Wednesday, May 15, 2013

My First Alive Day - 5/15/2013

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.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Rainy Days and Mondays... A Whiny Rant from Farmer Crankenpants

Today has not been my day.

I suffer from insomnia, so I'd only had about 4 hours of sleep before the tsunami of poo, also known as Monday, decided to slap me awake(ish).

The first thing was a phone call, bright and early, from an uncharacteristically chipper gal at the post office. I wouldn't have even picked up, tired as I was, but Scarlet was still home and so she answered, then handed me the phone while I was still 90% unconscious. "Good morning! Your chickens are here!" Awww... what the crap?! I had the chicks' arrival written down on my calender as being slated for Friday. The run that these little guys would be moving in to in the coop hadn't even been set up yet. Oy.

So I drag my buns out of bed. I make myself a ginormous iced coffee. I have about two swigs of it before I get a call from the garden supply company that is delivering the 25 cubic feet (yards? Whatever. A smallish mountain.) of soil that will be going into our new raised beds. The driver is running a touch late - is it ok if he comes in 30 minutes? I say sure, but I have to run to the post office super quick to pick up my box of chickens first. "Your what?" Having to explain interstate chicken delivery to a stranger who seems to have decided, rather hastily, that I'm half batshizz crazy... Just. Not. Helping.

After the call, I threw on some clothes and put a very sad Penny into her kennel, then ran to the post office to pick up my chicks. The only bright spot in my post office jaunt was getting to show a little kid my package o' peepers. The surprise and delight on his face when he saw and heard the chickies going bananas was awesome. It's one of the aspects of farming in the city that I straight-up live for. Watching a kid break into a smile when they see a baby goat go bouncing by, or just after they pull up and take a chomp out of their first bright purple carrot, dirt and all - it makes me so dang happy.

Alas, the happiness was fleeting.

About 30 seconds after I pull into the driveway, the dirt delivery guy shows up. I have a package of shivering, mildly-traumatized poultry that need dealing with, and now this fella who needs my input on where to heap my dirt. I gave him two potential choices - both were rejected. He wanted to dump the dirt a little further into the yard. You got it, chief. Go nuts! I leave him to it, and go to put my peepers in the coop.

I no sooner unpack my peepers than I notice that we have a jailbreak unfolding. The chicks are still small enough that they can get through the holes in the chicken wire, and have wandered into neighboring runs. Crap. I round up my freshly liberated chicks and ponder a plan B.

I slap a temporary home for them together in a galvanized water trough. I stash them in our back room, hopefully securing them by closing the the two doors that separate them from the range of Penny the Huntress, freelance chicken murderer.

Sweet. I have two seconds to sit down and chug my nearly-forgotten cup of coffee. Then I realize that I've nearly forgotten something else that is kinda critical - that I need to show the chicks how to drink their water. It's been so long since we've had baby chicks here that I didn't even remember that chickies don't come with that knowledge. I went to check on my peeps only to find that - yep - these guys and gals were going to need a little help in the drinking department.

Check out the rocket scientist STANDING in the water, just chillin'. 

I'm about to sit down and starting teaching these chicks, one by one, the dip/scoop/tilt-the-head-back drinking method when there is a knock at the door. It's the dirt delivery guy. His truck is stuck. Super.

I go outside to help him find some wood scraps and gravel to throw under his truck tires. In my haste, I fail to secure the front door completely. To Rex, that is an as good as an engraved invitation to take the heck off.  Out-muther-frackin'-standing! Cue the parade of helpful neighbors driving/biking/jogging by who stop to let me know that "Your dog is out!". You don't say! Is that why I have a leash in one hand, a chunk of ham for a bribe in the other, and a completely humorless/borderline apoplectic look on my face? Thanks so much!

To recap, I have - 

a) thirsty, travel-weary chicks who can't drink until I show them how,

b) a d-bag escape artist dog who thinks that my limping down the road after him - IN THE RAIN - is some sort of great sport, 

c) a tiny terror of a dog who is just waiting for her opportunity to devour the thirsty baby chickens the first time I space out and leave a door open,

d) a dump truck in my front yard that is digging some fabulous, giant holes with its slipping and spinning tires and still not going anywhere. 

e) zero point zero percent blood sugar/circulating caffeine in my system.

Can I dig a hole and crawl into it now? 

Finally, finally, the dirt-guy got his truck out, Rex wandered back up to the porch and eventually back into the house, the chickies seem to have settled in a little - drinking lessons are still forthcoming, Penny hasn't visited death upon anyone/anything yet today, and I've made a dent in my great, highly-tragic caffeine deficit. 

Still, I think this will be a PB&Js for dinner kinda night. And woe unto the child who dares complain - WOE UNTO THEM

Serenity now!