Our mini vacation was great; hand in hand with my two rapidly maturing nieces, we took Niagara Falls by storm!  We had so enjoyed every bit of our vacation that the ride home was darkened by thoughts of getting back to life as normal, as we knew it….

The stark white room enveloped me.  Prison-like windows let in morsels of sunlight.  A bed that was like a jail cell, complete with bars, surrounded me.  There was a strange contraption hanging from a track above my bed.  “What is going on?” kept running through my head.  “Can I move, am I hurt?”  “Where am I?”  “What happened?”  As the questions flooded my mind, I could only lay and allow them to cascade over me.  I had no answers.  I had no idea why I was here, or what this room was.  As I lay there, trying to piece together a puzzle that was missing so many vital pieces, I had a sense of calm and peace.  In the midst of the whirlwind of emotions and out of reach details, God invaded the storm and calmed the tempest that was brewing in me.

Shortly after this revelation of sorts, I desperately needed some answers.  My family began to fill in the blanks. I was in a hospital.  Twenty-nine days earlier, I had been involved in a motor vehicle accident.  I was, as I learned, life-flighted from the scene and taken to a trauma center, where a traumatic brain injury was confirmed.  Following my arrival at the trauma center, I spent the next 24 days in a coma.  I had awoken in this stark room, almost a month later.  “Wait, where are the girls?  What happened to them?  What have I done?”  These questions were at the forefront of my mind.

Part of our mini-vacation had included a stop at the Grove City Outlets, in Grove City, Pa. My last memory was leaving the parking lot with all three of us fully intact in my truck.  Then, upon waking, the white,sterile room and the confining bed.  The in-between was gone.  Waves of relief flooded over me when I found out that they weren’t even with me. In fact, the accident had occurred three days after we returned home. Back to reality, my new reality.  I had a long road of recovery ahead of me.

As I came to find out, my brain injury was in the part of my brain that affects mobility.  As a result, I would have to learn to walk again.  My entire right side was presenting as if I’d had a stroke, so the rehab to my right side would be extensive.  The next days and following weeks were chock-full of intense physical, speech and occupational therapies.  I was learning to stand, to walk, to balance, to regain strength that had been lost.  I was not only learning to form and say words again, but also to formulate sentences, do math, and make sense of what was in my head.  Tactile, touchable tasks, such as writing and holding a toothbrush, were issues with which I also had to deal, as well as fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.  The brain is a fascinating facet of our bodies that we often take for granted, until we are faced with the loss of part of its function.

Each day I became more awake to my present condition and my diminished capabilities.  I was faced with a decision: I either had to accept what had happened, or deny that I was now different.   I would either have to allow the undamaged, uninjured Spirit that lived inside of me, to animate my spirit, or I would have to relinquish control of my life solely to my broken, injured, and damaged flesh.  The choice was up to me.  Which would I choose?




earlier bits

April 2012
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