By aralucia on February 24, 2010
For those of you who don't know the backstory, in 1999 I was in the ICU for two months. I had necrotizing fasciitis as the result of a surgical procedure to remove an ectopic pregnancy. Surgeons performed daily debridements to remove dead flesh from my abdomen. They did this for three weeks until the 30 muscles of my abdomen were entirely removed. During this time I was in a medically induced coma because the infection was so severe that the medical team believed (not sure what the following part of the sentence means - something is missing) they needed all my bodies every to fight it. Every hour in the ICU my family and friends did not know if I would live. When I got out of the ICU I spent another month in rehab which I busted out of and then I spent the next year and a half at home unable to conceive how I could ever do something I believed in again. Six months later I had the largest abdominal reconstruction that has ever been done. This had quite a few consequences.
For 18 months I was suicidal. I could not comprehend how not having the strength to open a can or the endurance to make it to the bathroom more than once in a day was supposed to add up to some kind of life. I'm not saying I had no enjoyment in my life because that would be untrue. But I was struggling to create a way that I could contribute to the world in a meaningful manner. Through several tedious and frustrating years I eventually unfolded/flowered/evolved by combining my skills and talents to work as a director. The truth, however, is that I am able to (do this work) direct because I am surrounded by professionals, as well as a number of friends and family who jump in at every turn and make me look as if I am doing everything all on my own.
So now the adventure begins. Now I will be doing a real journey, one for which I am not in the least prepared. I will need to enlist the help of strangers in a foreign country. The good news is I love the French. Granted, I was only in Paris eleven days in 2006 but for all the nasty talk between the French and Americans, I love the French and they seem to like me just fine.
I have so much to figure out. I need to determine the logistics of getting my scooter to France. Like any other trip I need to make plans carefully considering my disabilities. I will talk more about this as I begin to plan and prepare. Right now I have it on my mind that I have to figure out if there is some kind of backpack that can be broken down into pieces that would be about 10-15 lbs. a piece so that I can carry each piece into my lodging individually. I'm also thinking about how I'm going to be able to relearn French with the cognitive losses I've had since my time in the ICU. Now I need to catch you all up. I've been working on increasing my endurance and managing my fatigue for a month now.
I have a long way to go. When I first got the scooter last Spring, I found I could ride her for about twenty minutes. Then I passed out for several hours. My hope is that my efforts on the elliptical machine will have me in better shape by the time scooter season begins. There is a great deal more to prepare for, to figure out and to train for, let's go.