I barely knew him, we had not even met in person, yet here he was telling me that I was his Angel, that he was going to be there for me, that we were put together for a reason, that he loved me ❤and that he would be my rock. All of these promises from a guy who had never even seen me face to face. Looking back now, it’s amazing to me that he would say those things but the truth of the matter is that I can honestly say that he has truly kept his word!
Like I have stated before, those early memories in the hospital go in and out for me still today. We were just talking about it all last night and he told me that we were on the phone for hours on end on New Year’s Eve two years ago and we rang in 2015 together on the phone. I was so drugged up and out of it, I was pretty much not understanding how seriously hurt that I was. People are placed in critical condition in an ICU for a reason but in a way, I am glad that I didn’t know during those early days.
I remember that after we hung up, I tried to get some sleep but was quickly awakened by some intern who saw me and decided that it would be a good time to stitch up my left index finger. I don’t know how I got that deep gash but I knew when it happened. It must’ve been residue from my air bag exploding because I had cuts on my face and all over my arms. The intern proceeds to stitch me up with what would later look like fishing line to Mark. Needless to say, the throbbing pain in my finger didn’t allow for much sleep that night.
Then there was that constant pain in my neck, it was non-stop. There was nothing that I could do to get away from it because I had literally broken it three places. I was to find out later that the C1 or atlas bone is the first vertebrae that is crucial to how the head is connected to it. It is the part that allows a person to pivot and rotate their head. I compromised that in a major way and not only that but had torn ligaments on the both sides of my neck. I had no idea in how bad of shape that I was in, I will probably never really know.
I spent those early days just like this, I couldn’t really move at all for several days. New Year’s Day 2015 came and with it, my excitement to finally meet Mark. He got to the hospital in the late afternoon, probably around 4ish. My nurse came into my room and let me know that I had visitors who wanted to see me and I told her that it was okay. Then there he was, with his muddy green fleece jacket, his green beanie and that smile. Upon seeing him, all I can remember saying was “oh, you are so cute!” He was too, what I could see of him anyway. He was there with Kelly Winters, the woman who was so gracious to drive from where she lived all the way to Silver City, two hours away, to pick up Mark and then drive another 2 and a 1/2 hours to El Paso where I was.
It was there that he gave me T-Bear and we had our first kiss. It was comical seeing him try to get to me to kiss me because those hospital beds have those high railings to keep patients from falling out of them. His medical skills came quickly handy though because he knew how to lower one of the rails and leaned over to me and we finally touched lips for the first time. That was magical too, it was like a literal dream come true. Who gets to experience this type of bliss, well, I did and I knew then that this was indeed special. He knew too, probably even before I did just how special our coming together was going to be. Life changed that moment and it has never been the same since.
After making a quick video which was put up on YouTube, he took over feeding me. I remember that we just laughed so much. He also started to help me to recover from the moment that he walked into the room. He noticed that I was really having some issues with hands contracting and he quickly got the attention of the hospital staff to do something about it. I was being taken care of and if anyone was in good hands, it was definitely me. Mark has never left my side since that day.
It was getting to be later and later and visiting hours were over but Mark told me that he was going to spend the night in El Paso and be back in the morning. We said our goodbyes and I got some much needed rest that night. I had so much to be thankful for.
The next morning, he and Kelly came back. He had no extra clothes because he didn’t plan on staying even an extra night. That morning I was to be given an update about what my doctors were recommending. My doctor, an Indian-decent physician Dr. Misra came into my room but I was informed that no one was going to be allowed to be in my room because the information was confidential. I told them that it was okay for Mark to be there but they requested that he leave.
They ended up having me call my ex on the phone and he then proceeded to tell me the course of treatment that he was recommending for me to be performed in the morning of the following Tuesday. It was very invasive and was going to leave me with a much different body. He told me that the type of injuries that I had sustained were very serious and that they would involve a series of surgical procedures that would require me to undergo an 8 hour surgery that would install titanium hardware into my neck and spine. Essentially my neck would be fused to my back and I would no longer be able to rotate my head.
My doctor went on to say that this was a surgery that was potentially quite complicated and risky both during the procedures and even afterwards. He said that I could die on the operating table but that he recommended it as my best option given the severity of my injuries. I was stunned, in my heart I knew that there had to be better options than this one. He said that if I did not have surgery now that I would eventually have surgery later.
The doctor finished by saying that the choice was up to me and that he would give me time to talk it over with my family to see what would be best for me. It was no contest though, my ex insisted that I go under the knife, she thought that the doctor knew best and that if he recommended it then that was what I should have done. My mother thought the same exact thing as well. Granted, neither of these two bothered themselves to fly down to see me, let alone even send me flowers or even a get-well-soon card but there they were telling me that surgery was my best option. My oldest boy to this day will argue that my choice to say no to having surgery was a bad choice for me to make. I am living proof that it was not.
After the doctor left my room, Mark walked back in and I explained to him what had happened. Upon hearing the doctor’s recommendations, he did not hesitate to tell me that I should not undergo it. My former boyfriend Tony was proof to me of how debilitating neck and back surgery could be. He had injured himself while working in the kitchen at an Old Country Buffet. He did nothing about his neck initially but had to go in when pain got worse over time. It was then that doctors told him that he would need surgery and he had titanium fixatives installed into his back. His life was never to be the same. Sometimes I wonder if my relationship with Tony was there to help prepare me to make the decision not to have that surgery.
In the end, after turning down the recommendations of nearly everyone in my life to have surgery, I took Mark’s advice and also followed my heart and said no. I am so glad that I did. I can’t begin to imagine what my life would be like today if I had chosen to have them cut on me? I am sure that my quality of life would have taken a real bad turn. Instead, I listened to him and he promised to get me back on my feet and healed naturally.
It has been a long road back but I have honestly never been more grateful to have given my body a chance to help itself more than I am today. The next several days in the hospital were spent waiting for them to get me fitted with this awkward and painfully uncomfortable external body shell. They would not let me leave the hospital without having it properly fitted and for me to be able to show some signs of progress. That thing was no fun and I’ll just leave it at that.