I woke up at 3 a.m., dripping with sweat and fear.
My heart was pounding.
“It was just a nightmare,” I told myself.
And it was.
But, it was also real.
I’ve had more than a few nights like this recently …
Nights when the car accident happens all over again.
The difference between the nightmares and the real accident …?
When the accident happened, I had no idea how bad it was or what the aftermath would be.
When I have car accident nightmares,
I relive the accident but while the nightmare is happening,
I also know what is to come …
The surgeries, the pain, the disability, the loss of lifestyle.
Over time, the nightmares have lessened.
Now they’re back – frequently.
I can guess why.
The six year anniversary of the accident is coming up in less than a week.
Try as I might to “forget” the date … every single year it gets to me.
I tell myself it’s “just a date,” but there’s Big Heavy Significance that hangs around me this time of year.
I try to shrug it off, but it won’t leave.
I feel ridiculous for admitting to this fragility –
I should be mentally and emotionally strong enough to dismiss a date on the calendar but, apparently, I’m not.
I find myself mentally comparing where I was a year ago, two years ago, five years ago with the entire Car Accident Aftermath.
Memories flood back whether I want them to or not.
In addition, my pain level has been high lately.
With the help of so many people (surgeons, physical therapists, friends, family, the photography community, YOU, etc.) I am doing more now than anytime since the accident.
Still, the more I do, or try to do, the more pain I experience.
I’m doing a lot lately, considering the state of my damaged body.
It isn’t easy –
And it comes at a price.
A price I tell myself I’m willing to pay because we only live once, and I’ve already lost enough of my life to the accident.
“The accident” is an entity in itself.
I refuse to let it win.
I fight against it every.single.day.
I always will.
Lastly, I’ve got a new fear clenching at my heart lately.
My “good” arm has been hurting, and not just a little bit.
I’ve known for years my left arm is also “damaged,” but it WORKS.
It is the only working arm I’ve got –
I CAN’T AFFORD TO HAVE PROBLEMS WITH IT.
These are the things gnawing at my subconscious, no doubt responsible for the return of car accident nightmares.
I will get through it, as I do every year.
I saw Dr. Painless this week and he’s concerned enough about my increasing pain to insist I try timed-release pain meds for the next six weeks.
This is something I’ve fought against doing for a long time.
He tells me the bottle of Advil I’m consuming every day for pain is more likely to kill me/have adverse effects than the meds he’s prescribing.
We’ve agreed to a six week “trial.”
Why is he the best doctor EVER?
Because, he completely understands I need to follow my passion and he supports me in doing so.
He knows how many people give up their lives when faced with ongoing pain.
He knows, somehow he really knows, how determined I am to live my life.
In the meantime, The Neanderthal has already given me one treatment on my “good” arm.
He assures me he can help.
He reassures me too.
Pain doesn’t mean surgery.
Pain doesn’t mean loss of use.
I need to hear these things, but the fear – oh the fear!
I tell myself to take a deep breath.
It is going to be okay, I know it will.
And yet, I find myself working late into the night.
I don’t want to go to bed.
I don’t want to fall asleep and relive the car accident again.