Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Slow and Steady....

Well let's be realistic here people we all know it doesn't win the race, but it makes for some progress. So here I am, still home. Working, but from home. And let me tell you, it is hard. It is hard in so many ways, but slow and steady, right? Being a person who is incredibly active, being forced to be a couch potato has been hard. But the one thing that makes me remind myself to quit my bitching is the fact that at least I am here. At least I get the chance to sit on the couch and roam around the house whenever I want to.

One of the hardest things to deal with with my current state and my accident is the constant reminder from all of the doctors and specialist that I see weekly, that I could have died. After being in a hospital for 2 weeks and being reminded of that fact by every new doctor I was assigned I think I need to stop hearing that. I know I could have died! I have faced this thought many times in the past month, and it is not a pleasant few minutes that follows every time I think about it. But instead of being told that I would rather look at it as, I now have a chance to be better and more gracious. I have never been more grateful for the people in my life as I have been in the past few weeks. My eyes are open and I see it and I don't think I am going to forget it anytime soon. And I am not being exaggerative, I am literally reminded everyday. For instance, yesterday my boyfriend's parents sent me a beautiful potted orchid with a note letting me know that they were thinking about me. When the doorbell rang and I heard the words delivery I had no idea who it was for, when the delivery guy gave me the plant all I kept saying is "What a beautiful plant." When I got inside and read the card, I couldn't help it, I just started crying. I just feel so cared for, so loved and thinking about life without that makes me want to be the best person that I can be since I have it. So I get it, I could have died, but I am alive and I am going to focus on the great things I can do.

And now for the second hardest part. Not being able to work out! It is actually driving me nuts! Finally two nights ago Nick got the great idea for us to go for a walk. We grabbed the dog and headed out the door. Now since I have been dealing with issues with my vision Nick held the dog leash and away we went. All Nick kept saying is "try not to focus your eyes on anything and maybe you won't notice the double vision" and you know what? He was right! So there we went for a 45 minute walk around town and it felt fantastic! And here's a good laugh, I was sore the next day! But I didn't let that stop me! Nick had to work late, so my best friend took me out instead. So there you go. In 3 weeks all I have done is walked a totally of 1:15! Whew! What a work out!

As for the state of my brain, ears and vision. I went in for probably my 15th Cat scan this month on Monday and hopefully I will know more about what I can and can't do on Friday when I see my neurologist. This morning I went to my ENT to talk to him about the blood in my ear drum (yup that is yet another problem, not sure if I mentioned that one) from the fracture and it looks like most or all of it has left my ear drum. I was given and hearing and balance test, and I passed both and for now things are looking ok in that realm. I will most likely not hear 100% out of my left ear for about a month but things should heal well there. And here is my slow and steady moment of the day...I was given the go ahead on swimming!!! Now not the usually 100s of death swimming I was doing before, but I can get in a pool and try to work out!

So there you have it! I finally have 1 of the three sports I love back! I can swim! Now I can't get my HR too high because we don't want too much blood rushing to my head because of the cracks, but I can do something. That combined with my nightly walks and having to sit on the couch the rest of the day, may be doable!

Now as I read back on this post, I realized some might think I am complaining. And I am not! As I said I am grateful for all of the steps I am making towards recovery, even if I am a restless individual, I will take sitting on the couch everyday as long as it means I can still be around the people that I love.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

There Are Some Great People Out There..And I Happen to Know A Lot of Them

So to follow up on my last post. During my 2 week stay at the Jersey Shore Trauma Center I did learn a few things. First that my family rocks! With everything else that they are going through, including another family member that is dealing with the after effects of surgery due to colon cancer and the need to help both her and my grandmother with their everyday lives, my Mom and Dad managed to make the 1.5 hour drive almost every night to see me. And let me tell you, I was not exactly fun to hang out with. Between the crazy headaches and not being mobile or even coherent half the time they still sat with me and entertained me for hours a day.

When my mom and dad weren't there, Nick, my boyfriend and my best friend Maida, would fill the rest of my time alone. Nick cancelled his business trip and spent 3-4 hours with me daily at the hospital at night. Maida, would then come down during the day to keep me company and to bring me the things that only girls would think of. On my 2nd day in bed Maida showed up with two stuffed animals for me to cuddle with. I have since been sleeping with my Pooh Bear and Eeyore, nightly. Even since returning home. Maida also was thoughtful enough to bring me some spray shampoo and face cleaner, after we realized that I was not going to get a shower any time in the near future.

But here are the visits that were the most interesting and most pleasant. Within 1 day of my crash, the race director from the event I crashed in managed to track me down, along with the director from the race that I was signed up for the following week in a nearby town. On my 2nd day in the trauma center the race director for the next race showed up bed side and told me that he had passed me twice after my crash and that he had to see me. A close friend of mine had then emailed him after my crash and let him know what happened and that I would not be racing the next weekend. Upon hearing from my friend and putting two and two together he realized, that the person he passed in the race was me and so here he was, at my bedside. He let me know that he would refund my race $ and that I had an outstanding invitation to race next year with him, free of charge.

