07-31-13 (Wed.) – It was sort of funny at the airport really, now that I look back on it. I hope this makes you chuckle: My mother and father met and were married. Then later Mom’s mom married Dad’s dad. Now my parents are divorced but are now step-brother and step-sister … *queue banjo* – So you can see the humor in my mother flying with me to GA and dropping me off with my Dad and exchanging me on a street curb … On that day I was 42 years old for goodness sake; I had to laugh.
But you know what? I’ve always been Daddy’s girl and every moment that man was not working as part of his service to this country in the US Navy, I was up his back and on his tail. He couldn’t shake me; whether we were fishing, crabbing, he was making me clean car parts, or pack bearings, or even the time he got Crisco in his head while taking a bubble bath…. Oh the stories of fun with my Daddy could go on for quite a long time; and so it is bittersweet that I now go live with my Daddy and his wife, Ms. Pat, in what will for now be called, “HOME.” Home can be anywhere or mean anything, and I realized that living from My Girl for nearly 6 months.
…and so I detour on a path without My Girl; she is gone. I bought her on July 27, 2009 and she died on July 17, 2013 ~ I should have known better with those odd numbers, huh Meg? Seriously though, I want to give recognition for a machine that sparked a flame in me that took me places I have never seen and helped me meet people I would never have otherwise met. This machine was My Girl and she was the first motorcycle I ever paid for and bought for myself. She may not have looked like much to the eye but she and everything she stood for, and everything she helped me to be; will be forever etched in my soul. I had always hoped to retire her for Sunday drives at some point and move up to a ‘big girl bike’… but My Girl was pretty squished and banged up and is probably in parts somewhere across America by now. For the love a motorcyclist has for the passion to ride, so he or she has for the machine they ride; and for that love I wanted to stop just a moment to share with you that love I had for My Girl, because the rest of the story leaves no real place for this very important point.
My Daddy and his wife Ms. Pat (also known as Ma) are both retired and have the time and space for me and my needs. *(Let’s not even begin to count blessings with this one here because I will lose track for sure.)* That being said, they have welcomed me home so that I can have a place to live while seeking whatever is necessary to move on with every step that must be taken before I can take a step and shift a clutch again.
Anyway, I digress… I was headed home with Dad and Ms. Pat awaited our arrival. Given the fact that I had people hovering over me constantly for the two weeks prior, I just wanted some peace time. So, I set to moving into my new room. I started a list of things that would make life easier in this room based on my situation. I was still on pretty heavy drugs at the time and was feeling a little stoned. All the same, I was so relieved to be out of the hospital. In the hospital I couldn’t sleep and I could see the dollar signs getting bigger and bigger. I just wanted a real bed, real food, nobody wanting my blood pressure every 3 hours and some peace and quiet to evaluate what the hell just happened. Dad and Ma left me to do my thing and when I emerged from my room dinner was ready. I had a long day up to that point and it was actually still early.
I figured I’m likely to wake up at least once anyway so I’ll try to hold out until 8:00 pm. I did; just about the same time as Dad. Oddly we each woke for the 2nd and final time of the sleep night around 4:30 am. Dad had his coffee and I had my chocolate milk. We would watch the stock market for a while then go outside for a smoke and to enjoy the start of the day. This occurred for many weeks until the pattern was broken by a week of rain.
08-01-13 (Thursday) – I had already learned that dear friends Lynn and Nick from Illinois were in Virginia with their son at the time of my crash. Lynn wanted to ditch the vacation and go to Minnesota and Nick slowed her down over the days and said look, “She’s going to her Dad’s; she will be close to use. We will go see her then.” Lynn was satisfied and without delay, some of my most beloved supporters showed up just the day after I was released. They refused to stay with us though we had space; however they did spend just about 8 hours the first day hanging out at Dad’s house with all of us, just meandering through the day as we do; naps and all. I had a moderate night of rest the first night home but for sure I had a long way to go. Having guests was super fantastic, but I could only do so much for so long. On the second day I had a bit more energy and so we three girls went to the thrift store to find me a few medium to long dresses (and whatever else might strike our fancy; like the handsome egg crate foam mattress cover I found which I used to make a comfy seat for my wheelchair). So there… we went shopping. We left Dad and Nick in charge of man chores. Dad was putting final touches on my ramp, though I can’t seem to tell what they were; and Nick installed the water diverter so I can have my handicap shower head at my level and regular legged folk can still have a regular shower too.
