Life on the Island..

I have been living on an Island for the past 2 weeks. Everything that I possibly could need is within arms reach of my Island. Computers, to notebooks, pens, and textbooks all within arms reach of my Island. The times that I travel from my Island I am never alone. I get an escort to the bathroom, and to my second smaller Island in the other room. My Island has become my office where I have to spent countless hours reading and calculating chemical equations. My Island is where I sleep, day or night depending on how many hours I spent working on the previous list of complex calculations. My Island is Physical therapy. From laying with my leg on foam inclines to raise my ankle to help decrease the swelling. My Island is my cold therapy oasis when the ice packs are wrapped under and around my ankle and knee to decrease the inflammation and ease my swollen joints. My Island is where just yesterday that I was able to make my very first 1/4 circle with my newly tightened ankle.  Notice I said, 1/4 turn. I am working on a full rotation. My Island is where I greet my visitors. My friends who have been with me every day either virtually or physically. From facetime, text message, phone calls to snap chat I can say that I have not been alone. My Island is also my prison. With just the view through the front windows, where I can see but not touch. My Island is solitary confinement when the house is sleeping and I am awake sitting on my Island.

My Island…I am thankful for my healing Island

 

Happy March…

Welcome Back with a New look!

It has been a long few months. My page has been under construction and today the team worked very hard and got me back up and running.

Big Thank You!! Chris and Lisa, you’re both amazing.

I have been doing a lot of searching the past few weeks. I have had to make and still am in the process of making some big life changes. I have been doing a lot of self-reflection over the past several weeks.  I have and still need to decide what my next step is going to be in regards to school, my career, and life.

I have worked for the past 7 years on one goal, earning my RN degree. I sacrificed, myself, family, friends knowing that in the end, it would be worth it. I was working full-time night shift, full-time school schedules knowing each semester I only had 15 weeks and I would be done. Then my life changed forever on January 30, 2016. You know my story, so I will not bore you with the details again. If you are new to my team then feel free to explore my page.

I thought I was ready to go back to school. I thought that I was finally able to move forward.  I had a short time that I thought I had a handle on my PTSD. The stress of school; continued pain, and the news of needing another surgery was too much for me. The nightmares started again. The feeling of being trapped. The acrid burning smell of the airbag, and the hot wires. The flashes of the car coming at me. Insomnia night after night… that’s when the depression hit me. It was early September 2016. I was a few weeks into my final term. I fell into the deepest depression I have every experienced in my life. Each day I pushed forward wearing a mask, so no one would see just how much I was hurting and suffering.

I spend each day, fighting the darkness that lives inside of me. Most days, I am able to hide behind the mask that I show to the world. Somedays I just simply cannot fight the darkness.

 

The 5 exam points that failed my family…

As I sit here waiting….I think about the 5 exam points that failed my family.

I have been told, God closed this door because it not the path I am suppose to take. I have been told, to refocus on what I really want to do. I have even been told that, well this means that nursing is not for you…

5 exam points is what I lacked to earn the grade of B. 5 exam points is what kept me from walking across the stage today and graduating.

In the year of 2016, my Senior semester of nursing school, I survived 2 car accidents (one that I could have died), surgery…yet each day I smiled. On a daily basis I deal with PTSD, severe depression and anxiety…yet each day I smile. I was handed court papers stating I was being sued over an accident that was not my fault, that was to take place the week prior to my first exam…yet I smiled. I worked full time the entire time in nursing school went days without sleep, yet I smiled. I have not lived with my husband for over one year so I could focus on school, yet each day I smile. I dealt with stress of bills I could not pay, fear of a pending law suit, and the knowledge that when I was done I would need to deal with my second accident, yet each day I smiled. I came home each night to an empty home, eating dinners at my desk, yet I smiled. I would wake each day at 0430, only after going to bed at 0130, and yet I smiled.

