Thursday, July 26, 2012

Totally off Topic

Most of you guys and gals probably have heard a little (or way too much) about my car accident this past May. I haven't written too much about it, because a) I didn't really feel like reliving it, b) This is technically not the right forum for my personal, non-homesteading kvetching, c) I didn't want to bore you all with sad, potentially grody details about my injuries and slow recovery.

All of that being said, I'm going to do it anyway.

Writing, like drinking a few glasses of lambrusco and listening to a Tori Amos cd beginning to end, is cathartic for me. And I need catharsis pretty badly right now. Thus commences my long-winded whine.

Here we go.

The accident happened in the Mojave desert. The prevailing theory is that my front passenger tire may have slipped off the edge of the roadway, onto the hard-packed sand of the high desert. I thus (Theoretically. I remember none of this.), over-corrected in my attempt to straighten out, steering too far to the left, causing the car to 360 several times in the middle of the road, before skidding off of the roadway completely, and commencing to rollover multiple times, eventually coming to rest in a shallow ravine/depression on the north(?) side of the road.

I, having no memory of the accident whatsoever, don't know at what point I was knocked unconscious, but I was. In fact, the only memory that I have (I think it's a memory. Maybe it's a dream?) of the accident end of things was coming to, however marginally, to the sound of someone saying my name over and over, and explaining that I'd been in a car accident, and that they were going to get me out soon. (This might be a good time to mention that this took place while I was hanging upside downish, still belted into the drivers seat, while a firefighter/EMT attempted to verbally comfort me through my now non-existent windshield.) I remember asking about my girls, him assuring me that they were fine, which I didn't know whether or not to believe, then me repeating my city, state and my husband's cell phone number, over and over again.

At this same time, an EMT's were looking my girls over head to toe, and preparing to transport them to the hospital.

Apparently I blacked out again, because the following happened, unbeknownst to me. The Jaws of Life were brought in to pry my car apart. I lost a lot of blood. I really screwed up traffic for the people of Victorville for that afternoon. A life-flight helicopter had to find a safe place to land. I took my first (CRAZY EXPENSIVE) helicopter flight.

The next memory that I have, which I wish to hell I didn't, was the surgical resident/trainee/janitor stapling my tattered scalp closed. There is pain, and then there is having your head harshly, loudly, under-medicated-ly stapled-back-together pain. I literally passed out between staples, only to wake up screaming with each new ta-chunk of the stapler.

Then I mostly slept for 2 or 3 or 4 days.

I woke when I heard Billy's voice. I remember being confused and annoyed by the neck brace, troubled that I couldn't really see much out of my right eye, and really confused about why my left arm wouldn't work. I had to be reminded that I was in a car accident, and that the girls were ok. Billy said that I asked the same question a hundred different times, as though he hadn't just told me that the girls were fine, and being cared for by my sister-in-law. Every time I realized that the girls weren't there, I experienced a fresh bout of panic, and had to be told the whole story over again.

This brain injury and it's after-effects, more than the physical pain, has really been the main thing that sucked (and continues to suck) about this accident and the recovery that follows. My fucking brain is messed up.

Memory loss, confusion, irritability, fatigue - the symptoms of Post-Concussion Syndrome are spot-muther-effing-on.

So on top of a heavily lacerated, shredded scalp, a broken elbow, a really scary looking contusion in the white of my eye, a broken thumb, road rash, and not one, but two, brain bleeds, I get to hang on to this lingering cognitive impairment. Super.

As much as I've healed, my noodle is still not back to rights, and it isn't clear whether it will ever be, and/or how much I'll get back.

Here's the thing - I liked my personality. In fact, this has made me realize just how frigging attached to it I was. And now, it's changed, maybe forever. I'm irritable, impatient, forgetful and flaky, none of which I would have identified with as being fundamental elements of my personality pre-wreck.

I can't remember things worth a diddly, and I have a really hard time finding words some days, especially when I'm tired, which is often, seeing as I'm funneling copious amounts of energy into growing myself a new scalp and all.

I grieve for the time I've lost, the lack of lessons learned from this mess (it all seems pretty damn pointless), the strain on my relationships with friends and family, even the loss of my 12-year-old super-Subaru.

I am thankful for the fact that my girls weren't hurt worse (beyond the post-traumatic stress, which is definitely no small matter), that there wasn't another vehicle, cyclist or pedestrian involved, that I didn't die, that I/we have such an amazing community of family, friends and co-workers that saved our bacon with home cooked meals, gift cards for take-out, kid-sitting and SO much more, and for this crazy mess reminding me that I am small and the world is big.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled Granola Geek programming.