Welcome Home

Today was my first day back to work. I can say I was nervous and a bit scared… But from the moment that I walked through the doors the smiling faces, sense of family and the feeling of being “home again” filled my heart and soul. 
The amazing people that I work with who are more than co-workers and friends you see they are family. I have been away from my family for 3 long terrible months. Today I was welcomed home with open arms and hearts. 
Today, I returned to the ones who make me smile. I returned to a place where I belong. I returned home. 
Today I returned home to a family that deep down you know you’ll have each other’s back. I returned to a family that Even during the darkest of times, we show encouragement, commitment, compassion and empathy to help light the path for each other to over come any obstacle.
I could not ask for a better family. I can’t say Thank you enough for the Love, Support, Laughter and compassion you have each shown to me personally and that I see you show to each other. 
From the hugs of Welcome Back, to the huge smiles of pure joy when you saw me, to my welcome back message. It really does mean a lot to me. I have to give a shot out to Alex M. who was so happy to see me and surprised she actually got “choked up….luckily CPR was not needed…” I felt the LOVE!!
I know that my life is better beacuse of my family here on MBU and the entire Women’s and Children’s team!! 

Back to the grind…

Excited and nervous….today is my first day back to work since the accident. 

To say that I am excited to say I am taking the next major step in my recovery. I am extremely thankful to be able to return to work at all. 

To say that I am nervous? Yes, I admit I am a bit nervous about returning. But, I know that I will be able to over come any obstacle or problem that I am presented with. 

I have been working on managing my PTSD symptoms while riding in the car, and desensitizing myself behind the wheel of the car. It has been a long process, and will continue to get better. I have a therapy plan that I work on daily. 
Upward and onward…. 

Monday…

 

It’s been a while since we have spoken.

It’s been a while since we have seen each others face.

The days have been long

The nights have been longer

I have been filled with pain, sorrow, and despair.

I did not think that I would ever see the sun again.

Today, the sun rose high in the sky.

I felt the warmth on my face,

the hope that flooded my soul.

I know that I can be happy again.

I know that I can be whole again.

 

I am happy to say that I will be returning to work this week. I will be going back on desk duty, and I can’t say how happy and appreciative I am of that. It will be another few weeks before I will be able to be back to my 100% running up and down the halls, patient caring, baby washing self again. I’ll take this as another step in the right direction.

I am working with my therapist on driving again. It’s a long process, but I know that I can do it. I am having to rely on my parents for rides to and from DE to work, but I know it’s temporary and it will all work out. I am still not able to return home yet, soon.

I wish I could say this nightmare is over, but I can’t. I will continue to keep my head up, thinking positive and pushing forward.

I am walking with a cane for now.  I will need to wear a full leg compression hose for months to come to deal with swelling issues from the trauma my leg endured.

I think that that is a small price to pay for all that had happend to me and what my body and mind had been through.

One day at a time. One hour at a time. One minute at a time. I will do what it takes to get my life back and take back what was taken from me.

I call this a win.

 

 

Small WIN!!

I am so very excited!!! The entire time that I have been off work I have received no income. I was told that due to a state of Maryland clause, I was not eligible to receive short term disability payments. We have been living off of the generous donations from others. 

I found out that I could appeal the descion. After a few weeks of pleading my case, and showing various documents… I won!! The benefit is very reduced, but it’s still something. This money will help me pay for my insurance portion I owe at work, and pay my bills for the month of May. I feel so blessed. 

I have been living the past 3 months with pain, fear, anxiety and a whole host of other emotions. Each week that goes by, I count the pennies we have left, and the number of days. Most days they don’t match up. I cannot, take a breath, and focus on June. 

The ironic thing about it…my short term benefits end on April 28th. In 7 days. I am ok with that. Something is better than nothing!! 

I’ll take it as a win, even if it’s a small win. 

view from the rear view mirror

 

 Imagine you are sitting in the drivers seat of your car. The feel of the seat under your legs. Your feet resting on the floor. Your right foot is hovering over the gas pedal. You are thinking about 20 different things…work, should you get a coffee now or when you arrive? does your shirt really go with your shoes? and so on. You grab your keys and put the key in the ignition. You turn the key and the roar of the engine comes alive.  As you turn your head back and forth looking around you. Your hand reaches up and grabs your seatbelt and pulls it across your chest to click it into place. Your right-hand grabs the gear shifter and your finger presses the button and the car is shifted into reverse. Your eyes, drift up to the rear view mirror. What do you see? You are expecting to see the back seat, the rear window, make sure nothing is behind you.