I spend hours, morning, noon and night studying, while even not realizing that I most likely have undiagnosed post concussion syndrome. I deal with aches and pains from my injured body, yet I smile each day…I dealt with disability accommodations that were not met, yet I smiled…I took care of myself as best I could knowing that the finish line was in sight, yet I still smiled. I held back tears and the overwhelming feeling of loneliness that I felt from missing my world, the one who completes me, yet I smiled. I hid my feelings of sadness, fear and emotion so that the world would only see my smile, reminding myself each day…”you are almost done”.

I fell 5 exam points short…5 exam points that failed my family. 5 exam points that would have made the difference for the future for steve and I. 5 exam points that missed the “minimum required exam points if 188” making all other work, assignments and projects null and void. 5 exam points that should have earned me a B, but more importantly my future.

As you sit and read this post, know that I do not blame anyone for my 5 exam point failure. Not anyone who was going to help me study, anyone who simply knew I would do it, not anyone who…does it matter?

In 2008 I woke up one day, and decided to go to nursing school. Since that time I have experienced more than more 30 year veteran nurses. From CCU, surgery, med-surg, hospice, illness, wound care, ventilator care, PT, OT, rehabilitation, ADL’s, respiratory, medication issues, trauma, orthopedics, GI… I have spend 45 plus hours at the bedside holding the hand of a very sick patient not knowing if he was going to live or die. I have held the hand of a man telling him it was ok to let go..I sat for hours ina hospice room watching and waiting for the final breaths to come, and the pain to stop… I could go on… What do I lack? 5 exam points that gives me the official education to say, I am a nurse graduate.

All through Nursing school I earned A’s and B’s…except my one last class that shows a D, because of missing 5 exam points. I went from a B to a D. I can not change what has been done. I can not go back and redo anything.

I do not know what my future holds. I do not know where I will go from here. I know one thing, will not give up on my goals and dreams. My entire adult life has been chasing after a dream, sacrificing everything I have to make a better future for steve and I.

Compassion, dedication what does it get you theses days??? Ask me I know…disappointment, resentment and anger.

I sit here on this cold chair watching the nurses go by…i wonder if those 5 exam points would have made me a better nurse? More compassionate nurse? Better skilled? I don’t think so. I know that when I watch my loved one being cared for why I don’t first ask…”what were your grades in nursing school?” I mean should I? When you are about to get an injection of antibiotics that can heal you,do you ask your RN for a transcript of her grades? How about when you are about to die and need emergency care? Do you stop the treatment and ask? No….

Now, if you are asking yourself…”5 exam points…what’s the big deal…” I’ll tell you… I now have to repeate the entire nursing program. Not one class, not one semester…the entire program. I can earn a 1 year certificate and sit for my LPN boards, work in a doctors office or nursing home then apply to a RN program…to join in the 3rd and 4th terms again. Then, sit and take the RN boards…By the time I do that, my classmates will be graduating with their BSN degrees, and I will be about 44 years old ..starting over. So before you sit and judge me, for being angry, bitter, or sad…know that my entire future has been taken from me because of 5 exam points. I do not know if I have the strength left to fight another day…My fight song may have ended.

I will continue to smile each day, but know that on the inside, I will forever be reminded of my failure of 5 exam points.

 

 

Monster within…

To say that this term has been a struggle, is an understatement. Well, for me to say that would not be 100% fair.  I have been lucky enough to join an amazing group of future nurses. I was welcomed with complete open arms and hearts. I could not ask for a better group of graduates to join. I have been battling my own inner monster within the past 9 weeks.

In my life I have never had an easy path to walk. My journey has been filled with mountains, hills, deep valleys, rivers and puddles.  I have enjoyed time in the sunlight and just barely made it through the thunderstorms. I always find a way to overcome. I may not always look so good when I come out on the other end, but I always find a way. I am encouraged, loved and supported by so many people. My past, present and future seems to be riding on the next 41 days and because of that the monster has awoken from its slumber.

I was told by a very wise friend, “you can’t go back and “wish” you had done something different, or make a different choice. You can only move forward with what you have.” I have been living those words for the past 9 weeks. I have fallen a few times, and found a way to pick myself up, brush the dirt off and keep going. Recalculating, rethinking, reinventing and changing as I go along.

