Road to Recovery (Ashley's Story)
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  1. #1
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    Default Road to Recovery (Ashley's Story)

    I'm starting out this journal on my daughter's progress with the post I made about her accident & condition on the Anything Topic Board. It explains the beginning to those who don't know her story.

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    Aug. 9, 2006


    Forgive me if I'm rambling, VERY bad day for us:

    My daughter Ashley was involved in a horrible car wreck today at 11:29 AM. It was her first day of school & just 3 days after her sweet sixteen birthday. She was riding home with her dear friend, Kelly, when someone in a black mustang came flying off of a side street into oncoming traffic. They swerved wildly, blocking both lanes & slammed on their brakes. Kelly had just passed another motorist when the car appeared in front of her. She tried to stop & swerve but, was boxed in. She hit the car & then was hit from behind. The impact was so severe that it sent them across the road, over the curb, then into a telephone pole & they were bounced back into oncoming traffic where they were hit again.

    I received a call from Paramedics from the scene asking me to meet them at the hospital (parent's worst nightmare). When I got there Ashley was still on the backboard & in a neck brace. Blood was everywhere & it took all I had not to pass out. She has a concussion, several serious cuts that required stitches & also had glass embedded in her face. Her leg was really swollen & they think her ankle may be broken. She has bruising & scrapes all over her body, a very prominent one where the seat belt caught her. Her back is also seriously injured but, we are not sure how much damage was done. The X-rays don't show any fractures in her spine but, she is in too much pain to stand or walk. She has feeling in her feet & legs but, said her upper thighs & butt is very numb. They gave her Morphine & released her a few hours ago, against our wishes. (Don't get me started on how crappy this hospital is!)

    Kelly suffered a broken nose, a concussion, scrapes, bruising & a cut on the cheek but, will be fine. They released her several hours before Ashley. I felt so bad for her because she was devastated over Ashley's injuries and apologized to me while crying hysterically. I held her hand, told her that I don't blame her in any way & it wasn't her fault. There was absolutely no drinking or drugs involved. She did everything she could to prevent it.

    The police told me they are VERY lucky to be alive & seat belts undoubtedly saved their lives. The telephone pole was snapped in two & Kelly's car was totaled.

    I don't even think it has hit me yet. I feel like I'm in shock. It's so hard for me to think about how close we came to losing her, losing them both.

    If Ashley gets any worse or still can't move by tomorrow then I am taking her to Nashville to be treated. She is resting right now but, she has made no improvements since the accident. We are all very worried about her back & everyone was shocked they released her. If they missed anything I will sue their asses off!!!!!

    Please send prayers, positive thoughts/vibes, et al. our way. I will be sure to keep everyone updated.

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    I'm exhausted after 48 hours of no sleep so, bare with me & sorry for the typos.

    I stayed up all night with her & she was in an incredible amount of pain that was not controlled by the meds. . 24 hours went by since the accident & she couldn't pee, not even in a bed pan. She also couldn't sit, stand or walk. Moving her just a few inches in her bed made her cry out, hyperventalate & sweat profusely. We tried everything we could think of to get her some relief but, nothing was working. I made the decison to call for an ambulance & demand to be transported to Vanderbilt in Nashville. The paramedics refused, stating that by law they must take her to the nearest hospital, Gateway (to hell) Medical Center...Yes, the hospital that 'treated' & relased her the night prior.

    Once there, I was asked why I brought her back, insinuating that I was a nutjob & Ashley was just putting on an act to get attention. I explained the situation in detail & again demanded a transfer. He refused as well, stating he would ASSess the situation & then decide. He informed us that I could take her myself, knowing full well Ashley could not ride in the car. I then told him I wanted an MRI done & he said "They didn't do MRI's for emergency medicine" and that her Ped could order one if they wanted it done tomorrow"

    Needless to say I was livid at this point (well, I was livid well before this point). I had to fight with them to get someone to put a cath in Ashley so she could at least pee. After waiting two hours, they finally sent someone in. Poor Ashley's bladder was so full she was about to rupture. She filled the bag (large one) in under a minute.