What you really see is your reflection. Your eyes. Your nose. Your hair. Your mouth. That is what you see, a reflection of yourself. rearview

The day I took my Independence back.
It was the night before, I asked Steve to help me with something. I have been thinking about this for a few weeks. Every time, I think about doing this one easy thing that I have done since I was 16 years old. My heart rate increases, my pupils dilate, and I start to shake. I can’t breathe, I can feel the wave of fear that starts at my feet and goes up my body. I knew that I needed to get behind the wheel of the car again. I knew that I needed to drive again. I desperately want my life back, and this is one key point. He agreed to help me, “I’ll do whatever you need, anything to help you” The question that I asked Steve: 

“I want my independence back, will you help me?”

I was mid afternoon, I had just spoken  with my best friend Jessica and told her of my plan and my fears. She was very supportive and told me exactly what I needed to hear. She also reminded of a few things:
  • You need to do this to be able to move forward
  • The best way to get over your fears, face them
  • I could do it.
I sat on the side of my bed, shaking, tears running down my face. I could not breathe. I was crying to hard I could no longer keep it quiet. Steve rushed into the room to see what was wrong. I could not even talk. My brain kept telling me how stupid this was, I could not make my body understand. The fear had taken over me, I was paralyzed with fear. I looked up at him through red eyes, and finally, after a few minutes, my lips started to move and sound came out “I don’t know if I can do this” He looked at me and with a jerk of his shoulder said, “yes, you can”.
He helped me to the front door. He held my hand has I went down each step of the front porch. My hands were slick with sweat, and they were shaking as held the handles of my crutches. I could feel and hear every lub dub of my beating heart.  I stopped a few times on the short walk to the driveway. Steve stood at my side and encouraged me to keep going.
I stood at the driver’s door of my car, took a deep breath. My brain kept telling me to keep going, but my body would not allow me to. I started to cry again. The beep-beep of the locks made be jump just a little. I opened the door and looked inside the car.
I knew the first step was to sit behind the wheel. I had done it thousands and thousands of times before. Over the past 10 weeks, I have been in a car several times and being in the passenger seat did not affect me the way this was.
After several minutes, and some hysterical crying I was finally able to sit in the drivers seat, with one leg out of the car still on the ground. My foot was an anchor that kept me safe.  I sat there, the fear enveloped my whole body every fiber of my being was reliving the accident. I could smell the burning of the wires, the acrid smell of the air bag. I could hear the metal twisting, and crunching, the popping of the glass. I could feel the fear of being trapped. I could not stop the tears from rolling down my cheeks.  
I just kept saying over and over “I was better than this.” and “I can do this”. My eyes were telling me that I was in the driveway. Steve was standing next to me, holding the door open. He was reminding me that I was “ok”.
I don’t know how long I sat there before I was able to calm myself.  
Once I could breathe normally, and I was able to focus on my car. I was able to take the key that was sitting in my lap and put it into the ignition. I was able to turn it enough to roll the windows down and let the wind blow through. I was another bit of time before I was able to move my leg and be completely in the car.
I was crying. I wanted all of this to stop. I wanted my independence back. This was the first step in doing that.
After many  minutes, I was able to calm myself down. I talked myself down. I was able to reach for the key and turn it completely to the on position. The roar of the engine, made me jump just a little.  
We sat in the car with the windows down, the engine running. I had tears running down my face…this is what I was thinking.

This is what happens when you drink and drive.  This is what happens to a good person when bad people make terrible choices. This is what happens to people when friends let you drink and drive.

 I am better than this.

We sat in the car for what seemed like 5 hours, in reality, it was just 20 minutes that Steve and I sat together in the car. We did not move. We did not even put the car in drive. We simply sat and that was enough for me. I don’t know how I could have done that without Steve.
It’s the first step on a long path…

 

 

 

I’m not the same person that I was before…

I have realized that I am not the same person that I was on January 29, 2016. 
A part of me died on January 30, 2016 on the side of the road. 

I don’t know if it’s a bad thing or a good thing…but I can tell you that I am different. 

Please be patient with me. 

Please be understanding of the new me. 

