Normally, I wouldn't want to make a thing out of anything to do with me personally, because I'm just not a big-whoop kinda gal. But today is a pretty major milestone for me - one year since my accident.
For those of you who might not have been around when the accident happened, you can catch yourself up, if you so choose, here.
These past 365 days have felt like a thousand at least. Crawling back toward normalcy has been painfully, frustratingly slow. I have healed from my injuries, but still carry many scars, both physical and emotional. My flashbacks and panic attacks have, mercifully, passed. The first few months after the accident, the sound of a low-flying helicopter or of a buzzing saw or lawnmower induced a heavy-breathing, adrenaline out-of-nowhere anxiety response. The helicopter made sense, but the saw and lawnmower? The best we could figure is that it must have sounded something like the jaws of life did, opening and pulling my car apart.
It took one extremely painful plastic surgery, and three months of daily bandage changes, debriding and antibiotics to put my scalp back together, but I now have no more exposed skull, no more infection, only a few bright-pink patches of scar tissue that my stylist and I are trying to find creative ways to make less noticeable. It is a far better outcome than anybody in their right mind could have imagined upon seeing the mess that was there right after the accident, not to mention the secondary mess made by the staff at the first hospital I was treated at having hastily stapled my scalp back together with large amounts of my hair and the floor of the Mojave desert still caked within my wound. The infection that followed presented a greater and more immediate risk to my health than the accident itself had. The threat of MRSA, a very real and terrifying possibility for someone with a wound that takes 3 months to close, never left my mind. The near-daily wound care appointments and the copious antibiotics kept it at bay though, thankfully. Thank heaven for strong antibiotics! I will say though - three months on antibiotics of any sort, no matter how carefully managed and counter-balanced with probiotics, does NOT do a body good.
Some of the smaller, slower to resolve things left over from my accident are a wicked case of anemia that has been dogging me now for the entire past year, regardless of how many protein/vitamin/mineral supplements that I eat/drink/swallow. Maybe the worst thing of all though are the brain issues. By brain issues, I mean the classic Traumatic Brain Injury complaints - amnesia, irritability (stemming in part from my lost ability to multitask and concentrate well), poor short-term memory and poor word-recall. I have good days and bad days. Being tired seems to aggravate my symptoms, and by the end of the day, I find myself fishing for simple words. For someone who has always been a voracious reader, and who fancies herself a bit of a word-nerd, it is particularly painful to be without words.
So I didn't get out of this mess unscathed, but I did get out of it. I'm here with my husband and my kids because I couldn't give in to it all and leave them. I've been working my way back toward being fully-functional one inch at a time. I'm getting there.
So, scars and all, I want to celebrate. My homegirls, my sister and I plan to go out tomorrow for a drink to mark my now having one year "post" under my belt. I never took my life for granted, but seeing it almost go, followed by a year of kicking my own butt to get back where I need to be, and watching my husband cover for me with our girls, our farm and a zillion other little and not-so-little things while I took the time to get myself back together, well, it increases your appreciation for what is real and good and true in your life, exponentially.
Tomorrow we'll bust out the champagne and rock out some karaoke, because that's my happiness in a nutshell - being free and silly and fearless and sappy with the people I love - and I absolutely plan to take advantage of every single second I'm given with them.