I keep saying that its almost done. “Little bit more, another few weeks…” I have said that for the past 3 years. Its always one more semester, one more exam, just a little longer. The sleepless nights, the lack of socialization, lack of time with friends, lack of family time. The hours spent in the library. The thousands of pages of textbooks that have been read. Notebooks, printed sheets, note cards, highlighters, pens all of it…necessary for my success.

I have never felt so alone, yet so loved as I have over the past 9 weeks.  I realized that I have been mourning a loss that I did not even realize I was mourning. Missing someone that I did not even realize that I missing as much as I do. Some people in this world just can not be replaced. You find a way to move forward, so you can be the person that you are meant to be, but the back of your mind is always wishing you could just go back to that one day and change what happen. You wake up each day, thinking this is the day you are going to wake up from this never ending nightmare, and life is back to normal and you are right where you are suppose to be, doing what you are suppose to be doing.

I used to get asked, if I was angry for what happen to me? I would not say “angry” I would say that now I am simply learning to deal with this new world in which I live. I used to be a future thinker. One the first day of the term I was already thinking about the last day. I was mentally through every exam (with a pass), all my clinical days, readings, assignments and projects. Ready to start planning the break, or next term. I could visualize what the future was going to be. I have always been able to keep my anxiety hidden. I could keep the monster quiet. I had to learn at an early age, how to keep the monster happy, and quiet like a quiet purr in the back of my mind. When the monster awoke, and started to growl I could hide it, or put it back away so it did not show on the outside. I was the master, and I owned and controlled it.

When you are put into a situation that you have to think “I am going to die, right here, on the side of this road.” Your brain shows you all the faces of the people in your life (past and present). You see your life in a flash that happens so fast you don’t even realize that it happen until after its done. Your brain rewires a bit, in that fraction of a second. Everything you knew, trusted, and relied on changes.  Your life changes forever, what you knew before will never be the same again.

What does this have to do with Anxiety you are asking? When you have the monster called anxiety that lives within you gets woken up from its long slumber, it starts to feed and grow. It feeds on the irrational thoughts, fears, self doubts and feelings within you. As it grows it become the master, and you become its slave. You begin to self-doubt, second guess and overthink. You replay every conversation in your head. Every text message, is reread over and over to make sure your intention was clear and not misconstrued. You obsess on non-important details because you don’t want to miss anything. Anxiety makes you see the world in a different way, every conversation feels like you are being  “criticized” or “left out”. All conversations are “about you”. Anxiety makes you replay every decision made that day, that week, that month and 2 years ago. Anxiety makes your brain feel like you are standing in the middle of a football field with 20,000 people standing around you, talking in 20,000 directions. You are standing in the center of all that just wanting to be seen, herd, or to make the noise stop. You are screaming at the top of your voice, “SHUT UP” “STOP MOVING”, no one hears you so your just screaming. What you see on the outside is me sitting in lecture, taking notes, or reading my text. You see me having lunch with my co-workers. You hear me telling a funny story, or playing a character to make people laugh. You see me doing my job. What you don’t see is the tears  on my pillow or feel the jolts that wake me from the little bit of sleep I get. You don’t feel the physical pain I live with everyday of my life. The dull ache in my stomach, the shooting burning pains that shoot up and down my leg. You don’t feel the palpitations, of my heart as it skips beats and beats so hard and loud it feels its going to beat out of my chest. You see the smiling face on the outside, you hear my voice say “I’m great!”.

Living with the monster called Anxiety is trying to learn a foreign language. The alphabet, what the letters mean and sound like, how to write them; put the letters into words and know what they mean, how to say the word and put it into a sentence all while you are standing in the middle of that football field with the 20,000 people. That is what I have been going through the past 9 weeks. You don’t know what its like to be so exhausted all the time, that getting 4 hours of sleep is not only your new normal, but you have rationalize to your self that you really don’t need more than that.