I look the same, I sound the same…but I am not the same. 

Life threw me yet another curve ball, and I have had to learn to adjust. My bones will heal, the bruises will fade. The scars will be a forever reminder of a memory that I’d like to forget. 

The nightmares will fade with time they say… The panic attacks will one day be a memory….the fear will turn once again to bravery. 

A part of me died that day…I am different then I was before….

Anger…

I am angry at the people who did this

I am angry at those who kept you in the game

I am angry at the ones who did not tell

I am angry at the friends who sat back and said “Not my business”

I am angry because our life was changed forever

I am angry because the future we had planned was taken away from us

I am angry that the thrill was more powerful than one’s own self-control

I am angry because what is done is done and it can not be changed.

I am angry because I know I will never be able to let go of the…

Anger

My heart will not allow me too. 

I will because I know I have too…I’m just scared.

FEAR

Simple Definition of fear

: to be afraid of (something or someone)

: to expect or worry about (something bad or unpleasant)

: to be afraid and worried

Fear is a funny emotion. It can make your heart race. It can make your palms sweat. . Fear can paralyze you. Fear really is an irrational emotion. Just thinking about an act can change your whole perception.

I have been driving for 23 years. I have logged thousands and thousands of hours. I have driven in sun, rain, snow, wind. I have been in several accidents, but one that truly changed my entire perception.

Even with sweating palms, and my heart about to jump from my chest… I am going to take it one step at a time…

I don’t know how long it will take, but I am determined to over come. 

 

Hard night in DE

It’s been a hard night here in DE. 

One day this whole experience will be a memory. 

One day I will look back and not remember the pain. 

One day I will be able to say “I remember when…”

As the swelling goes down, the pain fades, and the scars fade…

Until all of those things happen we are here dealing with the day to day:

  • Worry
  • Pain
  • Stress
  • Tears

Life is stressful enough to add all of this in the mix. 

 

more ice and elevation
  
trapped fluid around knee
 

Not so good days post-surgery

My first two post op days where great! Decrease pain, swelling…day 3 not so good. Swelling and pressure back in my knee. 

I look down and see my leg. 

I try to roll over at night and feel the pain in my knee.

I look down and see my leg. 

I just want to back to normal. 

I look down and see my leg. 

I just want to be able to have my normal life again. 

Surgery day

Hi team! 

I got the call with my surgery time. It’s 3:45 pm EST on April 6, 2016. 

“Things will work out”

To say that I am nervous, is an understatement. In the past for all but one other surgery that I have had the decision was my choice. I have been able to say “this needs to happen” or “my health depends on me doing this”.

I have said over and over that this was not my choice. I did not choose to have this happen to me. 

I am sick of watching life pass me over. I am sick of watching others dreams come true, while mine are delayed. 

Why is it that I have to be the “strong” one? When do I get my turn? 

I am digging deep today within myself to find the strength that I know I have. 

PTSD…how it really feels

Sometimes I feel alone. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who feels this way. Sometimes I feel like I will never smile again…. Then I do. 

Today has been a rough day. The smile that I have been holding on too has started to slip again. I am trying to hold it up high. My body hurts from head to foot. My bones ache, my muscles are sore. My mind is racing.

Each night that I close my eyes, and I start to relax. I drift into the darkness of sleep, one of two things wake me during the night.

  • I wake, to a pain that shoots from my foot up to my knee as I am slamming on the brake to stop the car, even tho I am physically in the car. Every night this takes place. Each time the ending is the same. I am jolted awake, panting and scared.
  • On other the nights, this scene plays out, I can smell the acrid burning smell of the fire, I can see the white blankets that covered my face, and I can still hear the sound the jaws of life make as they cut through the car. Even in my dreams, I can feel the glass popping onto my exposed skin. 

 I keep thinking tomorrow, the next night will be the one that I make a full night of sleep. I keep thinking, maybe I will nap during the day, and I’ll be ok… I’m wrong each time.  

What does it feel like to have PTSD? It’s a feeling that comes and goes. I have times that I have no issues and I feel normal. I smile and laugh, tell jokes and take on the world. Then, any trigger sound, smell, feeling, flashback or nightmare I cry, shake, hurt head to foot. I feel scared, sad, confused, and depressed. I simply want to shut down. Most of the time the feeling does not last long and it passes after a minute or so. I then feel normal again.

