Survival Of The Non-Fittest #5: Put On A Happy Face!

When Molly was moved to Stanford Hospital, one week after her accident, she was put into an intermediate intensive care ward where she lived for one more week. Not quite intensive care, but not regular care either. Molly was out of danger, but she still required a higher level of monitoring and care than what the rehab ward provided.

For the most part, Molly slept a lot, her body needing to recuperate from the trauma of the accident and the two surgeries.

Molly had no independent movement (I emphasize that because it was extremely difficult for me to consider and think about) so she couldn’t care for herself in any way. She had a 24/7 IV drip hooked up to her body, which was how she was fed a liquid diet, and she had an indwelling catheter placed in her body which made it easier for the nursing staff to manage her urine.

The only movement she did have, was the ability to slightly shrug her shoulders. Her head couldn’t move, it was captured by the Halo which was screwed down to her skull, front and back, and then strapped down to her body. She was uncomfortable because the Halo was still on crooked, so she was unable to get comfortable enough to fully rest.

Her breathing was significantly impacted because she had no diaphragm or breath control, and she couldn’t cough or clear her throat. Because she knew what a full breath was, she was able to wait for her body to naturally inhale and exhale by itself, and to then guide the breath to completely fill her belly and lungs. This is partly how she stayed alive while she was trapped upside down in her car for 2 hours, waiting to be freed. Molly told me that if she hadn’t known how to breathe like this, she would have been in serious trouble and would never have made it out of the car alive.

Molly also had these bladder like air bags attached to her legs, which helped to stimulate and keep the blood pumping in her legs.

I remember walking in to see her and taking it all in, the way she looked, her body bruised and puffed up to about twice her normal size, hooked up to all the machinery, knowing her prognosis, and I wasn’t so sure I was going to get through this. Survival of the Non-Fittest indeed!

Having said that, the beginning of this second week was much less emotional than the first one, plus there were no emergencies that required a decision or action.

I was very much in shock and didn’t know it, as I have previously mentioned. The shock helped to deaden my emotions and to cover up the confusion I struggled to keep from overwhelming me.

If you saw me, I might have even had a smile on my face. I wanted to remain positive, whether I felt that way or not. I tried to put on a happy face in public. I got pretty good at faking it, and I thought that if I had a smile on my face instead of the terror stricken and confused way I was really feeling, people would think I was strong. So, I wore a little smile and I hoped that maybe I really would be strong, and accepting of what I could not change, just for a second.

I did not like the experience of being impacted by an event I had no part in. It worried me and it scared me and when I was alone, I was depressed by the unknown quality and uncertainty of everything in my life, like never before.

When I think about it, things happen that impact people all the time, all over the world, that they have no say about and that they can’t do anything about.

Out of all of this I began to experience the tiny beginnings of anger and resentment. I wasn’t ready to look at it, or process anything like that yet, so I swept it under the rug, along with everything else that I couldn’t face and had conveniently swept there, secretly hoping that it might go away.

Put on a Happy Face!