Due to my extensive injuries I underwent a very lengthy surgery that the plastic surgeon chose to remake and reattach my foot. He took a muscle from my stomach and skin from my right side and a vein in my right leg to make a flap to remake the foot. It was a very long surgery due to all of the small detail of repairing and reconnecting the nerves and blood vessels.
I was in the intensive care unit for almost a week. I was in and out of sleep a lot during that week. I remember waking up in a lot of pain. I was also asking to see what I looked like. I could feel that one my teeth were chipped and I wanted to see a mirror. No one wanted me to see myself due to the swelling from breaking the two bones in my nose and my cheekbone. It wasn’t looking so good at the time. They would hold a mirror really far away so I could barely see it and I was so drugged that I would fall back asleep and forget about it. I would also wake up and ask about what happened to the driver. No one would answer my questions as they were trying to not upset me. I had also lost a lot of blood so I also received a lot of blood transfusions. My brain was also bleeding and they were going to have to do surgery but at the last minute it cleared up on its own. I did have to have another surgery due to my nose being broke and my cheek bone. I tried to not have the surgery but they told me that my nose would eventually move over into my eye so I finally agreed after I heard that. I woke up from the surgery and got sick from the anesthesia. It was so awful because my nose was packed with stuff so I couldn’t breathe out of it. I also had an infection in my mouth from all of the antibiotics that I was on which really dried out my mouth. Total I was in the ICU for a week and I was in the hospital for another week.
I had many close friends and family that came to visit me. I also remember people sneaking into my hospital room when I was in ICU to try to talk to me and I was so afraid that the people in the cars were going to come into my room. They never came into my room but I still had so many unanswered questions and fears about why this happened.
Once I was discharged I went home where there was a hospital bed set up in our living room. It had a triangle hanging from it because I couldn’t sit up and needed it to help pull me up because of them taking part of my stomach muscle. I needed someone to be there with me around the clock so my friend quit her job and my dad hired her to take care of me.
I also had so much debris in my foot that I would have to go to the hospital to get it cleaned out every day. The first time they had me go to a local hospital due to it being closer to my house. They had taken skin from my side so I had a ton of staples in my right leg. I remember how bad it hurt when they took them out and I knew exactly how many I had so I would count down to how many more I had to go through to get to the end. They put me in a sit up tank to soak it and I passed out the first time. Once I wasn’t able to handle the sitting up in the tank it was determined that I would go to a different hospital daily instead. They would take me by ambulance every day. We had the steepest steps to go down and they would have to carry me down in a stretcher every time. I would have to have a pillow that I would hang on to so my stomach wouldn’t hurt so bad. Every bump we went over made the pain worse. My ambulance team was amazing. They would always do whatever they could to make my ride better. They would take the long way because they knew it was less bumpy.
Once we got to the hospital the surgeon would stop in and look at it and then I would be taken down to the basement where the tank was located. I would be raised up while laying down and transferred over to what looked like a giant cow tank but was a giant whirlpool tub. The occupational therapist would clean it and remove the debris while the water would whirl around and loosen some of it up. I would lay there and cry because it would hurt so bad. It helped if I had someone there to talk to me about other things so I would be distracted. My foot was so gross looking I could barely stand to look at it. I had huge open sores and could even see all the way through my heel. It was so huge from the muscle and skin graft being added to it so it was closer to the size of a football. I would post pictures but it was pretty bad and graphic.
I also had a nurse that would come to the house to check on me also. Thank goodness she was there one day. My nose was packed with an elastic type thick string, almost like a shoe lace from the surgery I had. On that day it became untied and started to go down the back of my throat. Luckily she knew what to do and cut it and pulled it out. It was almost five feet long. I couldn’t believe how long it was and that it all fit up inside my nose.
My recovery continues today from this tragic accident but these first few months after the accident was one of most difficult times in my life.
Coming Up: Dealing With a Disability