I am asking for my team to be patient with me. If you find me not having a good day. If you see that I am not myself. Please know that the feeling will pass. If I am riding in the car with you, and look like I am “far away” I might need to be. If I jump a little or close my eyes it’s not that you are a bad driver. I am just having a moment, and waiting for it to pass. Thank you… 

 

American Family Physician – PTSD following MVA

Mayo Clinic PTSD

 

 

 

Dates with my husband are not a joke

Hello Team:

Tonight I am going to tell you something that happened to me.  Let me take you back just a bit. I am going to take you back to February 2015. Steve was discharged from the hospital and went to live with my mom to recover from his illness. I finished the first half of my third semester of school. Then the summer rolled around and Steve was mostly with my parents while I worked. I was able to see him a little bit. I was working as much as I could to make up for the time that I missed while he was sick.  
Then the fall semester started, for 8 weeks I busted by butt finishing the second half of my third semester. The second 8 weeks of the term I took two other classes preparing for my BSN degree. I did not have much time with Steve. We have maintained a long distance relationship/marriage knowing that I had one more term left this coming spring and then I would be done with school. Then after I took the nursing boards he would be able to come home full time.
Then BAM I was in the car accident. I have been living with 24-hour pain, broken bones, ruptured ligaments, and PTSD. I have not had more than 10 minutes alone by myself, let alone time with Steve. Neither of us is able to drive. In order for us to even have a date night that is not “in-house,” we have to have my parents drive us. Let’s also add the fact that neither of us has an income at this time. We are surviving off of donations or money from my mom.  (Just so you know….it feels terrible t to be our age and have to ask for a ride, and money to have a date with my husband or for him to have a date with his wife.
Tonight Steve and I were able to arrange to have a real date. We were driven to a Mexican restaurant. We had a dinner just the two of us… I took a very cute picture of steve while sitting at the restaurant. I even posted a little note on FB about it with the picture.
steve sitting at dinner with the sun shining on his face
steve sitting at dinner with the sun shining on his face
We then were blessed enough to be able to be picked up and driven to the movies. Now, it’s in the same parking lot, just about 1-2 city blocks away. Just was easier to be driven. We saw a movie that Steve wanted to see about Hank Williams. It is called ‘I saw the light’.  We took this picture while in the movie theater.
IMG_0041
Steve and I sitting in the movie theater.
Now, we had an amazing time. We got to spend time together. We laughed and talked. The biggest point is that did something special tonight that we have not been able to do for more than one year. Over the past year, BOTH Steve and I almost lost our life. I do not joke about that, and I do not make light of it.
When you have been through the HELL that we both have been through the past year, for us to have any time together or a special night together is special and not a joke.  
In 4 months, it will be August and I will be getting ready to start school again. I will be living back in our home alone. I will be working full-time night-shift while attending full-time nursing school during the day. I will not see or spend time with my Steve for 16 weeks.
 Just know that I cherish every minute I get to spend with Steve. 
Going to bed… 

 

Today my cup was filled

Today my cup was filled

Every day I fill my cup up with a little mix of the following:
  1. Friendship                                     cup
  2. Love
  3. Laughter
  4. Strength
  5. Hope    
  6. Faith  
Since the accident 9 weeks ago my cup has been running low.  Today it was filled back-up. 
 I got to have girlfriend time, PT, and tonight I got to face time with my work family. 

Planner Madness or Planner Happiness?

Hello Team:
For the past almost 9 weeks I have been updating you on my accident, PT, and things that are going on in my life. One of the things that I have been working on is getting my planners set up for the upcoming year. Those of you that know me well, know that one thing that I love is paper, pens, stickers, and planners. My life is so busy and crazy that If it was not for me keeping organized then I would be lost.
I have had many planners in the past both paper and digital. I still use my ical in my phone to share calendars with my home team, that way everyone is on the same page, but nothing makes me happier than to open my planner book and see my whole month or my whole week.
When it comes to my school life I have to keep track of lectures, rooms, readings, due dates, lab, exams and study group. I make sure that my school planner is separate from my life planner. I can detail everything that I need and have all my needs in one spot. 
Now, I know what your thinking. I must have so many other important things running through my mind I could be working on other than planners? Well, you see doing this and prepping for the fall now, gives me a sense of organization during a very heck tick time in my life and it distracts me from life. I am able to look at the future that is blank and new and dream about how wonderful it’s going to be. 
I was blessed to be given just the planners that I need to keep my life together and organized.    The Plum Paper Designs from Etsy is my planner of choice. I have the student planner and the family planner.
I have not been paid in any way to give this information, review or link to the company. I simply love the product that they offer. The customer service is wonderful. They will work with you to correct any errors right away. The staff that I have spoken with is always so wonderful to deal with. 
  • School planner (Student Planner)
    • to be an organized nursing student you need to have the right tools
    • working full time during + full-time school = must stay organized
    • lecture, clinical, projects, due dates, NCLEX prep, meetings, study groups
  • Everyday planner (Family Planner)
    • work, appointments, reminders, blog
    • LIFE in general

