Saturday, 28 March 2015

My accident and life now

It's been pretty quiet around here lately and today I'm going to explain why. I've written this post in my head a few times and I know I'm not going to edit it. I'm just going to write. It may be very stream of consciousness so bear with me. It will also be very text heavy.

This post is very personal and very raw. Everything is new and the emotions I'm sharing are real. This is my life now. It's something my family and I have to adjust to. 


This post is something I have gone back and forth with whether I should share it or not or how to. In the end, maybe it can help someone, maybe you're interested to know what happened... so for better or worse, I'm going to share this with you. 


I do ask one thing from those of you that read this: this is a hard post to write filled with many emotions and personal topics. Please, please, please keep your comments (if you choose to leave them) kind and appropriate. Thank you so much in advance!



My accident 


About two weeks ago, I had an accident. If you follow me on facebook, you may already know that. A lovely blog/vlogger friend of mine wrote a description and at one point, I also added a short update on my blog facebook page. It was bad and here is a concise version of what exactly happened.

  • We were working on the house, and a steal beam (500 kilo) fell on my back
  • I couldn't feel my legs 
  • My husband called an ambulance
  • I was airlifted to a larger hospital 
  • My spine was all out of alignment and a nerve is damaged. 
  • My spine was put back together so to say
  • There is no medical capacity to repair my nerve(s). I'm not going to be walking again unless there is an amazing new medical discovery in the world.

A lot to take in. To be honest, I'm not sure about the details and I'm not ready to know yet. So if my medical terms may sound ridiculous, that's why!

Throughout all of this, I have been receiving some great medical care...


The medical system and help


I spent about a week and a half at the hospital, healing from surgery and getting medical attention for all of that. My surgeon, doctor, nurses, physical therapists all came to make sure things were developing well.

The system here works pretty quickly I suppose as I also immediately had a social worker and psychiatrist in the hospital there to see how my husband and I were dealing with everything emotionally, and not just medically. Bravo Holland! It definitely helped to keep myself together, as well as my husband.

After a week and a half ish, I was given a spot at a rehabilitation centre for spinal cord injuries, where I am now (otherwise, I would have been at the hospital longer). I've been here only for two days, which has meant a lot of meetings and appointments with staff. 

There are psychiatrists, physiologists, social workers (targeting working with the entire family and not only the patient), physical therapists, another kind of physical therapist that I can't figure out how to translate, doctors, nurses, and all sorts of specialists. 

Each part of the building has a team comprised of all of the above. In all honesty, I am so impressed with the amount of care and attention that comes with this system. Medically speaking, the care is really impressive.

Once I am farther in my rehab, I will be able to go home for the weekend or a day or so. Also there are family rooms so my husband and Mr. Toddler will also be able to spend the night/weekend/holidays here depending on space availability whenever.

Here in the Netherlands, the medical cost of this is (all) mostly (?) covered by our health insurance - thank goodness! Basically, we're not going to get any sort of crippling debt or have to make decisions regarding medical care versus finances. All/most of this is covered by basic/standard health insurance that everyone in this country is required to have. We still have to figure out if/for which subsidies we qualify in order to alter our house for me because the social worker has informed us that even that is possible. I don't have many details on this yet though as I was pretty groggy and fuzzy in the head last week due to pain meds and everything, but next week, we are going to start all of that important research regarding additional financial assistance.

While the finances and house alterations are pretty 'boring' or perhaps the less pressing things to think about, I am so relieved that we don't have to stress about them. The social security system here is very different than that of the other countries I have lived in and I cannot tell you how relieved I am for that. I can't imagine how much more difficult this would be if we'd need loans, if we'd have to pay the 1,500 euro per day for the hospital room, or just figuring out how to manage after rehabilitation if we did not have so many resources from the government. It's not a 'perfect' system, but a lot of worries are eased for us in this regard and I am unbelievably grateful. 


Emotionally


This part is the hardest to explain, to write, and to experience. I can easily tell you guys that more than all of the physical pain I have and continue to endure, more than the realisation of the life long ramifications of my injury, the separation from my son and husband while in rehabilitation has been the most difficult to adjust to. It sucks. Plain and simple. I miss them. And it hurts more than I can even begin to explain.

The other big emotional 'thing' is that the reality of this situation is quite serious - had the beam fallen differently, my injury could have been even more severe. Even more than that, I could have died. Fact.

