Friday, September 28, 2012

The Other Guy-

You know the one, the guy that hit me, and then left me there to die. Ya that one, we're talking about him today. I feel very strongly that I need to preface this post, the things I want to write about today are feelings that have taken a really long time for me to get to. If I were to document in detail how I got to this place it would take more posts than I'm willing to write. So please, just keep that in mind, as I try to put into words everything I've been thinking.

He was drinking all night long and was on his way home when he hit me. I've never met him, I don't know what he looks like, and I don't know where he lives. I know nothing about him. I don't know if he's married, if he has kids, what his life has been like.

What I do know, is that when I woke up in the hospital and I couldn't move my legs, I wanted to kill him. I wanted him to suffer the way I did. I couldn't look past the pain that I was in, all I knew is that someone else had made a choice, and because of that choice I was in a hospital bed going through pain I had never known was even possible. I didn't care if he was a dad or a husband, all he was to me was a nameless, faceless villain that had ruined my life.

For weeks I laid in my hospital bed and all I could think about was this man. Mojo and my family made the decision to keep everything they knew about him away from me. They didn't want it to hinder my healing. It was probably a good thing, I was already obsessed with him without knowing anything.

For weeks I viewed him as this heartless person, I mean he had to be, right? Anyone who would hit another human and than leave them there to die couldn't be anything but a monster. Of course my family and friends all validated my feelings, telling me they were perfectly normal. But in all honesty, as mad as I was at him, I was even more furious at the Lord.

I blamed Him for everything that had gone wrong. I blamed Him for letting this horrible thing happen to me. I'm a good person, I try and do the right thing, how could He not protect me from this? What had I done to bring this terrible thing upon me?

I spent weeks with this attitude. And of course I had family, friends, and therapists telling me that it was normal, that all my feelings were completely understandable. So, I wasn't in a hurry to change them. I went through 3 weeks in the hospital with this attitude. It didn't matter what anyone said to me, I was angry and I wasn't in any hurry to go through an attitude adjustment.

As excited as I was to get out of the hospital, I was really nervous to go home. And rightly so, I really struggled the first couple of weeks at home. I was surrounded my memories of what my life used to be, all the things I did that I took for granted. You'd think this would make me even more mad at the Lord and at the "other guy," and it did for a while.

Then one day my thoughts started going in a new direction. Even though nothing had really changed, I couldn't walk, I couldn't do anything I had before, and yet I started to see that even though I was dealing with some really horrible things, I was alive. All the weeks in the hospital, I had never realized how close I had come to dying. It's still kind of hard for me to believe.

I SHOULD have died. I should not be here. It's as simple as that. 12 weeks ago could have, should have, been my last day on this Earth. I was told over and over again in the hospital that it was a miracle that I was still here, let alone that I had no brain injuries, no spinal chord injuries, no major organ injuries. I woke up one morning and realized, I'm a walking miracle. I'm still here for some reason, unknown to me, and how could accomplish what I need to do when I was carrying so much hate around.

I grew up in a house where scriptures were read to me often. When I was younger, I was told the scripture stories and as I grew older I started to learn the true meanings of them. As I started to reflect on my life, and the decisions I have made a scripture passage came to mind over and over again. It can be found in John Chapter 8-


And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a awoman taken in badultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
 Now Moses in the alaw commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger awrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without asin among you, let him bfirst cast a cstone at her.
 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
 And they which heard it, being convicted by their ownaconscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
 10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do Icondemn thee: go, and sin bno more.


Verse 7 was repeated in my mind continuously for weeks. "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." I have made decisions in my life that I'm not proud of. Things that have kept me from being close to my Father in Heaven. I have fought many uphill battles to return to Him. And in all those instances I have never had a scripture be as powerful as this one was. No matter what I was doing or feeling, this scripture never left my thoughts.

And one day, I realized, that I was not without sin and as such how could I cast a stone at this man. This man, who I believe, felt that his life or something in his life was so horrible, that the only way to escape was to drown himself in alcohol. Through this scripture and many heartfelt prayers I have come to forgive him. And I have come to terms with the trial I am facing right now. I realize now that the Lord is not punishing me, He's preparing me, to do things I never knew I was capable of. And one of those things is complete forgiveness for a man who took everything from me.

I hope one day to meet this man, to shake his hand, look him in the eye, and tell him that I forgive him. I pray every night that the Lord will inspire me, that I may know what needs to be done to help this man. I believe that he should have consequences for his actions and as the victim I have a considerable say in what happens to him. In essence, I have this man's life in my hands. I have power over what his life will be like and I can choose to take everything-just a little while ago, I wanted to.

Now, more than anything I pray to know what he needs to help him turn his life around. I hope and pray that this experience can be his motivation to take the path that he may have strayed from. I realize that not all share my views. Many don't understand how I could so readily forgive him.

I know he may chose to continue to make decisions that hurt himself, and those who surround him. I know that many will feel like I'm delusional, like I expect to much of him. But I also know, that should he chose to continue along this path, he will one day be responsible to a higher power-one full of mercy and love.

