Friday, August 29, 2014

Hit And Miss

I was just rolling along through my life, minding my own and anyone else's business that seemed interesting to me, when BAMMO! I came up against it.

View from my hospital room

The story so far as it's been told to me and then eventually what little bit I can recall on my own (with more "reflections" and inner dialog to come in a later post:)

Driving in commute traffic on the freeway, lost consciousness it is assumed because eye-witness accounts reported that no breaking of the vehicle ocurred, crossed off the road down an embankment, stopped by a tree.  Vehicle wraps its passenger side around the tree, air bags pop off in all directions.

My body still unconscious, by-stander unable to detect pulse, someone or several someones call for emergency responders who, after having finally reached the scene, still unable to detect pulse, have to cut portions of the car away in order to get me out.

Brain without oxygen for how long?  Maybe 20-30 minutes or longer?  Plenty of ribs broken.  Artificial resuscitation and a trip to the hospital.  In all the melee, people trying to find out who I am, who I belong to, how I ended up in that particular situation.  Co-workers looking for my daughter, my daughter looking for hope through the fear, family and friends in shock and prayer, and some of them  rushing to Washington from Utah and Idaho.

I'm still unconscious--how many days?  I don't know.  Still on life support, body cooled down, doctors crushing hope, disallowing the use of the word "when" and reiterating "if."  "If she regains consciousness.  If she is able to breathe on her own. If those unlikely scenarios, then the best we can expect is a vegetative state of existence.  No, her squeezing your hand is just a reflex."

Warm the body.  Remove the breathing apparatus.  Heart still pumping, lungs inflate on their own.  Slowly consciousness is regained.  Speech slurred.  Body trying to move with purpose, arms trying to lift but instead look as though they are being thrown from the shoulder.

Passing of days sees speech and body movements improve, but memory loss is severe.  Sleep, wake, open eyes, see loved ones and ask "What are you doing here?"

"You're in the hospital.  You've been in an accident, Penny."

"Oh,  I have?"


"Oh."  Drop off to sleep again.  Wake a few moments or seconds later. A little confused to see my sister, my brother, my brother-in-law, my nephew and niece.

"What are you guys doing here?"

"You've been in an accident.  You're in the hospital."

"Oh.  I am?"

How many days or hours and then I wake for the magic time.  "What are you doing here?"

"You've been in an accident, Penny."

"Really? Oh."  And then I don't have to ask anymore because I remember.  I still don't fully grasp, but I remember that I was told the last time I woke up that I had been in an accident.

More recovery.  More visits. Procedures. Release from the hospital.  More family presence.  More heart events.  More hospitalization.  More procedures (ICD implanted.)  Diagnosis: Ventricular Tachycardia, cause unknown.  Medications.  Medication side effects. Medication adjusting.  More visits from friends. More emergent heart events.  More ambulance travel.  More medication adjusting.

I go back to work and we have to move closer into town.  Some friends come to help move. I get tired.

THE END except when it's not the end.

Oh, My Word!

This business of recording and reporting one's life, or at least, one's perspective of one's life, in words is an odd business, indeed.  It's only words. And words are all I have.  Well, words and pictures.  Words about pictures. Words about memories and ideas.  Feelings.  I guess feelings can be shared without words.   OK, maybe energy, too.

Although, now that I come to think about it, and I have an indelible memory of a certain experience, there are other ways of recording one's life events--large, small, weird or wonderful--without the use of words. I'm going to use words to tell a story right now about how words and pictures are not the only ways to record life.

I once knew a woman who could read a person's ears.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I believe a lot of things.  I believe there are a lot of unbelievable things going on all the time.  I believe the physical body can mark it's own experiences.  Like our neighbor's Siamese cat who jumped into a too-hot bath and the next day had a wild white streak of fur running over it's head and back, we all believed, as a mark of the trauma.

Recently, on Facebook, I have seen a work of photographs of soldiers' faces before, during and after war.  (Search My Modern Met Soldiers--it's very provocative and mesmerizing.)  Not just the body aging, which is a very telling record of itself, but recording experiences, more specifically traumatic experiences, with almost drastic changes in a short period of time.

Why, then, would it be unheard of for someone's ear ridges to develop extra little divets or bumps during their formation in childhood in response to a dramatic or traumatic event?  The forehead, as well?  Say, for example, the top of the ear grows most rapidly in one's early years and the lobe in later--or the other way round.  Why would it be unheard of for someone in the world to come up with the practice of feeling a person's ears to discern whether or not or when that person had experienced a very traumatic event at a certain point in his or her life? An emotional response that made a physical change on the body?

Who would come up with that?!  The puzzle of that is more perplexing to me than whether, or even that, it can be done.

I miss writing in a journal.  I miss letting the words become life and record.  I spend too much time in other pursuits to have time to keep journals, especially the way I used to before the days of Word Documents.  I can still recall the way looking at a pen and blank lined paper made me feel the same way as did the prospect of curling up with a good book on a lazy, rainy afternoon in a freshly cleaned apartment.  The promise of comfort and discovery. Anticipation.  And did I say discovery?  That was probably the most rewarding to me...the perfect and tantalizing hope that if anything happened to be nipping at my mind, I could figure it out as I let the thoughts flow through my cramping fingers.

There was a particularly anguishing and insecure period of my young life, many years ago, where a few days of writing led me to finally exclaiming that I had discovered the meaning of life.  Not just the meaning of my life, but the Meaning of Life. The true soul meaning, moving from a stagnant resting place in the mind. It was indeed profound. My very penmanship changed.  It's a simple matter now, and if I explained it or tried to explain it, I think it would fall the way of all cliche, so ... maybe later.

Well, OK, because I really dislike vague-posting, here's a hint:  It can be distilled down into just one word that rhymes with the word "glove."

Something about how the Greeks had it wrong, about there being four "types" of love--(agape, eros, philia, storge--and please forgive the absence of diacritical marks.  I need to learn some more word processing techniques.)  About the opposite of love not being hate, but being fear, but even that's not exactly true.  Like love has no opposite.  Like there is only Love or Not Love.  But then that misses the mark, too, because there is no such thing as "not love," and people can FEEL as if there are opposites to love, can feel hate as an outgrowth of fear, can feel like we love someone or something, and we can call it love if we want to.  But something in my long-ago journal taught me that love is not a feeling like Life is not a feeling.  Things about life can be felt and things about love can be felt, but life and love, even if they can seemingly cause feelings, are not, themselves, feelings.  They just are.

I know you're not rolling your eyes, here, and instead are thinking "she must have discovered that through a long series experiences in her short years which pierced her core!  She must have come to a unique interpretation of that ideal which the rest of the world had yet to reveal to her.  She must have felt something besides just her own written words lift her to the top of the world!"

And you would be right.

And life continues to roll out.

And I continue to want to write about it.