I take life one day at a time, when that does not work, I take it on hour at a time, when that is not working I take it one minute at at  time. Many people have demons, monsters of their own to deal with. I have helped many people with just that. Always dropping what I’m doing to help someone who needs me. Going to be the shoulder to lean on, cry on. The one who has the most wisdom, understanding, empathy and sympathy. I have seen more, done more in my 39 years than most my age and older.

I just want people to understand that what sounds irrational you, is not to me. What seems simple concept to grasp to you, may take me a minuet or two. I am strong. I am not the monster that lives inside. I will tame it, and control it again, just some days are harder than others. I am not ready to give up, or give in. I also want to thank those of you who have been at my side. If it was not for you, I don’t know what I would do.

Thank you as always for being apart of my team…

 

I am not done fighting just yet.

Fight Song

This is my last mountain.

Some people have a mountain to climb, before they can move forward with life.

 

Be kind to yourself and each other… Have a good one..Cheryle

Happy June 2016

Happy June Team!

I know it has been a hot long minute since I have posted. I have been a little busy. I will be posting again on a regular basis. If you follow me on FB then you know that I promised a BIG announcement tonight with this post…I will do that I promise.

I also want to take just a minute to acknowledge the 49 lives lost in the Orlando shooting, and the other people who where injured. I would like to offer my deepest sympathy to the families, friends and loved ones who are left behind. I would also like to acknowledge the family who lost their son in the tragic accident at the lake.

Now, a few updates on me:

My recovery has been long and hard. I have worked very hard everyday, pushing myself to the point of exhaustion and pushing myself harder physically and emotionally than I should. I have days that I can do nothing more than lay in bed with ice on my ankle and knee after work. I still am thankful to have my life and the people in it. I will continue to push myself each and everyday until I am fully healed.

I have been working full-time since I went back to work. I am still not able to work “full duty”, but I know that within a week or two I will be cleared to return to patient care. I was asked last week “Do you like doing this?” (meaning working as a secretary again) I wanted to think about my answer before answering. This was my response “I am thankful to be working, and this is good brain work, but I miss patient care. I get to interact with the visitors more now, but I miss really getting to know my patients and caring for them.” I said this with a big smile, and the person looked at me and smiled and said “Good, thats what I want to hear” One of the things that drives me to be a nurse is taking care of people and I miss that part of my job.  I will be back before I know it.  One of the things that drives me to want to work with new mothers and fathers, and take care of tiny humans is because nothing is more important the first few days as a new family. Getting to know the dynamics of different families, seeing the love on the faces of the new parents as they look at the newest addition to the family. One day at a time, I will make it back to where I am suppose to be.

I have been able to officially move back home. It was almost 4 months to the day of my accident that I was able to finally return home. I have had to make a few adjustments, but for the most part I have been able to be fully functioning at home.

Steve came home with me for a few weeks. We have been trying to have some type of normal. It will be short lived, and we will need to readjust to life without each other for the next 6 months but for the last few weeks it has been nice. I have been working dayshift so, that will be another adjustment for me, but I will be ok.

I’m sure that you have figured out that I am driving now. I still have times of anxiety, with being in certain situations but I am determined to move forward.

I am still going to Physical Therapy 2 days a week. I have finally been able to progress to strengthen exercises on my knee and starting on my ankle. I have had to wear my walking boot again while at work for one week, and now i will wear it alternating days. The purpose is to get more of the swelling off my ankle. The delay in treatment, and the misdiagnosis of my ankle and broken let caused me to have a few set backs but I am not letting it slow me down.

I will be getting myself prepared for my final term starting the first week of July. That means that two-three days a week I will be devoting time to studying. I will not be enjoying much fun, sun or time off for the rest of the summer. I will be working, studying, PT or sleeping. 🙂

I am going to starting posting again on a regular basis, on updates, and other topics.

Thank you again to everyone who has helped us over the past 4 months and thank you for those who continue to read my blog…

see you in a few days…

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 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. 

 

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

 

 

 

The words I did not want to hear…

Hello, Team… I have an update to share with you.

First, I want to thank the Spicer family (Patti, John, and Carrie) for my
BEAUTIFUL flowers that were delivered today.
It was just what I needed to brighten my day.

