Monday, December 17, 2012

The Day That Changed Everything: Part 2

Before I begin, I want to say that my thoughts and prayers are with the people of Newtown. May God bless the victims and their families. There are no words.

I realize that it's been weeks since I've last written; I'm sorry it's taken me so long to write this post. These last few days have turned my world upside down; I had final exams to study for and a sudden funeral to attend, so I'm only now sitting down to write this.

Part 1 of this story is here.


I'm sitting in the back of the car as my mom drives me to the pediatrician's office, and each time there's a slight bump in the road, the pain in my leg is excruciating. Up until this point, it didn't hurt too badly, but now, each and every jolt makes it spasm violently and uncontrollably, blurring my thoughts into nothingness. 

The pediatrician's office says they're on their lunch break so they refuse to take me, refuse to even look at my leg. "Go home and rest it for a few days and take some Tylenol. It's probably just a sprain," they suggest. 

Just a sprain.

We head over to the walk-in clinic instead, where they examine me immediately. There's no bruise on my leg, an ominous sign. It seems like we're there for hours, and maybe we were; I'm not sure. The spasms seem to  calm down a bit now that my leg isn't being bumped around. They take X-Rays and I watch as they whisper amongst each other. At this point, I have no idea what's going on or what's wrong with my leg, and for some reason I'm not even terribly concerned.

They decide to call an ambulance to take me to the Children's Hospital. The ride there actually isn't too bad. It's almost fun. The EMTs secure my leg so well that it barely hurts the entire way there, and I remember thinking how interesting it was to be able to look out the rear window of the ambulance, watching the cars drive by. 

Once I'm in the ER, the spasms begin again in full force, and the pain is unimaginable. A nurse tries to give me an IV, but even an IV isn't simple with me. My veins are smaller than normal, so it seems like she's poking me with the needle over and over and over. I HATE needles, so I just try to tell myself to focus on the ceiling, focus on anything but the sharp pains in my hand and my leg. 

Then, one poke sends blood spurting out of my hand like a fountain, and I hear my mom's voice dimly in the background: "Don't look, don't look. Keep looking at the ceiling."

I don't look, but I get the impression that blood is spraying all over the nurse's white coat, and she shouts for assistance. Somehow they get the bleeding under control and I finally get a successful IV. 

A doctor looks at my leg and declares that it's broken. Apparently the spasms are a protective mechanism, but my CP greatly exaggerates them so that they are more painful and more pronounced than they would normally be. 

"When was the last time you've eaten?" he asks.

I think of the Pringle that I was unable to bring myself to eat, and I respond that I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast. 

"Good," he says, "because the blood supply to your leg has been disrupted, so we need to do emergency surgery NOW." 

I think back to the morning, when my day was ordinary and routine, and that seems like forever ago. 

I barely have time to comprehend what's going on before they administer the anesthesia and the whole world goes black. 

Little did I know that this was only the beginning of my journey.

Part 3 will hopefully be coming soon.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Day That Changed Everything: Part 1

We all have days that change our lives forever; sometimes we know they are coming and can plan for them, and other times, they occur so suddenly that we don't know what hit us. 

Five years ago today, I climbed out of bed to confront a day that, unbeknownst to me, would forever change my life.

Exactly five years ago, on December 6, 2007, I fell. I fall a lot, and it's usually not such a big deal...I stand up, brush myself off, and assure the concerned bystanders that "I'm okay!" But this time, I couldn't get up.

The day started out like any other, normal enough. My mom dropped me off at school and as she said goodbye, she reminded me that the two of us were going to head to the gym after school to work out.We never made it there.

When I got to class, I realized I couldn't find my library book. I told myself that it was okay, I'd just look for it when I got home. But I didn't go home that day.

Besides for that, my morning was going pretty smoothly. Science class had just ended, and I scooped up my binders and waved to my friend. 

"I'll see you at lunch in a minute!" I said to her. But I never made it to the cafeteria.

As I was walking out of the classroom and making my way over to lunch, I slipped. I fell almost in slow-motion. . .as I went down, I remember grabbing desperately for the water fountain that was right next to me, but I couldn't grasp it quickly enough and I kept falling. I fell so slowly, in fact, that I remember making a conscious decision to avoid taking the impact on my elbows because I hate, hate, hate scraping my elbows (something I had too much experience with throughout elementary school). So I landed on my left side, meaning that my leg crashed into the cement floor, taking almost the entire force of the fall.

I sat there in a heap, and one of my friends rushed over and asked if I was okay. I think I said yes, reflexively, but I wasn't okay. Somehow the nurse had realized what had happened - probably someone had called her, I don't know - and she rushed over. I tried to stand up but my leg collapsed under me. It didn't hurt, but it felt strange and wobbly when I tried to put weight on it. 

The nurse brought over a wheelchair and I felt hot tears begin to course down my face as I pleaded with her. I didn't want to sit in the wheelchair. I just wanted her to help me to try and stand up again so I could head to lunch, where I knew my friends were probably wondering why I hadn't arrived yet.

Eventually I conceded, and with my friend by my side (the friend who had witnessed the accident), I went to the nurse's office. She gave me an ice pack and told me to try to eat some of my lunch, but I wasn't hungry. I remember trying to force myself to eat a Pringle, but I just couldn't. And looking back on that day, as I'll explain later, it's a good thing that I didn't eat my lunch!

Part 2 will come soon! It's a long story though, so I think I need to split it up into multiple posts.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Five Awkward Things People Have Said to Me

"It's a shame a beautiful girl like you has to walk like that."

"Oh my gosh, you are so lucky that you get to sign up for classes early! I should break both my legs so I'm in a wheelchair and that way, I'll get to do that too!"

Teacher: "Wow, you're actually very smart!" (I caught that "actually!")

"Wouldn't it be awful to be a handicapped person?"

"You're always so cheerful all the time, and it's really inspiring. I wouldn't be that happy if I were in your situation!" 

Yet another reason to think before you speak. ;-)