Thursday, January 30, 2014

{ never a time } - yogi. photographer. survivor. austin, tx

I'm going to share a little bit of my story. Warning, it's not all pretty (actually none of it is pretty).

It was May 15th, 2009. At 6am I entered the hospital not knowing what to expect. My dear surgeon had tried to prepare me for how extreme it would be, but how can you prepare someone with no experience to compare it to? I had never been given anesthesia prior to my spinal fusion surgery. There was never a time I went unconscious to be cut apart and have my whole back body rearranged.

I lay on the gurney with a shower cap and a tiny blanket, I was freezing and scared, but not scared enough. Then it all went dark.

It was dark almost forever. When I woke up, it was a full day and one half day later. I couldn't move, it hurt to be alive. Everything inside me was screaming and yet nothing had a voice. After that there was little sleep. When I could rest my eyes my tired mind gave way to nightmares. Terrifying truckers, poison, rape, filth, mortality... it was worse than the pain in my body. This lasted for so long, it felt like a year, in reality I think it was about one full day before I was given painkiller to help me sleep.

Time to walk again. The physical therapist sat me up, a rush of searing agony to my head, vomit, lights out. No possible way to sit up without wanting to die again. It took a few days, tests, doctors coming to give a guess, and finally an MRI to learn of the brain fluid leak. Horizontal with an IV of caffeine, my punishment...I mean prescription. A few more days stuck in this pale yellow hell room in Houston.

I cried about everything, a bratty patient to say the least. I wanted a bath, I wanted my phone, I wanted to leave most of all. I had one friend who was faithfully visiting and my devoted mom by my bed. I owe them both an apology I'm certain for what probably fell out of my mouth while I whined and pitied myself. Sorry Mom, sorry Jason.

It was on day 6 that I walked a full circle around the ward, that was my test I had to pass for release. A small step to the outside world, but to this day one of the most difficult things I have ever faced.

The car ride home was torture, seat all the way back and clutching my body pillow for dear life (I freaking love that pillow). I landed in my parents bed, exhausted, stiff, swollen, and helpless. Some of the details blur, my girls came in, I begged my sister to braid my hair, I was frustrated with how constricted I felt, sleep was all I could do to pretend I hadn't ruined my life. I know there were a lot of silent tears, so much fear that I would never pick up my babies or play around again, that I would be forever tied to a post like a witch about to burn.

Two months later... I drove home to Austin to begin life again.

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