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As promised, I’m posting the first three pages to my first book about raising Brian FOR BRIAN’S SAKE. I’m also posting the first page of my second book, ONCE BROKEN: The Impossible Dream about my surgery, how my life, body and spirit was broken and how I have become successful at overcoming all those obsticles. It also delves into the new realm of neuroscience and how science is on the cutting edge of a new frontier for dealing with back injuries and chronic leg pain.
The book ONCE BROKEN: The Impossible Dream is dedicated to Dr. William Smith, the one person who gave me a second chance at life.
PLEASE REMEMBER THAT THE FOLLOWING EXCERPTS FROM BOTH BOOKS ARE COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL AND MAY NOT BE DUPLICATED OR REPRINTED IN ANY MANNER WITHOUT MY PERSONAL EXPRESSED WRITTEN CONSENT.
FOR BRIAN’S SAKE
Tall grass swished as I ran just inside the field, along the rocky driveway. My footing was unstable, and I was hoping the darkness made it more difficult to see us.
“Shh, Brian, don’t cry,” I whispered holding him close to my body.
I stumbled, dropping the bag of our belongings. Having prepared myself to break the fall, I fortunately kept my footing and stayed upright. Already across the street by the time I recovered from the stumble, I left the bag, time was of the essence. With my head down, holding Brian close to me, I heard the motor turn over in Frank’s truck.
The sound startled me into looking back toward the house. Again, I lost my footing, falling into the grass. This time, I didn’t get up.
Maybe the grass is high enough to shield us from view, I thought.
The damp, musty smell of the earth filled my nostrils. I ignored how the dew, already heavy on the stalks, soaked through our clothes.
“Shh,” I whispered again. I was certain that Brian could feel my fear by how tightly I held him. “Please, don’t cry right now; Mommy loves you buddy. Everything’s gonna be okay,” I said in a barely audible tone.
The beam of headlights cut through the darkness at the end of our driveway. Hearing the crunch of gravel under the tires grow closer paralyzed me like a deer caught in headlights.
We’ll be alright if we just stay quiet and low.
Brian and I became one, nestled together in the safety of the elevated stalks.
HE’S HUNTING US DOWN! Panic flushed over me.
No one ever defied Frank and got away with it. He’d make somebody pay for this. Experiencing his anger before, I knew what he might be capable of. What will happen if he finds us? Does he have his gun with him; does he really want to kill us? Is he in that crazed frame of mind, ready to do the unthinkable?
He didn’t see us. The sound of the truck’s motor got softer as it’s headlights dimmed.
Earlier, on a quick pass through the kitchen, my trembling hands grabbed medicine and supplies necessary for Brian. Although his clothes were tiny, and only shoving a few things in for myself, everything still didn’t fit into the big, black garbage bag. Brian looked at me with his trusting, deep brown eyes as I put on his jacket. I managed to slip my sweatshirt on as I scanned the house. There were so many important things I wasn’t able to take.
Maybe the black of the bag will help camouflage us in the darkness, I thought as I went through a fast mental checklist of everything a special-needs child must have.
Tomorrow is our anniversary. How did things go so wrong? What did I do to deserve this? Maybe, if I’d done something different, something better, I wouldn’t be spending my anniversary this way. Or maybe, he wanted to spend the Fourth of July with someone else.
I was determined to make this second marriage work. I married for life and understood taking the bad with the good. There just wasn’t much good for a long time. I was lonely when Frank went to the racetrack. I was lonely even when I was with him. Loving him so much, I wanted to be a good wife and show him I was worthy of his affection, but it never came. I could never please him. There were moments of passion, but I came to realize that was to satisfy his needs, not mine.
Just minutes before, Frank had finished yet another of his more severe tirades. He threw three, eight-inch clay flowerpots past my head into the wall just above Brian’s playpen. The plants were everywhere; the dirt was everywhere; the broken shards of the pots were everywhere. Two five-inch gaping, jagged holes exposed insulation in the wall. Minutes prior, Brian was in that very spot, playing. Once Frank’s rage ran its course, he screamed at me to clean up the mess before he got out of the shower.