    After I went back & forth with them for some time, the ER doc FINALLY agreed to do an MRI. An hour later he comes over to say, I think we see 'something wrong' but, we want to run a CT scan on her too. 30 more minutes pass then three nurses & two doctors come in the room & closed the curtain around us. The first thing they did was start apologizing. My heart sank as they told me Ashley's lower spine was broke in two places. They then asked me where I wanted her sent & I told them Vanderbuilt, that's where I wanted her to be treated all along. DH saw that I was about to kick some incompetent hiney & stepped in to pull me back.

    We are now at Vanderbilt & they have been wonderful to us. They admitted her to the Critical Care Unit. Several specialists & doctors have been in to see her already. Tests have been run & more are ordered. They told me that she has SEVERAL spine fractures & not just two breaks. They are trying to determine if she needs surgery to stabalize her back.

    She has feeling in her feet & legs. Her upper thighs, butt & lower abdomen are still numb. She still has the cath in & is unable to pee without it. They believe the nerves are in tact but, are being pinched off from swelling. She also has other injuries which I will update more on later. They do think she will be able to walk again but, it will be a long road to recovery for her with physical therapy.

    I haven't had a chance to read all the responces yet but, I'm working on it. They have a computer in Ashley's room & I will be able to give updates now. Thank you all for the prayers, well wishes & support, they mean SO MUCH to us.

    If anyone wishes to send well wishes/encouragement/cards directly to Ashley here, please PM & I will be happy to give out the information needed.

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    Ashley is doing a bit better today. They took her cath out . She was able to pee in a bed pan but, she 's still numb & can't feel if her bladder is emptying all the way though. She is unable to sit up because of the intense pain. Physical therapy is coming in later this afternoon to work with her. They are setting up a trapeze so she can use it to pull herself up & take the pressure off her lower back while attempting to do it.

    They don't think she will need surgery to stabalize her spine fractures because they are low on her back (between & just above the hips) but, it's a wait & see situation. Her ankle may need to be casted & they did another Xray on it this morning. It takes a few day to get a good picture of the calsification. They also needed to wait for some of the swelling to subside. They are hoping to relase her Monday but, again, it depends on how well she does. She will need in home nursing care & a tutor as well.

    Thanks so much for all the encouragement, love & support. You guys are the best!

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    Aug. 14


    Ashley is still having problem's urinating. She goes pee in a bed pan but, can't evacuate her bladder even half way. She must be cathaterized every time after she goes to get the residual. They have taught me how to do it because she still needs to be cath'd after they release her.

    She finally had a bowel movement yesterday & it has made her feel a little better. She strained for several hours & it exhausted her. She ended up with an enema because she is having too many problems. She's also still having problems with nausea but, I feel that's mainly to do with the pain medications. She now gets anti-nausea meds with it to help.

    The newest Xrays of her ankle don't show a break in the bone. They think she has tendon and/or ligament damage but, are not sure how much yet. They have fitted her with a special boot to use during physical therapy, when she is finally able to stand.

    Physical therapy is moving along. It's very exhuasting for her but, she gives her all. She is able to sit up half way with the aid of the trapeze & can hold it for about 7 minutes. She progresses a few inches each day & even though it doesn't seem like much, it's like climbing Mount Everest to her. I keeping telling her we are getting there, we just needs to take baby steps. She was very athletic until the accident happened. This whole process is very frustrating & humiliating for her but, she has handled it with grace. I doubt I could have done so well at that age.

    As if her struggles are not enough, the stress has sent me into a Lupus flare. I'm hurting all over, running a fever, weak & exhausted. I am trying my hardest to stay strong for her though & will stay here with her, even if they have to put me in a bed right beside her. I have been here 100% of the time, since day one, & I refuse to leave. This is our home until she is better & I will leave when she can go too & not a minute sooner.

    I don't know when they will release her at this point. She may be going to an inpatient rehabilitation center after here. There was more damage done than they initially thought & it will take longer to heal. They are not sure how much function she will regain but, her prognosis is still good. We are just taking it one day at a time, one problem at a time. I'm told she will most likely suffer from back problems the rest of her life though, due to the severity & location of the breaks.

    I will be be moving this to the journal section for further updates because this will be an ongoing thing. I will post a link when I have it started so anyone wishing to follow her progress & journey to healing, can.

    I sure do appreciate all the support & prayers. It has helped us all out, lifting our spirits, reminding her that she has many people that care & are pulling for her. Thank you.