I really like the Plum Paper Designs planners because the paper is thicker so pens do not bleed through. You can use Sharpie pens, regular ball point or gel pens. The cover is made of thicker card stock that you can customize with your name. You can pick from 4 different layouts. You can choose 6 months, 1 years, or 18 months. The planners are completely customizable. You pick what month they start and what add-ons you want. They have everything for the home business owner, party planner, blogger, teacher to home management.

IMG_0011
I choose: Reminders, Steve, Busy, and Work

The Family Planner has spots for up to 7 custom labels. You can add the names of your children, spouse, or reminder, work, school… wine time. You get to pick your labels for how your life will be organized.   You can also leave them blank.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0003
I use a combination of stickers and washi tape to organize my classes.

The Student Planner has places to customize 7 blocks for the names of your classes or you can leave them blank. I choose to leave my slots blank so I could use them for different things depending on the month. I am lucky to know how my final term will be laid out, so I am able to prep my planner now. (idle hands…) Originally this planner was to be used for my first year as a new grad and my BSN program. I am simply able to use it for my final, final, FINAL term of school.

 

 

 

Each planner has thick card stock dividers labeled with the month that is printed on both sides of the tab and laminated. This page also gives you a “monthly highlights” with 3 goal areas. plus a spot for Birthdays, things to remember and events. the next page is a  blank page that says notes. You can use it for whatever you want.  I choose to use this “notes” page for inspirational quotes, doodles, and just a little area for fun. I use washi tape and stickers to add color. 

IMG_0001

 

 

IMG_0015

This is my family planner. You can see the Notes page (right page) I use for inspiration, poems. Each month is different.

 

 

This is my school planner. You can see the Notes page (right page) I use for inspiration for school. “Study Hard”, You can do this” Some of the notes pages in my planner will hold some well wishes and encouragement from my team.

 

One of my favorite options to the planner in the  add-on section is the “To-do” list page. You are able to choose to have the pages put within each month or to have a separate section. Thank you to my best friend, I am now a list person. I find I can organize my tasks in a much easier way and checking them off gives me the feeling of accomplishment. I do wish I had opted to have more to-do pages. I picked 10 pages front and back with 4 blocks per side. I will be able to use this list and keep track and check off those lists.
IMG_0004
The Plum Paper Designs from Etsy also has memory books, fitness, and meal planners, and notebooks. One of the things that I would like to try in the future is the notebook. I like the size of the book and the feel of the paper. (we will see…)
Currently, I am using a planner that runs out in August. I got it from Staples. I have enjoyed using this planner but it always seemed like it was missing something. I customized some of the sections after purchase to make it more functional for me. I will miss having my pen clip right to the front of my planner. That is one feature that I will miss having when I switch over.  I want to finish out this planner and not waste the last few months before moving on. Also, in doing this I am able to set up my entire year. I am able to prep and plan how I want certain things to look. I can add all the important birthdays, dates of importance and events.
My school planner runs from July – December. I had originally ordered a full year school planner but was shipped a 6-month planner. I contacted the company and they offered to send me out another planner with the January -June 2017 dates, or to refund me the difference. I choose to have the additional planner sent to me. They included 4 sheets of stickers as an extra added bonus! Score for me!!  Now, I am able to have my FINAL term all in one planner and I’ll be able to start my BSN program in a new planner in January.
My life is crazy and heck tick all of the time. I frequently get asked not just “How do I do what I do?” but I get asked “How do I find the time to do everything I need to do? The best answer is simply put: “I have to do it for my families survival, and being organized”
Thank you for reading to days post about my planners.