By this point, I was going crazy. Imagine being cooped up in an apartment all day long while everyone else was out living life. Now imagine ME doing it. I love people and I love outdoors. This was pure torture for me. There is only so many books to read, Netflix to watch, and mind puzzles to do. I craved company beyond anything else. I was also determined to start slowly easing out into the world. I had a date with a music festival that I was determined to keep. It was the only thing keeping me going.
My first outing was to a bar to pick up a gift from our sweet friend, Brad. He made T-shirts for people and I must admit that mine was spot on. Any friend who has ever been with me when the whiskey hits knows that I make friends with everyone! I later regret making some of those friends, but in the moment…well, ya know! Yolo. All of the shirts were spot on! It was one of the best gift ideas I have seen in a while. (So air high-fives, Brad!) That evening was great, but I woke up the next morning in some uncomfortable pain. Not walking for two whole weeks – really not putting my leg on the ground for stretches of time for two weeks made sitting in a chair a little overbearing. It was well worth it, though. This outing also proved that I could physically work up to going to the festival as long as the doctor said it was okay.
The Physical – Week Three
By this point, only my inner left thigh and left foot/ankle still had patches. The rest was exposed to the air and I was required to put on a film of cream three times a day. I did four just to be safe. I explained my little science experiment in the previous post and I stick by what I said. The South African cream Resque works the best, but I’m limited to how much I have so I’ve started using it on the worst of the burns. Pain wise, it really wasn’t that bad. There were moments of take-your-breath-away like when I got excited and accidentally slapped the top of my left leg. Didn’t know that was a habit of mine until searing streaks of light slid behind my eyelids as I doubled over. I was now out of danger for nerve damage, so the doctor shot me up with some Morphine before the bandage changes. I used that method twice before it really wasn’t necessary anymore. Even my mom commented on how I was back to my old sassy self when I called. Usually, I was a crying and moaning mess after a bandage change, but by this point the pain was only semi-uncomfortable and didn’t last very long.
Little-by-little throughout the week I was able to ween myself off of the pain meds, which meant I wanted to start eating again. I could work out. I was so proud of my smart self when I realized a burned leg was no different from a broken leg, so I Youtubed “total body workouts for broken legs.” It was great to get moving again. By the end of my third week, I was still down to two bandages but their areas were shrinking.
The Mental Breakdown – Week Three
There had been moments of darkness throughout the process, but I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family to keep me going that those moments were short and far between. I realized quickly that sitting with my own head was a really bad idea for me. I started reliving old arguments and relationships. I started wondering why this person hadn’t called yet. I started resenting my balcony that I so desperately wanted to enjoy. There were times when I was so angry that it was sunny out because it meant I was not outside enjoying it. I mean couldn’t it just be rainy and depressing for one second so that I didn’t feel like my house was suffocating me?! I only cried when I had my bandages changed and once on Saint Patricks Day. For the most part, I was pretty positive and could keep it together. And when I started feeling myself fall into the dark hole, I put on the show Schitt’s Creek. (Amazing AND on American Netflix. Watch it now!)
Then came the news. My friend texted me to see if I had gotten the email from our other friend that our music festival had been cancelled. Now I have to logically walk through this because my reaction even took me by surprise. I got this text message while getting ready to wash my hair in the sink (still couldn’t shower yet) in order to go out for the first time since the incident. This was t-shirt day. I went from giddy excitement to crippling sorrow in the span of seconds. I quite literally curled into myself. I slid down my kitchen wall onto the floor and sobbed harder than I have sobbed in a very long time. And I couldn’t stop sobbing. I’m taking full body hiccup sobs. This is the type of sobbing that makes your head hurt. My brain told me to pick myself off the floor and restart my hair-washing task. I am still a Myer’s Briggs “T” after all. As I did that, I sobbed into the water. My brain told me to go get dressed so that I was ready for my friend to pick me up and take me to the bar. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed trying to pick out an outfit. My brain told me to quit fucking sobbing so that my eyes wouldn’t be red for my very first outing. Then my emotions said fuck you right back and I sobbed some more.
I had missed out on two weeks of life. I missed big adventures like the bodega and Saint Patrick’s Day. I had missed the mundane moments like students saying silly things and conversations in car pool. I had missed going to the park to work out and sitting on the rocks reading with the waves as background noise and taking bike rides to watch the sunset. I had purposefully NOT pushed myself because I knew that this music festival was four weeks away from the moment the accident occurred and surely I would be healed enough to make it work. It was my carrot of hope that was dangling for me to get better. And someone had ripped that carrot off the string and threw it into a garbage can filled with vomit and feces. I think three weeks of build-up had finally poured out. And it was freaking Niagara Falls up in here.
I got it together enough to go out and had a good time with my friends. I even convinced them to play a few games of pool with me. But walking home, I unleashed all of this built up emotional junk to my friend and as soon as I got into the house the sobbing started again. I can’t remember the last time I had cried myself to sleep, but this was one of those nights. So I learned very quickly that injured people need incentives. People need hope to continue.
The next day, I was still in my dark mood, but I was trying to be proactive. I was determined to go anywhere. I was looking up every possible place to travel in Uruguay. I was looking for cheap plane tickets to neighboring countries. I was looking to see if I could go back to Rio to see my Brazilian man for a few days. Then my wonderful, amazing, incredible friend Diego posted on our friend chat that there was a beer and music festival in a place called Paysandu. I immediately started researching. It looked totally doable. Then it started to look super cool. I was determined. I didn’t care if I had to get my ass on a bus and camp out by myself, I was going to this festival. And my doctor had better be on board because there was no changing my stubborn mind. Thankfully, the doctor said yes and thankfully my friend, Brad offered to go with me. The hope was back and so was I.