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    A true miracle happened today. I went to get a prescription from the hospital Pharmacy & was only gone from her side for a short time. Her Physical therapist was working with her. I opened the door to her room & I was astonished at what I saw. She was standing up & taking small steps with a walker!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    We were only hoping she would be able to sit completely upright today but, she exceeded ALL expectations. It was a short trip that exhausted her for the rest of the day but, it was the best thing I have ever seen in my life! There's just not words to describe how good it felt to see her proudly standing there, displaying a smile. It was the first time she had happiness on her face since the accident.

    The nurses were quick to remind though that this is the first step of many she will have to take. She will continue to have setbacks, as the nerves begin to refire. It will be very rough, LONG road for her & there are many things she will have to conquer but, she took the first steps. We have so much hope though & it was a relief to see a glimpse of her beautiful smile once again.

    And even though she still continues to have bladder & bowel complications, nothing, I mean nothing could ruin the triumph of today.
    Lisa 38, Eric 45, Holly 18, Ashley 16, Adam 10, Ethan 5 & Isaak 2.

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    August 17

    She was released from the hospital & we are both so happy to be home. A friend came to pick us up in her van because we have so much extra stuff needed for her care that wouldn't fit into our car (A bedside commode, wheelchair & walker, among many other things).

    She had a lot of anxiety about leaving & the car ride home. She smiled ear to ear though, upon seeing the army of people there to greet her. I really don't know what we would have done without all the wonderful people who reached out to us & helped. We feel very blessed for having such caring friends.

    Before leaving the hospital we had a long talk with her Urologist. The news wasn't as good as we hoped. They expected to see more improvement in her bladder function at the one week mark. It is very uncertain how much of it she will regain now. I have to catheterize her every time she goes pee, then measure the amount she can void versus the amount she retains. We get more with the cath' than she can void at this point, with no improvement in the last 5 days. They still believe this will improve over time but, there is also a chance she will have to do this the rest of her life. Only time will tell.

    Ashley wasn't prepared to hear what the Urologist had to say & began to cry. I wish she wouldn't have said anything because I don't want Ashley to give up hope. I have to believe she will get better & she needs to believe it as well. I know her doctor was just trying to prepare us for the worst possible outcome but, hope is what keeps her going. We can jump off that bridge if/when we get to it.

    She is walking a bit better. She can go (very) short distances with her walker and goes a little farther each day. Her ankle is not helping matters though & it makes balancing a challenge. It's still really swollen & painful. I just hope it will heal without surgery. The bones in her back are still expected to heal without surgery as well. She has so much numbness in the pelvic region though and, like her incontinence problems, only time will tell. There is a good chance she will suffer long term back problems & may never be able to do all the things she once did. Her young age is a plus though & improve her chances for a better outcome.

    The nurses at Vanderbilt spent the week training me for in home care. I was taught all the physical therapy exercises she needs to do over the next 2 weeks. They will revaluate her at that time & see if more is needed. If it is, she will need to go for physical therapy in Nashville. It isn't Ashley's favorite thing to do, understandably, because of the pain & exhaustion involved. She is a tough young woman though & gives it her all.

    I also had to learn all the catheterization ins & outs (no pun intended). I shocked the nurses by getting it right on the first try. Must have been a lucky first try because I missed the second time. Now I do it like an old pro but, it's something I never wanted to know about. We all do what we have to for our children.

    Her care is very time consuming with all the stuff she needs help with but, I enjoy spending the time with her. It has made us closer than we ever were. She sees that I'm more than her Mom now; I have become someone she can lean, cry & count on. I see it as another blessing that has come out of this. We cannot always grasp the reason why things happen but, I know they do for a reason. It has made us all stronger & closer. I have learned to stop asking why & concentrate on the good that comes from it. It's very hard some days though to not be consumed with anger & grief. Only 10 days ago she was a very bubbly, athletic teenager & now she struggles with simple tasks. It has robbed her of happiness for the time being. She trained very hard for band/flags & now will not be able to participate this year. Her positive attitude & courage inspires us all though. She reminds us that no matter what, we will get through it.

    The phone calls from the various car insurance companies involved in the accident have started. We got two today, one hinted at an offer but, my DH hung up on them . They tried to get information on Ashley's condition & even tried to get our car insurance information. What our insurance has to do with any of this is beyond me. She has never been behind the wheel of a car, wasn't driving the day of the accident & doesn't have a learners permit, little alone a driver's license. It was ridiculous for them to even ask & needless to say, we didn't tell them a damn thing. We decided it was time to get a lawyer & contacted one today. They REALLY want to take the case & are coming to our house tomorrow. He's a very successful, high profile lawyer that only deals with automobile accidents & related medical malpractice. He charges more but, will be well worth justice being served.

