Roller-coasters and wheelchair rides

Tuesday update - a roller-coaster of a day:

There were many great things that happened yesterday. I'd be remiss not to celebrate and share those things. At the same time, my emotional state hit a very rough patch last night. If I'm being honest with you, I might even go as far to say yesterday would place a tally mark under the negative side of the line.  But this is a marathon, and I will prevail.  

The ups:

- Wound / right-leg redressing in Springfield went well. Thanks to my extra special nurse coming back. 

- The goodbyes from the nurses and staff was fun. They made me feel like they truly cared about me. I had a special goodbye with a couple folks late last night where they told me I had made a difference in their lives. That's an amazing thing to hear (in person or on Caring Bridge!)

- I was released to head to KC!

- I had a great ambulance ride getting here. Enjoyed my EMT companions. Female paramedic pair. One woman driving; one hanging with me. After about 10 minutes (or less) of cruising, I jokingly said it was time to change the music to my genre of choice, country, since I was paying for this ride. :). The EMT in the back strongly agreed as that was too her musical preference so we had the numbers.  So there we were singing and chilling cruising down the highway. Felt like a strange road trip set-up. All the while, my Mom visible in her vehicle through the rear-view window.  A great metaphor of a parent always being there.

- I have a private room in KC!!  Wasn't expecting this and was delighted to find out. 

- So far doctors seem great. We seem to have some Kevin Bacon connection to each (one doc: I'm from a farm in Nebraska and know about the Howells football legacy, another doc: my wife works at Hallmark, etc). Looking forward to "meeting" head ortho doc tomorrow (the main doc who took my case). Seems like he's already done a lot for me back here. I wrote "meet" because I confirmed he was actually a groomsman in Dylan and Amy's wedding. The same wedding I was also in the wedding party.  Excited to reunite with him after more than a decade. Interesting to think if we'd have known back then how our paths would cross again...

- Got to see my beautiful babies!!  When they first walked in the room my heart almost stopped I swear. They came and loved on me and it was the best pain medicine imaginable. The three of us sat and snuggled in my bed for awhile. Morgan fed me a cookie they baked for me. Mitchell brought a picture bouquet they made with Grandma.  

- The kids didn't seem bothered by my injuries at all. No biggie. Morgan did ask me a couple of times why I didn't have shoes on. :)  

- We opened up new books as presents for the kids (thanks, Michele). Mitchell's was a PLANES book which was received with much excitement as he is still talking about the movie. It made for some good snuggle time. 

- Went on a wheelchair adventure. Morgan on my lap, Aaron pushing, Mitchell official button pusher to open every door and elevator. It was an awesome time and will likely be a regular part of our routine for these next days. 

- In the good column, I also have to make special note of Mitchell's sweetness. He is by nature very loving, very doting, a total sweetie pie. He was in full force last night, telling me he loved me every other minute, hugging me and warning Dad to push slowly to protect my legs. :)

The downs:

- It was an antsy morning as my departure time from Springfield to KC was delayed a few hours due to some logistics. (this didn't end up really being bad after all, but it did take effort to remain calm while waiting it out)

- Being with the kids and not being able right now to help with the mundane was difficult.  Like taking Morgan potty when she wanted me to be the one to go with her.  (I predicted this kind of thing would be hard and it was)

- The end of the night...I also knew the leaving part was going to be emotional. Mitchell kept telling me he just wanted to sleep with me. And how he never likes being apart from me.  Morgan said, "Mommy come home" or some version of that. I tried to remain calm and playful on the outside. I asked them to tuck me in including pushing the fun reclining buttons on the bed. I asked to earn a (temporary!) tattoo for staying in my bed all night as temp tattoos are quite motivating at our house. I played and held it all in.  Good news is they left satisfied and willingly vs some dramatic version. Of course after 17 "one more hug" requests which I was happy to oblige. 

- Then the door closed. And it all came out. I cried.  Hard. I wanted to go home so badly. I felt more sad and defeated than I had on the journey so far. 

As I was processing all of this last night, I realized something. 

The first comparison I made on my journey was my current state vs death.  As I wrote in my first journal entry, when you truly think you're going to die this situation looks pretty rosy. 

I also spent time and energy comparing my future post-recovery life to my old life. There will be trade-offs, but I can see a positive picture in the future.  I believe deeply in things meant to be and know something profound will result from this journey. 

But last night another comparison glared me in the face. Me now vs me two weeks ago.  Me sleeping under the same roof as my family. Me putting my kids to bed every night. Me tasking walks outside and driving them to school listening to our new playlist of the month.  Me having a full calendar of events coming up like a trip to Colorado for the four of us.  And none of this is happening right now.  This vantage point was suffocating. 

I was also worried my relationships with the kids would change with me not being the one to do all of these things for them for a (hopefully short!) period of time.  

I am going to be honest. I was down and out. 

I talked with a couple of friends who happened to reach out at the exact right moment. Their words and perspectives helped me. Especially about my worry of the kids not being as close to me since I'm not there every night right now. They had great points that put that fear to rest.  I spoke with Aaron and my Mom and heard the kids were doing great. Then I read a guestbook message right before falling asleep from James Barnett (President of Dayspring Cards/a Hallmark subsidiary). He said their company had prayed for me that morning along with praying for an employee who had a 38-year old son who drowned at Beaver Lake seven days after my accident there.  Perspective was back. (and James, please offer my deeply heartfelt condolences to that family. I will pray for them). 

Two other sources of perspective I received at 3AM when they woke me to go get x-rays...  The person pushing my bed to and fro was so tired as she is working three jobs to provide for her family. She never has much time to sleep and I'm sure limited time to spend with her children. We also drove by the pediatric ICU on the way. I'd take this any day over being the mother who has to watch their child's medical journey. 

Perspective is free. And readily available if you look. It's a key ingredient to happiness and having a positive attitude. 

So that was the roller coaster of Tuesday. It's important to me to authentically share this journey with you, including the dark days. There will be more. It's how we pull ourselves up that matters. I hope I can continue to do so. I know your prayers are helping. 

A few bullets from today/Wednesday:

 - My planned trip to the OR for multiple wound assessment and redresses (ie chance for new doc to take a look) was moved from 6AM to 2PM.

- Based on this, Aaron brought the kids to hang out with me in the morning before the procedure. 

- We took another wheelchair adventure which is great fun. Went to look at a koi pond outside. Got the kids lunch in the cafeteria. Let Mitchell pick out the table and he aptly picked out one that would accommodate my wheelchair :). 

- Met with main ortho doc (the one I've been referencing all along; Dylan's friend). Instantly felt like I was in great care. And I continue to hear amazing things about him. Only ortho surgeon in Midwest to do x, only surgeon in nation to do y... Mentioned to him briefly I was so thirsty (this was 11:30 AM and I wasn't allowed to drink anything from 11:30 PM the night before).

- Sure enough I was headed to the OR minutes later. Well before 2PM. They let Morgan ride to the pre-op area on the bed with me and it was so cute. She loved it and won over many-a-nurse in the area with her engaging ways. One of them even picked her up for a minute just to get a little Morgan lovin'. Aaron then took her back upstairs and I went to the OR.  By the way, when I saw the doc I asked if got me in early after our chat and I saw smiling eyes above his mask. 

- Thankfully everything went well. Will know more details tomorrow morning after we chat during rounds. 

- Got to spend a couple of hours post-op with Aaron (his Mom took the kids home). 

- Just got off the phone with Morgan. Read Brown Bear, Brown Bear together and said our prayers. Awesome end to the day. 

I'm good... 

Talk to you all soon. Thanks for sharing this journey with me. I couldn't go it alone.