Wednesday, October 22, 2008

one year post

One year post. I still feel very new. Some people may wonder what I was thinking that day I fell, October 11, 2007. I stayed over at a friend's house in Endicott and she drove me to ETM. I didn't want to go to work because it was raining that morning and
I didn't want to be on the roof. In fact, we all griped about being on the roof that day. Working on a pitched tin roof in the rain? Fuck no. But we couldn't complain. We were young and depended on this job. You can't "pussy" out. The head guy, Roger was in a rush to finish the job. We were still green, so it took a while to get our measurements right, drill right into the beams, and get the panels on straight. It really is tough to get spot on.

The worst came when Roger said it would be best if we didn't use our harnesses. He said we had to move quickly and they would just be in the way. I was working with Roger to finish the panels on one section of roof while Josh and Ed finished the rails on the other.

I remember at one point I was a ways from the panels and I found myself slipping quickly. It was so inevitable. I remember this so clearly. There was no point in screaming for help or trying to scramble back up the roof. Falling from a great height was my worst fear. I didn't want to remember falling. There wasn't time for me to think about my life. I was facing the roof when I slipped, feet first. I could see my feet approach the edge of the roof and the last thing I thought was, "Lord, take me." After so many years of not feeling close to God for so many reasons, there wasn't a time where I trusted God more. There is no way to explain it. Just like you can't explain why you love or why you need to create art or music.

The next things I remember are spotty and drug induced. I do remember the unpleasant feeling of the breathing tubes being inserted and hearing others being intubated as well. A lot of vomiting and suctioning was involved. It was excrutiating but I quickly learned it was necessary to breathe. I didn't understand my situation. All I knew was that I had tubes in my mouth and my hands weren't working right. I thought my body was just in shock from the fall and it would return to normal in a few days. I didn't realize my scull was screwed and fixed to a weight to keep straight and still. The only thing to do was learn the sights and sounds of the monitors; oxygen saturation, blood pressure, heart rate, dynamics of the ventilator.

I had dreams, hallucinations, relived some days and nights. I had some sick insights into the reality of healthcare that terrify me to this day. There are too many to tell, I'll leave that for another time. I just know that I do not want to be on a ventilator again and that even though I still have a trach, it's nothing compared to that. There is always something to be thankful for and always something to give. When I realized that I was still alive, I thought, "wait a minute God, this is not what I wanted!" Then I only fought to survive to see my mother another day. Later still, I thought, "what's the use of me now that my body doesn't work?" At Mount Sinai I determined that as long as I could breathe I better be good for something or somebody. We're here, right? might as well use our time well.