In all the posts I've written about my accident, I've never once cried, or really worried about the reaction people would have in response to reading them. This post has taken me all day to write and I have cried more than I care to admit.

As you read this and if you chose to share it with others, I pray that you will remember that I am a human being. I'm not looking to be put up on some pedestal or praised for my powers of mercy. Because I don't have them, I am very human and I struggled for weeks and months with this. It has been a long journey to be where I am now, but it has been so worth it.

The moment I realized that I had truly forgiven him, I felt this giant burden being lifted from my shoulders. People tell me how strong I am, how amazing I am, how they could never go through what I have gone through. I'm here to tell you, I am none of those things. But I have the companionship of my Savior with me at all times, and it is because of Him, that I have been able to do the things I have done.

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P.S. I've barely scratched the surface of all that I believe, if you're interested I encourage you to visit mormon.org. Also, always feel free to ask me anything-you can email me with any questions or comments at kari {at} newlywedsonabudget {dot} net.

For more information on the accident as well as updates check my Road to Recovery Page

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Life in the ICU

For those that missed the first part of my accident you can read it {here}.

My memories of the first week in the hospital are fuzzy at best. It seems like the more I try and remember things, the fuzzier they get. I remember things but they usually aren't in chronological order and I generally get some of the details mixed up. It's so frustrating, an entire week of my life has been taken away from me. It's hard for me to watch video's and see pictures, because even though I recognize myself-I don't remember that taking place. It's really unsettling.

These two videos are some of those that I don't remember. This was after my second surgery, the Monday after I was hit. I came out of my surgery that day to a room full of family members. But I didn't remember any of them. It was so strange, I remembered random facts about them but didn't make the connection that we were related. I think it's kind of funny, looking back now. Although, the first time I watched them I cried.

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The one thing I do remember, above everything else, is the pain. I'm not sure how to even describe it. They say that breaking your femur is the most painful thing a person can go through. I was pretty drugged up, who am I kidding, I was really drugged up. But, I still remember the pain. Even though I was getting some of the most heavy pain killers possible, I still remember the most intense mind numbing pain. I honestly don't even have words for it-indescribable amounts of pain.

This was a few days after the accident. I can't find a picture of when the whole right side of my face was black and blue. 


The thing my family and Mojo remember the most from the first week is the fact that they would have to move my legs every 30 seconds or so. I was constantly begging them to move my legs or to just lift them up. They would place them in a spot that felt okay-and relieved some pressure, and then the pressure would just build and build until it was excruciating and I would ask them to move them again. My favorite was when they would just hold my legs up above the bed-it was the only time I got complete relief.

The first week, my family was there 24 hours a day. I was never alone. And it was amazing because I needed them more than I realized. There were times when I was unable to communicate what I needed to the nurses and doctors and my family or Mojo would step in and take care of it. They really were my advocates.

I actually never knew I was in the ICU until weeks after I was out of the hospital. All I knew was that I was in the hospital and that I had a great view. Apparently, the 11th floor means your in the Trauma Intensive Care Unit. It also means you get round the clock interruptions care. And I mean "round the clock". I had vitals taken every single hour of every single day. It's really hard to sleep when your being interrupted every hour.

One night my dad had to step in and physically hold the door shut to keep people out. He told the nurses that they had to stay out until 6 the next morning. A few tried to get in but he sat in a chair next to the door all night long and kept them out. It was the first night I got a full nights rest-it was wonderful.

In all honesty, everything I remember is actually kind of horrible. There were a lot of tears shed, the worst part was that Mojo had to tell me over and over again what happened to me. He had to tell me multiple times the day I got hit and in the days following. And every time I was told I went through the same emotions all over again. It was awful.

And then there was the panic attacks. When I was in the ICU I was told it would be 12 weeks before I could put any weight on my right leg again. Than it would be 6-8 months before I would be walking without any form of assistance (wheelchair, crutches, cane, etc.) Than I was looking at another year to year and a half before I would have the strength to start running again. Needless to say, I was crushed-completely devastated. With that came a lot of anxiety attacks.

I remember one in particular. My SIL Jamie was with me that day and we were talking about all the changes I was going to have because of the accident. As we were talking the reality of it started building up and I realized how much of my life had been taken from me in that one moment. At the time, I wasn't seeing it as a miracle that I was alive. I was focused on what had been taken away from me, instead of the miracles I had been given. Talking about it and the fact that my nurses forgot to give me my pain pills, lead to one of my worst panic attacks.

There were a lot of tears and screaming involved. Looking back I feel so bad for my pregnant SIL who had to suffer through it with me. It took hours to calm me down. Actually, it was when my Dad showed up that I really started to calm down.

I now have a lovely scar from where my elbow decided to take on the road

The swelling in my legs had gone down considerably by the time this picture was taken. Although, they were still twice the size they are normally. This was also the first time I had sat up in 5 days. 

How I slept most nights. I'll admit, I sometimes miss those hospital beds. About 5 days in I found the perfect way to sleep. Every night after that my pillows had to be in a specific order. 

Anyone notice the re-occurring blanket? My sister thought to grab it with a few other things from home and it became my favorite item while I was in the hospital. I wanted to have it with me at all times and I couldn't sleep without it. It sounds childish, but it was my one tie to home and I loved it. I still sleep with that blanket and use it every day.

