I would that my life remain a tear and a smile.
A tear to purify my heart and give me understanding
Of life’s secrets and hidden things.
A smile to draw me nigh to the sons of my kind…
A tear to unite me with those of broken heart;
A smile to be a sign of my joy in existence.
This is only a small part of this poem but I thought it fitting to me.
Once I got home most of the people who used to visit me in the hospital stopped coming to visit. I had quickly become a nonmember of society and now I isolated my mom, who quit a job that she was very happy at to become a full time care giver for me. She is also an artist and she would fly around the country painting murals on walls in homes and in the bedrooms of model homes. She had to give that up too because I needed care 100 percent of the time.
Both my mom and I were scared at my return home. My mom had no idea how she was going to care for me The insurance company hadn’t approved the things required to care safely for me and I was leaving a place that had all the right equipment and would give me 24 hour attention if I needed it. I actually wanted my favorite nurse, Kathrin to come and care for me at home, she knew me and knew what to do already.
My work hadn’t officially fired me; nobody knew what my outcome would be but after eight months and only small improvements they finally had no choice but to terminate my employment with them. I still had insurance that would pay for my care for another eighteen months until I qualified for Medi-cal. I was in-between being well enough to go to a hospital that centered in rehabilitation and one designed for convalescing so my mom fought to get me in-home therapy, thank God she fought for that… I think?
So I began in-home therapy.
The first physical therapist I had was young and during one of his therapy sessions with me decided to wrapped my ankle with some kind of tape, I think it was probably athletic tape but he then couldn’t get it unwrapped so, he then, in his infinite wisdom proceeded to try to cut it off with straight kitchen scissors. Ya, that didn’t work, instead he cut a perfect diamond shape into the top of my foot. It didn’t really hurt because the tape was so tight it kind of left my foot numb. He panic and looked up at me, his face had turned white and he asked me “what should I do?” I felt something running down my foot as the blood began to run down my foot towards the white cable loop carpet and quickly said “get me off the carpet”. He called my mom to help him and long story short he didn’t come back. The next physical therapist I got my mom and I both liked a lot; he was the guy that said, “I liked working with brain injured people the most, cause they only get better”. He got me to move my twisted foot a little and even got a half of a wiggle from my big toe.
I also received occupational therapy and, again the first therapist I had was just strange, she asked to give me a shower because she wanted to show me how to bathe again. That was to bizarre, I wasn’t even able to use my arms and I could barely use one of my hands very well yet and one I couldn’t use at all. I couldn’t brush my hair or my teeth how did she expect me to wash myself. So, NEXT!…
The therapist I had next I loved, she was super aggressive and there were so days she made me cry from the pain she caused me while attempting to get my right wrist and arm stretched out but I thank God for her. She work with me and tried to get more functionality out of the one hand I was still able to use. She was easy to talk to and one day as she was stretching me, my mom was talking with her and we found out that her husband was one of the paramedics that saved my life on the helicopter He was the actual man that brought me back, he was the man that said, “you were trying to talk to me threw all your pain, you were fighting, so I fought too.” He came to our house to meet me and he told me that I was the most severely injured person he has ever seen in his twenty years working as a paramedic. Our local newspaper came out and did a write up; it was so neat for me to meet the man who thought me important enough to fight for even though my prognosis was so grave. Praise God for Frank and people like him!
The next fund raiser I went to, that the humane society put on was called “The Raccoon Ball”. It was held in the summer of 2001. I was a little healthier my parents had taken me to the dentist to have my teeth fixed and to the hair salon to have my hair highlighted. The animal shelter where I had been working wanted to show their appreciation for all the work I had done while I worked there so they gave me an award. The award they gave me was called the Mutts award. That award was created in honor to commend Patrick McDonald for his bringing to light the plight of shelter animals with his Mutts comic strip.
Of course Patrick McDonald received the first Mutts award I got to meet both him and his wife, they are wonderful people. When he heard that I was injured in a car crash he wrote me into one of his comic strips, he then had the original framed and sent to me. I am the only real human to be depicted in one of his published comic strips. Talk about an honor!
The Animal Shelter I worked at was a no-kill shelter, our shelter worked it out so we didn’t have to pay any adoption fees when we wanted to take an animal out of other “kill” shelters and bring it to ours to be adopted out, it was an awesome arrangement. Once or twice a week I would go to Animal control facilities and select adoptable animals to take back to prepare them for adoption. More often than not I would have to write down the animal’s intake number because their waiting time wasn’t up yet and this prompted the name Shindler, because of the list I made. I had a way with animals, it was instinctual, and it was like I could calm them without having to say a word and when I would talk it seemed to calm them even more, that is why losing my voice is so devastating to me .
I was now back in my old house but not back in my old room, my younger sister took that room because it was larger and I then had to move into her old room.
I came home with a manual wheelchair but the hospital fitted me for a power chair so not long after I got home they delivered it to my house, Even though I was legally blind. So my new room, though much smaller than I was used to ended up working out nicely. The hall way in our house was like a T, if you turned left and went straight you were in my new room but right before my doorway on the right was another doorway; my sisters room. I could not have made a turn like that. I had extremely poor vision, it was just bad and now I was in a power chair, yikes. I did a fair amount of damage to that house.