Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What's Really Important

First of all, THANK YOU for all the well wishes I've received by text message, email and Facebook.

I wish I could tell you what happened to me in the last 24 hours, but I'm still drawing a blank.  I remember taking our foster son to the park to play with some friends.  I remember filing an application for an attorney.  I remember watching a video or two on the Far Between web site.  Apart from that, the first thing I really have any clear memory of in the past day was waking up in the emergency room at about 1 a.m., with my husband Göran and our dear friend Peggy by my side.

What I am told is that, around 5 p.m., some good Samaritan found me face down on a sidewalk, toppled over my bike, on the south side of a public park adjacent to our home.  I was covered in blood and had a major gash on my head which the doctors have since stapled together.  (Staples?  Really?  Actually, I have some vague memory of the doctor telling me he was about to staple my head.  But I don't remember much anything of the actual experience itself.)  The man who found me walked me home with my bike, and then I called my husband Göran on my cell phone.  Göran called the ambulance.  The stranger who found me stayed until help arrived, and wrote his name and phone number on a piece of paper before he left.  I'm telling you all this because this is what people told me happened.  I don't remember any of it at all, even though everyone assures me I was quite loquacious through the whole experience.

Our son Glen and his boyfriend Will had spent time doing vigil with Göran and our friend Peggy in the hospital.  (I think I remember Glen crying by my bed side.)  He and Will later went home to pick up our other foster son (who was staying with a next door neighbor) and keep an eye on him and put him to bed while Göran remained behind with our friend Peggy.

They did a CAT scan on me from head to toe.  (I vaguely remember being carted to the CAT scan machine, and being awkwardly moved by the nurses from the gurney to some pads in front of the machine.)  I had a concussion.  They discovered a cyst around my spleen, which at first they were going to hospitalize me for, and possibly do immediate surgery.  Further study of the CAT scans revealed, however, that the cyst was not accident-related, and was not as urgent as they thought.  Once I was awake enough to stand up, the doctor prescribed heavy-duty painkillers and said I could go home -- but ordered me to bed rest for the next week or two.

Trust me.  I'm horizontal typing this.

I was dreaming before I woke up.  In my dream, Göran and I had learned that we were going to be able to adopt our foster son.  I was also in some kind of process, petitioning my Stake to reinstate my membership in the Church.  Göran says I was talking virtually the whole time I was in the emergency room with them, though I don't remember any of this.  I was telling our friend Peggy about our trip to California, and the wonderful time we had at Circling the Wagons.  One of the first things I remember from waking up was saying: "I wish I weren't excommunicated from the Church."

I guess I could be dead.  I could be seriously incapacitated, or in a coma.  The doctors tell me my memories from the last 24 hours may or may not come back.

The first really strong emotion I felt was just gratitude.  Apparently I'm OK.  I woke up surrounded by family and friends, eventually learning of a barrage of well wishes and offers to help on Facebook.

I don't know if this will sound odd for me to say, but I woke up feeling the Spirit, reassuring me that I was cared for and everything would be OK.  I woke up knowing that life is precious, and that what is most precious in life is family, friends and faith.  I never felt abandoned by God.  If anything, I felt sustained by him.  I have one fleeting memory of flying through the air, and thinking that word: "sustained."

My wish not to be excommunicated is a wish to have my outward relationship with the Church rectified to match the inward relationship I feel with God.

I do remember a kind of darkness too, and thinking I was close to death, and thinking if death came now, I was ready.  Maybe even eager to see what is on the other side, because I trust it is marvelous.

But really, I have a son to raise now, and my husband isn't ready to let me go.  And I wept tears of joy realizing that we were still together as a family.  I was weeping when I woke up, at the thought of adopting our foster son.

I wanted to post a picture of myself, to prove to you all that I am all right.  I took a picture on my iPhone of me grinning, with gauze bandages wrapped around my head like some sort of turban.  I remember seeing it for the first time in a mirror at the emergency room, and -- still groggy -- saying something goofy like: "I look like one of those Jewish ladies in Miami."  Göran absolutely forbade my posting any such picture.  So you will have to take my word for it.  I am here grinning, happy to be still among you.

18 comments:

Justin said...

Glad to hear you're doing okay. I love your blog, and you're such an example to me. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Neal said...

