Sunday, March 15, 2015

Why I'm glad I fought with my parents

I was my parents' challenge child.  I always tested my limits, whether it was with my curfew, my sharp tongue, or defiant mannerisms, my parents always knew when I was or wasn't happy with something.  To say that my relationship with my parents has been a bit of a volatile one over the years would be a bit of an understatement.  Some would say it is because I am too much like my dad, a statement that both he and I deny fully. 

When I was a senior in high school, I actually ended up moving out when I turned 18.  I'm sure my parents and I remember this situation two completely different ways, so I will save everyone the gory details, but after a few months on my own, I did return home for summer.  Also, several years later, when I was going through some major changes in life, there was another rather large falling out.  This one was a doozy.  While I didn't have much to do with my parents during this time frame, there was still some what of a relationship because they were still involved with the kids.  I never kept them from my kids.  I may not have said a single word to them when they came over to see them, or if I took the kids over there, but I never stood in the way of a relationship with them. 

But it has been through these ups and downs that I have truly learned an appreciation for my parents.  See, I know that I can do things on my own.  I have proven that to myself.  Things were hard without them when there was distance, but I made it through each day.  I provided food for my kids, I met theirs and my basic needs, and I had friends for emotional support. And while I got through it, at the end of the day, I still really missed my parents.  I feel like maybe those years of conflict were put in place to prepare me for some times in my life that were yet to come.  Conflict sometimes helps us get things off of our chest that we might not in another situation.  It allows us to let out our true feelings.  Conflict shows us that it's ok to disagree, and even flat out fight, but at the end of the day we can still come together, and realize that even if we don't always see eye to eye, we still always love each other.  And it is through all of this conflict that:

I realized that I don't NEED my parents.

But I also realized I really WANT them.

My mom was recently in a pretty horrific car accident.  She has months, if not years of rehab and surgeries ahead of her.  And when she is recovering, and physically rehabbing, she will need someone to push her.  This might be where I come into play.  See, I'm not scared to make her mad.  I have always pushed her.  I have never been one to tell her what she wants to hear.  I have always been the one to tell it like it is.  She may have to get mad, plain furious, to get through some of these times.  Some times, anger can be a great motivator, a very strong driving force.  We may have to scream at each other, push each other, remind each other that this isn't going to be a walk in the park.  But then, I can follow it up with the comfort and grace that she has always shown me.  I can be harsh and blunt, but 9 times out of 10 it comes from a good place within my heart.  Sometimes my delivery can be a bit abrasive, and I may not even realize how I sound until after it has left my mouth, but I'm always honest.  I won't lie, or sugar coat things to the people I love.  So I will be honest with her.  And I will push her to push her limits.  I will challenge her physically when she is ready to start building her strength back up.  And I will do it all out of love.

So maybe in a sense I am like my dad.  He was always the one to tell me how it is.  To push me when I didn't want to be pushed.  And we all know he isn't in the business of sugar coating things.  But I also believe that he was coming from a place of very deep love.  Since mom's accident I have seen a side of my dad that I haven't seen in years.  He was scared.  And some times he lashes out when he's scared.  And at first, he seemed almost mad when he got to the hospital.  But it didn't take me long to realize it was because he was worried about my mom.  He has been fighting for her, and protective of her.  He has been soft and caring, more affectionate, and yet cracking jokes to ease the tension when we are all on edge.  He has been the dad I remember from my childhood.  I guess if I am a little like him, I'm perfectly ok with that.

So I will never regret these fights.  In the long run, as funny as it sounds, they gave me a deeper appreciation for my parents.  I'm sure that I acted in some ways that I wouldn't be proud of, and I'm sure if I could do it again there are some things I might change.  But I feel like in a sense, these trying times deepened my relationship with my mom and dad.  Like I said, I don't need them, but I have officially realized how much I really, really want them.
My mom and I with our rock

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mom's road to recovery

Oh I don't even know where to start.  This last week has been a blur.  So much  information and medical terminology has been thrown my way that my mind is overloaded.