In spite of the difficulties, the horrible feeling of missing my loved ones while in rehabilitation, I'm trying to stay positive and am focusing on healing. Strangely or maybe not strangely, I don't feel angry, I don't feel self pity, and I refuse to let myself be defeated. 

This sounds easy or at least easy to write, but honestly, everyday there are challenges, confrontations and new realisations that bring sadness, frustrations, and a lot of grief and mourning for what we lost and what I lost. 

We (husband, family) are simply trying to stay as positive as we can. Our emotions go up and down daily. My emotions go up and down daily. I want to tell you guys that we are getting through it with smiles and love, but this just isn't that easy. 


Coping


Towards the end of my hospital stay, there was a rare moment that I was alone in my room and found myself thinking about my son. He's two and a half years old and I feel that through the changes that we are experiencing and will have to make in the future, I am robbing him of ... I don't know what. A lot of things in life because of what happened to me. 

It is a heavy feeling, but also left me reflecting further - what kind of a message can I send my son (and myself!) through this turn of events? Our circumstances are hard, and I feel that it is very easy now to fall into the sadness of it all. It can be all engulfing, filled with anger, regret and bitterness. 

But I refuse to live like that. You guys, I'm 27 and there is so much more life left to live! I hope that through this difficult time that I can show to my child that Mama is strong. That Daddy is strong. I hope that my husband and I can stick together and teach our son that difficult times don't mean that life stops. That we can still do the things we love to do, but now differently and that that's okay!



And here's a little secret so shh! We'll still be working on that little sister for Mr. Toddler once my body will be recovered. In all seriousness, what I mean here is that my husband and I still want and still can work towards a lot of the things that we envision(ed) for our family and for our lives. We'll have more challenges now for sure, and we'll have to be more creative with how we do things, but we will be doing our best to fulfill our dreams and hopes. 

I am trying to give those emotions and feelings a place in my heart and I am trying to move forward, while focusing on the many, many blessings we have - family, love, support, encouragement, a home (even if it isn't finished!), food, clothing, my son's amazing laugh, and just being able to be alive! Small things that can be taken for granted have such a profound place in my heart now and those beautiful things are the ones I am trying to focus on. Like those sweet cuddles and precious moments with the ones we love.


Let's ignore the messy hair and frazzled look, please ;) 

There's a lot more to say, and maybe I'm not doing it justice or this post is too long already...If you want to know more, you are welcome to ask. 


You're all awesome


I also want to add that all of the love, prayers, and encouragement from all of you have helped me so much! Aside from the amazing familial support that we have in our immediate circle, the blogging community (readers, other bloggers/vloggers, etc) that I am so fortunate to be a part of has really been a blessing. You guys that have already left such warm and kind messages and comments have done so much to keep my spirits up and I am truly, truly touched and grateful. 


What about this blog? 



You don't really expect to get rid of me that quickly do you? 

Things will be changing though - I'm not cooking here at the moment at all so my meal plans will not be posted for now. I will do an occasional What I Ate Wednesday though, especially showing the days when my family is here as I will able to control my diet a bit more. I'll probably torture you with a rehab WIAW or two along the way, as well.

I do however have about a month worth of recipes that I behind on posting so those will be published in the meanwhile, as well. 

As for the kids activities - I'm not exactly sure how, but my husband and I are going to continue providing Montessori style works for Mr. Toddler. This may mean that Hubby seriously brings all of our supplies here for me to make kits for the week for them, that we do works here, or ... I'll take your ideas in this regard. Basically, the free printables, and activities will continue with some creativity on my part. 

I will share more parenting tips and a bit more on a few other topics that I hadn't gotten around to yet. Topics like how we incorporate nature into our toddler shelves, our favourite outdoor activities, a few expat stories, and something that has recently left me quite angry - bicycle safety!! Cycling is very common here but I'm sometimes flabbergasted at how dangerous various situations can be so you can certainly expect a few opinions on that!  

I'm probably not going to be posting everyday yet. I need to see how things go, how I am able to get photos given my recovery, and honestly, just need to see how I feel. I think my new blogging schedule will take some time to figure out so bear with me. 

My goal for now is to post 3-4 times a week, but again, I will see how that goes.

You can also sign up to get email updates when new posts do go out so you stay in the loop! 

I still have a few side projects on the side, too! Exciting, exciting and still hush, hush so I'm not spilling the news yet! What I can say is that you guys will certainly have some extras to look forward to! 


Again, thank you so much for all of your support! If you have questions/comments/thoughts/suggestions or anything, please feel free to ask.


Thank you,