What an ordeal. And you still have no clue how you wrecked in the first place? At any rate, I know everyone is glad you're safe, mending, and medicated! ;)

Holly said...

Really glad you're OK!

Brian said...

So sorry to hear about his buddy! Glad you're OK and on the mend. I gather from what you say that you have no idea as to what happened -- bicycle injury or gay bashing?

Regardless, Duane and I are thinking of you.

Love, Brian.

Sara Long said...

Really glad you're okay John. Love to you and the hubby and the kids.

LCannon said...

so happy to hear that you're alright and your dream and your desire for membership; your thoughts are always so profound. I LOVE reading your blog. You are a great pioneer.

J G-W said...

Thanks, again, for all the well wishes, from everyone. Prayers of all sorts -- in and out of the temple -- are gratefully appreciated.

I've begun to recover some memories of the accident, both why I was out on my bike in the park at that particular time and in that particular place, and the accident itself. I think I was on my way to bring our foster son home from the park in time to get him ready for football practice. There's a bumpy sidewalk going down a very steep hill in the park, and I have some memories of riding my bike down that sidewalk and hitting a particularly bad bump toward the bottom. Göran confirmed it was at the bottom of that hill I was found... He went and found the bloodstains on the sidewalk. Ugh.

I guess the fact that memories are coming back is a good sign -- though they are pretty scary memories, so I guess I understand why my mind chose to blot them out in the immediate aftermath, and replace them with pleasant dreams of adopting a son and getting reinstated in the Church!

It's very strange how our minds work...

JonJon said...

So happy you're ok! Hope you recover quickly!

Dean Scott said...

I am so thankful you are okay, John. Best wishes on a quick and full recovery. I am glad it appears that your memory is returning.

Anonymous said...

UFF DA!

GeckoMan said...

John, we were horrified to learn of your accident, but are relieved that you are recovering well. Our thoughts and prayers are with you! Oh, and Ms. Gecko wants to know if you had your helmet on!!! Know that we love you.

Trev said...

Whew, what a relief! I was worried about you when Duck first posted about your accident, and I am very happy to hear you're all right--and even continuing to be your optimistic self and focusing on all the bounteous good of life. :) You really are an inspiration.

And, yes, I was wondering about the helmet, too. Heads are like eggs, you know, you can only crack them once--though I guess they are different in that you can't staple up an egg ;).

Matthew said...

Yowza! I'm glad you are okay - hope your recovery is speedy.

santorio said...

You not only survived the crash (you were wearing a helmet, right? mine saved me from a concussion or worse on a dark wet night a year ago), but also the E.R., which can be no easy task

Anonymous said...

I had assummed that you were beat-up either because you are gay or because you are white. Not a hate-crime afterall.

postmormon girl said...

I'm so sorry about your accident - make sure to take plenty of time to recover, as it is easy to overlook the emotional aspect of the accident. (This is from someone who was hit by a car while walking across the street, in a very random accident that involved multiple pedestrians - trust me, you need to take the time to recover fully!)

ingrid said...

Good Samaritans still do exist. That road accident must have been really bad because you suffered short term memory loss. If only you can get to see that wronged party and try contacting a lawyer for this, you will probably get a good settlement in the future. Nevertheless, thanks for the post. Your story actually inspired me.

J G-W said...

Thanks, everyone, again, for the well wishes! It has meant a lot to me to know people are rooting for me.

No, I was not wearing a bike helmet. I guess this is proof that some people only learn certain lessons the HARD way. And, yes, this is my promise now and forever forward to wear a bike helmet whenever I go biking. I can only hope some of you out there who do as I did will learn something from my bad example...

Also, in case some of you are still wondering... I few days ago I finally spoke with the fellow who found me and helped me in the park.

He was actually there when the accident occurred, and based on what he's told me, it seems fairly conclusive that this was not the result of an assault or hit and run or any other such (more sinister) situation.

postmormon girl - I've found there definitely is an emotional aftermath that I didn't anticipate. I have been dealing with added stress, anxiety and guilt about the whole thing... That aspect of it hasn't been easy. I actually wrote a post about it, but have thought better of publishing it, partly because I'm not sure it would be interesting to most of my readers.

I will say, though, my practice of yoga over the past year has been a HUGE help to me in dealing with both the physical and emotional aftermath... The practice of calming the conscious mind and just learning to breathe, listen, and trust is standing me in very good stead at the moment.