Sunday, August 13, 2006

15 year old life lessons

Before being placed in an acute care unit with coma patients, I had never been exposed to coma patients before. I was fifteen years old. I was there because I needed critical care and this was the only unit in the Rehabilitation hospital that provided critical care.

I have to admit at first I was very scared by everything. I cried a lot because I was young and just realizing that my situation was permanent and I was in a rehab hospital several hours away from my home and not allowed to have visitors at all for a few weeks. The hospital called it an “adjustment period” but it felt like punishment because I was used to my Mom visiting me every day and to be cut off from her and my family for a few weeks was very difficult and being in a new place surrounded by new people… I was so lonely and sad and scared. Of course I adjusted in time and realized that I had to work very hard to get out of this place and to get my life back. (I did not realize at the time that it would be two years I had to stay at that rehab hospital!)

In retrospect I think that was probably the best place for me to be at the time to adjust to being a newly paralyzed person because I saw people around me who had lost everything and I was so focused on them and their families that being a new paraplegic seemed minor in comparison.

You come into all kinds of situations in life and you learn from them. You learn that
you are really blessed every day that you can breathe and talk and express yourself.


I remember when I saw him
For the very first time
His hair was golden like sunlight

He had chubby angelic cheeks
With a rounded little chin
He looked so perfect when he grinned

I remember seeing his family
They came to the hospital often to visit
The nurses said he was in a bad accident

Somehow he had fell into a pool
Something had gone wrong
Had been underwater too long

Had lost too much oxygen
It caused him to go into a coma
His brain was damaged then

I remember I was so sad for this family
I knew they must be heartbroken
To see their little angel looking perfect
Yet, unconscious and in coma

His sister was just a little girl
I would entertain her so her parents could visit their baby
I really tried to help the little girl be more relaxed

Later, I read books to little Carlton
They said it might be good for him
I don’t know if he heard me...
but there was always a chance

I wanted to make it all better, take away the unhappiness
It just seemed such a tragedy to see so much sadness
I would have fixed this with a solution if I had it

It was so sad the night little Carlton “coded”
The nurses rushed around and I was so distressed that night
He was just a baby and was not supposed to die

Sometimes life hands you hardest lessons in life
You have to learn to value each moment
Because tragedy can strike at any time


There were other young children like Carlton.

There was Chris who came out of his coma but was never the same again. He called me on the telephone after returning home to Tennessee but all he could say was "hamburger, hamburger".

There was a little blonde haired child named Stacy. There was a little Canadian boy named Andrew. There was the young man who got shot... There was the girl with dark hair who I have forgotten her name but will always remember her face. There were so many young children in comas.

I won’t ever forget that time in my life. It was a turning point for me. I gained a lot of inner strength and I learned many life lessons that are still with me today. I met some wonderful people at that hospital that helped me including a doctor and physical therapist who are dear friends today.


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Being Thankful

- 2005 -

To touch upon the beauty of this world
To live, breathe and hold it for a moment
Was to make my life like a symphony
Each day filled with new peaks
Now to escape the despair of absence
Since your beauty is not near
Biding my time until you reappear.

I just came across these writings today. I wrote them when Armando and I were living in separate countries. Long distance relationship's are difficult but well worth it if you can have perseverance.
I am thankful that our love was strong enough to carry us through those times when we were so far apart. I cannot tell you how happy I am to have Armando here with me now and to be able to share every day together!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Reflexion: Dos semanas en Chile

It was a lot of fun to see part of Chile. I enjoyed meeting Armando's family and friends. They were very welcoming to me.

Armando's Mom was a total sweetheart. She taught me to knit while I was there despite the language barrier. I like to crochet already but knitting is fun too. (Although, I still need a lot of practice yet!)

Because of the change of weather, I got sick while there and was sick a good bit of the time with a bad cold. Armando also got sick with a bad cold before we left. That was a bummer but we still did fun things like playing games. We often played poker with his friends until the wee hours of the morning! Or magic card games or the ship game. Don't you just hate it when you are on vacation and you get sick?

