Wednesday, September 28, 2011

things i want to remember. . .

There are a few things I don't really want to remember from my whole experience over the past month, but more things that I hope I won't forget.  Here are a few I've been thinking about. . .

1.  The nurses who took care of me.  I am certain we were blessed with the very best.  They were kind, thoughtful, and intuitive to how I was feeling.  Before I was taken into surgery, I remember one of the ER nurses crying.  It sounds a little crazy now, but that meant an awful lot to me at the time.  I knew she cared about me, and I realized that they were going to do the very best they could to take care of me.  It was such a scary time, and her kindness was an expression of love.

More than once when I was frustrated at my inability to walk that first week, I was blessed with a kind nurse who would kneel down beside me and offer words of encouragement and hope.  I needed those words.  The night before I came home, when I was so excited to be with my family, yet terrified because I knew I couldn't take care of them, one of my favorite nurses sat down across from me and said, "Listen.  You don't need to worry about that because you aren't going to take care of them.  You are alive, and they are so happy to have you.  Right now you need play a game of pretend.  You are going to pretend you are a princess.  All you are going to do is work on getting better, and you are going to let everyone take care of you for a change.  So you go home and let yourself be a princess."  How cute was she?

2.  A few days after being moved out of ICU, we received a phone call from one of the operating room nurses from the Logan hospital.  When I answered, the first thing she said was "Oh!  You don't know how good it is to hear your voice!  We didn't think we'd hear your voice again."  She spoke to me of her and the other nurses praying for me throughout the weekend after I was taken by Life Flight, and asked if she could share the news with the others that I had lived.  It meant so much to Courtney and I.  At the time, we were still a little bit in denial about how serious everything had been, and after we got off the phone with her, Courtney said, "Well!  They did a good job at making me feel pretty optimistic after surgery!"  He was so glad that they had been so kind and put on a cheerful face to him before he left for that long drive to Salt Lake.

Later, at the hospital we received this email from the same nurse,

Hi Courtney and Kelly,
I just wanted you to know I am thinking of you and your family.  I was your nurse in the Operating Room, and I just wanted you to know you are in my thoughts and prayers.  I am hoping for a speedy recovery for you.  I can't imagine the spectrum of emotions you have been dealing with over the past day or two.  I could see how much your family loves you, Kelly, and all of us at the hospital were rooting for you as well.  I know I went home and hugged my little ones extra tight, and here's hoping that is what you are doing in no time.  Best wishes always. . .

3.  I am grateful for the awesome Life Flight nurse who came to see me in ICU a day or two after getting me there.  When he walked in, he had a huge smile on his face and then asked, "Remember me?"  (I actually did!)  Then he told me how glad he was to see me and joked that I looked a lot better than the last time he'd seen me.  Once again, I was amazed he'd taken the time to check up on little ol' me.

4.  I loved the time in the hospital when Courtney was sitting up close by my bed, holding my hand, when he gave me one of his famous (reserved just for me) grins and said, "Thanks so much for not leaving me!"  It was if we'd finally gotten enough days behind us that we were both feeling we were going to make it.  It felt so good to share that sigh of relief together, just the two of us. . . a special moment I don't want to forget.

5.  The perfect-for-me caretaker Courtney was (and continues to be).  He supported me (literally) as I struggled to stand for the first time (and caught me when I'd faint- over and over).  He cheered me on when I made my feet move, even though I was completely leaning on him, and gave me pep talks when I'd have to be helped back to bed to try again another day. 

When I was having trouble wanting to eat anything (I lost 23 lbs. in ten days- making this the most difficult, least recommended, and by far the most expensive diet plan yet), Courtney would cut my food into small pieces and bribe me to eat "this many bites" before I quit.  It was fun feeling like I was four years old.  And on the day that I had Susan the Nazi Nurse who wouldn't let me do anything until I finished every bite on my tray (if you had seen her, you would have been scared too), Courtney let me fill his pockets with my food when she wasn't looking and only blackmailed me a few times- threatening to tell Susan on me if I didn't eat enough of the remaining items.  He spent plenty of time brainstorming to think of anything, anything! that sounded good to me.  Most importantly, he offered to let me eat dessert first and even made a few trips to get me a chocolate milkshake because I thought I could maybe eat it. 

He would rarely leave my side throughout that first week.  My brothers brought a trailer down and parked in the hospital parking lot for him.  Still, he wouldn't leave until almost midnight and would be back to cheer me up bright and early first thing in the morning.  I was so glad he was with me.  And once we got home, he'd call or drop into check on me every few hours.  He continues to cheer me on as I slowly work to get back to what I used to be, and doesn't make me feel one bit bad (I do that to myself) that he's having to carry both of our weight right now.  