    Right now, we are just trying to get into a routine that works. Her homebound schooling will start soon. We have much missed rest to catch up on too. How anyone ever gets better with all the doctors & nurses coming in every couple of hours, around the clock, is a miracle! I swear lack of rest is what kills people. I was trying to function of a few hours sleep a night & it wasn't going too well .

    We are just so happy to be home.

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    Aug 18

    It has been very hectic. We are just trying to figure out a schedule that works for us all. Caring for Ashley properly is so important & is top priority. I guess though, that leaves everyone else to feel neglected by Mom. I'm trying to be everything to everyone & I am stretched very thin right now. I know things will calm down later but, for now, it's a mad house here.

    The phone rings nonstop. Well intentioned friends stop by to see her & insurance companies making offers is making me nuts. How can you put a price on what she has been through & will continue to suffer with the rest of her life? She is priceless to me & no amount will ever change what happened. Still, we will need the money for her ongoing care. There is just so much medical insurance does not cover. There is also the long term care & quality of life issues at stake. She may need to be cath'd for the rest of her life. Her nerves may never heal completely & thus she may never regain normal mobility. Chronic, life long pain is a real concern as well.

    I went to pick up her medical records to make sure they were not 'accidentally lost.' I was absolutely floored when I read them. The day of her accident the X-ray report reads that something abnormal was seen but, they were unable to determine the exact cause. The Radiologist recommended a CT & MRI. As everyone already knows, the attending physician ignored the recommendations. He lied & told me everything was perfectly normal, nothing to worry about, she would be fine. They FORCED her to stand up which is a BIG no no & undoubtedly caused more harm. I'm horribly sickened by what they put her through. I can't even find the words inside of me to describe how disturbing it is. How many other innocent people have they done this to?

    We attained a lawyer today too. They came over at 2:30 to speak with us about Ashley's case. We were very impressed & relieved that they will be handling it from here on out. They feel we have a rock solid case for injury claims & malpractice based on the witness accounts, police & medical records.

    It's been another rough day for her. We thought we saw a glimmer of hope earlier when we cath'd a very small amount first thing this morning. Turned out the cath must have been clogged with the medical jelly used to insert it. The second time around we got a large amount though. She has also had diarrhea almost daily since the accident. The Sacral fractures & swelling put pressure on the nerves that control her bowels too. As with everything else, only time will tell. We are just hoping & praying for the best.

    I already miss all the wonderful families we got to know at the hospital. We shared daily the struggles facing our children & our worries about their recovery. We laughed, cried & prayed together. I feel honored to have shared this all with them. I did get email addys to keep in touch & can't wait for updates from them.

    While at the hospital we got to meet Billy Ray Cyrus. He's an extremely nice man who cares very deeply for the sick children. We were disappointed though that we didn't get to meet his daughter but, she away filming in San Francisco. We love her Nickelodeon show, Hanna Montana. Here is the picture of him & Ashley:


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    ****WARNING**** Graphic pictures



    Here is the pictures that Kelli took of her car. They are not very good but, it's all we have for the time being.









    Here is some pictures of Ashley after the accident:







    She still refuses to look at herself in a mirror despite us constantly reassuring her it isn't that bad.

    Here is pictures of the accident scene & telephone pole they hit:






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    I Went shopping today & bought a bunch of stuff to help make things more organized & easier around here. A room that was once cluttered with teenager stuff is now full of medical equipment & supplies. It serves as a constant reminder of how much our life has changed in an instant. The little things that we used to take for granted don't go unnoticed now. We appreciate it all & find joy in small accomplishments.

    Flowers, gifts, cards & messages of support keep pouring in & it really does lift Ashley's spirits. She sees how much she is loved & cared about. She pulls strength & courage from it for the many tough days that lie ahead. Thank you to all who have given this to her.

    I still feel like I'm in a daze & that it hasn't truly hit me yet. I have only cried a few times. The adrenaline seems to keep me going but, sooner or later I will hit the wall. I can only concentrate on making sure Ashley gets the best care possible. My whole day is planned around it & I have trouble leaving her for short periods of time to do the shopping. I guess that's how the fear manifests itself inside of me.