Mom's midevil torture device that was removed sunday
Mom is still in Wichita at Wesley Medical Center.  Thus far she has undergone two surgeries, the first on Tuesday morning, which ended up being not nearly as repairative as they were hoping, they were only able to put in external pins because of the swelling on her leg.  This apparatus looked like some sort of torture device.  However it stabilized some of the bones in her leg until they could do go in and repair some things.  The 2nd surgery ended up happening unexpectedly at 7:30 this last Sunday morning.  Dad and I were both getting ready to head up there, and weren't able to be there for the actual surgery as they took her in before either of us could make it to the hospital.  But at least that eliminated the pacing of the halls on our part.  This time, they were only able to repair the tibia, and the took off the external stabilizer that was attached on Tuesday.  At the end of this surgery, she ended up with a couple of plates, and 11 screws on her tibia alone.  They weren't able to repair her fibula as the tissue and bone are still way too bruised.  There are plenty more surgeries to come.

Some of the plates and screws in mom's right tibia
They are hoping to get her moved to Salina Regional Health Center possibly as soon as today so she can hang out a little closer to home until her next surgery.  From what I understand, they are taking it on a week by week basis.  They will see her back next week at Wesley and see if the swelling and bruising has lessened enough to be able to repair any of the other breaks and fractures.  By the time this is all said and done, it sounds like Mom will have enough metal in her right leg to set off TSA alarms at the airport.  They are also saying that when they get to repairing the ankle, she will have to have so many screws, pins etc, that she will have very limited mobility of her ankle, and will not have any side to side mobility.  But she is very insistent that she WILL walk again.

I spent the last two days with her in Wichita, and I think it did her good to see the kiddos.  Spending two days straight in the hospital was a lot for them, but they were very good, and they needed to see her as much as she needed to see them.  We got to go have dinner with my good friend Becky and her family Sunday night, and that was something I had been meaning to do for months now, so thanks for the excuse to get down there to see them, Momma!!

Mom's feet wrapped up post-surgery No. 2
Ok, so there's the physical updates I have so far.  On the emotional side of things, I must say that I am so proud of my mom.  She is such a go-getter, that I have been so worried about her being down for as long as she potentially may be.  But she has actually been the one keeping me going.  She keeps assuring me that she's ok, that her spirits are good, and that she's not in very much pain.  She's getting on facebook to pass the time, and taking phone calls, and "micro-momaging" me (a loving little term I coined for her) from her hospital bed as well as she always did from home.  We are trying to keep things in order like she always did, and although we probably aren't doing as good of a job as she always does, at least we had a good teacher.  I have been checking the mail and the cards are flooding in.  I think through all of this mom is going to realize just how many lives she has touched over the years, and how many people love and care about her.  She is lucky to be surrounded by friends and family that love her, and are willing to do whatever needs done to help at this point.  You know, when something like this happens, so many people say "let me know if there's anything I can do to help", and honestly, sometimes you know that it's just a courtesy.  It's the right thing to say.  But I honestly believe that the help we have been offered this past week has all been very genuine, and for that, I want to thank everyone who has reached out from the bottom of my heart.  At one point last Tuesday, I had over 70 unanswered text messages and over 30 facebook private messages on my phone.  The support has been overwhelming, and very heart warming.  But keep it coming.  This is going to be a very long process.  And while we may not need a ton of help right now, I get the feeling that when she does finally get to come home is when we may start calling in some of those favors.

But for now, all I am focusing on is counting my blessings.  My kids weren't in that car.  My mom is still on this earth, and eventually will be walking it again.  And she was also in a car that withstood that impact.  Some of those other cars that were scattering the shoulder of the road that night wouldn't have survived hitting that beam.  And while I hate to see my mom in pain, the alternative of her, or someone else losing their lives that night is unthinkable.  This will be a very long road, but she WILL be ok eventually.  And for that, I am so grateful.

I also want to say thank you to all of the Dickinson County EMS, Fire and other First Responders that were there that night.  You did your job very well.  You kept everyone else safe, and all things considered, the scene was not nearly as chaotic as it could have been.  You did your best to keep my mom calm, and me calm, and seeing some familiar faces was comforting.  I have had several of them contact me and check on my mom, and it's nice to know that these people out there protecting us and rescuing us truly do care.  They are out there for the right reasons.  Keep up the good work, you're awesome!

