All the kids....well, almost.

All the kids....well, almost.
Sara due in September! Jess due in May!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Boo Hoo...

Knock Knock?
                Who's there?
                 Boo who?
Don't have to cry about it, it's just a joke...

I did it.  I cried about it.  All night.  Yep.  The Ugly Cry - complete with red, blotchy face, contortions, snorts, snots, and all other things unpleasant that come with T(he) U(gly) C(ry).
Here's why I cried - in random  - not alphabetical order.  And not even in order of priority.  Just random.  Because that seems to be my life plan.
  • I can't lift my Halle on to my lap by myself*
  • I can't throw my kids in the car and go to the pool, movie, mall, get the idea.  Because I can't drive. Or lift.  Or bend. Or twist.
  • I can't walk up and down my stairs without help*
  • I can't walk.  Without help!*
  • I can't feel my leg when I rub lotion on it.*
  • I can't move my toes.  At all*
  • I can't bake or do anything in my kitchen without someone assisting.* I do not like assistants, generally speaking...
  • I can't do Simply Sweet anymore.
  • I can't play the organ.*  Yep. I'm a nerd.  I love playing the organ.  For some, it's a secret I've hidden well.  For others, I take your mocking like a man.  In any case, I can't play the organ.  Unless I rig myself up something like this....
I can't do those things *yetBut I'm going to. And it's going to be sooner rather than later. Here's why:
I got an email today from my cousin, Stacey.  I haven't kept in touch with Stacey over the years. But in the past week or so, she has secured her place on my Life Hero List.  Stacey has MS.  And she doesn't fuss about it.  She just has it.  Her mom, my Aunt Marie, came to visit me this week, and brought 98 year old Grandma Verna to see me.  Now Grandma is in better shape than anyone up here, inlcuding me at this point.  They brought me a card and a book on CD (The Help - I am stoked!) They came right as I started PT so they came to the gym with me and stayed through my whole PT session.  And Grandma was so proud of me.  She thought I "did just great!"  As only a Grandma can say.  She clapped when I tried to step.  She said, "OooooH!" in a high pitch voice when I could move something. And probably even when I didn't.
Later that day, I guess Aunt Marie told Stacey, who sent an email full of valuable suggestions and advice, both on the medical horizon and well as mental/emotional.  And one thing she said that has stuck in my brain all day is,
"Don't focus on what you can't do, focus on what you can do." 
Ah - Ha!   I need to forget about what I used to do, and how to do it, and find the way I'm going to do it now.  And NOW isn't forever, I don't think.  There's too much ongoing research, and too many cutting edge treatments, and so many options for recovery.  Maybe not full recovery.  Probably not. But recovery is in the eyes of the beholder I think!
It is what it is. And it's a spinal cord injury.  It isN'T pretty.
But it doesn't mean that my limitations today are my limitations forever.  Because I hate being bossed around.  I really don't like that one bit.  Never have.  So since I'm the boss of myself, I guess I will be the one deciding what I can and can't do.  And every day I'm going to decide.  Today I'm deciding I'm a little bit mad.

Today Clara - one of Sara's dearest friends who we love as our own daughter - got married to cute Andy.  And I couldn't go to the ceremony. And I'm mad. (told you, no politically correct.  No Pollyanna.)  They wouldn't let me leave because I have too many therapies in the morning.  But thanks to Stacey...guess what I realized?

The "cans".

I can/did get to the reception. Now it took two days to get things in place, but it was soooo worth it.

I'm learning that stuff around here is much more involved than I realized on many levels.  To bust me out for any length of time (maximum time? 3 hrs!) the Dr. has to write an order ok-ing it.  Then PT has to make goals for me to accomplish in order to count it as a "therapeutic time out". They have to know all details: where I'm going, who is in charge of me (my dad and my  niece, Amy, who is a nurse), the kind of car I'll be in (had to ride in Dad's dumpy Lexus haha) ,  where I'm going  (to the Neff residence to an outdoor wedding reecption), what I'll actually be "doing" (eating wonderful food at a wedding reception), and when I'll be back. (that's a loaded question.  They gave me 2 hrs.  No exceptions.)   Then they have to approve it all through my insurance (some insurance companies think if you're ok to leave for 2 hrs, you're ok to go home.  I tend to agree... :)  But the biggie is getting back on time; apparently it messes up everything here if you're not back when you're supposed to be.  My Time Out was from 6-8.  Mark....Set...Go!

