The Accident, Rehab And A New Outlook On Life

seatbeltI want to thank each and every reader, blogger and company from the bottom of my heart. Eight weeks ago I was in an automobile accident. It changed my life. Forever.

My family and I had headed to Chicago, IL for the weekend. I was originally planning to fly, but hubby was off that weekend and the kids didn’t have school so we decided they could explore while I was attending an event that I was attending for the blog. They had a lot of fun exploring and since we stayed in the heart of Chicago (downtown) there was plenty for them to do. I had a blast at the conference forming relationships with other bloggers and the brand. I will blog about that but I don’t want there to be an association with the brand and my accident. There was no relation and I don’t want there to be. Although, I do want to say the brand reached out several times and they have been amazing in keeping in touch and making sure the recovery is going well. So kudos to the amazing brand, reps and bloggers from that weekend.

On our way to Chicago there was some snow, but it wasn’t anything 4 wheel drive couldn’t handle. It was only the last 1/2 hour of the drive and we just slowed down and took our time. Everything went fine and we arrived, later then planned, but we arrived. We enjoyed the weekend and Sunday came and it was time to head home. It was January 22, 2012. We made a couple stops and wanted to take the kids up to the top of the Sears Tower but it was really foggy that far up and they said there was no visibility. We decided to do some other shopping and head home. Around 2:30pm CST, we were about 20 minutes from home and we went under an overpass, which had a nice thick patch of black ice. We started sliding, hit the ditch and within seconds we’d rolled our Chevy Trailblazer 6 times. I was ejected from the vehicle. I did not have a seat belt on. Whenever we take longer trips (this was about 3 1/2 hours) I tend to reposition 9 million times and it’s hard with the seatbelt. It’s not an excuse.. AT ALL! It’s a fact, I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt and I should have been. Since I have this second chance at life, I will now ALWAYS wear my seatbelt and I encourage each and everyone of you to as well. Don’t move your vehicle from PARK until you’ve clicked! If you take nothing else away from this, please take that little tid bit of advise. My children are 8 and 11 and were belted in. While they did have some cuts (broken glass) and bruises, as well as seatbelt burn they were lucky to have escaped with no injuries. My husband wasn’t belted in either. He was the driver and seen it coming, braced himself and held on to the steering wheel. He was injured but not ejected from the truck, thankfully. He suffered some internal injuries (split his spleen and pancreas) and minor head cuts, from glass and hitting the top of the vehicle.

Thanks to his job he is EMT/First Responder trained. This was a good thing because as soon as the vehicle stopped, he ran out to me and grabbed shirts and what not to compress and stop the bleeding. This QUICK action left me in MUCH better hands then I would have been waiting 20 minutes for the paramedics to arrive. By the time paramedics arrived my bleeding was stopped and under control. I still required 4 units of blood when I got to the hospital, but at that rate, if he hadn’t gotten the bleeding to stop, I would have needed more (or worse). I spent a full 8 days in the ICU.

As for the vehicle, it is completely totaled. It folded down the middle and is so flat it looks like a CAR. Most of the luggage was retrieved without a problem, but many things were lost (and since it snowed it was difficult to find them). Finding them now would be of no help since they were electronics and games (mostly the kids things) and the GPS. With the water damage to them they won’t be in working order by the time anyone would have been able to go look. It hurts me that the kids lost things, that we lost things, but I am trying to focus on the positive. It’s hard though, especially when you have to take Valium with you every time you get in the car because you never know if/when the panic and anxiety attacks will start.

Many cards, flowers and calls came in, each one reminding me that life is so precious and I had to keep fighting. For the first time in months I had seen my youngest brother and that was words I can’t even describe. After 8 days I was moved to the surgical stay floor and was there for another 2 weeks. After that they moved me one last time to the rehab unit and I stayed 2 days and came home. My injuries were by far the worst and there was so many of them that all I could do was let time heal me and rest. My injuries included: Small brain hemorrhage, bilateral orbital fractures (eyes), nasal fracture, left eye lid laceration, multiple fractures to the cervical and thoracic spine (C6, C7, T1, T2, T4, T5, T7, T8, T9 and T11), right side pelvic fracture, collapsed lungs (with chest tubes placed), left ulnar fracture (small bone in the lower arm), right tibia and fibula fracture and right ankle fracture. All of these injuries were pretty severe alone, let alone together, they made a mess. By the time I was in the rehab unit I was getting used to life with only one leg. I was dressing and getting up with a walker to use the bathroom. Since I still have the Pompe’s I am still unable to use crutches. All of the injuries are healed with the exception of the tibia, fibula and ankle fracture. Since I can’t put any weight on that foot or leg yet I am pretty much not mobile. I use a wheeled walker to cart through the house and push with my left leg. I use a wheelchair when we are outside the house for appointments. The good news is, this injury is almost healed and the doctor is expecting at my next appointment on 3/23 for me to be able to “walk” or put weight on it. I’ve been taking extra vitamins and calcium to help boost the healing process. Still almost 9 weeks later I am still pretty much relying on others for help with things. It’s hard.. I’m independent.

We had so many troubles with the hospital and our care. Both my husband and I were admitted and my father in law came for the kids. The problem.. the hospital declined to check EITHER child before sending them home. My daughter stated she was hit in the head. There wasn’t any injuries as it turns out, but the hospital should have been more cautious and for that, I will only say a grievance has been filed and a lawyer has been contacted. Leaving the hospital I came home with a PICC line in my arm to administer IV antibiotics twice a day at home. They needed to make sure any and all bacteria from the open ankle wound were cleared up. I went through 6 weeks of that. It was no fun, but it’s over now. I found though that those cute baby leggings worked perfect to put over my arm and cover up the PICC line for both looks and for helping me not snag them on things.

Being home has helped me so much. I feel like the 3 weeks in the hospital were not only hard physically, but emotionally. In the 3 weeks I was home I made 10x the progress I made in the hospital! It was a serious change and I felt better knowing I was in my house with my things.

There still is SO much healing to go. I had to get some dental work done this week and next week (replace fillings and chips) and I have some plastic surgery type things for my face, which unfortunately is all together, but very scarred and different. It’s definitely gotten better while healing, but it’s not me and it’s important that I have the work done.

I will also say that we were the FIRST vehicle to hit the ice, however, before the police, paramedics and others got there, 14 other vehicles all landed in the very same ditch. No one hit anyone else and I am not sure to the injuries in the other vehicles, but I know that we were not alone in that mess that day. The sad thing is, this is a reoccurring problem the city/state refuses to fix because this happens every year. It’s sad.

I’m on the mend now and expect things to be much more semi-normal after I can move alone and on my own 2 feet. It’s a hard lesson to learn and even harder to deal with daily. I thank God and my Angels every day for giving me the chance the fight through this and make better choices, but the bottom line is…. it was an accident.

This post was written for those that have been following my story and those that wanted an update. I am by no means putting this out there looking for anything. Sadly, I can feel the attacks coming on. Please understand, I understand the seatbelt situation, I understand I was wrong, but I am not looking for a lecture. I can only move forward and learn.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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