Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Promise

(Continuation of From Heaven to Hell....below)

The doctors came into my room and said they were transferring me to the rehab hospital so that I could begin getting my body back to normal.  I said a courteous thank you and tried to appear happy with the news.  Inside I thought, "Rehab, are you frickin' kidding me?  I can't go to the bathroom, it hurts to breathe, I can't move my body and you want me to start rehab?  Hello, I damn near died, can't I just have a few more days here first?"

The transfer took place early that evening.  I was placed in a room with an elderly lady who moaned and cried all night.  I lay awake crying and thinking that I must be in hell.  The nurse came early the next morning for shots, blood, and vital signs.  It did not go well and ended with my husband demanding a transfer to another facility.  The director came to see me and transferred me to the very end of the hall in a room by myself and promised she would personally oversee my care.  So, I stayed.

I convinced my family to go home that day and rest.  I spent the whole night alone, awake, crying and talking to God.  I promised Him if He would help me or send His angels to help me through this I would never question Him again.  I needed His strength and wanted Him to reveal His reason for returning me to endure this painful journey.

I fell asleep around 3:00am and was awakened at 4:30am for my shots, meds and vitals.  I don't know what happened in that hour and a half, but when my eyes opened, I felt calm, at peace and on a mission.  As soon as the nurse left, I started writing down my "The Rebuilding of Pam Plan".  (A lame name I know, but I was on a lot of meds and it was hard enough to think let alone be creative!)  I wrote down steps needed to regain  my physical body, grow my spiritual self and obtain the skills I would need to fulfill my mission.  I would start immediately after breakfast.  I was ready to leave the pity party.  As soon as my tray was removed, I moved my bed to make myself sit up right.  Damn, that was painful, but I was ready for the first get out of the bed by myself.  It took over two hours to get from the bed into the wheelchair next to the bed.  I am not sure I have ever endured so much pain, but when my butt hit the seat of that wheelchair, I felt extreme joy.  Step 1 was done, I could check it off and move on to the journey had truly begun.

The weeks that followed were filled with visits from family, friends and caregivers.  I continued to progress and check off milestones on my plan.  I finally reached the point where I could walk short distances with a quad cane but still required a wheelchair as my primary mode of transportation.  During my stay at the hospital, someone from my past came back into my life and forged a very special place in my heart.  The fact that we weren't really friends in the past but that she took time from her family and extremely busy life to visit me is indicative of her character and heart.  Kathy's visits brought me so much joy that I can never thank her enough.  I will forever be grateful for visits from my first angel on Earth.  I will feature her story in a future blog because her story is truly amazing and deserves to be shared.

As the day was nearing for my discharge, I began to feel extremely anxious about not being under the constant care of a doctor.  I was not looking forward to the months of home health care.  My prayers were answered when my second angel on Earth called to say she was dropping everything to come stay with me as long as I needed her.  My cup runneth on Earth did I deserve to have someone this special and loving in my life?  Merida drove from Arizona to Austin so that we would have her vehicle (she has a SUV and we only had cars) to load the wheelchair into for my many doctor and physical therapy appointments.  She cooked, cleaned, nursed and chauffeured me for months without ever a complaint.  (I am extremely thankful for her husband Bryan as well for letting me share her for so long.  I give him hell, but I love him dearly.)  Most importantly Merida loved me unconditionally and put up with me during one of the darkest times in my life.  She is my best sister....and I am blessed to have her in my life.  I cried for a week after she left because I missed her companionship and love.  But, I was being selfish and it was time to check another step off my plan.

I am still not sure what I hope to accomplish with these posts, but they are my story about the journey that has defined my last two years and will continue to mold the rest of my days.  It has been said that many who experience near death experiences either contemplate suicide in order to return to the nirvana state, divorce or become extremely driven or spiritual.  While I do not know what the future holds, I am currently a more spiritual and driven person who is at peace with the concept of death but not wishing to speed up the process.  I am not the old Pam nor do I wish to be.  I know my journey has been hard on my friends and family as they cannot understand the drastic changes in me.  I cannot explain it in terms that they can understand.  Heck, I don't fully understand myself.  I wish every person on Earth could experience the Heaven part of my journey without having to endure the Hell.

I am at peace with where I am now in my life.  While this journey has been one of the most painful physically and mentally that I have ever had to endure, I am thankful.  Prior to the accident, I was just I am living.  I value true friends, great loves and a fabulous family more now than ever.  I try to appreciate the beauty of all things and people God created and don't take anything for granted.....remember, tomorrow was never promised.  I continue checking off the steps on my plan as I prepare myself physically, mentally and spiritually for my true mission in life.

Thank you for taking the time to read my posts.  I pray that if you ever find yourself in a similar situation that your journey is as blessed as mine. TYJ!

Be Bold.  Be Fierce.  Be Grateful.  Live life gloriously Free!