08-04-13 (Sunday) Lynn and Nick were continuing on their vacation / journey home, in which they planned to stop and see a very sick friend along the way. I took this day to relax, lay in the recliner and wonder what in the heck do I do now?
Lynn and Nick also came back a few weeks later to bring me clothes and miscellaneous from my son’s house. These people are genuine friends, forever in my heart.
08-05-13 (Monday) I was in pain but the drugs made it somewhat manageable. It was a Monday and I felt as if I was obligated to start working since I was home so to speak. I had already neglected my clients the two weeks I was out and maybe even the week of the crash depending which client. So I really want to get back to work. I sent them all an email indicating that I was ‘home’ and that I’d be getting back to work over the coming days if they had not already replaced me. Well, I said it in a way different manner, but that’s the jest of it. I was over whelmed with the responses I receive from my clients with comments like, “no way I’d get rid of you girl”, “heck no, I’ve been watching, I knew you’d be back”, and the likes thereof. So I was not only touched on a personal level by so many already, but now even my professional connections are appreciating the challenges and working with me… dare I repeat that I am blessed. I say this so often because there is really so very much for which to be thankful. I suppose there exists some for whom something to be thankful for, rarely comes their way. I am not that worldly so I will have to plead ignorance on that, but overall, anybody with a copy of these words in front of them, are blessed in some way that allowed you to get to a point where you could read this online, in printed format, or perhaps even audio or video… the point is blessings, and waiting and working towards that next blessing is always what I try to focus on and keep me going; you’d be surprised how well it works. Just keep thinking and focusing on the good stuff and try to put aside the crap. Handle what needs to be handled and then move on.
You’ll have to forgive me for the diversions that may follow as my mental health was not good in the early days and not only are many things a blur but there are conversations I have totally forgotten. Thankfully I did not offer my first born child in any crazy rituals – hahaha! But as I write this now, my mental health is on the upswing.
In my family we don’t usually use the word ‘step’ when referring to family but for the sake of explanation and understanding, I’ll tell you who is who. In the first couple weeks my step-sister Christy came to check my wounds as she is an ICU nurse. My other step-sister brought me some wonderful money saving gifts: a wheelchair, an electric scooter, and a raised toilet seat which I didn’t end up needing. I received and continue to receive cards, small gifts, and loads of messages with love and encouragement. I also had several weeks when my sweet friend Shayla was sending me homemade baked goods. My Dad got to where he knew the package and waited for me to open it. Shayla was Daddy’s first zucchini bread and he loved it.
I had my first round of stitches removed the week after I returned and the second week I met my new orthopedic surgeon in Athens, GA. He removed the 99 staples that held my leg together and prepared me for the road ahead. I soon would have to endure another surgery.
For the first few weeks I was doing pretty well. I felt lucky to be alive and I was receiving such support from all over the world. And then it happened… I returned to my new surgeon and learned that I had a staph infection which could prove extremely harmful and even somewhat deadly if not resolved. I was put on antibiotics and was still doing mostly fine mentally. On the two week checkup, the staph had not been cured and the doctor prescribed one more round of antibiotics. At this visit he said that if it wasn’t cleared up and if it does major damage to my tissue that I may have to get my leg amputated above the knee. I lost it!!! Almost like a light switch flipping, the depression set in. I had already learned and given my psychology education I already knew that PTSD and depression were going to be a battle. I tried to fight it, but it got the best of me. My blog faltered, my client work faltered, and I would cry over anything at any moment. I did not receive meds for this problem back then because I just didn’t want more drugs and I thought I could fight it myself.
09-06-13 (Friday) – It got so bad in September that my Daddy suggested I go back to IL for a visit in hopes that my son, grand-daughter and friends might provide relief. Daddy knows best. My visit back home was very much a good idea. It was kind of a secret return because I wasn’t up for any big hoop-la. I stayed with my son which was a challenge with the stairs; in fact I actually fell one night because I was tired and weak. My son, my grand-daughter, and her Mommy went to eat one day and then went to the water play area at the local mall. I can’t tell you what therapy that was to have her ride in Granny’s lap in the wheelchair while my son pushed us. Rolling around the play area with her and helping her slide was so amazing to my soul. Granny bought her a hamster and cage and we had fun playing with Barley. Only one thing hurt with that beautiful girl. She was dancing and wiggling her booty and I couldn’t get up and dance with her. I started crying. Two couples that are very special to me held dinners on different nights for close friends to visit. The entire visit was great but the depression did not disappear.