At that moment something in me snapped. I realized Brian might very easily become a casualty of Frank’s abuse, leaving him dead; or worse, a vegetable. The events of this night forced me to change my reality. I knew the decisions I made now would affect us forever. Our lives depended on me making the right ones.
Quietly, I opened the window to Brian’s bedroom, which faced the street, making sure the latches to the screens didn’t screech. After tying it hastily, I heaved the full thirty gallon garbage bag over the window sill onto the ground below.
I waited in Brian’s room until I heard the water hit the basement shower stall. There wouldn’t be much time until Frank came upstairs and saw I didn’t clean up his mess. With an adrenalin rush, I snatched Brian from his crib, and escaped through the side door just at the top of the basement steps. The front door, which was closer to Brian’s room, didn’t open because Frank had nailed it shut. I slipped out silently so Frank wouldn’t hear me and come running after us. I didn’t have much time.
Our dog, Rocky, didn’t bark since he was used to me going out at night with Brian, responding to tow calls. Up until Brian’s birth, Rocky was my surrogate child, my loving companion, my comforter who went almost everywhere with me. Rocky was Brian’s dog, now. At 111 pounds of Doberman-Shepherd mix, Rocky was still a moosh with us. For Rocky, however, there was no difference tonight, not knowing we were escaping.
ONCE BROKEN: The Impossible Dream
“The surgery went as well as could be expected, I had to do a LOT of work on her. It’s now all up to her,” the neurosurgeon, Dr. William Smith, told my family. He went over the x-rays he took during surgery, pointing out the before and after. They had no clue what they were looking at. “She’s in recovery now, you can see her when she is awake and they’ll take her to her room.” They thanked him and in a moment he was gone.
Originally, in the surgical staging area, Dr. Smith briefly saw us all together while they were finishing attaching wires to my legs for neuromapping. He was looking at my chart and as almost an FYI, I remembered something I forgot to tell him when last we spoke in his office. “You know Doc, I forgot to mention that my right hip keeps popping out of it’s socket.”
He looked up from reading my chart, “Really?” he asked. “For how long?”
“It’s been going on for some time, like, a long while!” I shared.
With that, he grabbed the x-rays laying on top of my feet, looked over at his PA, Joe. They both viewed the x-rays holding them up to the ceiling lights, he looked back at Joe and said, “We’re doing an altogether different operation than we planned.” He said something in a low tone and Joe nodded in agreement.
Before this conversation, Dr. Smith told my family the operation would take about an hour and ten or fifteen minutes. At the two hour mark, my son, Brian said he started to get worried. By the three hour mark, both my husband and son were pacing. The operation took three hours and twenty minutes. Much longer than anyone anticipated!
I had some trouble coming out of the anesthesia which made it even longer for Brian to see me…he was soooo worried. Shortly after I was in my room, Gregg went to work and Brian laid on the padded wooden chair. It was where he stayed for the entire night, and for the next two. He brought “Teddy” his teddy bear for me to hug, but he used him as a pillow. For those first few hours I was totally incoherent.
I was told when Gregg and Brian were talking, I said to them, “Shh, I’m healing.” I did hear the laughter from both of them but had no clue that’s what it was about. One other time they were talking about getting the TV for me and I guess I said something like, “Turn Skittles’ ears so we’ll get better reception!” We have two bunnies at home, one named Skittles! I must have been a real hoot to listen to!
For all my friends from Warren and surrounding areas in Ohio, Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada, my many readers around the world, Matt Smith Physical Therapy, my new friends from NuVasive, the Cheetah Ball, The Better Way Back, Legacy Health Strategies, Bill Walton, Nate “Rock” Quarry, the folks I haven’ t met yet from AIMIS, and for Dr. William Smith, this is my way of saying thank you for sticking by me, encouraging me to keep at it, and giving me hope when I thought there was none. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, I love you all more than you’ll ever be able to realize. Enjoy the read, there’s more to come.
In the meantime, remember to take care of you and yours,