Next, they adjust all your medications (um...I'm taking a lot of those...more on that later!)  so that you're properly medicated for your outing and don't need them while you're gone.  Then I have to "practice" anything I have to do during my time away so I don't get hurt or exacerbate the injury.  The goals my PT set for me for my time out (well, I call it my furlough....) were:
  • Self Propel  That means push myself in the wheelchair not have a push-er like I'm the Queen of Egypt.  I'd rather be the Queen of Egypt.  My arms are flabby and jiggle when roll myself in this chariot. And they get tired.  I'm no athelte, ok?!
  • Transfer Unassisted  That means get myself from my chair to the car, etc.
  • NO BLT! (no Bending Lifting Twisting)  I really struggle with this one.  It is mostly habit/ drop something, you reach down to pick it up.  You see something or someone as you roll on by, you twist and look behind you or around you to see what it is.  And lifting...are you kidding me? I have a three year old!
My best friend, Karen, and sweet daughter, Carly, came 2 hrs before launch and got me ready.  That's a true friend.  Carly and Karen did my hair, nails, dressed me, and primped and fussed over me like I was going to the ball.  It was so fun for me.  Everything is fun with Karen -- we just celebrated our 20 yr friendship anniversary.  But seriously, to come do my hair, nails, dress me...a loving act of service and I am so thankful.  I felt like a real person.  Lotion! Make Up! Hairspray!  Ahhh. It's the little things.

Next thing I can/got to do? I got go on a date with my Dad tonight for 2 hours! I got to be wtih my awesome husband and crazy kids for awhile in a non-hopsital setting.  Heaven, people.  It was heaven.

Now probably 90 mins of  my 2 hrs out was loading my big self and equipment up (such a pretty visual), and thank you to my stellar Dad for being willing (he actually offered) to be my personal slave, chauffeur, nurse, PT, etc.  He did that so Mat could just focus on getting the kids to the wedding, and then once there, they just played and enjoyed.  And when pumpkin time arrived, Dad returned me to the hospital -on time - so Mat and the kids could keep having a fun night.  I guess that's what Dads do.  Mine does anyway.  I'm so lucky. And Mom was so sweet to let me have him for the night.  My mom has a hard time getting around with some of her health challenges, so it would have be hard to have Dad take us both.  Mom decided to stay home so Dad could just do me.  But she sent a little token like a fairy godmother...Dad pulled a diamond necklace out of his pocket when he arrived and handed it over.  Just like on Pretty Woman.  Sort of.  But I got to wear my Mom's diamond pave necklace that is shaped like a Hershey's Kiss. Only Renee.   I laughed my head off - and felt like a million bucks wearing it for the night.  Honestly, parents are the best.  Mine are anyway.  Funny how stuff like this opens your eyes to this...parenting never ends.  Unfortunately for them, it never seems to for my 76 yr old folks.  They do it well. 

My handsome date, Marvelous.  The blue boot? That just helps with foot drop.  My dead leg has a droopy foot. This giant boot holds it in place kind of like a cast to keep the foot from just hanging there and turning in.

Mat got all the kids ready and we met at the wedding at just about the exact same time.  Clara looked gorgeous, Andy was a handsome groom, and it was so nice to be outside and feel like a regular family.  I'm never going to take for granted my 'regular family'.  It's the best.  I got to see lots of friends that we've missed since our recent move to Bountiful.  It was wonderful. 

It was kind of hard, too.

I had to sit there in the chair and I didn't used to think I was too prideful, but guess what?  I think I have some pride issues.  I felt awkward sitting there and having people bend over or crouch down to talk to me.  It was hard to talk about what happened.  I didn't want to.  I just wanted to stand up and be like everyone else.  It was humbling to have my dad and 3 other guys have to lift me from one level of the backyard to another.  I was embarassed.  That is prideful. 

I wondered how Mat felt as he came with all the kids and met me my chair.  Not really what we had planned for our life.  So it's not going to be permanent.  Because it wasn't in our plan.  But he always makes me feel like I'm the hottest thing walking - er rolling - and acts like he doesn't even notice.  He's a good man.

Halle: I want to say something.
Katie: Then say something.
Halle: Stinky pickles!
My kids acted so happy to see me there and just hugged and kissed me.  Chloe is very nurturing and wanted to help get my food, and make sure I was all set up at the table.  Halle is getting to be a pro at climbing up on me in the chair.  I love it.

I got tired pretty quickly so we bailed out, but we did stop by Grandma Verna's on the way back to the hospital. 

I love my Grandma.  So, so, so much.

At age 98, she is still my biggest cheerleader no matter what I do.  Dad went in her house and got her to come outside to "see who's in the car".  She threw her skinny arms up and said "Oh! Oh! OH!!!" in this high pitched squeak that she usually only does when Dad, Marie, or LuAnn walk in the room.  I feel honored to be part of the Club That Makes Grandma Squeak.  She hugged and kissed me through the car window, then grabbed my hand and just rubbed and rubbed my arm. She told me I look "just great!",  and said she was so proud of me.  That's Grandma.  She always makes us feel beautiful and that she couldn't be more proud of us-even if all I was doing was sitting in a car.  I adore her.

Dad told her I had to be back to the hospital before the clock struck 8, and it was 7:30.  Well, that was it.   Grandma said "Oh get her back there! Go! Go!" waving her arms around like I was running from the law.  It was awesome.  So Dad and I floored it back to the hospital and I'm pleased to announce we got here at 7:41.  NINETEEN MINUTES TO SPARE.  Take that!

Dad rolled me up to my room and stayed for about a half hour with me as I basked in the glow - and exhaustion - of being part of the world for awhile.  It was so fun.  Mat and the kids stayed a bit longer at the wedding then called to report in on what I missed when I left.  They had a great time and so did I.