I will update when I know more, but right now it's an awful lot of "hurry up and wait".  But I'm ok with waiting on mom at this point, I've been doing it my whole life :).

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Mom's Wild Ride

God sometimes has a very funny way of reminding us just how human we all are.

I got a phone call tonight that they say most parents dread, but in my case, it's the phone call every child dreads too.  My phone rang, it displayed "Momma Cell" so I answered in a goofy voice, expecting her to tell me that she made it home safely from visiting my grandparents in Topeka, and instead I am greeted with a man's voice asking if this is Cora.  My heart dropped to my stomach instantly, when he started telling me she had been in an accident on the highway.  All I could hear was chaos, and her screams in the background.  He told me she would be ok, and to meet them at Abilene hospital, which told me they were close to home.  I asked where it happened, and when he told me it was only 3 miles from Abilene, I told him I was on my way.  What I pulled up to is something I never expected.

Saying a prayer of Thanks that God wasn't quite ready to
call her home.
My mom's driving is an ongoing joke with our family.  When my mom and sister took a road trip together back in November the joke was "They'll get there safe as long as Misty drives".  One time, I remember nearly crawling out of the window because she began swerving like crazy, and when I screamed and asked her what she was doing she yelled back "Well.... the line on the side of the road was all... crooked".  So we lovingly tease her about her driving "skills" on a next to daily basis.  However, she had never had a major incident.  Not like this one.

When I pulled on to the interstate all I saw were red and blue lights.  There were fire trucks, ambulances, state troopers, wreckers.  I just pulled up in to the middle and ran to what I assumed to be her van, and followed the sound of her cries.  I dropped to my knees, told her I was there, and looked up and thanked God that I was listening to the sound of her voice.  They had just put the fire out on her van.

Everything that transpired after that was kind of a blur.  Hearing my mom cry out in pain like that is not something I'm accustomed to.  She has always been the caretaker for me, and having the tables turned was not something I was prepared for.  They got her loaded, in the process of which it became very clear that her leg was severely broken.  Then they took her to Abilene via the ambulance.  After they pulled off, I walked over to her van, and saw two of my kids' booster seats laying in the middle of the highway.  And I said another prayer of thanks that my babies were safe at home.

From what we can deduct happened, a semi in front of her lost it's load of steel beams.  Mom said she saw the cab of the semi out of the corner of her eye to her left, and then she hit a beam head on at 75 MPH, rolled, and landed in the median, where her van caught fire.  From what I could see, it was basically unavoidable.  My mom had several guardian angels looking out for her last night.  A man, pulled her out of that van when it caught fire.  And after they got her out, a woman sat with her until the EMT's got there, and prayed with her.  For anyone who knows my mom, you know how strong her faith is.  This was exactly what she needed in that exact moment.  I hugged the woman, and she even cried with me, and now, I'm kicking myself for not getting her name.  But to the man that pulled my mom out, and to that woman who prayed with her, whoever you are, THANK YOU.  You were her guardian angels last night, and words can not express my gratitude.

She was transported to Salina Regional Medical Center where the surgeons looked at the x-rays and told her that the break was beyond anything they felt they could fix.  So around 1 AM this morning, they transferred her on to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, KS where a team of surgeons is going to see if they can piece back together her shattered leg.  We don't know the extent of the damage, but right now they are saying that her right tibia is shattered, her right ankle is broken, her right foot is broken, and both her right and left heels are broken.  She went in for what they called "the first of multiple" surgeries this morning.  She will have a very long road ahead of her, but she is alive.  And I am so grateful for that.  My dad is going to have to brush up on his nursing skills!

Looking at her van in the daylight, she is a very lucky woman.  She had someone looking out for her.  A very important woman to me gave me a visor clip for my first car when I first started driving.  It was and angel and it said "Dear Lord, please protect me and all who I pass by, and remind me never to drive faster than my guardian angel can fly".  I am glad my mom's guardian angels were keeping up with her van last night.  They definitely worked some overtime.  Thank you everyone for all of the calls, texts, messages, and kind words.  Keep the prayers coming.  It sounds like she will need a lot of them.

It's just a car mom,  and it did it's job, it kept you safe.