Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A long winded story to re-start this project.

Let me reset this again, and start from the very top... well, from the very top of this one mountain anyway... we can walk ourselves back down, hopefully.

When I started this project a while back I really did intend to carry it through. I thought having to blog it out there in public would motivate me, maybe even shame me into following through.
I was wrong.

I guess my shame bucket was so full already that a bit more didn't really move me anywhere, it actually made things worse in a sense.

Why did I stop drawing?
I seldom answer this question truthfully. As a matter of fact I think very few people have been told exactly why.
I often say it was because my wrist and hand suffered nerve damage during a lengthy hospital stay. This damage makes it hard for me to draw, it is painful and makes my lines shaky at best.

This of course, isn't a lie. It is just a half-truth. It is also a much shorter way to explain a very long story.

What really happened is something I really dislike to think about, overall in summer when it is muggy and hot outside and the rain leaves a gloomy picture to stare at out of the windows.

So, what's the story? Is it really that bad? No, not in comparison to other sad and tragic stories, I would venture to say I was actually a bit lucky, but that would be minimizing my pain, cutting it down to size so I won't feel too overwhelmed and I can ignore it another day.

The story itself is jumbled in my brain and I might jump back and forth as I remember bits and pieces, after all I have spent the past several years trying to forget it all or to not think about it. I apologize in advance for the mess.

It was about 9 years ago, or maybe even just a bit over 9 years ago. I purposely forgot the exact date, all I know is that it was summer, it was hot and rainy most of the time.
I had been married 3 years, I was in the middle of college, working two jobs and trying to make ends meet. My husband had recently changed jobs, things were starting to look up for us after years of living hand to mouth, barely making it month to month.

We had moved away from the cheapest apartments we could get in the student side of town to an slightly more pricey one on the more quiet part of Tallahassee. The apartment was quite a swanky upgrade with its small fireplace, large windows, new carpet and we had even managed to get our very own washer and dryer, which meant no more laundromat trips, all indeed, very fancy. I was even allowed a cat, something I had missed since moving away from home. School and work were going good, life was just the way it was supposed to and we were happy.

We were elated to learn we were expecting a baby. At first I panicked a bit. School would be a challenge, I was just 2 semesters away from graduating, but I decided it would be alright. My husband was happy, and so was I. We started preparing to make an addition to our little family and we dared to dream of an even brighter future ahead.

I started visiting the doctor. The first time I met my OBGYN I felt a bit wrong. She was curt, short with words and I could tell she wasn't listening to a word I said. I was just a warm body to poke, prod and send on its way. She berated me for being overweight, totally ignored me when I said my family had a history of having to deliver babies through C-Section due to different complications and waved me away saying we were definitely going to avoid a C-Section and that I should calm down and not be a scarey cat.

I felt a bit hurt and off, I have always been a very docile and obedient patient. I always trusted my doctors and did as I was told. When sick I would wait until I couldn't stand the pain before I made a visit and I was very healthy growing up, so I could go years without needing to see a doctor or nurse, a fact I was actually really proud of.

I followed her instructions. I was careful of what I ate, I never complained, but after a couple of months it was clear to me that something was wrong. I felt dizzy, disoriented, nauseous, sick and was in constant pain at all times. I couldn't eat, the only things I could keep down were plums and water, everything else made me ill.

During my next appointment I voiced my concerns to the doctor. She didn't even look me in the eye and said: "Oh, that's nothing, we have a patient who is so sick she needed to be placed on bed rest for months and hooked up to an IV because she was incredibly dehydrated. You are loosing a bit too much weight and should stop complaining and freaking out and eat something. I am done here" and walked out on us.

Once again I felt terrible... was I being too whiny somehow? I was probably being an obnoxious brat and I should behave and do better: That's what I told myself after that.

Things didn't get better. By the end of the second trimester I was so sick I was starting to just loose confidence that I could do anything right, even eat, breathe, I felt alone, sad, but I was determined to "suck it up" and be a "good girl". I pressed on...

