Wednesday, August 4, 2010
I know that blog’s are boring without pictures but I can’t think of an appropriate picture to post today.
Today is August 4th 2010, the one year anniversary of my accident. It has been a year of pain and trials and healing, of changes and learning and humbling, all of which I am thankful for or know I will be thankful for some day.
Physically I am doing as well or better than can be expected. I have been going back to the gym on a regular basis, as regular as I had been before my accident, which is three weeks committed and two weeks too busy to make it. I feel like my strength is 85% of my former self but improving week by week, on my three committed weeks at least.
My physical pain has been at a very low consistent level for months now. It’s one of those things that fades so gradually that it would be impossible for me to actually mark on a calendar the milestones in the pain reduction. If I was any good at keeping a journal or updating a blog for that matter, I could go back and find the exact date of when I knew I was done taking pain killers and accepted the pain that I couldn’t avoid. That is definitely the biggest milestone in my mind.
As for my wounds themselves, everything with the exception of my right elbow is healing and looking really good, good being a relatively loose term. My doctors think that my skin is healing well and thought that I should try a trial period of not wearing the compression on my legs to see if the scars were mature and done raising. That was at my last appointment back in May. I went two days and felt like they were still raising or swelling, so I continue to wear the pants. As of the May appointment I also have switched from a one piece compression top to wearing new sleeves and a torso vest. I don’t have new vests, I just cut the arms off of my old one piece tops.
Everyone always asks how long I’ll have to continue wearing all of the compression garments and the only answer I can give them is, as long as it takes. I do go through short periods where I don’t wear my vest and pants, mostly determined by how hot the day is going to be. But my sleeves will be a fixture of my wardrobe for quite a while longer as my arms were injured the worst. My mask is the same, I’ll just keep wearing it until it feel like the right time. I just don’t want to have any regrets in 5 years when I am past the main part of this.
I know that I’ve never properly thanked my family and friends for all that they have done for me over the past year and that is because I don’t know how.
I can say Thank You every minute of every day for the rest of my life and still not feel right. The time and effort spent to come visit me in the hospital is alone something that I can never properly repay, and the visits and the prayers are the only things that kept me going when I so badly though I couldn’t go on any more.
The way my parents stepped up and became my nurses when I came to live with them after I was released from the hospital is something that few people could do, and they jumped in with both feet and did an amazing job and continue to do so.
Debbie and Andy took pictures and documented my time in the hospital and some of the time healing at my parents house, and compiled it all in a nice book for me. I started looking at it when they initially gave it to me but found out quickly that I wasn’t ready to see the images and revisit it all, and it still sits unopened waiting for the day I think I can handle the memories.
That brings up my the topic of my mental and emotional state on this anniversary day. I’ve had people telling me for weeks that I need to prepare for this day and for the emotions and memories it will probably bring. They keep reminding me that I should plan to take the day off work and plan something fun to distract myself. I just keep telling them and myself that I would be fine if they would just quit reminding me about it and let life go on normally.
Even as I sit here to type this I’ve had to pause a couple times to collect myself from the waves of emotion and memories that I have no control over. I’m not sure what the rest of the day or days following has in store for me.
I know that on Sunday I had a specific moment that started a series of flashbacks about my accident and the explosion itself that have been getting more frequent as today has drawn closer, but the specific emotions have been blurred together with the emotions that I have been dealing with from the other tragedy in my life.
As of two weeks ago I found myself changing my relationship status from Happy to Single and have been coping with the pain caused by the loss and loneliness.
I will forever feel guilty for being the one that put Catherine and her kids through the pain and heartache caused by my accident and adding to the list of tragedies in their lives. But I will always be grateful that they were there to help me get through it. And that is definitely an understatement!
Thursday, March 18, 2010
So what has it been, two months?
I guess a lot can happen in two months, lets start with my elbow.
At my last doctors visit which was back on Feb 26th the doctors and therapists thought that everything was looking good and the sore on my elbow was healed to about a half a centimeter or the size of a pencil eraser. Sounds good since it started out being 2.5 inches in diameter, but it took four months to heal to the size of a pencil eraser. I have to put some custom cut pads, cut by my mom or me on the sores to protect them from friction caused by my compression garments. If it wasn’t for needing help to get them positioned under the compression garments on my elbows I would be able to do all my wound care myself.
