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Friday, January 15, 2010

One Year

Well, it's been almost a year. It's been 8,756 hours since I was sitting in a ditch with ants crawling down my pants, an ankle the size of a softball, waiting for an ambulance to make its way through the gridlock caused by another entirely more awful disaster of car accidents and a hit and run. That day was a disaster, and so much moreso for many others who lost loved ones in all that chaos. There will be some people remembering today as an anniversary of the day they lost those they loved most. A man lost two of his daughters in a terrible car accident. Another man died in a fiery head-on collision after speeding away from the hit-and-run he just committed. I still have the newspaper from the day after.

So I know I don't have much to complain about, and I know I have a lot to be grateful for, but this has not been an easy year. I'm still mad about it sometimes. I know there is no one to be mad at but myself, and...I guess I am mad at myself. This year has SUCKED! There has been good times, but a lot of struggles too. I am still working on getting myself back to normal, or at least a version of normal that I can live with. I NEVER would have thought a broken ankle could be such a pain in the butt...I hate thinking about how long it will take to be able to run, or jog, or swim in the waves again. It's depressing. So, moving on...instead I think I will share some of the things I have learned this year:

* I love my husband so much! I don't know how he took such good care of me for so long! I was a disaster at first. I fell over in the shower, I fell over on stairs, I had a million dr's appointments, I needed medication all the time, he had to bring me food and water, but we couldn't let it sit out because there were ants all over the place, so I was constantly calling on him. He brought me food and pills and cold drinks when I would go next door to sit in the air conditioning, he took such good care of me!

*Nurses are a special breed of people. I couldn't do it. The people I had to share a room with in the hospital were awful to the nurses, and yet they were still sympathetic and helpful (except one, but I will give her the benefit of the doubt, and say she was just having a really bad day). That takes strength and character. I admire them so much for the work they do, so much of it thankless.

*Patience. But I still need more of it. Life on crutches is not simple. Everything you planned to do gets put on hold, and the rest of it takes 5 times longer. Not enough of the house cleaning gets done. But not because I didn't have a husband who was trying...because taking care of someone else completely, taking care of yourself, and taking care of a household and working is not easy. Also the fact that we live so close to the ocean, and the sea spray made the floor too slippery for me to use crutches inside, so we used a wheelchair which made dirt tracks all over the floor. The floor was a constant mess of a dirty salty film, and dirty floors make me insane. I really learned to just live with what I had to live with. Sometimes you have to shut off the neurotic part of your brain if you don't want to have a meltdown. I'm still working on shutting that part off more often.

* Sympathy. I think I've always had a good amount of it, but now I truly know how hard some injuries can be. Now I know the world is not built to accommodate people in wheelchairs, or other physical disabilities. Now I know how healthy people actually view a person who is slow or cumbersome. They are annoyed and get easily frustrated. I suppose this falls under patience as well. I will never lose my cool around someone who is slow or cumbersome. Not all injuries are visibly obvious, and I sure got looks and a few comments from people who didn't think I needed a wheelchair, and from drivers who think I should run to get out of their way.

*God takes care of His children. I always knew this, but it was very cool to see it confirmed so many times. First because of the financial crisis, I lost my job. It then turned out to be ok, since I couldn't work anyway - I was in way too much pain to sit still for long, let alone concentrate on anything remotely needing concentration. So, that means I earned no money for over 6 months, and eventually made way less than half of what I earned the year before. But guess what, we never were left needing a thing. Not once. We couldn't go out, so spending money was not a temptation, but losing out on so much income was not the worst thing ever, and in fact a lesser worry than I would have thought. Hubby was still working, and we always had enough. We both work contract from home, so it's not a secure life by any means, but anytime I started to get concerned, a job always came through. I couldn't have broke my leg at a better time. I know there are lower lows than mine, and I am so grateful that we've come out of this with as much security as we did. I don't believe a sign of God's provision is necessarily money (Matthew 19:16-24). I didn't come out of this with a savings account, nor did I ask for one - I came out of this with a confidence in how God provides for us, which is what I asked for. I came out of this realizing how trivial so many of my worries are (Matthew 6:25-43). A good quote I came across:

We can't expect to receive if our purpose in asking is to make our rebellion more comfortable.

*Old people are awesome! I've met so many elderly people from all my visits to the hospital this past year, and I love them! They are so interesting, and friendly, and sure do put up with a lot. People are rude and impatient with them, yet they soldier on. Family who live near them rarely see them, yet they tell me they understand, and are just grateful for any visits they get. They deserve so much more from us.

I think it's important to look back and see what you can take out of a bad situation. I think it's also ok to be upset about a bad situation too. It's just important you don't linger there too often for too long.

I might as well give an update now. I am still going to physio, now once every 3 weeks, since progress is so slow. But, I am starting to jump again, and just taking it REALLY slow this time. I am doing small hops, starting with 10, increasing every few days, among other more dynamic exercises. I am still gaining slightly more flexibility, but it's still not good. I still have trouble walking up and down hills and stairs. I am still on meds for nerve pain. I am still tired a lot, and still unable to concentrate and remember things as well as I used to. I have another nerve specialist appointment in April, and I will probably get another block done. I have a lot less pain though, which is SO fantastic! It seems the healing process has been directly affected by the nerve problems, and once those settled down, I noticed improvements almost immediately. But this took months to happen, and so things might never get back to normal. I still don't know. I am still having problems with infection on my bad foot, and I have a toenail which just will not heal. I cannot wear shoes, since it hurts too much. So, I think I need to suck it up, and fork out the bucks to see a podiatrist, otherwise I might end up needing another surgery, my GP told me.

Fun times, right?....but I went for my first REAL swim last week. It was amazing! I was able to kick my legs, and it was sore, but so good! A huge milestone. It's been a year since I was able to SWIM! And we found the best place to go too. No waves, no current, hopefully no sharks either.

I hope this year will be a good one. I plan to get back into shape, and lose some more weight. I plan to do a lot of swimming, and spend a lot of time with my family. We're taking a few vacations this year, we hope, and trying new things too. I hope to make up for the last 8760 hours :)