I pressed on until one evening. We were meeting a friend at her house to watch a movie and have pizza. I had been feeling specially sick that day, my stomach had really been bothering me and the nagging pain that had been there for months got steadily worse as the day wore down.

I thought maybe I just had drank too much water and had too many plums. Maybe I was sick out of being hungry, I just didn't know anymore. As my husband ran into blockbuster to get a DVD I sat in the car mulling this over.
The pain was getting bad, but I could still walk around so I decided to ignore it, just as I had been told, it probably was nothing.

We went to our friend's house, watched a movie, I halfheartedly ate some pizza, and then we went home.

It was rather late, the pain got more intense, I tried to use the restroom thinking it would help, as I walked out of it I suddenly felt faint. My eyes suddenly closed, I lost control of my legs, arms, body and went deaf. I just felt the sharp pain as I hit the ground and when I opened my eyes again my husband was calling my name frantic, holding my head and asking if I was OK. He looked so scared I barely knew what to say.

I just let out a: "No, I don't think I am OK"

I asked him to call the doctor's office, he did right away, only to get connected to a cranky nurse that said, once again, that it was probably nothing, just a dizzy spill. "But she is white as a ghost and she just collapsed!" he protested. She didn't seem moved by his urgency and said that if we *Really* thought we needed help, to just call an ambulance then.

My husband hung up in anger, we looked at each other, I was starting to have difficulty breathing, the pain was so intense that the mere act of drawing in air into my lungs sent incredibly sharp and burning spikes of pain all over my abdomen. After a couple of seconds of self-doubt I looked at my husband and we knew we had to call for help.

He called an ambulance, tried to explain what was wrong, and came back by my side. I was scared, but he was terrified. I felt awful for making him worry, but I knew something was going incredibly wrong, the worst part, I didn't know what.

We waited for a while for the ambulance. I was starting to have real trouble breathing, I was panicking in pain and worried out of my head about the baby. My husband started pacing around, looking out of the windows, cursing under his breath because I was obviously deteriorating fast and the ambulance wasn't there yet. I am not sure how long we waited, but, like with all incredibly painful times, it felt as if we sat there, frozen in fear for hours.

The ambulance finally arrived, two EMT's rushed upstairs, they started asking rapid fire questions, I barely could talk much anymore, they took my pressure and I felt relieved they were there, but I was still keeping my wits about as much as I could, I decided I wouldn't be safe until I was at the hospital and a competent doctor had berated me for making a mountain out of a mole hill. I was hoping I was being overly cautious and all I had was a terrible case of indigestion... I kept telling myself that just to make myself feel less panicked anyway.

My pulse was totally wrong, I was definitely sick somehow, the EMT's recommended I go to the ER, but they couldn't move me on their own since we were in a second floor and our stairs were very steep. I looked at my husband and we managed to get me on my feet. I screamed at the sudden pain, every step I took felt like a stab to the stomach, I started to cry halfway to the door, but I had to be brave, I had to suck it up and the EMT's had already rolled the gurney up to the stairs. I had to manage those steps, I could do it, I HAD to do it.

I had never been in such intense pain before, I never saw that flight of steps the same from that day on.

Once in the ambulance I was given oxygen, the ride to the hospital was a quiet one, no sirens, the streets were empty, but every little bump and pothole on the road made me want to scream my head off in pain. I started to concentrate on just keeping awake and breathing in short hurried breaths, which was all my body allowed me to take in. I could tell how close we were to the hospital by looking up and out of the ambulance windows, the dark canopy of trees looking rather scary so late at night while the EMT with me kept reassuring me we were closer and apologizing for every jump the gurney took on the road. "This needs some serious repaving" I said cracking half a smile between the tears at a poor attempt to stop being so awfully scared.

We finally arrived, the EMT's rolled me out of the ambulance and my husband rushed to my side having taken the car from home following us the whole way. He grabbed my hand and I am not even sure if he spoke to me again for a while or just tried his best to explain to everybody what was wrong with me because I had started to be quiet trying to save oxygen.