    We are the end of another day & I'm, again, just so thankful she is here.

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    We were finally able to get her in the shower today. She was sick & tired of sponge baths but, who could blame her. We don't have a shower chair yet but, a lawn chair worked just as well. Necessity is the mother of all invention I guess.

    I'm getting a lot of attitude from my oldest daughter Holly. I'm not sure what exactly it stems from though. Perhaps she is having a hard time dealing with what happened to her sister. Maybe she is jealous of the attention being heaped on Ashley. It also could be all the stress around here or maybe all of the above. Any time I mention the possible outcomes for Ashley, she gets mad. It's like she can't accept that this will last longer than another week. I'm trying my hardest to prepare the family, as a whole, for what MAY come but, no one wants to accept the possibility. The only thing denial does is make things harder in the future & will ultimately make it tougher on Ashley. She has a hard enough time dealing with the here & now. She doesn't need everyone being all upset if the news isn't good when she has her next appointment. I do understand that we all need to hold onto hope but, we must accept the reality of her situation as well.

    I have been doing a lot of research on Ashley's condition. There is something that her doctors have not addressed that worries me a great deal. Along with urinary & bowel complications, sexual dysfunction goes hand in hand with this type of injury as well. She is young & not sexually active but, there will be a time in her life when this is going to be very important to her. I want that part of life to be fulfilling without such horrible complications. My mother, on the other hand, thinks it's really dumb for me to worry about that. She came from a time when women were not supposed to enjoy sex, it was something they did for their husbands, an obligation. She can't grasp that it should be a normal part of a healthy relationship between two people, little alone get joy & pleasure from it. It's like talking to a brick wall.

    There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to get things done. Holly just got a job at Pizza Hut. Between work & school she is never home. When she is, all I get is push back & refusal to help. Eric has returned back to work & is doing overtime to catch up on all the missed days. Isaak has some viral thing that has given him explosive diarrhea. He is miserable & needy. Ethan is taking advantage of the situation & gets into everything, only to be joined by his older brother. Adam is able to help some but, often makes more work for me instead. I would find a corner to curl up in & cry but, I don't have enough time.

    The gang did let me sleep in this morning but, that only caused me to get up in a panic realizing Ashley hadn't been cath'd yet. I had to remind them that no matter how much I need the sleep, Ashley's care comes before mine. I know they meant well but, this is so important. I will be setting an alarm from here on out.

    I'm hoping things go smoother tomorrow.

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    Ashley has an appointment tomorrow with the doctor in charge of her case at Vanderbilt. She's having a horrible time with her bowels. She did have diarrhea & almost couldn't make it to the toilet in time, even though it's right beside her bed. The last two days she hasn't gone at all & we are very concerned about impaction troubles. She also complains about increasing weakness in her lower legs & is refusing to get up other than using the toilet. It has me so worried. I just don't know what else to do.

    I've been reading as much as I can about her condition. After reading her medical records, I found out the saddle paralysis she has is called Cauda Equina Syndrome. Cauda Equina means horse's tail in Latin, pertaining to the many thin nerve strands that branch off at the sacrum & down the legs. When these become pinched it causes a numbness in the area where a saddle would touch & can also effect lower extremities. Every single article I've read said that it was considered a medical emergency & surgery was needed to fix it ASAP. Her doctors have me confused though. They chose a more conservative treatment of rest. The articles were not just from WebMD or other popular medical websites but, also from the Journal of Orthopedics & Orthopedic Trauma Association. Not ONE site recommended conservative treatment. It's really making me worry & wonder why it is OK in Ashley's case. I'm going to confront them tomorrow & get answers.


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    Ashley's appointment went well today. We were the last people seen & they spent extra time with us, beyond closing. There was blood in her stool this morning & it's causing some concern over an additional bowel injury that was not previously found. It could, however, be from the amount of straining she must do to go. Even urinating is a struggle for her. Her bladder & bowel don't really get the signal sent from the brain so, it requires time, patience & lots of trying.