6.  The first time Grandma and Grandpa brought Samuel to us.  I cried.

7.  The time my good friend Lori and her parents (my second family) came to see me in the ICU.  Lori came in crying.  She sat down, and just like her sweet self, began assuring me how good I looked.  (I didn't).  A little while later, her mom walked in and scolded me, "Kelly Croney."  Then, she smiled and said brightly, "I was afraid to come in here to see you because Lori told me how terrible you looked!"  Turns out, the minute Lori walked out of my room, she announced to everyone how horrible I looked!  I was too weak to laugh then, but my family and I have laughed about it since!  Later, Lori apologized, telling me, "I knew you looked awful, and I knew you knew you looked awful, but I wasn't going to tell you that!"  We know each other well enough to know just what she meant! 

Actually, I told Courtney the other day that I'm not going to believe what anyone says anymore.  One night, my mom was here helping us get the girls ready for bed.  Just before she left, she leaned down to me and whispered in my ear that I looked pretty pale and she thought I should have my blood checked again.  But the next day, Grandma Tam was here with me all day and kept telling me how great my color was and how good I looked.  So, I assured myself that I looked fine after all and my mom just had a case of worried mother syndrome.  I had to laugh when I was laying down in my room a few days later and Grandpa Lloyd came.  I heard him come in the door and ask Courtney, "How's Kelly?  Tam said she was here the other day and she sure didn't look very good."  I'm pretty sure I shouldn't believe anyone anymore!

9.  One night, toward the end of my stay Grandma Jones brought the girls to see me.  It was so, so good to see and cuddle with them.  When it came time for them to go home, though, they were all a complete wreck.  Everyone was crying and insisting that they weren't going home!  While it broke my heart, I realized that I am needed, after all!  There seems to be a place that only mom can fill, and I'm so glad it's my job to fill it.  What is more, I'm so incredibly thankful for Grandmas who can love my little ones when I can't.  That night, Grandma Jones left with a promise for an important story that she thought the girls needed to hear on the way home- a story about their daddy when he was a little boy, who too often had to be without his mommy while his parents were away at the hospital with his little brothers.  The girls have spoken of that story since, and other teaching moments offered by one of the grandmas while Courtney and I were away.  Thank goodness for grandmas.

8.  The too-many-to-count family, friends, and neighbors who visited, called, and continue to help our world go 'round.  What a fun surprise to visit with roommates I hadn't spoken with in years!  I have so many good friends, so many wonderful people in my life.  Once again, I feel so humbled when I think of everyone who continues to take time to help me and our family.  It was amazing how much my spirits were lifted in the hospital by phone calls and visits.  It gave me something to focus on when my brain seemed so foggy and brought smiles and laughter into my room.

To be honest, it has been pretty difficult for me to learn to accept so much help.  (Another lesson I needed, I'm sure).  But I realize we couldn't keep it together without every one's help.  Because of that, every prayer that is said in our home includes a heartfelt thank-you for all those who are keeping our family running.   

There are so many good people in the world.  So many good people in our world.  I'd like to write more about that, but it's taken me all day to write this much and my body says that's another post for another day. . .



tacomamajen said...

Kelly love you soooo much. You are such a blessing to get to enjoy as a cousin. Thank you & I love you Jenni

Family is Everything said...

Kelly, I hope you don't mind my daughter linked me to your blog. I have known your parents since the first we moved to Utah 25 years ago, when your dad and my husband worked together at LaZBoy. You have touched my heart, we never know what our life has in store for us and I too had a difficult surgery in April, it's been hard to heal and get my energy back but it is nothing compared to what you have been through. You encourage me ( I am much older) LOL But to read of your faith really touches my heart. I had so many experiences as well of great family and friends that helped and you truely do look at life in a different way. A way that only God can help us see. I wish you the very best and if there is anything our family could do to help you please have your mom let us know. You are very blessed and so are we to be able to read your tender words. Thanks for sharing.

Melissa Summers said...

Matts mom Susan had told us a little about what had happened to you. So scary. I am so glad to hear that you are getting well. Your sweet testimony is something we all need to hear. The lord knows what we need to go through to learn and grow in this life. Matt and I learned a lot when we almost lost our sweet Brandon right after he was born. Your family is so blessed to have you. Take care.

Melissa Summers said...

I forgot to congratulate you on your sweet baby boy. He is so cute. Enjoy all the fun that comes with little boys. You will be amazed!