I was thrown into the maternity triage area, 2 or so other women were there, one was talking in an animated tone to a triage nurse, another was quiet on her bed. The nurse that saw me started poking and prodding at me quickly, asking questions I could barely answer and making me cry in pain. She declared she didn't see anything outwardly wrong with me, that I had probably worked myself out to a frenzy and that's why I was pale and why my pressure was incredibly high, but just to humor me she was going to admit me to observation until I calmed down.

I cried... once again I was being treated like a petulant child who had thrown an undeserved tantrum. I got quiet and let them wheel me away again into a room with a TV. My husband felt powerless and angry. He knew I was in pain, but I had started to doubt myself again. Was I being a hypochondriac? Was I over-reacting? I laid there in a very uncomfortable position were the nurses had left me after I had cried in pain when they had transferred me from the gurney: "Well, if you are going to complain so much, we can't move you around" they had said making me feel terrible.

CNN was on the TV, it was late night, the hospital was quiet and all I could do was tell myself: "Keep breathing, don't sleep, keep breathing, don't sleep, keep breathing, don't sleep".
I felt as if I were keeping my face above water as the water levels rose and I had my nose and lips pressed against the ceiling or a very small cage that kept on shrinking.
"If you don't get yourself out of this, no one will" I found myself thinking. "Don't stop taking in air, fight, fight!".

The nurses came in periodically over the course of several hours. They would bring in a blood pressure machine, strap it to my arm and find my pulse more rapid and fainter each time.

"The machine is wrong" they said at first "We'll bring another"

My husband held my hand, talked words to me I could barely pay attention to and softly petted my head trying to hold back tears at times. I had to be strong, I didn't want him to cry.

Another set of nurses walked in with two more machines, all of them indicated I had started to take a nose dive.

"All these machines are wrong" they declared.
My husband was bewildered, how could they all be wrong? Were we all taking crazy pills?

The oldest nurse finally resorted to taking my pulse manually. She went from annoyed to incredibly pale and muttered something about me not having a pulse at all. She sent the nurses packing to look for the nearest doctor, she made quick frantic calls over the phone all while shaking and stumbling over her words.

A myriad of machines were wheeled into the room. I was strapped to monitors, beeping machines, paper was being printed, vitals being measured, sonogram wands jabbed around my abdomen, something that made me nearly loose conscience in pain and loss of breath.

There room went quiet, the doctor gained color, from pink to orange straight to red. She glared at the nurses and barked at them, I am not sure what she said anymore, but she was supremely mad... apparently I had been slowly bleeding internally for 6 hours or so under their care. I was on the brink of death and I had definitely lost our baby a while back. My uterus had ruptured, all the pain was due to the blood pooling inside my body, I couldn't breathe because I was both out of blood and drowning from the inside (later we learned I had a rare genetic defect, a bicornuate uterus, this meant my uterus was sort of sectioned in two, the embryo had implanted on the section that wasn't communicated with the cervix and more icky medical junk I won't go into but feel the need to clarify). I was virtually dead.

The nurses panicked, one of the youngest ones was visibly upset, their voices were shaking as they started to hurriedly carry me to the emergency operating room.

I was in a daze of sorts. I was incredibly sad, scared, angry all at once. My vision was starting to become blurred, I couldn't keep on breathing any more, everything was falling apart rapidly at the seams and now I was just trying, with every ounce of strength left in me, to stay alive until I made it to the operating table.

My husband walked fast by the side of my bed as the nurses rolled me away. He was crying. I was crying, but I couldn't stand it. Against my best judgement I pooled as much air as I could and tried to weave in reassuring words.

"I'll be OK, I haven't gone this far just to be with you to leave you now" I said. I might have said something else, maybe I said that I didn't want to see him cry and that I would be right back, that the doctors were going to fix me up and that everything was going to be alright, but maybe I just thought I said it.

