Went to Fort Worth again today

Friday, June 5, 2009

Disclaimer: This is another post about the accident. It's probably about how lucky we are and how I'm having a hard time dealing anyway. If you're tired of reading this depressing hooey, here is your ticket out. (Really, I understand, I probably won't even read through it myself before posting!)

Man I am worn out.

Last time we went for a follow-up with the neurosurgeon, it felt like a waste of time and cash. See, Dr. Smith was Tom's surgeon that day, and he was on call the weekend of the accident. Dr. Cho was the neurosurgeon assigned to Tom. Dr. Smith and his nurses were in the OR. Dr. Cho and his nurses were there starting the next day. A month ago, we saw Dr. Cho's nurse. She came in, took a quick look at the incision, asked us if everything was going OK, and that was it. She wasn't really invested in this situation.

Today, we saw an OR nurse who was actually there. When she saw that Tom was coming in, she wanted to be the one who saw him. I was thrilled she was there. The surgeon and the other OR staff are sort of mythical to me since I didn't get to know them but I owe them so much. It's like being in the same room with your favorite celebrity. You act like an idiot (like me looking at her with my mouth open in disbelief that SHE'S ACTUALLY HERE, trying to remember her with her surgical cap on). She told us the other nurses didn't understand why she was so adament about being the one to see him, since he's "no big deal" (I guess because he is doing so well), but she told them, "No, you don't understand, he should be dead right now, it IS a big deal."

She came in because she wanted to tell Tom how close he was to dying, and how lucky he is. None of their staff expected him to make it during those first 7 days when he was out. :-( She said she knew it was bad when she got the call that she needed to "get there immediately", apparently that rarely happens. He was extremely unstable before and during the operation. Something about his brain not bouncing back in the days following the surgery, a positive sign they look for, made them not think he was going to live. She told us there were 5 anesthesia people in the OR, which she had never seen happen before (granted, I don't know how many surgeries she's been in, but hey, that explains the extra charge for "anesthesia complicated" on the bill.) They were yelling and frantic, telling the surgeon that they needed to get into his head right away. She is responsible for his haircut, for those of you privileged enough to see it. :-)

It just wasn't his time, she said.

I'm shell shocked today because this really happened. The part of me that automatically tries to see things from the outside says, "Yeah, yeah, OK, OK, it happened, we know it happened because you won't shut up about it." Time and progress tricked me into forgetting how bad things were at first. I almost convinced myself that we had been given worst-case scenarios from day one to make us feel good when things would go right. Today, I don't have that "I didn't really nearly lose him" feeling. It's obvious from the OR nurse's account that I did nearly lose him.

I'm not sure what the significance is in confronting his nearness to death. Why does it matter NOW when he is almost totally back? Somehow it does matter. Today, I feel shocked and sad - why shocked, though?? Because I let myself forget how it really happened, convinced myself that it happened differently than I remembered. Is this something I need to work through, or is it OK to forget for most of the time and be upset only when it's thrown into my face? Heck if I know. I know I can't run around upset everyday because "He nearly DIED!" I can't even spend everyday thilled because "He nearly died, but he's ALIVE!" I have to work. LOL But I'm tempted to do either all the time.

There is a difference between seeing how lucky you are compared to other people and how lucky you are compared only to yourself. The latter is a bit more unsettling. Anyone can find someone worse off than themselves and see that they are lucky. There is a lot of value in that, for sure. But being able to see how lucky you are compared on your own lows, man that is something. (Note: That may only make sense in my head, don't spend too much time on it. :-))

Anyway, I doubt you made it this far, but maybe you did. When you are having a high "spousal appreciation awareness" day, you may find the movie Up! to be pretty sad. It was a great movie, but I cried through half of it. How embarassing. It was worse than when I saw Armageddon but not as bad as when I saw the Notebook. For those who have seen it, it was mostly the concept of "Stuff I am going to do" that killed me. Everytime I recovered from crying, they got me again. It was relentless. But what a sweet, funny, thoughtful movie. And the 3D didn't give me a headache.

Our deep freeze door was left cracked a few days ago, thawing my prized stock pile of "things I got for a good deal and bought up like a madwoman." I think those days are over. I cooked up the food because it was still cold and you can refreeze it when it's cooked, but I know we will still end up losing about half of it.

I'm tired. I'd like a margarita but I don't want the calories. I should go get some red wine.


The O'Brien Family said...

you deserve the margarita!

I think it takes as long as it takes for the healing of the caregiver to begin. I can get myself sick if I think about the surgeries with Connor. While I'm in it, I just get through it and afterward I'm in shock for a while and then it just settles and becomes a part of your unseen wounds. I think I'll always have scarring from those wounds and always have some fear that things could be questionable again. I hope its totally normal....if not, that's okay, I know I'm crazy!

Adam Hensen said...

I like your post about the accident, it gives everyone strength to read what you are going through. It helps me get through the stuff that I am going through. And not because I am thinking "oh at least I don't have it as bad as amber and tom do right now" nothing like that. It just helps to hear about someone who loves someone else so much. It is amazing what you both have been through. It was the same event, but you both obviously had two very different experiences with it and they way that you both cope is something that again, just gives me strength.
I think about you guys a lot, even though I have never met Tom. Its just really interesting to see a fellow late bus rider grow up and have to go through really difficult things. Keep them coming, its therapy for yourself and your readers!
Sorry this comment is kind-of rambling and doesn't make a lot of sense.

Adam Hensen said...

remind me one day to tell you about when my oldest daughter had to go to the hospital and almost lost her leg. She was 11 months. We were first told she was going to loose her leg, then we were told she was never going to be able to walk, then we were told that she would always limp or have problems. She is 3 almost 4 now and has no effects from what happen. I know it is not near loosing someone that you love life, but it still was very scary, it took a long time to get over it.

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