Monday, August 27, 2012

One Year Anniversary

It is time for a celebration, kind of ...

September 5, 2012 marks the 1-year anniversary of "Deb's Great Fall". While on the surface it may seem that it's an anniversary that should be ignored, I know that I have found some really great things along the way.

With every bad thing that happens to you, there's always a treasure waiting to be found.
        It may be hiding but it's there.                           

That's my motto--I've learned it the hard way--by experience, perseverance and survival.  If I didn't have this attitude I would give up.  Going on a treasure hunt to find something, anything that is positive in a bad situation is a challenge. It comes with experience because you have to have some history to hold up to the light and see where you've been and where you are. It takes perseverance because it is often hiding underneath pain, depression, hopelessness and confusion. It literally can be a fight for survival because if you give in to the pain and suffering you may just curl up and die.  It could take months or even years to find it but the treasures are there, Just like the guy at Men's Wearhouse says:

"I guarantee it"

Following these guidelines can help you 
find your shining jewels!!!

1. "Could it be? Yes it could!  Something's coming, something good":   Having this attitude, just like the guys in West Side Story is vital.  (I'm not saying that a "rumble" is the best way to find goodness, but the analogy fits!)  Somewhere in your brain, tuck in this little phrase.  It will pop up at the strangest times and give a ray of encouragement.

2.  "Where two or three are gathered": When you're at rock bottom, often the last thing you can do is pray for yourself.  I've been there.  Faith isn't always the first thing on your mind.  It can seem like God has completely left you to face the trauma on your own.  Whether you believe that it will help or not, ask people to pray for you.  These are the times where others can step in for you.  This is something anyone can do for you.  Probably you won't even have to ask, they'll be praying before you know you need it.

3. Listen and Obey: Those are a couple of verbs that I don't really do very well.  It's hard for a person who talks all the time and occasionally tries to tell people what to do (not me, of course) to shut up and listen to good advice.  By doing this you are freeing up a whole lot of stress and anger that could build up if you try to go it alone.  During a crisis your judgment is clouded by medication, unrealistic expectations and denial.  In order to continue healing in a positive way you really do need to  let others tell you what to do for a while.  Believe me, in the long run it's better for you and gets you brownie points with your caregivers!

4.  "Hey! You've got to hide your love away!": NOT! As much as I love the Beatles, I can't agree with this attitude:
How can I even try
I can never win
Hearing them, seeing them
In the state I'm in

You have to let others in.  I know--I've tried it both ways.  Nine years ago after my 3 back surgery marathon I went home and hid for 8 years.  I almost pushed all my friends away except for a few who wouldn't allow me to sit home and wallow.  I thought I had nothing to give; I thought they were "pitying me" and I couldn't stand that.  When I finally "came out" I realized what a mistake that had been and how I had denied myself many pleasures.  I did receive some treasures but I hadn't gone looking for them.  I just thought they were a "coincidence".

This time  I was determined from the beginning to not let that happen again; to allow people in to help.  In a huge sense they were part of my treasure.  The hope and encouragement they gave me helped me keep a positive attitude and I found a chest full of treasures along the way.

 5.  Keep Looking for Gold!  These occurrences are life changing--forever after.  No matter what the outcome, what has happened to you will affect your life for the rest of your life.  You can't stay the same person.  Unfortunately some of the bad stuff may remain in PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and will pop up at the strangest times.  The good news is is does lessen as time goes on.  For many months I re-created my fall several times a day in my head.  At first I would audibly cry out and visibly wince when I thought of it.  I still can't sit on our backyard without looking at the place on the roof where I launched my flight.  But, I'm at the point now where I can process it without cringing.  I can objectively think about "if it happens again"--please, God, NO--what I could do to avoid disaster. 

The treasure hunt for good continues long after the event.  As your memory starts to let in things that happened during this time you will be able to objectively assess things that happened and see how they fit together towards new insights, new relationships, and a renewed sense of hope.

So, as I look back on this year, I want to share some of the treasures I have found--so far!

1. New friends: the neighbors who found me after hearing me call for help are now special friends.  Many other people who heard about what happened have talked to me about it.  Friends of friends are now my friends, too.  People who I thought never noticed me have come up to me to ask how I am and tell me they have been praying for me.

2.  My husband didn't kill me when he found out what I did-- Remember what I said about distorted thinking?? As I lay there on my patio, one of my biggest concerns was how Dave would take the news. I was afraid he would kill me (not literally, but I thought at least that he would be really mad at me and never trust me again) because this was something I really should not have been doing.  It was against both our better judgments.  It DID prompt many discussions on home safety and my obligation to both of us to be more careful. Trust is a dangerous thing to mess with.  He made many sacrifices for me and gave me very loving and tender care.

3.  I learned to SLOW DOWN!  I had to and I still do.  I was the queen of multi-tasking and hurried through almost everything I did.  Being forced to slow down was a gift and as I'm healing, I still have to remind myself that accidents are more likely to happen when I'm in a hurry.

4.  Stronger ties with my family.  Seeing the concern and caring of my children warmed my heart.  Their many kind acts made me feel very loved.  This goes for my husband, too.  This really impacted his life in many ways but now our love is even stronger and more patient.  I also had much more communication with my mom and sisters during this time which was so good.  I now talk with them more often, and sometimes not even about my health!  I even communicated more with the extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins of both Dave and myself) which is such a blessing.

5.  Stronger ties with friends.  My friends ministered to me in so many ways and on so many occasions.  I now have several people who I feel comfortable with sharing ANYTHING because they saw me at my very worst, my most vulnerable and still loved me.

6.  Some of the most precious treasures were in the form of live-in caregivers.  For one week each, my very close friend from high school who lives in the Bay Area and my sister who lives in Indiana stayed at our house and took over the care and feeding of the resident invalid.  Those weeks are never going to be forgotten by me or Dave.  I have grown so much closer to my friend and my sister.  I feel like I have gained two very wonderful more-than-friends.

I know there are more treasures.  In fact, my treasure chest is full and overflowing. While I would never fall off a roof just to get these treasures and blessings, I am so thankful for them and look forward to uncovering more as time goes on!

What you are looking at is a healed hip!  Toward the bottom on the right side is a lump of new bone growth that is finally holding everything together.  The majority of the bone re-growth is DONE!  There are a few little areas that may fill in a bit, but the leg and hardware are sticking tight and aren't going anywhere.  The rod and screw are now a permanent part of my anatomy.  We are going to be lifelong friends--and I do hope we remain friends!

I will start out-patient PT in about 10 days.  I still need to strengthen muscles and be able to walk upstairs so there's a bit more work to do.  It doesn't sound like a problem to me!  With all the work I've put in to this point, a bit more is just fine.

I've been thinking a lot about this long ordeal.  In a few days it will be 10 months since I fell.  By the time PT is done I will have my 1-year anniversary.  It's been a very long 10 months.  These injuries and all that goes with them have been just about the only thing in my life for this whole time.  As I get well and gradually start feeling more normal again, it amazes me that I was able to endure some of the things.  The pain will always register as the top annoyance--well more than an annoyance but I can't think of the right words.  Being disabled in itself is not great but it's not the worst thing in the world.  It's very inconvenient but almost always adjustments can be made so one can live their life and do many of the things that they want to do.  I saw my father-in-law, Al Friesen make adjustments to his disability constantly over the 30+ years I knew him, but he still found a way to enjoy life.  Every new activity is a challenge to figure out.  I am so fortunate to have only a disable leg to deal with.