I will admit that I was reeling after I wrote yesterday's post. A few of you have sent me private messages to let me know you felt the same, and I appreciate that. I really do. In fact, let me take a moment to say how much I appreciate all of the messages of support and encouragement that I have received from everyone. You have been amazing...particularly since I really didn't think anyone would find my blabbering the least bit interesting.
But let's get back to the story.
When we last left our hero (I am not a hero, I know, but it just sounds so cool to write it like that...), I was being life-flighted to a trauma center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Turns out that I had crashed in Santa Rosa. To this day, I am still a bit unsure where that is, though I can tell you from memory that I had passed a sign on the freeway not long before the crash happened which said, "Tucumcari 80-something miles". So apparently its roughly an hour outside of Tucumcari. The only reason I happened to know Tucumcari, apart from its peculiar and rather fun-to-say name, is that I had stayed there in the truck stop overnight on my first trip across country. Small world.
I slipped in and out of consciousness in the Emergency Room once they got me to St. Vincent's Regional Medical Center. I don't remember arriving, but I can recall being X-rayed everywhere, CAT-scanned, and I think I even had an MRI...though I can't be sure of it. I remember authorizing the police officer, a very polite and gentle man, to take my blood so they could rule out any alcohol or drug influences as a cause of the crash (and for you who are wondering: I was clean on both counts). I hazily remember the nice man who gave me my stitches on my face...several of them, in fact.
I was in the hospital for 2-weeks in total, and then I was transferred to the inpatient rehab...also part of the hospital...just a different section more focused on physical therapy and recovery. I spent 4-weeks there, one of the longest inpatient patients the rehab had housed. I watched many of my fellow "inmates" come and go, and that was hard for me on many levels. But I had great staff to help me through everything, and in the end, I was ready to go after 4 hard weeks of work.
There is so much more that I could tell you all about my recovery in the hospital. I could talk about my friendships that are still strong today with my physical therapists, or I could talk about learning to walk again, or learning to go to the bathroom on my own (hey...it was part of my journey). But in the end, I think I have hit the high points.
I will say this much though. I was not prepared to leave the hospital. You see, when I was in my accident, I was in the process of moving. So to go home for me was to return to LA and my bed and my room...none of which existed any more. And even though I had thought about that many times and had said to myself, "I'm ready"; I was not. It was very difficult to acclimate myself to a new house while trying to acclimate myself to my new self...a person who moves primarily via wheelchair. That process took a few weeks, in all honesty, and I can't say that I didn't yearn for the familiarity of the hospital more than once during that time. I had entered their doors a broken mess, but in my mind, able to walk and do all of the things I (frankly) took for granted. When I left, I left in a wheelchair, and I couldn't even stand for a long period of time.
One day, I stopped in front of the floor-length mirror in my mother's room. I was recalling the incident with the CNA who did the double take and realized it was me in the picture. I realized that I was doing the same thing. I was looking at this image, this person in the mirror, and I was suddenly saying out loud, "Oh my goodness. That's you".