(I will be adding pictures in a bit..)

 

Now, I can share my news.

I had my follow up with my orthopedic surgeon today. It has been 8 weeks and two days since my accident. I have been working very hard in physical therapy to get my knee and ankle healed. 
Today, it was decided that we need to do Orthoscopic surgery on my knee to repair my meniscus. It’s an “In-and-Out” same day procedure. 
What does this mean?
  • Healing time will be extended by  4-6 weeks after surgery
  • Surgery is : April 6, 2016
Why is this being decided on 8 weeks after the initial injury?
  • Due to the amount of swelling, in my knee and ankle. A surgical decision could not be made before now. 
  • We did everything that we could to avoid surgery.
How do I feel about this?
  • I am still processing all of this. 
  • This is not what I wanted
  • I do not have many words tonight
What about my ankle?
  • We are proceeding with the plan  as of now.
  • I do not have many more answers
What does this mean for work?
  • I have been in contact with my employer. 
  • I will not be able to return until I get cleared by the surgeon.

 

Thank you again, for all of your support and love during this rough time for me.  I also, can’t say THANK YOU enough for all of the gofundme donations. Right now, I am not receiving any type of income. Your generous donations are helping keep my home. I don’t know what I would do without people like you… 
until tomorrow… 

How can I care for him, when I can’t care for myself?

I worked on this post a few weeks ago. I did not get a chance to post it. Some of the things I write about are painful. Not only to me but to the ones I love. I have been asked, “How do I what I do?” I do it because I Love him. 

As I sit in bed and I work on finishing “Steve’s story…” I hear the sound that for me is one of the scariest sounds in the world… 

Earlier in the evening, Steve had come into my room, I could tell something was wrong with him. He was getting me water, and any little thing that I would or would not need. I asked him again, this time giving him my “I know you’re not telling me the truth, so spill it…” or I like to say “THE LOOK”. Finally, he told me that he was not feeling well. His stomach was bothering him, and he did not want to throw up. I knew that he was not feeling well at dinner, but I let it slide a bit to give him some room. One thing I have learned with Steve and his disability is that he needs just a little time to figure things out on his own. It was now a few hours later, and he was still not feeling good. I asked if he was starting a cycle, and he nodded. We talked about what that means, and what to do. I knew he would throw up, and then feel better, but the next few days would be long for him. We talked about food plans for tomorrow, what he was allowed to eat, and what he could not. We have this pretty much down to a science and knew exactly what to do. 

It’s about 120 a.m. I was working on my blog, reliving some scary and heartbreaking times in our life last year when Steve was sick. That’s when I heard him coughing, then I heard the noise, the sound that is made when you pour water from a bucket into a toilet. Well, that is the sound that is made when steve is projectile vomiting, and not breathing.  What could I do? How could I help? Vomit does not bother me anymore. I would normally make sure that he does not pass out, or hurt himself by falling. I would normally help him get cleaned up, rub his back, help him get his toothbrush, and mouthwash… When this happens to him his tricks are super, super bad. 

This time, all I could get myself together, that takes a few minutes, get out of bed, and get my crutches, and carefully hop to the bathroom. I can not rush, I can not move quick, I can not even really do what I used to be able to do.

I know that one day I will be healed and I will be able to do what I do best. It’s just the waiting…

8 weeks

8 weeks

56 days

1,344 hours

That is how long it has been since the accident. I have come to very far. I am very proud of all that I have accomplished. I work very hard, and keep working hard to get back to my normal. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, “she is not normal”. 

The love and support that I have been shown to me have been overwhelming. I keep saying ‘Thank You’. I just hope that you all know that I really appreciate everything that people are doing for me. 
I will not let this keep me down. I will rise above. I will accomplish all of my goals. 