The nurse wheeling the bed around started to cry. When a nurse starts to cry on the way into an operating room it isn't the best sign. They made my husband let go of my hand, and I was pushed into another room. Several doctors where jogging about, a nurse hurriedly brought a clipboard and said it was the form I had to sign to let them open me up. I looked at her as if she had two heads, I could barely make anything out around me, let alone a legal document. I was loosing control of my body and could barely breathe.

She put a pen on my hand, I said I needed help signing, she helped by putting the clipboard as close to my hand as she could and I chicken scratched something that resembled an S and a flat line next to it.

The doctors came over to me, they quickly introduced themselves, a whole team of 3 surgeons "oh yay!" I thought delirious by this point and then I spoke the words that could be the very last that came out of my mouth:
"It's OK, I am not worried, now you guys are here and you are going to make things work so I can wake up again. I am sure I am in good hands. Thanks" Or something very close to that, and then I closed my eyes and everything went blank.


Waking up was hard. Everything was dark and quiet, but in the distance I could hear my husband's voice faintly calling me. Yes, just like in the movies, I could hear my name as if I were suspended in a deep pool of water. I could tell he was crying, I couldn't have him crying, I had to wake up, I had to wake up right then and tell him I was OK. I willed myself to open my goddamned eyes with all my might, so I did, but all I could see were blurs and hear my husband call me half surprised half crying frantically.

I tried to take in some air to say I was OK, to not cry, that I was OK, but suddenly all the air was sucked out of my lungs at the same time and I panicked. I tried to move my arms unsuccessfully and suddenly realized there were several people around because they were yelling at each other and at me. "She is not supposed to be awake yet!" one of them yelled in a panic.

Something was taking away my air and pumping in air at the wrong times. "Put her back to sleep!"

Everything went blank again.

I am not sure how long I slept, but the next time I woke up someone was talking to me calmly and methodically and I was tied down to the bed. They were explaining I was hooked up to a respirator, that if I wanted to be awake I had to follow instructions carefully to get it off.

It wasn't fun, it wasn't pretty, and it hurt a lot. Once the tube was removed I stopped breathing again, total fail on my part. The doctor was pumping my chest like crazy screaming stuff like: "BREATH! BREATH DAMMIT!"
I, as twisted as ever, found this funny and kept thinking: "I am trying! FUCK! I am REALLY TRYING! STOP YELLIIIING!" but no words were coming out of my mouth... after all I wasn't really breathing and they had just pulled a tube out of my throat to make matters worse.

Somehow they got my heart and lungs sorta working. They kept pumping air manually for a while and slowly put an oxygen mask on me scared it all would collapse again (and it did, several times a day for the next couple of days, oh how we all panicked).

My husband was standing there, so scared, and it was all my fault. I felt so sad, but at the same time i was so happy to see him again. I tried to smile and I cried, he smiled back, cried and hugged me gingerly scared that he would kill me probably.

The days in the ICU were some of the darkest I have lived. I kept sinking in and out of a restless drug induced sleep. My lungs gave in every now and again, I was so sad, so defeated in incredible amounts of pain and exhausted I barely had strength to keep myself alive. I was mostly just willing myself to stay because my husband was there and I truly didn't want him to see me die. Unfortunately he had to eat, use the restroom, and I would feel so tired when he left I would let my consciousness go and my body would take that as a sign to finally die and actually get some rest for a change.

My husband stopped leaving my side, repeating "Please be OK, don't go" over and over, the ICU nurses stopped trying to take him away, scared that I would actually just pass away if he wasn't there. They let him sleep by my side on a chair, holding my hand, talking to me when the sun went down and the ICU went quiet, when the other patients would cry all night long because of the pain, the fear of not making it through the night, I could hear monitors going flat, teams trying to bring people back every hour on the hour, waking up, falling asleep, letting myself go too far and having to be brought back alive myself again. My chest was so sore from so many compressions.

I really don't know if I could have kept my wits if I had been in my husband's shoes. I had it bad, but somehow i feel he had it worse.