I have to take a moment to thank you for all the wonderful comments. They make me laugh and cry at the same time-and I realize how truly blessed I am. I also have to thank you for all the prayers in my behalf, I have truly felt them working in my life.

You are all wonderful,

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Friday, September 21, 2012

My Accident Part One-

I've been thinking about writing this post for a few weeks now but I wasn't sure how to go about it. I've had so many wonderful emails and text messages from fans who are worried about me and I appreciate all of them. I'm sorry I haven't been great at responding, until recently I've been on some pretty heavy meds that make my brain slower than usual.

I've been unsure of how to talk about everything on the blog, I think if this was a small family blog things would be different, but since I have a lot of readers I don't know personally, I've struggled to find a way to write about my life now without driving readers away. Last night, as I lay in bed I realized that it didn't really matter to me anymore-my accident will reach the 12 week mark on Saturday. Sometimes it seems like it's been ages, other time I feel like I got hit yesterday. And it's important for me to write about the good, the bad, and the ugly that comes along with everything that's happened.

One of my favorite bloggers, Ashley from Lil Blue Boo, is such an inspiration to me. When I was worrying about getting personal on the blog I started reading through her Cancer Chronicles and am blown away with how she was able to tell her story in such a way that so many people could connect with her.

I thought I'd start things out by doing a full account of the accident. I know people are curious and I'd like to have it written down somewhere so that I can just refer people here instead of having to tell it over and over again.

Saturday June 30th I woke up at 5:30 am to run 9 miles. My half marathon was in four weeks and I was worried about not being able to finish. Somehow I was able to wake up that early on a Saturday without to much complaining on my part. Before I got out of bed Mojo turned over and sleepily asked me to not go on my run that day, to just stay with him. If only I could turn back time-I would have stayed in a heart beat.

But I didn't, I got up, went through my pre-run rituals, and headed out. I made it 8.5 miles and it was the greatest run I had had yet. Everything went perfectly-I started out at a great pace and had no problem keeping it. I ran along the highway near my house and made it the corner that leads into my development-after that everything goes blank. I only remember small bits and pieces from that moment until 3 days later when I was in the hospital.

My doctor's said that when the body suffers a traumatic injury many times the first thing the brain does is discard the short term memory. Apparently short term memories take quite a bit of energy to store and during a crisis the body needs that energy to stay alive. I guess I have a 50/50 chance of remembering everything about the accident, but until then I have to rely on what I've been told-so from here on out everything is from other's point of views.

No one actually saw the accident-so until I remember things I'll never really know exactly what happened or how I reacted. Although, based on my injuries I've been told I saw the car coming and turned my body inward to brace for impact. Apparently that split second decision saved my life-but that's for a different post.

The gentleman that found me says I must have been hit in the 10 minutes from when his wife left the house and when he left. He actually drove right past me-in my bright colored running clothes he thought I was dog that had been hit and covered up with a blanket. It wasn't until he looked in his rear-view mirror and saw me lift my head that he realized I was human. When he reached me I was conscious (although I don't remember anything) and I told him that I thought I had fallen down and that I needed help getting up. From the bone sticking out of my left leg and elbow as well as being covered in road rash he was able to surmise that that wasn't the case.

Being fully conscious I was able to give him Mojo's number and well as tell him my address. Unfortunately no one who was there at the time knew where my street was and Mojo's phone had died that night. It took 15 minutes for the ambulance to show up. I'm not really sure why that was-but alas, that's what happened. Thankfully Mojo woke up, plugged his phone in, and was contacted within a few minutes of the ambulance arriving.

I was stabilized and put on the most annoying stretcher. That is one thing I remember-that stupid stretcher. I was on it for 6 hours-and it hurt, a lot. Anywho, the ambulance took me all of 200 feet to the hospital-where I was prepped for flight. I was life flighted to the IMC Trauma Center located in Salt Lake. I was in the ER for 6 hours while they assessed and stabilized me.

It turns out I had-

A compound fracture of my left femur (it means the bone broke and punctured the skin)
A tibial plateau fracture of my right leg
A shattered left elbow (the bone broke through the skin on that one too)
A broken left collarbone
A broken nose
Fractured pelvis
Hairline fractures on my L1 and L3 vertebrae
And a concussion

As soon as I was stabilized I was taken into a 6 hour surgery to have my bone set and 2 screws placed in my elbow, then I had my femur bone set-hollowed out-and a metal rod placed inside. Two days later I went into another 4 hour surgery to have the tibia (also known as the shin bone) in my right leg fused back together using  cadaver bone and a metal plate. I spent a week in the ICU and 2 weeks at rehab facility at the University of Utah. 3 long weeks stuck in a hospital bed, unable to move my legs, and in constant pain.

Mojo and I've decided that this is my new theme song-listen to the words....


Just a small disclaimer...even though I'm going to try and be more personal on the blog I'm still a craft blogger at heart. And I'm finally starting to get back into crafting again, I can't wait to get some pictures and share them with you!

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For more information on the accident as well as updates check my Road to Recovery Page