As you can imagine 2017 hit me pretty hard losing my arm. But that, unfortunately was not the worst thing that happened this year. It has been the most challenging year emotionally and physically and quite frankly I can’t wait for it to be behind me.
The worst thing that happened to me this year was when my son, who was 18 months old at the time, was severely burned. This was one of the worst moments of my entire life only surpassed by losing a baby – and that happened more than once (but not this year).
But I also lost a friend out of my life who I loved dearly, watched a friend bury her fiancé instead of marrying him, see another friend younger than me die of a chronic disease, learn another Aunt has terminal cancer, gone through a melanoma scare, have had four separate surgeries and of course be left with only onegoodarm. Just to name a few.
It’s a lot. A lot for any one armed, or even fully armed girl, to handle. But here I am on NYE 2017 watching my kids dance around the lounge room enthralled with the Sydney fireworks thinking I am so lucky, in so may ways.
Get some perspective. That is my NY advice.
When my son was burned I was so broken I felt irreparable. I also felt like, after the event was over, I had been hit by a truck. The emotional toll of going through something like that is big, and comes later when the adrenalin has worn off. When you are totally exposed.
Without having to go through the torture of every detail my son placed his hands on a burning hot wood fire. Unfortunately at 18 months old he has no ‘retraction’ reflex so stood their burning and screaming until he was ripped away from the fire by my brother in law.
It was no-ones fault, but as his mother it was of course my fault. My one true job is to protect my children and I failed. He suffered partial and full thickness burns to both hands and was possibly going to require skin grafts, he needed heavy sedation by paramedics and I thought seeing him in such agony would literally – kill me.
It was beyond horrendous. I lay with him sedated on my chest in the ambulance and thought, this is the worst moment of my life. I am very thankful I had two arms at the time as holding him under tepid running water for 20 minutes was the most difficult task to perform but best decision I have ever made. It saved him from skin grafts and the hospital praised me for it. But I didn’t deserve praise, I felt I deserved a public stoning.
So after many weeks of bandages, dressings and trips to the children’s burn unit my little boy came out the other end almost perfect. I could not believe we recovered from that incident. The only ongoing issue has is a sensitivity to hot surfaces or hot objects on his hands. And a healthy fear of fire.
Just when I was starting to take a breath after that recovery I lost my arm. That was, easier, in a way. Whilst I struggle every day with almost every thing, it is happening to me. I can control it. I can control how I respond. Even though sometimes I do not do it well.
And of course this injury, this disability, has shown me so much, made me appreciate so many things.
Perspective. I have it. In spades.
So I have no doubt the coming year will throw me a few curve balls, but I will be ready.
Despite the tragedy of this year, I have also made new friends, seen the best in family, seen the best in many many people, loved unconditionally, been thankful, stopped being shallow, enjoyed simple pleasures like sleeping and hearing my children laugh, seen my baby sister marry the love of her life, pushed myself, overcome so very many hurdles and am proud of all that I have achieved and survived.
You may not think losing an arm is not worthy of all that indignation but it’s tough. And as an injury that you never contemplate happening, you are totally unprepared for it. But I have survived because I have no choice. I must go on.
This evening, just 4 months and 30 days post accident and 13 days post massive surgery, I prepared oven baked fish, individually cooked in lemon, butter, olive oil, salt and pepper – with one arm, even juicing the lemon and it was so good the kids ate so much fish their little bellies bulged and I thought that may explode. And I was so proud and so happy. So content. Life is all about moments like these.
Life also marches on – whether you are ready or not. It refuses to wait, no matter how damaged or unprepared you are. You must move forward. Roll with the punches and if it gets you down, accept it, get back up and keep going. No one will remember the down, only how many times you got up and kept going.
So come on 2018, lets see your face and see what you have install for us.
I am ready.
OGA says goodbye to 2017.