Happy Easter 2016

 

I have some good news to share…

Time for an Update:

Hi team:

I have been working hard with over the past few weeks. I am on a deadline to return to work. When I told my medical team that I had 12 weeks of FMLA, that I need to be able to return to work and  at the time we were already 2 weeks in.  I was putting my team of doctors and my body on a deadline. I was unsure if that was a realistic goal or not. At the time, they were still unsure of surgical plans, or long term effects my injuries would cause. The doctors look at me and said, “You were severely  injured  in a very bad  accident, it will take your body  months to fully recover.” In true Cheryle style, I looked them in the eyes and said  “I have 12 weeks of leave time from work, that holds my position. I did not ask for this to happen to me. I have been through HELL, I was broken, bruised, and suffer from nightmares.  I was forced to give up my last semester and graduation from nursing school. I will do what it takes to get my life back. I have 10 weeks left, to get my life back… I am willing to work hard and do what it takes for that to happen.” 

  • Two days a week we go to Annapolis to  work with my physical therapist Ashish and his team.
  • I do all the exercises he gives me:
    • Learning to walk
    • Muscle control / balance
    • Learning to walk up and down steps
  • Four days of the week, I work with my “Home Team”
  • My Home Team: Susan and Steve who push me and help me. 
    • floor work -Leg lifts, stretching
    • circles, Tic-Toc (moving left and right with my foot)
    • walking
    • back and forth
    • point and pull
    • leg lifts
    • I have been “icing and elevating” around the clock.
    • Trips to the boardwalk; walks in the neighborhood.

PT logo

 

 

Drum roll, please……

A special video to share with all of you. All of the love, support and words of encouragement you give to me, helps to push me through the pain, swelling and tears. 

 

Q:”What does it take to be a nurse?”

A:”Hard work, dedication, never giving up…”

 

Same journey just a different view..

busy being

Today is the first day of spring! That means new beginnings, fresh starts and new growth.

I have been reminded that a few times in my life I have been given the opportunities for a fresh start. Some of the opportunities I asked for and some I did not.

When I started nursing school I had a check list:

  1. Earn my degree in 2 years
  2. Take and pass my NCLEX exam
  3. Start working as a new graduate RN
  4. Earn my BSN degree then go on to my MSN.

Let me show you where my plan went wrong.          down cat

  1. Life happens
    1. You can make all the plans you want but you can’t control what happens.
    2. Your health becomes first priority.
    3. Your family who supports you sometimes has to take priority.
  1. Do-overs are O.K. and sometimes necessary.
    1. With all the stress of nursing school it’s understandable that sometimes burning the candle at both ends; you end up burning your fingers.
    2. Sometimes you need to extend your timeline so you can be successful
    3. Just because you’re repeating a course does not mean your going to be a bad nurse.
    4. Some of the best Nurses I know, had to repeat a class or two…
  1. Family and Friends will be waiting…
    1. Nursing school takes all of your time, energy and money
    2. Your support system will be waiting.
    3. You will cry, laugh, and want to quit; but you will make it.

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 7.08.56 PM

The one thing that I have learned is that I cannot give up. I just keep pushing myself forward. I have had to delay my nursing degree twice now. It will take me 3 years to complete my nursing degree, but I will do it. I have the dedication and determination needed to complete my goal. 

Adventure Log –>Day 51

Hello Team…
I have been MIA for a few days and I wanted to check in with you. Today marks 7 weeks or day 51 of my adventure.
I have decided to call this experience an adventure because when I looked up the definition of adventure. It stated an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity. I feel that everything that has happened to me, I feel that it fits.  I did not choose this adventure it is what was handed to me. I am going with it and make the best of it.
adventure
  • I have been working hard on my ‘Ice Therapy’ for the past two weeks. I have been doing the exercises that my therapist gave me, and I have been Icing and elevating my leg as directed. The swelling has just started to go down.
  • I got to have a date night with my world. We did an in house movie night, two nights in a row.
    • We watched 50 first dates, and “Sex sent me to the ER” on of our favorite shows. 
    • We hung out together talking and laughing and drinking coffee. 

      May 31 few years ago
      May 31 few years ago
    • Felt like old times…
  • I got to do some PT exercises with mom at the boardwalk.
    • We got to have a yummy lunch, at my new favorite restaurant. 
  • We got to sit on a bench and look at the ocean and people watch for a short bit, while I rested. 