The doctors were all very worried, they took blood samples and all they drew out looked like strawberry lemonade instead of blood. I was pumped in with units and units of blood for a whole day. I was hooked onto a morphine dispensing machine to alleviate my pain and I quickly needed it adjusted to give me more and more doses.

I lost track of time, and finally the nurses tried to make me stand to stop me from developing blood cloths on my legs.

It was like learning to walk all over again... while your intestines hung precariously over stitches keeping a long twisted wound from the navel to the pelvis from coming apart and making a mess. I cried, screamed and moaned in pain while trying not to pass out.

The moment I stood up I felt this bolt of pure terror pass through my body. I turned around to look at my room and saw the machines that were tattered to me at different points. A central line kept feeding me blood and fluids, IV's in both my arms kept pumping my with meds, electrodes littered all over my body beeped incessantly and urgently whenever I moved.

I realized I needed to get out of there or I was going to die.

I cried myself to sleep every night. I dreamed of the beach, the sun the waves breaking.

I kept waking up in our apartment, in our room, I was fine, just as I had been 2 weeks before, just without pain. I would sigh in relief, I was so happy it all had been a bad dream, I turned to my husband and would say good morning, he would move slightly and then I would try to get out of bed, I would stumble, fall and wake up in the ICU.

The same nightmare would happen every time I closed my eyes. I would be OK, then wake up to realize I really wasn't.

I started to get better, I started to joke again, just in time for the bereavement crew to make its entrance... again. They had actually been there the first day or so I was at the ICU and could barely move and couldn't speak. I communicated with people by writing for a couple of days, so when they came in the caught us all off guard.

They were carrying a big envelope, hurriedly introduced themselves and the main "counselor" started pulling things off the envelope, a baby blanket, she said they had wrapped my dead baby on. She placed the blanket on my lap, I looked at my husband panicked, he angrily took the blanket away and threw it at the counselor. She was undeterred, she started pulling out pictures of the dead baby and a plush animal they had posed it with. I felt sick, faint and everything collapsed again.

The nurses came rushing in, yelled at the counselor, threw her out the room and barred her from coming back.

But she was stubborn. She arrived while the nurses were changing shifts. I was joking with my husband and a friend for the first time since I had arrived at the hospital, they were happy that they could make me smile a bit, things were going to be ok... until the counselor waltzed in.

"You are laughing way too much" she declared. The room went quiet, my husband suddenly changed from slightly upbeat to menacingly quiet. "You should cry more, you aren't crying enough"

Her words flew across the room like poisoned daggers and lodged into my head and heart. My husband, friend and the nurses were yelling at her, pushing her away angrily. The damage was done.

I didn't smile nor laugh but bitterly or in a manic state for the next months to a year.

For all I cared I was a horrible human being. I had dared laugh when I had just failed at the most basic thing I could do apart from keeping myself alive, I had failed at keeping my baby alive and I should be in terrible angst about it, not slightly relieved that I was alive and could probably live to see another day. The counselor might not have meant it that way, but the way she said those words and the moment she had delivered them at made it incredibly damaging.

The hospital staff had been incredibly careful not asking me why I was in the ICU. They had placed a bereavement notice at my door to make sure doctors didn't ask, one or two missed the notice and asked, but felt silent and changed the subject quickly when I answered why.

After 5 days in the ICU I graduated to a normal hospital room. I mostly looked forward to nights without the weeping, cries and machinery going berserk around me.
My husband finally could run back home, make sure the cat was OK, take a quick shower and change of clothes and come back to my side again.

After a while we left the hospital, before I did my husband and a friend went to our home and removed any hints that we once had been expecting a baby. They gave away or stored the baby clothes we so happily had bought, the toys, and knick knacks for a nursery we had started planning, it all was gone by the time I tentatively went back up those same steps and walked back into the home that now felt strangely dark, cold and uninviting.

