|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.