09-12-13 (Thursday) – My girlfriend Tracy was supposed to visit me in GA the weekend following my visit so I was able to talk her into driving me back to GA. That was a fun, low key two day ride home. We stopped in Nashville and ate at Monelle’s which was amazing. Momma runs the joint for Steve the owner and they are just delightful. Momma said I would be upright in no time and that she would pray for me daily. We sat the table with Dink, bassist for many famous bands. He too is a biker and we had great conversations during our meal.
On the second day we stopped at Smoky Mountain Harley Davidson. I went inside and within minutes I broke down and had to wheel myself out. I sat outside by the car while Tracy shopped and cried. I miss my Harley and I was so upset that my dream had been squashed. When Tracy emerged she consoled me and then walked over to a couple of dudes by their baggers. She explained who I was and what happened to me. She asked one guy if he would give me a ride around the parking lot. They called me over and with a tear streaked face; Robert asked me how my balance was. I stood on my one good leg and shook his hand. He mounted the bike and got on the back seat. Robert drove around that parking lot 4 times and I just wanted him to hit the road and never bring me back. But I have to also say, that a car in the lot came around the back a little too fast and only for a brief moment did I flinch. That ride was a baby step to getting back into the saddle. I couldn’t thank Robert enough; we exchanged hugs and again Tracy and I were off. We arrived at Dad’s and it wasn’t much longer until I crashed out in my bed. We had one day of visiting and conversations but the next day I was pretty much worthless and did my best to sleep off and on. I felt bad ditching Tracy but I was thankful that she is a healthcare professional and friend; so she totally understood my exhaustion.
You’ll have to forgive me if I have left out details but with so many drugs and so much time passing from then until now, I am sure I have forgotten stuff. For instance, I had finished this post when I went to shower and thought about the fact that my Daddy found me a little Subaru Outback so I could get around. And of course, one thing I should mention is that little love BB Girl was with the retirees so long that she actually became my Dad’s dog. She loves him and sits with him constantly. I did take her to IL on my last trip which you will see below and since returning she has actually shared her time, so I guess she still loves Mommy. Also during this recovery time I started a video series that Ms. Pat has helped me with. It’s called: Don’t Take It for Granted and features me doing things that are no longer as easy as they once were. You can find these videos here in the blog…
Oh my gosh, I just remembered something else. There was a week that we had nasty rain and that’s when our routine of Dad and I going outside for smokes and coffee sort of detoured. Anyway, we had gone to dinner and on the way home the radio man was saying there were possible tornados in the area. The skies ahead were very black. I asked Dad, “Do you think we can out run it?” And my beloved Father replies, “Me and MawMaw can, but you can’t.”
I sort of had another crash while recovering. I was cruising around the neighborhood taking pictures of all the mushrooms and flowers that went crazy with the rains. I went around the back of the house and quickly hit a left lean in the ground – BAM, down I went on the scooter. I was able to push the scooter up and use the accelerator to hope along to get it on the porch. I had not looked down, but felt as if blood was dripping all the way down my leg (I don’t have a leg right there). When I got to the porch and looked, sure enough, I was really bleeding. It also felt like I twisted an ankle that wasn’t there. I went inside to clean up and rested for the remainder of the day. As a result, it sort of turned into a funny thing on FB and I received several gremlin bells for my scooter, two of which were delivered in person as two buddies traveled through GA.
I also got the chance to have birthday lunch with my Memaw. Dad, Ms. Pat, Aunt Donna, nephew Jackson, and my Pepaw all had Mexican and enjoyed a great catch up session. My Memaw and Pepaw also came to visit a while later to bring sweet homemade baked goods.
09-18-13 (Wednesday) – Again, that week I returned to the doctor to find out that the staph was still NOT gone. The surgeon wanted to admit me to the hospital immediately but I declined. It was Wednesday and I had a date with my Aunt Donna and Uncle Charlie. We were going to make pancake dinner at their church. I had done this previously in my journey and the folks at their church had provided me so much support that I just had to go grab some of that energy and love. Making pancakes wasn’t as easy this time but I made it happen. I was given the opportunity to share my testimony and I spoke on the characters of Forgiveness. Everybody thanked me for sharing and for coming and it was so good to get some that off my chest in an environment that was peaceful and welcoming. I stayed with Aunt Donna and Uncle Charlie on Wednesday and Thursday and then went straight to the hospital on Friday morning.
