It's been 19 years, part 4
I've been looking at this blank post for a couple days. Much longer than I intended to or wanted to. I have no idea where to start. The other three posts were "easy" because they were simply telling a factual story, from memory. I find this post more difficult because I'm dealing with my feelings and well, basically the last 19 years of my life. Side note: I'm still trying to make it interesting and I have no idea what my committed readers wanna hear next. #1 problem for writers. :) Just like when I started this journey of storytelling, I have no idea where my heart will take me today. It might take me down a lengthy road and require me to make this an ongoing story or I might just wrap things up here. I'm feeling the desire to do both, so I have no idea. Bare with me, please. I love that everyone has "enjoyed" reading thus far, thanks for all the support, my friends. I think I'll start with my overall feelings towards things in the first days and weeks. To wrap up my hospital stay, it wasn't all horrible. The nurses were really nice. They catered to my parents and tried to provide whatever they needed. My dad brought me seasoned fries every evening when he came to visit and random folks brought me malts and such. There were definite perks to being an inpatient. I, of course, had a ton of visitors. More than you can count. At one point we counted the amount of balloons I had, I don't remember the exact but it was something crazy, like 79. That's a lot of balloons in one tiny room. My family and I were clearly, very loved. On that 6th day, I was discharged. I was "well enough" to go home. For the nurses and doctors, I was just another patient, another case completed, another notch in their belt. They saved another life. Their duty was done. They probably even did a hand shake or a slap on the back, for a job well done. A little girl was going home, safely, with her parents. On that 6th day, I was going home with my parents to a life that would never be the same. I was missing my right arm and was casted on my left. It's a brutal thing to say, but it's true people. I left my pink bedroom on the morning of September 28th as a typical, ordinary, 5th grader and returned 6 days later, to the same pink room, as a different person. Inside and out. For me and my family, it was just the beginning. The outside part was the part that was most obvious to me, at this time. I didn't realize anything was going on, inside. That part will come many, many years later. More than anything, I wanted all the hugs, all the letters, all the phone calls, ALL the attention to just GO AWAY. It's almost like I dealt with things in the hospital and when I returned home, I wanted life to go back to normal. I'm not trying to sound unappreciative but damn, I already knew I was "different", can we please not focus on it anymore than I already am? Looking back on it now, I do appreciate everything everyone did. It was an awesome show of love and support and I know my parents were really moved. There was huge benefit put on in order to help with medical bills and there were multiple interviews done with me to spread the word. I HATED every minute of it. In fact, hate is not a strong enough word. I vomited every time there was something I had to attend. It was too much. WAY too much. I had to go to PT just about everyday, I think. This is probably the part that my mom remembers the most. On the other hand, she may not though because she was going on zero sleep. Zero. I didn't sleep during the night for six weeks. For six weeks my parents took turns sitting in my room with me, snacking and talking. What else was there to do at 2 a.m. when you couldn't sleep? I was wired from the pain. Yes, at some point, you can probably say I had my days and nights mixed up, but mostly it was the pain. If I remember correctly, it was more the "Why does something that I don't have, hurt?" That was frustrating as hell. What do you do for that? The doctors gave my mom an Rx for morphine and some other craziness that wasn't logical for a ten year old, she accepted with a smile and then never gave them to me. She knew what was best. She knew all along and still knows to this day. She's my mom, she'll always have my best interest at heart. Being ten and addicted to morphine didn't sound like the best plan to her. She knew there were other options that would better suite me. I took over-the-counter pain relievers and we talked. We did A LOT of talking. We talked all night. We talked during the day. We talked in the car. We only talked about the accident when I wanted to, other times we laughed and had silly talk. We were handling things in our own way. God was no doubt, guiding my mother. He was taking every step with her, because, she will admit to this day, there is no way she would have been able to do it alone or would have even known WHAT to do, at that. I'm pretty impressed to say, in all 19 years, I've never had a dream or nightmare regarding the accident. Not even one. To this day. I believe in my heart, the reason for that is all the talking my mom and I did and her making sure I never felt alone. (I know I'm mentioning my mom a lot in these posts and I just want it to be known that my dad WAS there too. Unfortunately, one of my parents still needed to work while my mom was on an extended leave from work, so that's where he was 90% of the time. Love my dad.) Back to my mom and I, and the not sleeping. Eventually I would crash and burn. I would cat nap here and there during the day. I would get to point where I couldn't physically stay awake. Usually this was during the day, in the car, on our way home from PT in Austin (an hour+ away). That was zero help to my mom. I know there was a time or two when she simply drove as far as she could and then pulled over to sleep while I was. It was the most logical thing to do. Sleep while I sleep. It was her only chance. God's grace got us home safely every day. I