Recovery harder than expected after car accident

Mother’s Day was this past weekend. My kids always do a great job making me feel loved. And being a mother is my greatest joy in life.

To be honest, I haven’t been a great mom this year. I felt like a phony being showered with love because I haven’t really been there for my kids the last five months. I have missed all of the events except a few. I have missed sports events, ceremonies for my high schoolers, many of my graduating student’s last moments and lots of other events both big and small.

It’s not that I haven’t wanted to be there— trust me that I have shed the tears and held my phone waiting for pics, videos and updates.

And they have missed a lot of things too for various reasons from having to stay and take care of me to not wanting to be exposed to COVID and bring it home to me.

And I haven’t been there emotionally or physically as I have struggled with complications from my accident.

I thought the hardest thing I had ever done was getting through the initial injuries and getting back on my feet in those first few months. I had no idea that things would get worse. The initial injuries were expected. Everyone from the doctors to me knew what was wrong and what needed to happen to get “back to normal”. But then about six weeks ago, some complications I had been having all along got way worse.

I will spare you details, but either because I lost four feet of my smaller intestines, some other unknown reason or a combination of both, I can’t really eat and digest food like I should be able to. At my last weigh in at a doctor’s visit over a month ago, I had lost 64 pounds since my accident with over half of it the past two months.

The pain and discomfort is intense. I often don’t leave my home for weeks and even then only to doctor visits or the emergency room.

The mental and emotional pain and discomfort may be the worst part. As tests are run and no answers are found, I become more discouraged and find myself wondering why I survived a near-death experience to live like this (not saying I didn’t want to survive—it just doesn’t all make sense to me yet). I feel crazy at times and would wonder if it were all in my head if I didn’t have physical evidence that there is a very real problem.

My many doctors have been mostly great, but the thing is, when you have so many and they don’t know the answers, they start finding that it isn’t in their area of my care so I should follow up with my Dr. (fill in the blank). And getting to dr appointments isn’t super feasible since I can’t drive and often I can’t even ride when I need to be by the toilet.

Sometimes I feel doctors are like “it’s been almost five months already so you should be fine” or maybe that is because I am always thinking that. I feel really isolated and alone. And guilty. And often hopeless. I should be back to real life and not still struggling so much.

I haven’t been a good friend and employee (my company has been amazing and more than gracious), and most of all, I feel like the worst mom. They have had to deal with a lot—more than any kids should as far as I am concerned.

I’m not sure why I shared this with all of you. I have purposely stayed off social media to avoid sharing and being “woe is me”. But I felt like I needed to share this. Maybe because I edited a column written by my daughter, someone who has been in the thick of it and it made me realize some things I had no idea she was feeling (which is what motherhood comes down to—they teach us more than we teach them). Maybe partly so people can have a little understanding especially as they read the paper my coworkers and bosses have had to jump in and do more of to help me.

I don’t want sympathy. And I for sure do not want or need any diagnoses. Trust me, my doctors are exploring everything.

I think I have just realized through this whole process that everyone has something and sometimes it really helps to be reminded of that. I’m sure there are people reading this who can deeply relate to my oversharing and maybe they feel a little more hopeful to know they aren’t alone. And maybe my sharing will help them give themselves a little more grace. Maybe I can give myself a little more grace.

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