Armando and I lost our jackets at the Miami airport. Oops! I bought another one in Chile and thank goodness, Armando had another jacket in his luggage.
Armando's Mother's house was great. I liked her yard. It had trees and flowers and a gorgeous water fountain made from quartz.

She had beautiful rocks and crystals and little sitting areas that were so inviting. When you entered into her house, you were met with this trees right beside the door that were so tall and growing in an indoor brick container. Her roof is part glass and wood and the trees were nearly touching it. The glass from the roof let in such a beautiful light to her living room. Her house is so in touch with nature. She has bonsai trees and rocks and a shell collection and a horse collection. I loved it. In the hallway, I got to see great photos of Armando and his sister as children and picture of his Mom. I saw a picture of his sister with white doves on each shoulder. My favorite picture was of Armando's Mom and his Dad in the background and Armando as a little boy in the front standing by a tree. He was so cute. :) I liked a picture of Armando's Mother sitting on a big rock surrounded by water. She looked so pretty in that picture.

In Chile, it is very common to have wine with your meals or pisco sour (a Chilean drink with pisco and lemon). I liked the pisco sour and the piscola (pisco with coca-cola or “coca”as coca-cola is called in Chile) and I enjoyed Chilean wine too. The fresh bread there was delicious. Armando's Mom was a great cook. I was SO happy to see avocado or “palta” so readily available. I love avocado and I ate it a lot while in Chile in salads and on bread. Yum!

I was so happy to see the snow capped mountains of Santiago. I had seen so many photographs of the mountains and Chile that it really was great to actually be seeing those in person. I liked how when we stepped into his Mom's yard we were met with a view of the mountains every morning. I liked how the evening light made the snow on the mountains take on a golden hue.

When you go to downtown Santiago there was great architecture everywhere. The churches and many of the buildings were so ornate!

We met with Armando's best friend, Carolina in Viña and Valparaiso. I was so happy to finally meet her. I had spoke with her on the telephone and chatted with her on the internet before. She is a very sweet lady and with the prettiest long flowing hair. We had a very good visit and her and Armando showed me Viña and Valparaiso and the surroundings.

In the city of Viña, I felt very peaceful with seeing the sea and the water hitting against the rocks. The sound was completely relaxing and the atmosphere in Viña (in the winter at least) is very at ease. You see people going on horse drawn carriage rides everywhere. I understand that in the summer it is a different scene with many tourists coming from Argentina and of course other parts of Chile to enjoy the beaches and sea.

Valparaiso was so charming with the mountains covered with homes and the view down below of the sea. I really liked the bright colors of the houses and the little winding streets that went up and down, up and down. I also enjoyed the murals painted on walls. There is a University in Valparaiso that is extremely beautiful. It looks very British and is complete with stone walls and many steps.

In the part of Chile we were in, (Central Chile) you are surrounded by big palm trees, there were orange trees that grow in the winter and there were a lot of avocado trees. On the way to Viña I saw many vineyards.

Chile is a very long country so the country is very diverse. Part of the country is desert and dry, in one part you can see ice glaciers. I only visited a few cities and I was sick part of the time so I know I only saw the surface of a very beautiful country. I am glad I had the chance to go with Armando and to meet his family and friends. I look forward to another visit and seeing more of Chile in the future!

I included a few pictures in that we took.


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Blooming Beauty

When we opened the curtains from our room in Chile, we were met by this magnificent blooming almond tree that is in Armando’s Mom’s back garden. I had never seen an almond tree before. I was captivated by the beauty of its blooms.

Before the almonds are ready for harvest, the wild parrots eat them all and have a feast.

Armando took some photos of the almond tree before we left which I have shared above. I like the photo he captured with the bee especially!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Miami video

Our flight over Miami, Florida.

You can double click on the video after it starts if you want to switch to full screen.