09-20-13 (Friday) – My Daddy and Ma were going to meet me there so somebody could drive my car home after my surgery. This surgery was intended to clean-out the staph infection and to see how much tissue damage had occurred. This is when he would determine if more leg would have to be taken off. I was told in MN that with all the dirt, gravel, grass, and debris that was in my leg that I had the potential of infection but I always hope for the best. As it turned out, the staph infection had not gotten too deep and had not damage much tissue. I was stitched up on the outside because my body was rejecting the former internal sutures. I was given a heavy duty antibiotic for three days and I had to return on Monday for my new femur surgery.
09-23-13 (Monday) – Daddy took me to the hospital and once I was out of surgery he went home. I wasn’t real happy about that because I suddenly felt so cold and all alone. I knew it was only one night but after my stay in MN, I will admit it… I was scared. With this surgery they gave me a nerve blocker in both legs. They took 15-20% of bone and marrow from my good leg to mix with cadaver bone and growth hormone to create a foundation of a new femur. The nerve blocker is what my sister told me I should have had when I was in MN for the amputation. With that, I may not have had the psychotic episodes. But I digress, the femur surgery was a success at that point and that’s what really matters. That night in the hospital after the nerve blocker began to wear off was again, freakin’ brutal. I couldn’t stand the pain and of course that meant more narcotics that I hate. The loneliness didn’t help. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep worth a hoot. In the morning though, the pain was subsiding and I was more sore than in pain. The nerve blocker was still fairly active and I couldn’t get my good leg to work for me. The PT nurse said I had to be able to get into my wheelchair or she couldn’t release me. So I tried and tried again for a couple hours. Finally, she saw that I was making some progress and my Dad ensured her that I would be well cared for. With that I was released. I was starving and Dad took me to Sonic for a chili dog. It’s not Portillo’s but it was pretty decent. The rest of the day was kind of weird and hard to function, but the nerve blocker finally wore off. For the second time, I started to wean myself off the drugs.
09-27-13 (Friday) – This weekend Ma Pat had a family reunion in Pensacola, FL so we packed up and headed to Florida. We spent some fun time and good dinners with the kids and grandkids. My Facebook friend Bill Farsolas lives in Pensacola and I connected with him via my friends back home, Cheryl, Linda, and Dave. I messaged Bill and told him I was near him which he saw already. I asked him if he might be willing to give a handicap kid a ride on a motorcycle. I’m pretty sure he replied with something like, “Hell Yeah!” And so it was set; Bill would pick me up in the AM and take me to the family reunion. That was just amazing!! I did not have one second of apprehension. It was a beautiful sunshiny day and Bill took the “biker” route for a 75 mile trip. Part of the time I just rested my cheek on his warm leather vest and part of the time I looked over his shoulders to take in the scenery. I had seen my share of green green grass and tall trees, so it wasn’t about the scenery; it was about determining if my soul was still into the ride. Bill has since become a very cherished friend and a source of many smiles that I have very much needed. I know that one day Bill and I will have to ride together, side-by-side! He was my soul’s savior that day and there is no amount of thanks I could give him that would be enough.
At the end of the family reunion I was outside with Dad and Ma’s father (Pops). Pops said to me, “I hope you have your life in order.” I said, “Well, I don’t have anything to give to anybody.” “We’re not getting younger and this accident should make you realize you need to have your life in order,” Pops repeated. I still didn’t get it and I reiterated that I didn’t have anything to get in order. My Dad walked away trying not to laugh because I was not getting what Pops was trying to say. A moment passed and I understood. He wanted to make sure that I had faith and my life needed to be right with God. Oh my, I really blew that but assured Pops that I was right with God.
Though the depression wasn’t as harsh and consistent as before, it still existed and I still wanted to power through without drugs. I was excited and apprehensive for my follow-up with the surgeon in the next few days.
