Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Gratitude.... and Overcoming.

January 1, 2008. A day that will haunt my memory probably till the end of my life. I wanted to take a few moments now to share with you my recollection of what happened and of the week and events that happened after the accident, and give everyone an update on our status as we stand now almost 5 months later.

We were headed home from spending Christmas with our families. The back end of our car was cramped with gifts. We had a foam "sofa bed" wedged in between the kids car seats in the back of the car. It was about 8:00PM and I was very tired and worn out from the previous week's excitement. I checked to make sure my husband, who was driving, was OK, and then decided to doze off as we still had a little over an hour left in our drive home. I placed my feet on the dash of the car and proceeded to fall asleep.

I woke with a jolt to realize that we had gone off the side of the road and were barrelling down the grassy shoulder. I saw a road-sign quickly approaching and yelled what I can only imagine to be the equivalent of "Watch Out!" The car tilted and fishtailed and I saw headlights in my window... then darkness.

What followed is only as clear to me as a bad dream. Voices... Seeing my brother-in-law at the foot of my bed... pain... bright lights...

The first few days after the accident I was in and out of consciousness. I awoke in the hospital after being Life-Flighted there with my family and I am told that my first questions were about the safety of my children and my husband. I do not remember much about this time, but I do remember flashes and pieces. I remember waking and seeing blood and lacerations on my hand. My eye hurt, I remember putting my hand up to it and feeling the stitches. I scratched my head and felt the dried blood and bits of glass. My mother was there, and my sister. They were taking care of me. The first 2 mental evaluations were not good. There was concern I might have brain damage. But... after 3 days... it all started coming back.

I was sent home on the fourth day with instructions that I had a severe head injury and must take it easy. Once home, I was disoriented and in pain. I just wanted to sleep. I went to bed however the next morning I woke up horrifically nauseated and my head hurt terribly. My family made the decision to take me back to the hospital where it was discovered that my brain was still swollen and had been bleeding. I spent 3 more days in the hospital.

During that visit, I was overwhelmed with love and kindness. My family and my in-law family went above and beyond taking care of us. For some reason I was not worried about the presents and possessions we had lost. I knew God would take care of us. I was only grateful that my children had come away COMPLETELY unharmed. My husband only sustained a minor concussion. As I know most other mothers would agree... if it is a matter of me sustaining the injury and my children being unharmed.. then I am blessed.

It was during this stay and after I was finally released to come home that I learned of the incredible kindness and generosity of my online family as well. My friend and fellow low-carber Jimmy Moore rallied and set up a gift fund for my family. I wanted to take a moment here and express my most sincere and heartfelt thanks to all who contributed to that. I do not know who all of you are, but I want you to know that your gift was so appreciated. Hospitals can be pretty demanding about handing them a nice sum even before you are discharged, so please accept my humblest THANK YOU, for helping us during that time. God used you to touch not only my life, but that of my children, husband, extended family, and even my community. I pray that you will be vastly and exponentially rewarded for your generosity and compassion.

A month after the accident, I felt well enough that I thought I might be able to begin to resume life as "normal." I went back to work at my evening job waiting tables at a local restaurant. After my first day on my feet, I realized that all might not be as well as I had hoped. I went back to my doctor to confirm my fears. Because my legs had been on the dashboard when the airbags went off, my ACL tendon in my left knee was torn again. I also found out that I was going to have to have another surgery on my eye that had been cut as well... so I was facing two more surgeries.

I have always been one to try to see the positive in a situation or what I can learn from it. Many would say that I was foolish for having my legs on the dash. Not that I would recommend that way of travel.... but in this particular case, had they been on the floorboard, they would have been crushed. I can count my blessings now that a torn ACL is the extent of that injury and I will walk and even run again versus what the consequences could have been if my legs were crushed.

I had the surgery on my eye about 6 weeks ago, and my ACL reconstruction surgery was 5 weeks ago today. My eye (tear duct repair on the upper and lower ducts), unfortunately, was only about 50% successful. The top tear duct was beyond repair, however, the bottom duct was only clogged and they were able to correct that issue. I am still adjusting to a bit more tearing in that eye, but it is a minor issue to learn to live with. I have been in therapy 3 days a week to re-gain the use of my left leg and it is going very well. I have maybe another month of therapy and am excited that the progress is already evident.

I hope I didn't leave anything out. But, I especially wanted to say "Thank You" again with all my heart to all my dear friends who gave out of the kindness of their hearts to my family in the time following our accident. I wish that I could meet each one of you personally and thank you and give you a hug. My life has been nothing short of a cyclone over the last year, however, I am positive that I am moving forward in the highest anticipation and expectation over what God is going to be doing in the future. The generosity that was shown to me during this time affirmed to me the growing feeling that I have had that ours is a close-knit community: a virtual family. No matter what "home-group" you belong to.... Low Carb Friends, Active Low Carber, Eating Low, Livin Low Carb Discussion, Camp... we are a living thriving community who take care of each-other in a time of need and turmoil as you did for me.

God bless you all my friends and keep you safe and healthy as we learn to live this Low Carb Life together.


regandy said...

Christin -- we are all thankful that you are still with us. Those that gave did so because you have touched our lives. I think I can speak for many of them and say that we didn't do it for any other reason than just pure generosity. I know that had it been someone else, many would have chipped in, including you, and done the same exact thing. AND may I add that what goes around comes around -- I like to say it this way: What you make happen for others, God will make happen for you. You were very generous to me in my time of need -- you and Amy. It has come around. Thanks for all you do.

Prudentia said...

Christin, I get the shivers every time I see a photo of your car. It is such a blessing that your children in particular walked away from this unharmed. Glad to hear you are doing better with each passing day. I'm certain that you will cherish each day the Lord blesses you with and that you will be mindful that it is quite obvious He is not done with you here. Keep your eyes open for His assignments :)

Nancy Ellyn said...

Christin, you are such a beauty, inside and out. God Bless you and your precious family. I am so glad you are all doing well.

swatkins said...

Christin, I am so glad that I was cruising the boards today and decided to go into Becky's Tent. I saw the link to your blog, and the rest as they say is history. I was glad to hear more about your recent surgeries and their outcome. I was also happy that your children and husband faired so well from the accident. You my dear will take a little healing time to be whole again. But, I know you will be able to resume your full life in time. I really do wish you well in your upcoming studies. Your life is precious and you have a very important task still to fulfill. Each day we can learn from, and sometimes that's where our biggest lessons come from, the day to day life, where one day we soar, the next day life kicks us in the rear. It's the kicks in the rear that mold us.