In two days it will be three weeks since I was hit by a car while riding my bicycle. In that three weeks I have had major back surgery, plastic surgery on my face and nose and have been healing of some broken ribs and road rash. My face looks good, people say my nose looks normal and the Dr. said the scar on my back looked well healed. I got out of critical care in less than half the time that they said I would and I got a bed in Parkwood in record time.
So here I am now, in Parkwood. I feel like I have been floating along as if everything was possible, I was healing quickly and nothing would get in my way. But today I started to learn the truth of my new reality. Today I learned from my new Dr. that there are three types of spinal injuries. The first is like a shock, where the nerves need two to four weeks to recover. The second is a compression, where the nerves have been crushed at a particular level and then take time (one inch per month) to heal. The third type is what they call complete. Where the cord is severed and not able to repair. My injury may be a combination of all three.
Everyone says “you’ve got this” and “if anyone can do it you can” and “you’re so strong”. But I don’t feel that way today. Today I feel like crying until I have no more tears. I want to walk again. All the strength and luck in the world can not make that a forsure thing. I can build my muscles so that I am strong enough to handle transferring to a wheelchair, that will be easy. What people don’t think about is all the other stuff that results from paralysis. Stuff that is not about “being strong”.
Because now it is about bowels and bladder and skin. Battles that will be never ending. Surely I have never thought about having to “train” my bowels so that I would not have an accident when I was out in public. How about avoiding urinary tract infections? Dr. says it is not a matter of when, but how often. And skin? I love my skin, but apparently it will start to break down in places where there is too much friction.
So while I begin my training for upper body strength so I can get around, I also have to train systems that were trained 40 years ago, but this time without being able to feel them. I need to do this so that I can go home, be with my kids, and sleep beside my husband in my own bed. Today was my crash landing into my new reality.