We have all faced hardship at some point in our lives. No one is spared from life’s difficult lessons. Thing is, you usually can’t plan for them and they hit out of nowhere. Then you find your support, your strength, your true friends, and your grit.
Dealing with the virus certainly hit us all, some far worse than others. As of this writing, I know of only two people personally who have had it, I know no one who passed from it. I am incredibly fortunate in that regard.
Others are not only dealing with the quarantine, but have illnesses of their own, compromised immune systems, chemo treatments, therapies, etc., who are struggling even harder. Many are out of work now because of it and struggling to make ends meet.
We are all going through this hard time together – some worse than others – and we will get through and hopefully find better, kinder versions of ourselves on the other side.
I wasn’t going to write this. I hoped I could heal before our store reopened and no one would know, but maybe it will help someone going through a different hardship right now.
On March 5, I wasn’t feeling well and wound up fainting early in the morning. When I came to I was bleeding from the head, could not sit up, nor move at all from the waist down.
After a two hour emergency surgery we were told I had a 50/50 chance of walking again. I badly injured C6 on my spinal cord. I fractured my neck.
I was a perfectly normal functioning woman with a family and a great business. A few days prior, my husband and I were featured speakers at a Chamber of Commerce meeting. We were helping our brides and grooms whose weddings were being postponed due to COVID-19. I was reading with my youngest and welcoming my eldest’s new puppy into the family.
In an instant, I was in the intensive care unit with staples in my head and paralyzed from the chest down.
Fortunately, I believe the very strong medications I was on kept me from panicking for the first week. In addition, it was determined that my injury was “incomplete” meaning there was a better chance I would be able to walk again. I was moved to a rehabilitation center for the next month.
At rehab it was determined that all the pathways were getting signals from my brain, a very positive sign! Now came the hard part – relearning everything.
I heard people say that before, that they had to “re-learn” how to do something very basic and I always wondered what that meant. I understand 100% now and it is exactly that. My injury affected everything from chest down, but C6 is responsible for wrist and hands. While I was fortunate to have some control of my left hand, my right was completely numb and would not work at all. I couldn’t hold a spoon to feed myself. Brushing my teeth was near impossible, brushing my hair was impossible, as was everything else from normal bodily functions to getting dressed or even sitting up.
Unable to do most everything, learning it all over was an extremely large and bitter pill on it’s own, but just one day into rehab I was fed a larger and more bitter one. I was told that visitors were not allowed due to the Coronavirus. I wasn’t going to be able to see my family.
At first I felt like I couldn’t breathe, but I remembered reading about the Corona patients who couldn’t see or speak with their families, and the families of the victims who passed away that couldn’t have a proper funeral. I felt fortunate not to have the virus and grateful to be able to speak with my family over the phone. Others were in far worse places.
I will spare you the rehab details but tell you I worked my ass off to the point of tears almost daily. I purposely watched no television or social media, I focused solely on getting better. In fact, I was reprimanded numerous times for exercising in my room alone (not allowed because I was a fall risk) and overheard a nurse refer to me as “cocky” for continuing to do it.
Because of my progress (score 1 for the cocky girl), I was able to come home early to continue my physical – and mental – therapy with my loves. Home Sweet Home.
The accident was two months ago. I can walk, my hands are improving, and I’m off all but two of the (ridiculous) 13 medications they had me on. I feel physically stronger every day and mentally, well, I’m getting there, too. My family is incredible, celebrating my ups (I love hearing, “Good job, Mommy!”) and encouraging me through the downs.
Franco has been by my side every minute, walking with me, pushing me farther, making sure I’m properly fed, and safe and sound. My beautiful girls help with my hand exercises, cheering me on, and keep me laughing! The addition of adorable puppy Eva (look at that face omg) completes the family and was the perfect addition, especially while I was away. It is a very long road ahead as recovery lasts up to a year, but this is my life and part of my story. I am no different from anyone facing hardship. We all have our cross to bear, some heavier than others.
Having the right support, attitude, determination, and grit is determining my outcome and I believe I will be a better person on the inside for this. I hope when the world reopens we will all be a little kinder, softer, and understanding.
Everyone will face hardship in their life, some are going through very difficult times right now. Please be kind and you will help their journey without knowing you made that difference. When it happens to you, you will appreciate that smile or the kind words.
The fact that we are shut down during my recovery has been an incredible blessing and coincidence (are there really any coincidences?) but I can’t wait to get the green light to reopen! I miss being open! While I may not be able to do appointments right away, I will be there helping and cheering when you say YES!
Thank you for reading and sharing in my story. I’d love to hear yours.