RB pcard

  • I did my “ankle exercises” then it was back to the house for ICE and ELEVATION.
  • It felt good to be out, even if it was for a few hours.

The things I wish I could say…

Happy St. Patricks Dayst-patricks-day-2015-1

Do you ever have days that you have so many things to say, but you are not able too?

I have so many things that I want to say, and I am not able too. I want to scream at the top of my lungs. I want to stand on the roof and scream. I want to be able to tell the world, how I really feel. I want to be able to be angry. I want to be able to say all of the things that I just am not able to say.
You see I have put myself on a “self-imposed gag order” until things are settled. I am trying very had to be positive. I am always the person who looks at the bright side of life. I am always the one who is telling other people  to keep going, smile and keep pushing.  
I do have a few things I can say, that I am happy and thankful for:
  1. I do not know what I would have done without my mom. She has been the rock, support and my caregiver for the past 6 1/2 weeks. She has taken care of Steve and myself around the clock even on her own bad days. I am so very grateful for her. 
  2. Steve who had taken a few steps backwards with my accident, has slowly started to come back to his new baseline.
  3. I basically every day or, at least, every other day, get to have a conversation with Chris and Lisa. Even being on the opposite end of the country I feel we are just a little bit closer.  
irish

What keeps me awake at night…

What keeps me awake at night?

cropped-cropped-cropped-sky.jpg

 

  1. Removing Glass:

    1. I have glass that I’m pulling out of my neck, chest, and back.

    2. Tiny little slivers that are working to the surface of my skin.

    3. I have been told that I will be doing this for years to come.

  2. School:

    1. Joining a new class to graduate with, again.

    2. Seeing my friends preparing for graduation, again.

    3. Knowing that I still have over 10 months before I will achieve my goal.

    4. Not walking across the stage.

    5. Starting over, again.

  • Hearing this over and over from others…

    1. “Everything happens for a reason”

    2. “Your day will come”

    3. “Things will get better”

    4. “Be patient…”

  1. What I’m tired of hearing myself say…

    1. “I did not sign up for this…”

    2. “This will all work out in the end…”

    3. “I don’t want to do this anymore…”

 

 

Whats new?

Hello, team!

I have not talked to you in a few days. I figured that I would send out a few little updates:

  1. I got to spend the past two days doing some  PT outside. The weather has been beautiful.
  2. When I don’t have my leg up in the air, or with ice packs surrounding my ankle and knee; I was able to use my crutches and “walk” I’ll use that term very loosely outside. (That means I am able to take some steps and rest. Take some steps and rest)
  3. Mom and I went and had a wonderful lunch the other day at a place on the boardwalk. It was nice to wheel down the boardwalk in my wheelchair and feel the sun on my face. I was able to see the ocean. It was only after about 3 hours being out of the house but it felt so good.  I can’t wait till I can walk myself down the boardwalk.
  4. Trying to keep a smile on my face.
    1. Some days are harder than others. The waiting is the hardest part of all of this.

Be kind to your self and each other… Until tomorrow…

in·de·pend·ence

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of the word Independence: has two definitions:

Simple Definition: independence

  1. freedom from outside control or support : the state of being independent

  2. the time when a country or region gains political freedom from outside control

Full Definition of independence

  1. 1:  the quality or state of being independent

I have decided to write a letter to Merriam-Webster. I have decided that I want to have something added to both the “simple” and “full” definition. I want to add that it is also a feeling. It’s a feeling that one has when they are able to be fully functioning on your own. You are able to do things on your own, without the need for help.

I know that it’s a feeling because I have lost it. I have lost the feeling I used to get when I could do things on my own. Call that pride, call it what you want. Something as simple as making my own cup of coffee. Making my own lunch, or taking a shower without help.  Over the past 5 weeks, I have gone from someone who was doing things on her own. Dressing, cooking (no jokes. I make some mean microwave popcorn), bathing, driving… I was working, going to school. I had my routine, every day I knew what I needed to do and I did it.