10-02-13 (Wednesday) – The day after my son turned 23 I went back to the surgeon to see how the femur was growing. I was feeling pretty good about things more or less, but still nervous all the same. The good leg was still giving me pain and I didn’t know how long that was supposed to last. Apparently as I learned, it could take a couple months to regrow what they borrowed. The x-rays showed some growth but more importantly, my body had not rejected the bone and marrow. The doc said he didn’t need to see me for a month and I asked if I could go home for a while. He said yes as long as I felt strong enough. With that, Daddy and I went home and I landed at U-Haul to have my new hitch installed on my car. When I got home Dad put my scooter rack on the hitch and I was packing my bags. Daddy thought I was crazy for driving to IL, but then again; like father like daughter! And with that, Thursday I left.
Around 3pm on Thursday I was hungry and just near Nashville, so I just had to go back and show Momma that I was on crutches now. Monelle’s side yard is a beautiful garden with full wall of windows. Momma saw me before I saw her. She poked her head out the door and squealed at me, “I knew I’d see you again girl.” We exchanged hugs and she promptly sat me. I was suddenly surrounded with more food than I could eat in a week. I got to meet Steve in person this time, not just a thank you on Yelp. We all chatted for 10-15 minutes before I had to sign Momma’s BROAD sticker again. She said every time I pass through I would have to sign it again.
The trip was going well but I’m sure I was running on pure adrenalin and the desire to see my peeps. I made it about 30 or so miles over the Indiana border before I had to give it up for the night. I slept like a baby that night. On the second day, I posted on FB where I was and along my route on I-65 my buddy Andy that drives for UPS spotted my little car and called me. We stopped very briefly at a rest area to exchange a hug. I made it to my son’s on Friday around noon. Five of my friends showed up to help me bring my stuff upstairs and then we went for soup and nachos at Stonehouse Pub.
My visit consisted of a short time with grand-daughter as she was sick and I couldn’t be too close to her. Visiting my dear friend Larry to have my check engine light looked at and lunch. A dental cleaning with my girlfriend and sushi dinner. Lunch with a buddy and his daughter. Errands and good times with my son. I visited my former primary care and bit the bullet to get an antidepressant. (Note: at this point I had been off all narcotics for almost 3 weeks.) I got to be on a local cable TV show again called Bike Week America and dinner afterwards with some cool folks. I enjoyed a great massage from my longtime friend. And of course, the reason for my return was to party up for my 1st post-death birthday. We had a very nice lady from my riding group that hosted my party at her home. I think we had about 70-80 people and the good times were blessed and exhausting. I was so sore the next day that I didn’t do a dern thing. I finally headed back to Dad’s on Tuesday and arrived Wednesday.
While I was gone Ma put up the Christmas tree and upon my return I realized, you never ever go online Christmas shopping when you are on heavy narcotics. A box nearly the size of coffin was waiting for me and it took me two hours to wrap that stuff. Hey, what are Grannies for?
So now that the fog is lifting and my focus is coming back I have lots of stuff to catch up on. I am looking forward to my son coming to GA for Thanksgiving and we will take a few days to vacation and drive back to IL. I’m also excited to spend the month of December with Lynn and Nick so that I can get around easily. I’m hoping I might get the chance to babysit my grand-daughter a couple times at least. It will be a great time I’m sure.
On one final note, I want to thank my sponsors Rider’s Claw, Nailmaille Metallic Reptilian, and Fox Creek Leather for their continued support. Each has offered donations for orders placed and Rider’s Claw even made shirts for me to sell so I had some money coming in. And of course, I just have to say thank you to all those that donated to The BROAD Motorcycle Crash Fund. Those funds have been extremely helpful in my daily needs as well as helping me get some wheels and crate for my scooter so I can get around again.
The support and encouragement from people around the world has really given me the strength to keep moving forward. Some days I wished I had not survived because it was hard, but with my clear mind I know that I have purpose and will make my after death one hell of a great life. I hope you all stay tuned to watch the rest unfold.
SPONSORS that give 10% of Purchases back to The BROAD when you enter “BROAD” in the coupon code.
Rider’s Claw – Hold your Tunes & GPS on your Harley or Metric Cruiser in high quality style & craftsmanship; custom for your device.
Nailmaille – Gorgeous, Unique, and Heavy Duty Jewelry made with Stainless Steel Nails.
Fox Creek Leather – Fine American made leather products for riding horses (furry or steel) and much more.