Can I just say Mat is the best dad ever.  Ever.  Our kids are lucky.

It's early Sunday morning now, and I slept like a rock.  Best rest I've had in over a month.  Probably due to sheer exhaustion, but also I think they're leveling out my medications so I 'can' rest.  I take several meds now...(possible TMI warning)
  • I take pain medication every 4 hrs.  This won't be forever.  My back is still quite painful, especially after therapy - or a wedding.  Sometimes being up in the chair hurts a little too after awhile.
  • I take an anti spasmatic/muscle relaxant type medicine. (according to my pal Pam, the anti spaz drug is looonnng over due...)  But it helps the muscles in my dead leg not spasm.  Ahhhh. That is a good feeling.
  • I take a medication to help the nerves.  Numbness and tingling (the painful kind) are common after spinal cord injury and I have a lot of neuropathy in my hands and feet, especially at night.  They've been titrating the dose this week, and I think we've hit the golden level, because last night I didn't wake up at 3am feeling like my hands and feet are on fire. 
  • I take a couple things to keep the ole bowels going.
  • I have my usual migraine pill when needed (sometimes the back spasms/pain trigger a migraine.)
  • I get heparin injections to keep the blood from clotting.
  • Blood pressure meds as needed. Sometimes my BP goes up a little, sometimes it bottoms out.  It's not happening often at all though so I don't need those too often.
  • I take Zofran.  Nausea is an enemy.  Zofran is a friend.
  • I am still on massive doses of Decadron - a steroid to help reduce the swelling in my spinal cord.
  • Sometimes I get a little insulin.  Being on massive steroids can cause glucose level to be whacked.  I haven't needed it much, but occasionally I have a big dip or spike in blood glucose level.  If it's up, I get a little zap of insulin (that "zap" was a holla to Dr. Giddings)  And a few blessed times, it's been low and they "make" me eat.  I could get used to that...
Seems like there may be another one or two but I can't think what they are. Anyway, another long, rambling post, but remember, this is my "journaling to heal".  So here's the summary:
  1. I cried yesterday. Pity Party? Yes.  But it's over.  For now.
  2. I was mad yesterday.  Done with that too.  It's too exhausting.
So Cousin Stacey, I'm focusing on my "cans".

I can hang with my BFF and get primped for the wedding.  I can hang with my Dad for a couple hours. I can be with my husband and kids in a normal setting for a bit. I can move my whole upper body with no problem. I can see. I can hear. I can think. (no comments from outside sources here)

I can be grateful.  And I am. My great, full heart is absolutely grateful.  I am the luckiest.


My Three little girls said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fisher Family said...

WOW! All I can say is you are amazing! You will be in our prayers and we wish all the best for you!

Troy & Cindy Dial Family said...

Shel, Great post! You're the bravest girl I know right now! I admire your attitude and humor! You make everyone around you feel good and that's our job, to cheer you up! Your children are blessed to have a wonderful mom who knows the meaning of life! Hang in there and way to be obedient to the are awesome! See you soon!

AmberLou said...

You looked BEAUTIFUL for the reception! I love your hair color! I am so glad you were able to go and spend time with your family! I wish I could have been there too. I am so glad for your update and for your inspiration to remember the things that we CAN do! I love you so much and I am praying for you! :)

Michelle said...

I loved how honest and raw your comments are. You are amazing, remember you are never alone. You are loved both on Earth and above. And don't worry, I will still bring you Diet Cokes when you are in the hospital :)

Lisa Mc said...

You helped me 9 years ago with this similar problem! You were amazing to not look at what Emily couldn't do! You treated her like her normal self! Focused on what she could do! You were good at it then, Now you need to apply it to yourself!We love you! I am so glad Karen and Carly were there to help! You look marvelous!

Dee said...

Shelly, You have such a great way with words. I could read anything you write for hours. You have such a way with words. There are so many cans out there. Hard to remember, but they are there. I am following a young guy who is also up at the U that was racing motocross and had a terrible wreck and is now paralyzed. Interesting for me to read about both of you at the same time. Interesting how one small thing can change so much. You of all people have always had this attitude and personality that stands out like no other. If I could have just a small bit of your upbeat attitude I would love it. You have touched and helped so many people. You will pull through this, because that is just who you are. Sorry for my long comment, but I admire you to the moon and back. If we all could be more like you. You Rock Shelly. Keep the positive and know you have so many people pulling for you.

Shannon said...

Get out girl!! You are BUSTED (you know I say that with much much love) I had no idea! Pat and I spoke this morning and she told me I mpsimply MJST go here to read all of your goings on! She was right!

Think of the additional prayers I could have said for you (I mean, not that I am the most righteous and all but you know a prayer or two, or twenty, never hurt.)

I get your updates in spurts toom so it's like "Possible cancer" "YAY NO CANCER" "Wierd liver biopsy" "spinal cord injury, boo"

You, my dear, have GOT this, no question. I imagine it sucks not being at home and not being with your family but you will bust (or bake) out of there so soon, I just know it. I can't wait to follow along as the list of things you CAN do gets longer and longer.

Love you lady, wish I could be of help, but you will be in my heart!

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