eventually started sleeping and went back to school about 6 or 7 weeks later. It was great to get back into the groove of things and see all my friends again. A prosthesis was made for me to wear. I hated that too. It was ugly as sin, metal hook and all. What little girl wants to wear a plastic arm with a fucking metal hook? Everyone was convinced I needed to wear it though. Surely I couldn't possibly make it through the day with just my one arm. Ugh. Just thinking about this, pisses me the hell off. (I'm gonna go ahead and apologize now for my laguage in this post) I can't tell you how much I wanted all of this to go away. ::Deep Breath:: ::Wipe Away the Tear:: Change of pace. I'm pretty sure I was ambidextrous and didn't know it. It didn't take me anytime to learn to write left handed. Granted it wasn't the best handwriting but it was def legible and I wasn't all awkward like one would think. I was pleased with myself. (side note: if you're needing to learn to write with your non-dominate hand, the best way is to start is with something up-right, like a chalkboard or dry erase board. And use a fat marker or fat chalk. It's easier to learn to hold something fat rather than skinny, this is why they have the fat ass crayons in kinder. You're welcome.) Even with the cast on my lefty, I was still able to manage. People are always shocked and seem to feel so sorry for me when they find out I WAS right handed and had to learn to be left. This was not my biggest issue, people. Pick something else to offer your sympathy for. I'm loving Wikipedia's definition for ambidexterity, bytheway,
Ambidexterity is the state of being equally adept in the use of both left and right appendages (such as the hands). It is one of the most famous varieties of cross-dominance. People that are naturally ambidextrous are rare, with only one out of one hundred people being naturally ambidextrous. The degree of versatility with each hand is generally the qualitative factor in determining a person's ambidexterity.
The only thing I had trouble with was my cursive. It's like I completely never learned it. It was out of my brain. I couldn't read it and I absolutely couldn't write it. All the teachers deemed it as something I didn't NEED so we moved on. Thank God because it's totally lame anyways.
::Okay Samantha, back on track:: So basically the next few years are a blur. Mentally, my little brain did what it needed to do to block out the things I couldn't handle. There were times I couldn't handle the pain anymore. Phantom pain is just a bitch. It really is. You can't do anything for something that isn't there and that's enough to send anyone to the looney bin. For Real. It's a constant, 24/7, sensation. Except instead of sensation, it's 1700 needles poking you at the same time. The best description I have, is when your hand or foot has fallen asleep and it starts to get REALLY tingly. THAT. That is what I feel 24/7, to this day. It will never go away. I have learned to manage it, handle it, deal with it, get used to it, whatever you want to call it but it's def still there. Some days are worse than others. In the first year of feeling it, I developed nervous habits. I chewed the skin on my fingers. I pulled out my hair. I flicked my fingers non-stop. All things I had no idea I was doing until my parents had to physically stop me. It was intense.
The BEST thing that ever happened to me was that I got accepted to the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas. This is the greatest place on the planet, ya'll. It was my home away from home. It was the one place where I felt normal. No one looked at my funny, no one pointed, no one asked questions, it was legit. I LOVED IT. In the first few years, we were going there every month. I was taking some meds (appropriate for children) that needed to be monitored and I was getting my PT and OT there as well. It was WAY better than any therapy I did in Austin. My therapist taught me how to bake cookies from start to finish...pouring vanilla into a spoon, cracking an egg, stirring the bowl without it sliding every which way, it was my kinda therapy. I was actually willing to use my prosthesis.
A lot of my doctors there and the staff there were actually amputees or had some other type of handicap. They actually knew where I was coming from. I just can't put into words the love I have for them and that place. They were determined to get me back on the V-ball court. They special-made a volleyball prosthesis for me. It was a flat arm that allowed me to get back into the game. They even went as far as setting up a net and got a whole team together so I could practice. It was pretty great.
I went for 8 years. Got a total of 4 prosthetic arms made there, all of which were worn only a few times and then thrown into my closet. They were never any use to me. I adapted so quickly to the one hand that anytime I had the fake arm on, it was totally in the way. I never knew what to do with it, just hanging there. Also? I always felt far more noticeable and different when I was wearing them and people always noticed me more, which was something I didn't want. At all.
All these three hour trips to Dallas with my mom, really got us close. More like best friends. She was my saving grace. For eight years we made this trip. We stayed the night in hotels. We ordered pizza. We shopped. We cried. We def LAUGHED. It was actually some of the best moments of my life and they wouldn't have happened had I not been in the accident. For that reason alone, it makes everything I went through, worth it.
So WHO is the mystery guy?? How do I feel about all of this now? More to come my friends, more to come. I was ::this:: close to wrapping it all up here but I decided to elaborate more. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!
**If you are just now tuning in, you can read parts 1-3 here. Somehow they aren't listing in order so be sure to pay attention to the title, makes more sense that way. ;)