A couple days before my last Dr appointment a new little sore started to develop about half an inch from the nearly healed sore, in the same spot as the original big sore started. The doctor said he couldn’t even see it so it probably won’t be a problem. It is a problem!
Within the three weeks that I have been fighting the sore form getting bigger it has gone from looking almost completely healed to not looking so good to looking a bit better and yesterday the two sores were both about the size of a pencil eraser.
Today when I started doing wound care and took off my Compression and bandage pad the newest sore had DOUBLED in size and is now just a little smaller than a dime.
Since the doctors have never ruled out the fact that I might need another skin graft on my elbow it makes me wonder how long I’m going to have to go before they make the call.
Since the doctors think that everything else is looking good they had me make my next appointment in Three months, May something, and just said to make a new appointment if anything changes for the worse. If the new sore is bigger tomorrow I’m making the call.
Catherine, Scott, Matthew and I went snowboarding again on the night of FEB 6th. We made it up to Brighton for a nice freezing night session. It was a fun time and it was great to be able to teach Matthew how to snowboard and he was flying down the hill before the night was over. Scott was doing super good too and got his first taste of the icy walls of a half pipe. Of course Catherine was Skiing circle around us all and looking really good doing it!!!
After getting home and taking off the rest of my gear I was taking off my socks and felt a little unusual pain. I rolled up the bottoms of my compression paint to discover a gigantic blister on my right shin and a small blister that went all the way around the bottom of my left leg. I almost wanted to cry, had I known that my boots were rubbing blister on my legs I would have called it an early night, but any skin that was burned has lost most of it’s sensitivity and I had no idea what was happening. They popped a couple days later and were painful for a couple days after but have now all but healed completely.
I will think of some more things to report on later but my Benadryl is starting to kick in and I just drooled in my laptop
Thursday, January 28, 2010
I don’t know yet why some mornings I wake up and am still wearing my cloth mask and other mornings it is off and next to me on the bed.
The mask that is posted on Nov 6, 2009 and nicknamed the “Bank Robber Mask”, turned very Quickly into the Torture mask when I put it on the first night and discovered that it wasn’t pleasant to wake up gasping for air while feeling like someone had their hands gripped tightly around my neck.
For almost the entire month of November and into December this manner of waking up tormented me at night. It was so bad that when I went for check up appointment at the burn unit and they asked how I was doing with the mask I couldn’t help getting a little choked up and emotional explaining the problem. Because of this near breakdown the great nurses decided that it was too traumatic and I should stop wearing the Torture mask altogether and try to wear my plastic mask while sleeping instead.
The problem isn’t the masks but my weird sleep/night terror issues, the masks were just adding to them. The nurses said if the plastic mask didn’t work either to just stop wearing one to sleep altogether, since they could tell that I hadn’t had a full nights rest in some time.
After two night of trying the plastic mask with the same results I decided to give up on the idea altogether. It is amazing the difference it makes to not wear one of these compression masks for a few hours, mostly with my eyes. Going a whole night without I would wake up with extremely dry eyes and my bottom lids pulled down.
I continued to sleep that way for nearly 8 nights before deciding that it was going to be crucial to my recovery to wear a mask at night. I was also feeling like I had let this beat me and I quit to easily so I was going to give it another try.
The first few days back at it I had the same terrifying result of waking up feeling like I was suffocating, but then one morning I woke up and the mask was just off lying next to me, no terror involved.
I spent Christmas Eve night on a couch in Provo (thanks Anne and Pete) and took my mask along with me. I woke up to a Christmas miracle, my mask was still on my head. I thought that maybe I had only dosed off for a second and had been awaken by a noise or something, but a quick check of my clock had confirmed that I had beaten my alarm by 20 min and I had made it through the night.
Since the Christmas Miracle I have about a 50% success rate of going the whole night wearing the mask. My record is 3 night in a row so far. Even the nights when I do take the mask off I must be doing it in my sleep while placing it gently next to me and not flinging it across the room. It probably helps that I take a Benadryl before bed, which puts me in a coma like deep sleep.
I Woke up this morning with the mask still on and this is what my eyes look like after taking it off. Now if I can only figure out how to do something about the color of the grafts under my eyes. I'm the only one I know that has light circles under my eyes instead of dark.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
The plastic mask wouldn't fit under his helmet so he opted for the cloth one. His goggles and neck gator disguised him pretty well. The temperature dipped into the teens after the sun went down which made his arms stiffen up a bit but over all he looked like he had a good time.