    They did additional X-rays on her back & pelvis but, they are not satisfied with the results. Her Doc has decided to do another high resolution CAT scan & considering another MRI, depending on the results. Since it was after hours, they will be calling back with that appointment. The concern now is that she has a blood clot putting additional pressure on the spinal column. If that's the case then she will need to be treatment to resolve it. He said surgery is not generally used to treat it though but, other factors can come into play & he will know more when the additional scans are done.

    He took us into his office & we were finally able to see the X-rays, CT & MRI results from the day after the accident happened. It makes me cringe to see how much damage was done. One side of the sacrum has a complete fracture & is displaced, making it easy to spot. On the other side of the sacrum she has an incomplete fracture. It's the only part still attached to the pelvis, is the only thing holding it into place & preventing the middle section (containing her spinal column) from free floating.

    He also explained in detail why decompression surgery was not done. By the time they saw Ashley, the part of her nerves being pinched off had resolved but, not before damage was done. How much damage is unclear. The window of opportunity for treatment & reducing further damage was missed because Gateway dropped the ball. Proper treatment in the first 24 hours was critical. They made her stand up which increased pressure & hence more damage was done. Had they been competent & administered care (immobilization & Steroids) in a timely manner, the after effects would have been reduced. He said it could take six weeks, six months or six years for the nerve damage to resolve. If she's lucky it will heal but, there is still a good chance she will never fully recover.

    After arriving back home, I crashed hard & didn't wake up until Midnight. It was just in time for her next cath. Things have caught up with me now. Sleep is my best friend & worst enemy. Despite the fact that it is desperately needed, it interferes with my ability to do the many things needed around here to keep things running smoothly. Aunt Flo is also hampering things quite a bit as well. She was 20 days late & because of this it's been extremely rough. I'm paying the late fees with interest. With all the hormones raging in my system, the tears flow freely now. But, it's something that I have need to do for two weeks now. Leave it to Aunt Flo to get the job done.

    Ashley handles this whole thing like a trouper. She seemed in better spirits today & even joked with the nurses. She is one tough cookie & we are all so proud of the grace, courage & strength she continues to show. She accepts the situation & works hard to move forward. I don't know where she pulls it all from but, so happy she has this inside to get her through. I still worry that she is putting on a brave face for us. I want her to let out her anger & fears, not hold it inside. I've tried talking to her about it but, she is stoic. I will continue, though, to remind her that we are here if she needs to let it out. She must be able to heal emotionally too, not just physically. Her recovery as a whole is so important to us all.

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    Ashley started Homebound today. Her teacher is very nice. She already has a ton of work to catch up on but, I think she will do good with it. I know she would much rather be going to school instead, with all of her friends.

    Thank goodness Ashley & I share the same sense of humor. We can find something funny in just about everything we do. While at the Doctor's Tuesday they wanted a stool sample. Well, of course she didn't have to go at the time & to save us another long trip down there, they decided to use a swab to get it. They also needed a urine sample so, off to the handicapped bathroom we went. Ashley said she preferred to try it herself & the nurse waited outside the bathroom to get the samples. The conversation between us goes as follows:

    Ashley: "Ouch!" "My butt is numb & I keep sticking the Q-tip in the wrong place!" "Oh wait, I think I got it!" (She did get it & held up the Q-tip to show me) "Here Mom, hold this....."

    Me: "I'm not holding your poo swab (while cracking up)...I'll get the nurse..."

    Nurse: Comes in, grabs the swab from Ashley & realizes she only has two hands & can't open the vile to put the poo swab in. She looks at me and said: "Here, Hold this!" With a defeated look on my face, I hold the poo swab.

    Ashley, of course, is cracking up by this point & almost falls off the toilet laughing so hard. She tells the nurse she tried to get me to hold it but, I refused. The nurse tells her "You didn't say it right, it's all in the way you say it." "Use more authority next time."

    I sure hope she doesn't need to have a colonoscopy. They suck big time! The gallon of "Go Lightly" they give you to drink, for cleaning you out, is false advertising. By NO means do you "Go Lightly"! It's more like someone stuck a fire hose in your mouth & there is a direct line to your ***hole! Your arse become so sore even cotton balls feel like sandpaper! I mean who names this stuff?!?!?!? Whoever it was needs to be fired! I had to do the test one time & I will NEVER do it again. I don't care if I s*** out my colon into the toilet! Blah!
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    Ashley had much less urine today during catheterization. We are hoping this is a steady downward trend that continues. We have to be cautiously optimistic though because it may not last. She also had her first normal bowel movement today which was a relief (literally for her!). Hopefully she will continue moving in the right direction (pun intended). I know how badly she wants her life back & she is working so hard for it.

