Last year around this time I was an in-patient in rehab at the local hospital, my first of two rehab stays. I was relearning how to walk. I couldn't raise my arms to shoulder height. I was on oxygen levels of 8, which was down from who knows what level while I was in ICU. I coughed so hard throughout the day that it scared people, and hurt my throat. Not sure how I didn't get broken ribs! I wasn't able to handle my own personal care in the bathroom. Showering was a HUGE ordeal, but the best thing to happen to me each week. Trust me, those shower caps to wash your hair in the hospital just make things worse. But I was grateful. Grateful to be alive.
The ICU... I don't even know where to start. It's like a mental block. It was boring with a lot of reality television. I couldn't move, get up, eat, pee, or breathe on my own. Life sucked, but I was alive. Even when I wondered why and what was the point of having made it - usually when someone else was wiping my ass for me - I was alive and my son still had a mother. Eating real food, getting tubes taken out daily, going to the bathroom (with help), all meant progress. But progress was scary. I had to learn how to live again.
I cried a lot in the wee hours of the morning when I'd wake up. I'd see the picture of my son on the wall. It was meant to motivate me, but sometimes it made things worse. I'd worry how everything was affecting him. Whether waiting until I woke up for him to see me was the right choice. Whether this was going to permanently scar him. Whether I'd ever be able to be a parent to him again, or if he'd have to go live with my ex-husband forever.
Being sick without knowing the outcome is scary. Everything changes. I didn't want to let other people see me break down. I wanted to be strong and brave - even though I almost died - I didn't want to scare people. I don't like people thinking I'm weak. My body is a wreck but I'm not weak. Things are so different now.