We were set to move away after a couple of weeks, our search for a bigger place to live postponed because of the whole ordeal we had just been through and because my husband refused to leave my side.

The next months I spent in a drugged induced daze. I needed high doses of morphine and narcotics to deal with the physical pain. I had been given anti-depressants after being reviewed by a psychiatrist before leaving due to my obviously somber mood and because I cried for so long and so hard that I had induced myself into a massive nose bleed the day before being discharged. Also answering the question: "How are you feeling today?" with "I feel awful, I feel like dying" apparently had been a poor choice of words, but in my defense, I did feel like I was dead and walking about.

At home the anti-depressants made me go from manic during the day to incredibly depressed at night. I had nightmares about waking up at the ICU every time I dozed off. I stopped sleeping altogether.

We moved, my scars healed slowly and we decided to take me off the anti-depressants, my mood swings were so violent my husband feared I would do harm to myself if left unattended.

I had dropped out of school for a semester to heal, when the new semester dawned I re-enrolled hoping it would help me stay sane, and so I pushed myself to be back right as my stitches were coming all off and I felt a bit better. It was a mistake, the first day back I could feel the wounds wanting to re-open as I walked around campus and I had to go back home, sulk and dropped out again.

My mental health deteriorated. I spent most of the day going in and out of a restless nightmare ridden sleep and my nights fully awake knitting a seemingly endless scarf and counting each stitch to keep myself from thinking.

I danced back and forth between insane and sane and tried to keep a front so i wouldn't scare my husband.

Months passed, the doctors explained that I could have babies eventually but that I needed surgery to fix the mess that had caused the whole nightmare to start.
Eager to prove I could do things right and to make up for what I blamed myself for I went on to prepare for a new surgery.

I went back to school and work and used all my energy to graduate with honors in as little time and with as big of a work load as I possibly could schedule. The busier I was the less time I had to loathe myself, to think about what had happened, to duel on terrible memories, to cry until I hurt my eyes.

I graduated, I went through the surgery and thought things would work out and the hurt would eventually fade.

We soon learned we were expecting again. This time I wasn't happy, I was cautious and a little scared, I had another chance and I wasn't going to mess it up...

We called the doctor's office to make my first appointment. I explained I needed to see the doctor right away to make sure things were in their proper place given my history. The receptionist on the line was unimpressed and refused to let me talk to a nurse even. She unceremoniously let me know I had to wait until my time for the first appointment rolled around. I asked if there was a number i could call in case of an emergency. She scoffed and just replied: "911".

I was angry, but let it be, still I was prepared to call the ambulance and march to the hospital at the first sign of trouble this time.
Unfortunately just a day after I tried to make an appointment I started feeling very sick and in pain again.

Once more I wasn't bleeding or had any symptoms of something being wrong, but my body had just been through hell and had taught itself what hell felt like in order to survive and sound the alarm at top volume.

We climbed into the car immediately and drove to the ER 2 years after my last visit. We waited about an hour and a half, maybe 2 while I doubled in pain. This time I knew I wasn't wrong, I wasn't exaggerating and I was in trouble. When the ER doctor saw me and my history he took me very seriously, ordered all the test necessary and hooked me up to narcotics to stop the pain. My uterus had ruptured again in the same spot, just "fortunately" at a very early stage of the pregnancy. Apparently the corrective surgery I had undergone had been rather clumsy and left me just half-way fixed up.

I was admitted to the hospital and received another emergency surgery. I had failed again.

As I sat in the hospital room after the surgery I tried not to think too much about what just had happened. It was Thanksgiving day, I had been on a liquid diet for days, the narcotics were giving me massive headaches and I really wanted some solid food. When the bland oatmeal and jell-o arrived for breakfast as I tried to sort of watch the Macy's parade I lost it. I had a big tantrum about food, about the hospital about how everything sucked, about how badly I sucked and I cried and cried.