The hardest thing that I had to deal with since the car accident that almost took my life on 1/30/2016 has been losing my independence. I am not a person, who likes to have to rely on others for things. I know when to ask for help and how to accept it.  I just like to be able to do for myself. The girl that hit me on that Saturday morning took that ability away from me.

I just want that feeling back again.

3 pictures of lady standing white scrubs
My Nursing School Scrubs. “My Whites” as I call them

Good Afternoon, Team!!

Good Morning, Good Afternoon and if I don’t see you, Good Evening and Good Night…. 

Today starts my first day of ICE Therapy… Yup, it’s as cold as it sounds…it’s very cold.   My goal with this is to decrease the swelling in my ankle and knee. It’s kinda like the song that you can’t get out of your head. 🙂

 

ziplock bag with blue frozen liquid
I am using a clay based hot/cold pack from CVS pharmacy. They work great!

FIRST VERSE

  • Ice Packs -Under and over ankle
  • Ice Packs -Under and over knee
  • 20-30 minutes on…
  • 30-45 minutes off

SECOND VERSE -We add in the elevation. Up, Up, Up, let gravity work to our advantage 🙂

  • Elevate the leg, supporting the ankle and the knee. Up as high as I can.
  • Ice Packs -Under and over ankle
  • Ice Packs -Under and over knee
  • 20-30 minutes on…
  • 30-45 minutes off

 

leg with ice packs on knee and ankle
First Verse…
leg elevated with ice
second verse
my view from the floor
my view from the floor

One day at a time…

I simply feel that…

I was robbed of my last semester; I was robbed of my cap and gown graduation; I was robbed of starting my future…

I simply know that…

I was not robbed of my LIFE; I was not robbed of my family; I was not robbed of my memories.

I will take my life back, and I will come back stronger than before.

I cannot believe that it has been a month since the accident. The bruises have started to fade; my muscles are starting to loosen, my bones are starting to mend. The memories will never truly fade; the nightmares will never really stop.

My nerves will always ‘twitch’, the numbness will never quite go away. I have scars on my knee that will constantly remind me; of the trauma I experienced that day, but I am alive… I keep reminding myself of that every day. I keep telling myself every day, just how lucky I am. I look at the pictures of the accident, the pictures of my car, and the way I looked lying in that bed, broken, bruised, and scared. It reminds me that I lived. I will live to see another day. I will live to see another sunset, enjoy a walk on the beach with Steve. I will live to laugh with my mom, and talk with my brother…I lived.

Now, the news you have all been waiting for on….

The orthopedic surgeon has decided at this time we are not going to do surgery! This does not mean that I am completely healed, or ready to hit the town…

My doctor feels that with more aggressive physical therapy, new ankle brace and more weeks of healing; I should be able to avoid surgery. We discussed the pro’s and con’s of having surgery. We both agreed to a plan concerning my ankle and knee. I will be adding aqua therapy to my physical therapy routine; this will allow me to transition from my “storm trooper boot” to a new walking brace with a real shoe over the next few weeks. Our primary goal is for me to learn to walk again. The next few months I will be pushing myself harder, and further than I have so far. I am determined to get my life back. One of the many obstacles that I face is getting through the pain.

I also have some more good news to share with all of you. Since BB-8 was destroyed in the accident, the insurance company agreed to replace my vehicle. I had to find something within my price range, and safety was my first concern. We had the most amazing salesmen at Annapolis Subaru, Wayne Eppard. Wayne sold us BB-8, and he did an amazing job with taking care of us again, when we called about looking for another Subaru. I am very excited because she is ours. Steve and I would like to introduce you to:

Brown Betty-08 2.0

lady with crutches standing next to a brown car, holding a sign
Brown Betty-08 2.0

Brown Betty is a 2008 Subaru Outback.

She was loved very much by her previous owner’s. I believe in the Subaru car company. My very first Subaru saved my life. Once I can drive again, I know that I will be safe. She will be waiting for me in the drive way when I am able to drive again….