    Holly seems to be in a better mood the last couple of days. I think her biggest problem is trying to adjust to working & going to school. The accident & upheaval that followed made things tough on everyone. Very rotten time to start a new job. She enjoys working there though & it gives her confidence. I think it's just what she needed to keep her mind off of things.

    I've gotten into a schedule now & things are running a little smoother. I felt like I was going to collapse a few days ago. The walls were closing in on me & I was having a very hard time coping. I didn't show it in front of Ashley but, I really felt like I was losing it. I know my own serious health issues with SLE are not helping matters any. I seem to have this flare under control though & hoping hard it's not an illusion. Often times it turns the tables on me to show me who is in control & who is along for the ride.

    Since Ethan is finally going to Kindergarten full time now, that allows me more time to rest. There never would have been a good time for the accident to happen but, things are harder because it took place at the very beginning of the school year. We have a hard enough time adjusting with 5 kids & 5 different schedules, little alone adding to it. Rest, though, had made all the difference in the world to me mentally & physically. I just can't get by without a large amount of it. I really need to accept that & stop fighting it because, in the end, it will always win!

    Happiness rules today, I see a glimpse of our former life in the distance. Funny thing is, with my illness, I never thought it was all that great. Ha! Man, was I wrong. Never EVER take your children's good health for granted!

    I know eventually Ashley will come here & read this so, this is for her:

    I want you to know that I love you very much, baby. I am very proud of how well you have handled yourself through it all. I believe in you & your ability to overcome it, despite the incredible odds against you. I know, no matter what, you will be better than you ever were before. With all the beauty, strength & courage you have, there is nothing you won't be able to achieve in this life. Keep your dreams & hold them dear to your heart. Someday, you will live them.

  10. #10
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    Hope for a quicker recovery was dashed by a bout of diarrhea later that same night. I believe her intermittent progress is from the nerves trying to refire. Just when we think we see progress, she reverts right back a few hours later. I'm almost afraid to post any progress now because I feel it might jinx us. I know it's silly superstitious stuff but, it still sticks in my mind.

    We are at the mercy of time. It's our best friend & worst enemy. It ticks by with no regard for the people it affects. She watches like a caged bird as friends go on with school & other activities. She is trapped inside a body that is broken & frail. I know it won't be this way forever but, to her, it must seems as an eternity has already passed. I stay by her side & only leave to make short trips for groceries, medications & medical supplies. I even limit my time online to spend it with her. How can I enjoy anything when she enjoys nothing?

    I know this is all wearing on her & I try to do whatever I can to bring a smile to her face. I bought the movie "Silent Hill" for her. We saw it at the movie theater & I know how badly she wanted to see it again. I also moved a VCR & the Playstation 2 into her room to help with the grating boredom. She still doesn't move around much other than short walks. The pain & weakness chase her back to bed. I worry each day she lays there is eating away at her, not only mentally but, physically & more time is being added to her recovery. I want to push her to do more but, at the same time I'm afraid it will do more harm than good. I still encourage her but, she just doesn't seem ready yet. I know how badly she wants things to be back to normal so, I figure she will when she's ready.

    Holly & I are secretly plotting to take her for a short shopping trip. She needs to get out of the God awful house for a few hours. We all do. She is self conscience about the walker & wheelchair though. I know we are learning & growing from this experience but, it's still hard to accept. Hopefully, she will be up for it & will enjoy it.

    I got a letter tonight asking permission to use my KatrinaTribute.info Flash presentation at Burning Man. This is another HUGE honor bestowed upon us & it couldn't have come at a better time. My daughters served as advisors for this very special project. They deserve credit for the artistic & inspirational input they brought to it. They both have a lot to be proud of. It's almost been a year since Katrina happened. I feel very blessed that I was given the opportunity to help & get to know the many victims affected by the horrible disaster. They have touched my heart so deeply & I'm a richer person (of spirit & soul) now because of them. Their strength & courage has inspired us. It serves as an example that despite devastating circumstances, life continues & eventually overcomes the obstacles in the road to recovery.
    Lisa 38, Eric 45, Holly 18, Ashley 16, Adam 10, Ethan 5 & Isaak 2.

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