Monday, February 15, 2010

The Last Three Weeks

Three weeks ago today I had one of those moments when your life changes in an instant. I'd driven my son to school (actually he'd driven me as we are living through that parental nightmare called "permit time"), stopped the car at the mailbox and grabbed the mail that I hadn't collected since Saturday, opened the car door with hands full, and stepped out.

The next second, I was on the ground, having slipped on black ice, in too much pain to move. To make it worse, it was raining. I shouted-- nobody heard. I set off the car alarm-- nobody came. After about 35 minutes I was able to slide my arm over to reach my cell phone which miraculously hadn't been broken in the fall. I called my husband, who'd been sitting warm, dry, and oblivious inside while I was on the ground. He came out, called the EMTs....and I've been in the hospital/rehab ever since.

Rumor is I'm getting sprung on Wednesday-- home with hospital bed and a whole cadre of support professionals to help organize my life-- visiting nurses, occupational therapists, home health aides, and physical therapists.....this is a whole universe I knew nothing about.

I have learned a lot these past three weeks.

#1. I am incredibly lucky. Yes, I burst my L1 vertebrae and have become best friends with drugs I'd never heard of...but a little bit either way and I wouldn't be complaining about how much it hurts to walk or sit...I wouldn't be doing either. Everything works-albeit a bit slower.

#2. I have friends. The cards, visits, and flowers have been almost non stop. Accupressure and ginger tea to help with nausea from all the drugs, silly magazines and life savers...all the little things that met needs I didn't know I had. I will have a full time job writing thank you notes.

#3.Healthcare workers are overworked-- and still manage to put others' needs above their own. I am almost always greeted by smiling motivating people-- who seem to have nothing in the world to do except meet my needs. I do not see their personal struggles reflected in their attitudes, even though I know they all have the same challenges we all face. Somehow these angels manage to leave all that at the door.

#4. I am blessed to have a job that I can do anywhere there is wi-fi-- and to have landed in a hospital/rehab facility that have reliable wi-fi.

#5. Creative problem solving and teamwork can solve any problem. I am going home because of a team that included me, my PT, my OT, and my Othotics guy, which resulted in customizing my brace in a way none have them had ever seen before to allow me to manage it independently.

#6.I have family who cares and sees to the little things...from my husband who shows up early and wakes me up with good coffee and fresh bagels, to a teenage son who washed my clothes and brought them to me in the hospital, to sisters and daughters who have been an unending source of support.

Life can change in an instant. And I believe I have finally, truly, learned the meaning of "don't sweat the small stuff". It's all small stuff- except the people you love, and those who love you.