Support Staff

Human Body

The next three weeks seemed a little like a blur. It was hot, oppressive heat. I was still wearing the seven or eight outfits I had taken on vacation and thankfully the hotel let me do laundry. Over the course of that time my daughter had received gifts, balloons, flowers, get well wishes, phone calls, letters and a myriad of other trinkets to let her know she was being thought of. I received a few gift cards from friends with notes that said things like “buy new underwear” and “get 2 bottles of wine tonight” It was heartfelt and greatly appreciated. The routine was monotonous for me, but still excruciating for my daughter. She learned how to take her first steps with a walker, she learned how to manage a stair with her own body weight, she managed to figure out how to use a wheelchair and get herself to and from physical therapy. We were back to the basics. My daughter, her roommate and I spent many a day together. Going from one gym to the next, one holistic doctor one mainstream one, the place was a maze of things the patients were privy to. My daughter could have deep tissue massage, acupuncture, a dietician came to speak with her about proteins and feeding the bones. She had regular Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy and meetings with her surgeons and lessons on changing her bandages and how to walk without putting weight on her one leg. She had to wear a back brace for six weeks and no pressure on the one leg for fear her pelvis would split open and they’d have to go back in and put in a pin to stabilize it. She was hard-headed about a lot of things. She had pains that no one could explain. Tearing pains that made her scream out in pain and scared the hell out of me every time it happened. “Mom, it’s ripping, something’s ripping, HELP!” God at those moments I wished I was a nurse. It was scary as hell and I couldn’t do much besides call a nurse and have someone check in on her. “It’s normal” they would say. Based on how much of an impact her body went through, muscles and skin would repair itself and could be moving things inside her as it grows back. The body is a freaky thing. I would tell my daughter often, “This would be really freakin interesting if it wasn’t happening to you.” She didn’t see the amazement of the regeneration of the human body to recover. I did. It was a long day for me and I wasn’t complaining, but honestly my body hurt by the time 9pm rolled around. Then I had to do the twenty to thirty minute drive though the projects of the south and arrive back at the waterfront hotel. I would let the valet take my car and I would order one meal to my room every night. I ate once a day as to save money and most of the time I was nauseous and not into eating anyway. Coffee held me over most of the days. My daughter and her roommate formed a small support group that hung out together right outside the front doors. Six or seven patients with various injuries would maneuver their wheelchairs out the front door and into a sitting area and just sit in the sun for a bit. They would discuss their injuries; some accident victims, some amputees, some long-term care. The stories were heartbreaking and there were a lot of tears. When my daughter and her roommate would go back to their room after a gathering they would both cry. Feeling sorry for themselves, feeling sorry for the others, it was a hard time, but their support for each other I know helped them through. And it was inspiring to me to see them come together. Perfect strangers, now connected by near death experiences, meeting in a strange town, strange state and somehow connected to each other forever. Phone numbers were exchanged and addresses and of course everyone called me Ma. Even the grown men that were patients and their families. I was the first one there every day out of visitors and the last one to leave every day. And when I left, the entire floor would say “Goodbye Ma” and my daughter would cry. I would call her once I got back to the hotel. And she would cry again. She knew me well enough not to ask me why I wasn’t crying. I had things to do, there was no time to break down. I know ha not only my daughter, but the spirits of the entire floor to keep lifted up.

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