Once out of the trauma center and after a few phone check calls to check in, the race director from the crash also showed up bedside. He came to check in on me and to bring me a bag full of goodies for when I was back to training again. He also let me know that I have an open invite to race in his races next year as well, especially the one that I had fallen in.

At this point, after all of these visitors, I couldn't believe how many people had taken the time to reach out and check in on me. I felt so loved and blessed that I knew so many wonderful people. Then came the biggest surprise. I was laying in bed and in walks a young guy, maybe around 30 years old, athletic looking, but I don't know who he is. He walks up to my bed and says "Do you remember me?" I took a good look at him and let him know that I had no idea who he was. So he then explained, "I saw you when you fell and no one stopped to help you. So I stopped and sat with you until the ambulance came. I had no idea who you were, but I just wanted someone to be there for you." He then explained that when he found me, I was unconscious, but at some point had opened my eyes. I had blood coming out of my mouth (I bit the inside of my lip when I fell) and coming out of my ear. (not sure what that was from, but it might have been a drip from my mouth) When he found me he called the race director, his coach, from the police officers phone to try and figure out who I was, since I didn't have id, and then after I was picked up by the EMT's he went back and packed up my belongings for me.

After he told me all of this, I couldn't believe it. My first question, of course was, "How did you end up doing in the race?" to which he laughed and said, "After I helped you I decided to not finish". He then walked over to my bedside table and gave me roses! I was blown away, I couldn't believe it. It was like I had an angel watching me that day! This guy was amazing and I have never been so thankful that someone was there for me. It confirms for me, that there are great people out there in the world. And if karma exists, this guys got a lot coming to him!

On top of the visitors listed above, many of my friends came to see me or sent me lovely gifts of flowers and cookies. I have never been so filled with love from all of the people around me. Since I have been home, all of the love and attention has continued and I can say now, that I have some of the best friends that one can have in life and I am grateful for all things in life. Being home and not being able to do anything other than sit on the couch is hard, but it has been made easier by those who love me and for them I am very thankful.

So to all of you that read my blog thank you, and for those who don't, I will be sure to give extra hugs to them when I see them next.

I hope everyone had a great weekend of racing, my time on the couch was painful, but fun as well!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Here is How it All Went Down

Ok so in an effort to clear some things up from the last post, here is what I remember at least. I got up around 4:30am on the 1st to drive down to the race, when I got there the weather was actually fantastic for what I figured would be a pretty fast race. It was then that I realized, this was my first sprint tri of the season. And then I got excited. I set up transition and headed to the beach to check out the water. The temp was great and there were NO waves. I joked around about the swim with the lifeguards as they set up the buoys and then I was ready to go.

The current was ok but not too strong so we set up somewhat near the first buoy to begin the swim. I promised myself again that I would go all out and not mess around and off I went. I believe I finished the swim and run up the beach and into T1 in about 8 minutes or so. Then into T1 I went and out I came in under 2 minutes. So here is what I can remember. I remember thinking that there were a lot of people out on the bike course. This was a tru and du, so there were both bikers and runners on the course. I also remember that no one was announcing their passing on the bike. I was passed by two men on the right, very close and no one said anything as they did it. I politely told them to announce their passing and then kept going.

So it all went down (including myself) at around 3:30 in the bike. I remember something frightening me and so I looked back over my right shoulder, then I turned back forward and that is when it happened. My front wheel turned to the left, I looked down at my speed and I was traveling at 19.8 mph and I said to myself "Oh shit, I am so going to be the girl who falls during the race". And fall I did!

I came to as we were in the ambulance and the emt's began cutting off my uniform. I told them not to, that I was ok, but they just started to cut away to see where else I was hurt. So here is the interesting part, the answer to that is no where! I had not a mark anywhere on my body! No road rash, nothing! The face of my Garmin had broken off on impact and that was it.

At this point, I must have passed out again. I regained consciousness again as they were moving me into the hospital, at which point I told them that I would prefer not to flash everyone and everything in sight and that I would appreciate if they would cover me, which thankfully they did!

I proceeded to spend the next day in ER, 4 days in the ICU trauma center and then another 7 days in the Trauma unit of the Jersey Shore Hospital in Belmar. And can I tell you, these people were fantastic. I have never felt in better hands when hurt and all you want is your mommy. The diagnosis was two skull fractures, bleeding and oxygen on the brain along with some minor brusing on my neck and left hand.

After all of that time in the hospital I was finally released and now I am spending all of my time at home. And that is just a post for another time. Tomorrow I want to share some phenomenal stories about my stay at the hospital and all of people who came by to speak with me and share their hearts and stories.

For now, this is all I can share due to my current state, because I can't take too much computer light in my eyes. But I will return again tomorrow to keep filling everyone in.

Monday, August 16, 2010

My Race Didn't Go as Planned....

So the 8/1 sprint tri didn't go as planned. About 7 min into the bike something happened. I say something only because I have no idea exactly what did happen. I woke up in an ambulance as they were cutting my uniform off my body. I just got released from 2 weeks in intensive care due to some skull fractures, blood and oxygen on the brain. And here I am. I didn't want anyone to think I forgot about them, but I can't do much more than this today. I will fill you in on the hell that has been my last two weeks as I get better with the computer this week. Lots of love and thanks to those who prayed and looked out for me the past two weeks.