Somehow that made enough of an impression because for lunch I got my first real meal of turkey, canned cranberries, stuffing and pumpkin pie. I cried again as I ate it all, for all I cared it was the most amazing meal ever, my heart was broken, my soul was missing pieces, but at least I had some goddammed turkey and pumpkin pie. I was alive and as awful as I was I was still glad I hadn't died and I felt terrible for it.

I spent a week in the hospital that time. I had a new wound to nurse. My abdomen now looked like a terribly crude map of a very short subway with crisscrossing crooked lines from my bellybutton down.

We went home and my depression worsened. I had now failed twice. I was a danger to myself and any babies I ever tried to have. I was a failure as a mom, a woman and a wife and nothing I did from that point on could ever make up for that. Oh, I cried, I cried day and night for so long I stopped trying to figuring out what day it was or what month. I cried until I felt my head would explode and I had ran out of tears.

When I finally stopped I felt broken, but I was alive so I had to move on. I used humor to hide the pain like I always did. I had nightmares every night and woke up in the middle of night terrors, but I forced myself to try and sleep at night. I started looking for a job, because I had graduated, I wasn't being a mom and probably never would, and I needed to do something with my life before I lost my mind all the way.

I stopped drawing then. I couldn't figure out a punishment, nothing I could do would be enough to make up for my failure, the least I could do was to stop doing the one thing that always made me happy: To draw.

In my deranged broken mind and logic I figured, if I couldn't create life like I was supposed to, then I shouldn't be able to create anything at all. At the time, it made perfect sense.

People would often ask me about my kids, or if I was going to have kids soon. I would just smile politely and say that I didn't have kids nor did I see any in my future. As I got closer to my 30th birthday people started to get more and more nosy about it, some complete strangers even hinting that I was being a bad wife by not bearing children for my husband.

It has been 9 years since that night, about 7 years since I punished myself. I still get questions about my kids or my lack of kids. I occasionally get lectured on about why I don't have kids yet and how bad a wife I am for it. I get well intentioned comments to the vein of: "Oh, one day you'll want them, hopefully you will soon, you aren't getting any younger" "But you are so much fun and so good with kids, you would be an awesome mom!" "You can take my kids, they drive me crazy, HAHA!" "You should adopt! There are thousands of kids out there that need a good home".

I still have nightmares often, about 5 times a week or more. I still get night terrors. I still knit, but I don't count stitches anymore.

I have never written this out in detail, I must admit I didn't put as many details as I remember this time either out of the need to make this short, and it has run this long already, and I am starting to doubt this will ever leave the draft folders of my e-mail, but it might before I loose my nerve, who knows.

I am not sure if the hurt and pain will ever truly fade. They say time heals all wounds, but as time goes by I wonder if that holds true for all scars.

For now, all I can do is try to help myself realize that even though my body was flawed it wasn't really my fault, that I deserve to be happy doing what I love and that I need to let myself live my life without sabotaging myself in order to find atonement for my flaws. I have also realized a lot of the pain and hurt has been kept alive and well thanks to memories tied to places I have to go to around this town. I have never had nightmares or night terrors while traveling, The only time I sleep soundly is when I am away from here, my stress levels go way down and climb up when I return, so moving is imperative as well.

And so now that I have probably bored whoever was brave enough to read this, let me try and start this project over.

1 doodle a day every day for a year... 365 doodles to break the punishment I put myself under for so long. 365 drawings to help me wake up from this daze and start working toward the dreams I barred myself from.


Update (8/8/12):

Wow... imagine if you may, getting up from your living room's couch, turning the TV and lights off and turning in for the night.
Then waking up, walking out of your room in a sleepy daze and turning the lights back on just to find out there is a bunch of completely wonderful strangers crowding about your living room and telling you encouraging and sweet words out of nowhere that make you feel both happy and overwhelmed.

That's pretty much what happened today... just metaphorically speaking, I doubt our humble apartment could fit a fraction of the many wonderful people that have been stopping by and showing me that, something I wrote mostly just out of necessity to help myself heal and move on, has touched them and helped them as well.

