#146 – September 30, 2017 And Afterward

Facebook post from October 5, 2017:

For those of you who wondering what happened to me, I was in an automobile accident Saturday morning. I am recuperating at Honor Health North Mountain in the ICU. I am hoping to be released to a regular room in a few days.

(Edited to correct effects of eye strain and lessened motor control.)

Just after 4:00 am Pacific/Arizona Mountain time, my 2011 Buick Regal collided with a larger and slower moving vehicle on Arizona State Route 101, eastbound. I didn’t have time to react, bracing for impact, and almost certain death.

There were moments before and after the crash that are lost to the ages, either blacked out by myself, or just not remembered. I do remember the sound of impact, the screeching of tires, breaking glass, and components from the dashboard and center console coming off.

I came to within seconds of the crash, knowing that I had some level of internal damage, and that my right hand was broken to some degree. To this moment, I still do not recall how I was able to undo my seat belt, get the driver side door open, and get out of my car under my own power. (All done once state troopers and the city fire department EMTs were on site.) I just remember wailing, and being in a great amount of pain. I had enough presence to get onto the stretcher for the ambulance, and ask God, or whomever was determining the rest of my life from that point, that I at least stay alive until I reached the hospital’s emergency room.

The arrival was fragmented… A conversation with a police officer stationed in the ER, asking me for what details I could remember. (That I will leave offline.) I remember hospital staff having to remove my earrings and watch for an MRI, and being wheeled into an operating room. I remember being able to talk somewhat, and make a call to my work’s call-out line to report I would not be showing up for my shift, and another call to my sister’s cell phone to let her know what happened.

The next four days were pretty much gone, as I was unconscious, with tubes in my chest and throat. Internal damage included my small bowel, a torn diaphragm, cracked vertebrae in my back, broken ribs on the right and left sides, as well as my right hand and wrist, both of which were broken.

Three operations were needed – one to effectively keep me from dying (repairing damaged internal organs), one to set and repair the cracked ribs (Including putting in titanium screws, plates, and mesh for the left side ribs.). The third operation was to put more titanium in place to fix up my right hand. I have two incisions on my chest, and some loss of feeling just below my left breast. Two more stitches are on my right hand and lower right arm.

My sister and father were on hand when I regained consciousness. I couldn’t talk for a few days, and I was on breathing equipment. When I was able to have the tubes removed, my voice was ragged, my lung capacity was low (I was informed my lungs had collapsed), and I had excruciating pain in my chest from both sides of cracked ribs.

I had always planned on coming out to my father as Julie Anne, hopefully while he and I were still alove. I truly believed I wouldn’t make it through the week… So, I took a great leap of faith… And dad took it a lot better than I had thought. There’s still a lot of questions, but I didn’t want to die and have him always wondering why where were so many clothes and shoes and makeup left behind in my house.

I spent one and a half weeks at HonorHealth John C. Lincoln Hospital (The Level 1 trauma center for the area in the HonorHealth network), and over two more weeks at HonorHealth Rehabilitation Center in Scottsdale (Technically on tribal land as part of the Salt River-Pima-Maricopa Indian community, so I got to finally travel outside the United States for something other than the tribal casinos along the 101.). I was discharged to go home just over one month ago as of this post date.

Next Up: More details on the hospital stays, the rehabilitation center stay, and going home. In the meantime, the journey continues, and… I’m. Still. Here.

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