From Heaven to Hell

This blog post may at first seem to come from way out in left field, but I feel it is important to document the beginning point of my current journey (thanks Kim).  Perhaps I am hoping it will help you to understand me better....or perhaps it is a more selfish need to try to understand myself better.

On July 29, 2009, on my way home from work, I bypassed the tanning salon and gym that were a part of my daily routine.  It was a summer of record heat and I just wanted to go home, change into my shorts and relax for the evening.  Less than a half a mile from my house I was involved in a near fatal car accident.  While that alone is often enough to cause people to value life and change their priorities, it is what happened during the wreck that has forever changed my life.  I am not talking about the crunching of metal, breaking of glass or the bodily injuries I sustained.

At the initial point of impact, I experienced what is commonly called a near death experience.  As soon as I heard the screeching of tires from the truck that t-boned my car, I felt a soft, billowy, mist-like essence that seemed to wrap its arms around me and pull me close.  I felt a sense of extreme calm, peace and pure love.  It was as though I was not in my body but not really watching myself either. I was aware of the second, head-on impact, that my arms weren't right, my face wasn't right and that my body was in extreme pain.  But, at that point, I didn't feel pain.  It was as though I was wrapped in love and grace and forgiveness and at extreme peace with everything that was happening.  Then, I literally saw my whole life flash before my eyes.  It was as though someone was holding a series of pictures of my life and was flipping through them really fast like the old movies.....a series of stills run through quickly to give the appearance of movement.  At times during the process, the picture would pause ever so slightly as if to emphasize that particular event or person.  I remember almost smiling and crying at different times during the process.  But, overall, I felt no judgement from outside only from myself.  Almost as quickly as it had began, it was over and I was once again just wrapped in a  feeling of love and extreme peacefulness.  Then I heard a voice, not from the essence, but from far, far away. The faint voice said, "not now".  I didn't recognize the voice but it was familiar, like I knew the voice, but it had been a long while since I had heard it.

Almost immediately the essence was though it had been sucked up by a huge vacuum.  I felt the paramedic put a collar on my neck and then the pain and burning rushed in.  I could almost hear myself saying, "NO, NO, I wanna go back...where did it go....come back....take me with you.  I don't want to be here."  I kept trying to get back to the place I had been just moments earlier, but I couldn' was gone and had left me behind in this pool of blood and pain.  I felt so betrayed and angry.

Two days later I awoke in ICU.  Under the influence of some powerful pain meds, I looked over and saw my boys, husband and Natalie holding rosaries and crying.  I was immediately sad to see them like that at my bedside but thankful because I thought I was back with the essence.  Then I felt an extreme burning sensation in my left arm.  I thought for sure it was on fire so I looked down at it and almost instantly my head hurt, my hip hurt, my torso hurt and I felt burning below my waist as well.  I thought "oh no not, no, no I don't want to be here!"  I got so angry and all I could think was "My God why have you forsaken me?"  Not because I felt Christ-like or anything but because I couldn't understand how someone or something that had evoked such peaceful and loving feelings during the accident could take me to the brink of Heaven and then make me return to this mangled body filled with such excruciating pain and burning.

For the rest of my time in ICU, my family, friends and the phenomenal medical staff tried to shower me with love, patience and the best of care.  All I really wanted was for them to leave me the hell alone and let me be angry.  I wanted to curse God and those who caused the accident for all the rest of my days.  This wasn't fair....what the hell had I done to deserve this?  Why was God making me endure this?  Hadn't I gone to church and tried to be a good person all those years?  What.....was that all for nothing?

Continued in "The Promise"

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

In the Beginning.....

As will become quite obvious very quickly, I am new to the blogging scene!  My initial reason for starting  this blog was to document my progress in the search for my artistic ability.  I began painting shortly after a severe car accident.  I needed to move my arms and build endurance.  I could not stand the exercises, so I looked for more creative means of physical therapy.  I began painting as it forced me to hold a paint brush, move the brush in small and controlled movements and I had to hold my arms up for extended periods of time.  Needless to say, I found the 'therapy' very rewarding and therefore stuck with it with excellent results.  Somewhere along the way, I developed a love for the arts and now can't get enough of all types of art.

During this process, I realized that I was surrounded by so many amazing people that are awesome each in their own right.  So, I have decided to expand the blog to showcase some of my awesome friends, charities, and inspirational writings.

Oh, to explain the blog title...Sawdust and Halos.  The title honors someone who was very special to me a long time ago.  Sawdust is for the hard working men and women who surround me and make my life better.  I am honored to highlight a few of them on this blog.  Halos are for those who have gone before but left something behind that has touched me in some way.   They will be honored either through my paintings or inspirational thoughts.

So Sawdust and Halos is about my exploration of how to be a better person by honoring those who are important to me .... present and past.

Hope you enjoy!