When I first logged in to check e-mails and make sure my posting last night made sense (I wrote it late when I wanted to go to bed), I thought my stats had gone bonkers since the counter for the day was at nearly 500 hits and it wasn't even 7 in the morning yet, overall when I was used to and felt honored when I had about 30 visitors a day. I chuckled, put on my glasses and refreshed just in case. It wasn't long before I figured out Jen at Epbot had linked to my blog and written a very heart warming post about me herself. I felt incredibly bashful and slightly panicked as in: "OMG people are actually reading this now!?" *small freak out followed by muppet flail and double checks*

Also apparently I have made a bunch of you guys cry... then I read your comments and Jen's entry and I cried because you all cried and then I cried a bit more because you are all so awesome aaand then my husband asked what was wrong because it wasn't even 7:30 and there were tears streaming down my face, so it has been a cry-fest, the good kind... and maybe I should invest on the Kleenex company ;)

I can only say: Thank you.

I could write pages about how much this means to me and how you all have made me realize I can do this, but really I would probably botch it up caught up on this emotional storm... sort of like Burgundy's glass case of emotion (Anchorman anybody?).

I would like to say some things though, first I can't really make any excuses for the doctors and nurses that messed things up, I have no idea what went through their minds, what broke down and precipitated it all. I gave it a lot of thought, but it all boiled down to them probably being jaded and deaf.

That being said I want to leave on record that I had a-freaking-mazing nurses on the ICU. I still feel sad I can't remember their names or even their faces (drugs can do that), but they were incredible, they were warm, sweet, caring and made sure my husband was eating and taking in fluids even when he wouldn't leave. They talked to me tenderly as they checked my IV's, cateters, dressings and asked how I was doing and even tried to make me smile and laugh. They talked to my husband to make sure he was OK, they recommended me books (one got me to read Artemis Fowl when she heard I liked Harry Potter), so not all nurses I know are bad, I can say I now know a lot of them and there are some incredible ones.

As for the nurses that had me in their care as I spiraled down, I am sure they felt awful after the fact, one reason I know is because at least one of them came to see me at the ICU because she just wanted to make sure, with her very own eyes, I had made it and she looked like she wanted to cry (I hazily remember this, I couldn't place her then but my husband let me know she was one of the nurses who had been in charge of me when I was still under "observation"). 

Same thing for doctors. I love my general doctor, he listens to me always takes me seriously, gets my jokes and doesn't bat an eye when my husband comes in with me for check ups and he remembers our names and everything about us mostly without looking at his charts. He heard I was in the hospital the first time around when he was stopping by to consult with another doctor, he tracked me down and paid me a visit at my hospital room just to say hi and that he was worried about me when he saw my name on the roster. Like I said, awesome doctor.

Also the surgeons that saved my life, can't say good enough stuff about them. And while at it even though it is not so much on topic, I owe a big thanks to the blood donors I will never know, without the extra blood I had I wouldn't have made it either, so kids, donate blood if you can, you can be somebody's hero any day... plus they give you cookies and juice, score!!!

Like with everything there will be good and bad professionals. I somehow managed to land on the most disastrous streak ever and barely made it out alive. Hopefully the whole ordeal taught me many things:
-To never doubt myself when I know I need help
-To let others know I need help
-To switch doctors if I don't feel comfortable
-To never give up
-That I have an incredible husband and network of friends and family
-That I am loved (I knew this before, but the extent of it is overwhelming and makes me feel incredibly lucky)
-That any day from that point was gonna be a good day once I put it on perspective. (This helps a lot when I am down and my day has sucked, I can always say, "Hey, at least I get to go home and be OK in the end."

To any medical professionals reading this, I just have one request: You probably already know this, but please, never forget to listen. I know you might get a lot of hypochondriacs, crazy high maintenance patients, but listening to your patients is monumentally important, please don't ever forget that.

To everybody else that stopped by, gave comforting or encouraging words, shared their own stories, once again: Thank you.

Update of the Update. (Did I mention the word "Update"?)