions. The original trauma site continues to heal, from the inside out. I ingest supplements for hair, skin and nails in hopes that it will heal more quickly. I’m tired of being reminded of my stupidity, and the fact that my body and car were totaled. That my insurance was canceled. That I have no idea when and if I will be able to walk normally again. Whether or not I will be able to drive again. Or how the hell I’m going to buy a car or insurance anyway.
I worry about my weight and the fact that none of my clothes fit. Will my newly knitted bones be able to hold up my fatness. Will I be loved or held again. Will I have a partner in crime and in life. Will I have to fight to find love, while I fight to regain my body again. Or will only creepy old dudes find me attractive. Will I be able to point my toes normally.
Will all of this damn work be for naught. Will the Talus bone die. Will the ankle be fused and my recovery start all over again? Where are my high heels?
It’s raining right now and all I want to do is run out into it. I want to run away. I want to smell worms and springtime. I want to be myself again. A free spirit, effervescent, sparkly and unafraid of tomorrow. I want to bear weight and walk into the deluge outside my window. To feel it drench my skin and wash my soul clean. I want to live unencumbered by weight, a walker, or a limp.
Life is to be lived. Not by sitting on my couch and staring out the door wall, but by participating in it. The rainstorm has left puddles that I’d love to splash in. Ah, to feel the rain and grit cover my calves would be heaven.
Heaven, I tell you!
“Accidents are not accidents but precise arrivals at the wrong right time.”
― Dejan Stojanovic
Tonight, I turned off my television. There was no music emanating from my radio or computer. No videos played to distract me. Instead, I read a book by Chuck Palahniuk on how to write. My a/c clicked on from time to time, but for the most part my world was silent. As I read an essay, I was bombarded by the sound of a train whistle in the distance. From my second story apartment, I swear I could feel the vibration of the train cars as they glided across the tracks.
Instantly, the hair stood up on the nape of my neck, and I became acutely aware that the train whistle I heard was crossing the tracks where my accident took place on March 12, 2014. I could feel the cold from that night, and when I exhaled I swore I could see my breath. My heart raced and I could feel everything from that night. The impact of the crash and my body being thrown all over the car. My foot slipping off the brake that I’d jammed to the floor to keep from running into the back of a bus. The delicate skin around my ankle bone sliced open and laid bare to the bone. How helpless I felt, and broken.
The blood trickled down my face from the cut on my forehead. The skin on my left arm burned because of the powder from the deployed airbags. I was bruised and my right hand was laid open with a cut that required stitches. My head hit the windshield and I blacked out. I was almost dizzy with excitement when I came to, and then slid into the welcoming abyss of shock.
I screamed to anyone that could hear, ‘GET ME OUT!’
I was acutely aware of my surroundings as I touched the windshield where a hank of my hair had been pulled out. I think I even told one of the rescue workers to look at it. I’m sure they thought I was crazy. I remembered asking the bus driver if he and the passengers were all right. I don’t even think I was wearing a coat. I smelled blood, powder, burning rubber, and adrenaline. My vision went yellow and green, but I had no idea why.
In one coherent moment, I texted Roger that I’d been in an accident. I was so damn cold. The ambulance drivers had to pull me out of my car. Or maybe it was the fire department, I’m not sure. I begged for pain meds and for someone to miraculously fix my foot. I thought for sure I’d torn the damn thing off. The pain was so bad, and recovery so slow that I sometimes wished I had.
Train whistles used to make me smile. They reminded me of when Mom would send Sis and me on the Amtrak to go visit our grandparents in Battle Creek every summer. I hope I find serenity again, from that train whistle in the distance, and the clack, clack, clack of the metal wheels on polished tracks.
Sleep came to Audrey in trivial amounts, and when she least expected it to. Sitting in a coffee shop by the open door, waiting for the waitress to bring the only drug she could afford. She supported her blonde head in her left arm, the sounds around her muffled. How much she wished for a peaceful night’s sleep, without that prickle of anxiety that continued to nag at her. There were not enough locks in the world to hide her away from her mistakes.
Continuing to sleep, her regular order was delivered to the table, but Audrey hadn’t spoken to anyone. Involuntarily her arm bumped into the warm cup, but she didn’t startle awake as she usually did. It seemed her body had given up. Whatever was pursuing her had won. Audrey was done, finished, spent. There was no awesome need to prove anything to anyone, anymore. Her shoulders relaxed. She softly snored into the crook of her arm.
The Pursuer stood before the sleeping beauty. Placing the silenced pistol to Audrey’s temple, she fired. In a flash of gun powder, Audrey discovered oblivion.
I wondered if I was going to be gutsy enough to write about the recent goings on in my life. But I’ve been too afraid. For so many years I’ve been ruled by fear. Fear of what others would think about me. Fear of being alone. Fear of losing my sanity. Fear of not having enough money. Fear of death. Fear of unemployment. Fear of being a drunk. Fear of being fat. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of being found out. Fear of leaving my husband and making him sad. Fear of upsetting and hurting my children. Fear of just about every fucking thing you could think of.
Hell, I can’t even grocery shop without feeling the icy cold grip of fear wrapping around my heart. No, I’m not standing in the freezer section with hardened nipples. I’m trying to slow my thought process down and not be ADHD girl. To be fearless and say I can do the simple task of shopping without crying. I’ve always had Roger Darling to rely on, but not anymore. After 24 years I’ve decided to separate from him. I care very deeply for the man and we’ve had a good life, but it’s time for me to move on. I’ve tried for years to change my feelings for him. To try and love him again. There is no solace in knowing that I’ve broken his heart and the hearts of my children. I’ve broken apart my family.
I’m not asking for pity or empathy. The only thing I ask for is understanding. I pray for it everyday.
In a week I will move out of our home and into a little one bedroom apartment. I will leave all that I’ve ever known. I have not lived on my own since 1989. People, it is 2013 and I am 45 years old. I’m scared as fuck but I’m ready.
I have so much shit to pack. All I really want to do is go to sleep, wake up and have it be next week. I’m tired of hurting myself and those around me. I don’t know how it works, this moving on without Roger Darling. This not talking to him everyday. He’s been my confidant, lover, and friend. I want us to continue being friends. To not be the normal ones that go our separate ways. We’ve never been much for normal anyway. Hell, we raised our children to be outspoken, rebellious and fearless. We tried to live our lives that way too. I guess I didn’t comprehend the memo though.
I’m hopeful that in time Roger and I will be able to meet for a cup of coffee and conversation. I know we’ll talk mostly about our children and what they’re up to. Meggie, the teacher. Adam, the lawyer. Chris, the lumberjack. Claire, the scientist. But I hope we touch on the subject of our past life and how good it was for the most part. I’ll want him to know that although we are no longer together, I’ve never regretted being married to him.
It was my destiny to be Roger’s wife and Meggie and Adam Boy’s mother. Unfortunately, I have to change the end of the story and go it alone.