Sitting here with time on my hands I feel compelled to write. I would like to share something earth shattering, but I have no such wisdom. Today, well, today I only have the reality of what life post-accident is truly like. My gratitude over being rescued from death has not diminished, but daily I must draw my strength from Christ because this road to recovery is hard.
My broken neck was repaired in a lengthy surgery on November 22. I’d been warned that I would wake up in a halo, but I really had no idea what that reality represented. It looks like an itchy, wool lined vice grip, strapped across my back and chest. It looks like a heavy titanium brace, bolted to my skull in four places. Basically, I am uncomfortable 24/7 for at least eight weeks while my neck bones fuse back together. Yes, this contraption is an amazing invention designed to give hope to people with broken necks, but the reality is, I really am not fond of it. The weight of the halo sometimes causes the pin sites to get sore. Due to the risk of infection, the sites must be cleaned daily with a peroxide solution and Bacitracin ointment applied. Miss Independent cannot do this alone because I can neither see the sites well, nor reach the two in the back of my head. It probably sounds trivial and vain but I do worry about having two matching scars on my forehead when this is all over with. The incision sites on my neck and shoulder don’t bother me, but my forehead? I am not open to the idea of headlamps there.
The lovely halo also presents wardrobe challenges. I know all women, even with a closet full of closes can stand there and declare, “I don’t have anything to wear”, but for me it’s true. There are maybe eight or ten sweaters I can I can fit over the halo. And for those I am grateful otherwise I’d be wearing my husband’s shirts. But, the brace over my ribs and shoulders causes me to resemble a linebacker. I miss my slim silhouette and I long for the feel of soft, comfortable cotton against my skin.
Speaking of slim silhouette, daily I feel my fitness slipping away. The physical therapist said I can walk as much as I want, the problem is finding someone willing to accompany me, who will walk as far as I want to. Add cold rain to the equation and I’m not getting much exercise. For someone who is accustomed to putting in at least five miles a day, this is tough. Don’t even get me started on having to use the elevator at work. Under normal circumstances, I ALWAYS take the stairs, but being top heavy, the stairs are a dangerous place for me these days.
Food holds little appeal. Things that I normally enjoy, just don’t taste very good. Perhaps it is because I miss my own cooking. I usually cook five or six nights a week. We certainly have not gone without, our family and friends have kept us well fed, but I long for the day when I am well enough to prepare a home cooked meal for my family. Right now reheating in the microwave is the extent of my kitchen repertoire.
Entering and exiting a vehicle can be challenging. We had a rental Jeep for a few weeks and it was pretty easy to get in and out of, but our Camry requires backing in butt first with the rest of me folded over like a contortionist to make sure the poles on my halo clear the car’s roof. There are days I am tempted to stay home rather than subject myself to this exhausting ritual.
I share none of this to complain about my situation. Knowing what could have been, I am grateful for each day, halo or not. I do, however, pray daily that the Lord will hasten my recovery and I can be freed from this contraption and begin regaining some of the freedoms of life without a halo. Until that day arrives, I will continue to battle through.