Friday, October 12, 2012

Clingy and Depressed...and Moving On

How changeable we humans are!

I have gone from counting my blessings to feeling glum about almost everything since the wreck. Yesterday was the second day I felt utterly exhausted, and I can only guess that my body is sucking up calories, growing new bone to repair my rib fractures.

My follow-up appointment to see my ED/trauma docs was yesterday morning, and I was sad that I wouldn't see them again, that they were cutting me loose to face the world. These skilled people made me feel safe when my sense of safety had been severely compromised. I want to invite them to Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas brunch  - something - but they are near strangers who doubtless wish me the best but have other people, other traumas to heal.

I feel similarly about the nurses, the firefighters, the police, the EMTs. I am one more face in the crowd of traumatic human experiences, but they are more to me. They preserved my health. They took care of my children. They deserve a parade. Or a banquet.

In those first hours at the hospital post-accident, the nurses showered my kids with attention, toys and treats - a new football, a toy car, a Betty Boop doll, popsicles, chocolate milk and crackers. Oh, and a small teddy bear with a red bow that I happen to be sleeping with at the moment. I found him when I came home and christened him Michael. At night when I'm lying in the recliner (the one place where I can sleep comfortably with these ribs), he is tucked under my left arm providing cushion to the sensitive ribs. He helps me not to feel so alone when all my family is down the hall in their beds. I would like to say that this is unusual behavior for me, clinging to a teddy bear, but I have never lost touch with the child within, probably because I'm the youngest of four children.

And maybe this is why I miss our van, our poor totaled van that I used to say had a terrible engine, mediocre brakes and an awful turn radius. Still, I don't believe it deserved what happened to it at all, poor thing. I remember lolling my head side to side in the middle of the intersection, marveling at how horrible it looked with its shattered glass, exposed wires and displaced air vents. I told my husband in the hospital that I didn't want to see it ever again, even if the insurance said it wasn't a total loss. I didn't want the reminder of an unfortunate day.

But now that the insurance has declared it a total loss, I wish I had it back. It was mine, and it was reliable. And I do verily believe there is nothing more depressing than shopping for a new vehicle, nothing to make you feel so desperately mired in commercialism as dealing with salespeople. All our hopes for a good family vehicle seem to be deflated at every turn. There is so much consumer information to struggle through.

But, anyhow, I don't want to drive again as soon as I must. We were out a couple evenings ago looking at minivans and picking up supper, and I was nervous; I despised the traffic. I could not wait to run inside my home when we pulled in our driveway. But starting on Monday, I must drive again come hell or high water. I must attempt not to think about what can happen at any moment, things absolutely beyond my control. I must stop telling my husband repeatedly, "Drive safe! Please be safe. Watch out, I mean it," when he leaves me.

Well, well. I am a normal, changeable human being. The more I drive the less jumpy I'll be. The more time that passes the less clingy I'll be to this teddy bear or to the people who guarded our family's well-being at a crucial time.

Perhaps by writing the dozen and more thank you notes I need to write to family, friends, firemen, police, doctors, nurses, I will learn to let go and move on.

But tell me: what are your best ideas to say thank you to near strangers whose efforts mean so much? I would bake them each a pile of cookies, but I don't know if that's acceptable. Let me have your opinion, please.


  1. Send the nurses some new toys and sweeties with which to amuse other children.

    Good wishes for your continuing recovery.

    1. This is a really great idea. You could do the same thing for the other first responders--they see a lot of scared kids. But I wouldn't hesitate to bake cookies either. For you, it would be great therapy--baking therapy!! Wishing you peace in your recovery. Love you, Camille.

    2. Today I took the nurses new toys to hand out to the children, and they were so grateful; it was really a good idea, Clare. One nurse told me she regularly goes to buy the toys herself, and I just couldn't believe it.

      I also baked a pumpkin chocolate cake for the nurses and docs, and as long as I didn't forget the sugar (I have sadly done that before, it should be edible...maybe even delicious if the baking stars aligned!

    3. Oh wow! I've just spotted this follow-up. Pleased the idea was of use. I think I'll try to find out if there's a similar need in the hospital here.

  2. Cookies would be acceptable and accepted! But I love the idea of giving books and bears to the first responders for the other children they have to comfort and care for :)

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  4. Vinca, I still need to bake those cookies. And I want to for the firemen, but I've always heard they are themselves excellent cooks by neccessity, so I'm a little scared to take them a plate of my making, lest the offering fail to measure up.


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