Monday, February 18, 2013

Day 184- 6 Months

It is with tears in my eyes that I write this post. I am happy about how far I have come, but am sad I am not as far as I had hoped. I guess you can't rush healing, huh? I want to thank everyone who I have met and who has prayed for me so far. I can't express the gratitude I feel. I have met some amazing people on this journey and expect I'll meet some more before it's over. I have spent a lot of time healing and working hard to reach goals that will help me walk again someday. I have spent far too long in a hospital or hospital setting and plan to continue having all of my days at home. I go to PT twice a week and work on my arm and overall body strength.

Day 184- I got up and sat around the house today. Dad got off early so we hung around until we went to dinner with Mom. Then we got to go to Sam's Club... I LOVE bulk shopping! Haha! Anyways, I pushed myself around the store most of the time, with BOTH arms. Go me!! We got home and started The Americans, which I like so far!

Hi! I'm JenaeRenae and I was in a serious car wreck 184 days ago. So this is the story of my wreck and recovery so far and an introduction to my life. Don't worry, I'll keep the whining and complaining to a minimum.Warning: pictures will be on here; if you're squeamish, beware. A LOT happened in 184 days...

Broken bones: at least 5
Surgery/procedure count: 22
Bruise count: a billion

I was hit basically head on and shattered my right ankle and dislocated my left (thank you, Jesus) elbow. It was pouring rain and an Escape hydroplaned into me across a turn lane, but hit me with the back of the car (which is less weighted than the front) Police, firemen, and the insurance adjuster were all amazed I lived. WEAR YOUR SEATBELT!!!

Surgery 1: External fixator on my ankle/lower leg and my left elbow popped back into place.

It looks way worse than it was. It was SOOOO heavy to move my leg!! Ha! When it was wrapped up in the ace bandage it was so intimidating and scary, but this picture assured me I would be ok. Just so you know, those pins (as they call them) go through my heel and the others are screwed into my bones. It's gross, trust me, but worth it. Lets not forget about the "safety glass" that I'm STILL pulling out of my arms and hands!!!

Surgery 2: Fixing my left elbow. My socket had some shards that broke off so they were put back, a plate was screwed in, and an external fixator was put on/in. Also, my ulnar nerve was moved. Think hitting your funny bone times 30. OMG!! Ouch.
See how scary it looks all wrapped up?! Ick!!

This is much later, but it shows it out of all the wrapping.

My first time in the wheel chair where I was pushed to look out of the window. Two fixators makes getting up and out HARD work!!  
Surgery 3: Two days later... My amazing orthopedic surgeon put 3 plates and 24 screws in my ankle and took off the fixator. This was a 7 hour procedure He had to take out all of the shards and do everything else. This left me with a nerve in my left leg which is still odd.
I was released to a rehab center at this point for 2 weeks. Then the real horrible stuff happened. I went to an appointment to see my doctor and he admitted me to the hospital. Dun, dun, DUUUUUUN! As it turned out, one of sutures didn't heal properly and would need some help healing. Basically my stitches didn't close and when he took them out, my plate was exposed; yes, the one on my bone...

Surgery 4: Wound vac added to ankle, elbow loosened a bit to open towards me, and about 80-90 (an estimate) stitches removed. The picture for this one is gruesome, so I will not post it.

Procedure 5 and 6: Wound vac change. My elbow was popping out of the socket when my arm was extended. This meant the ex-fix would stay. I was a perfect candidate for Tommy John surgery. On the 6th one my surgeon decided to put in stitches and pull them all at once. The next day was baaaaaad. Wow.
Procedure 7: Consult with a plastic surgeon for a muscle flap which did not happen. Yay!!

So a few days later, I went home for my birthday!! 7 days later, here I am. I got my 8th procedure today.

Procedure 8: Wound vac change and he loosened my elbow to move out a bit. So bad news came with this procedure. My wound has a bit that is still open and is exposing the plate. I currently have a wound vac on one part of my leg and antibiotic beads in the open part. Also, a bacteria I have kills muscle flaps... Yay me. Now that we're all caught up, we'll talk about me.

There were a LOT of surgeries and procedures plus another rehab after this point. The plates were removed, I did hyperbaric chamber, I had a muscle flap and skin graft (that failed), and TONS of wound vac changes. Basically I had to have my right foot amputated below the knee and we had to put a skin graft on it. It has still not healed all the way, but we're hopeful it will soon. My left arm is finally free, but still weak. My big muscles are still pretty strong, but my tiny muscles will need strengthening. I can almost put my left palm completely face up and can put it all the way face down. My hand can reach my shoulder and my shoulder is still getting stretched out. I can open my arm about 40 degrees, but that will be better soon with my new brace.

Now about me. I knew the car was going to hit me before it did.The first thing I noticed was my left arm wouldn't move. I could also feel the bones in right leg move. My radio console had popped out and I pushed it back in. Then I tried not to bleed on my car. Ha! My car was sooo totaled (see pic above). I was crying and screaming at people to help me and get me out of the car. Next, I started talking to myself and calming myself down. When the firemen pulled me out of the car, I said, "I should've taken that weight loss thing seriously." They all laughed. When I get uncomfortable, I crack jokes. I was rushed to one hospital and they stabilized me. I was then sent to a different hospital that I would have been Care Flited to if it wasn't lightning; as it was, I was sent via ambulance. I know what you're thinking: WOW! Two ambulances in one day?! Yep, sure did.

I take no pain meds and see my ortho about every other week. I get around using a wheelchair and recently got a real sweet one! I try to cope the best I can, but some days I still cry and everyday I hate what happened. I think I finally forgave the girl and have faced the fact that this is my life. However, sometimes it still feels surreal. I think that maybe I will wake up from this nightmare. I can't believe I lost a foot!! It's permanent. Forever. I think when I am more mobile that it won't hit me as hard. We shall see.

 Accomplishments: Using a wheelchair. Using a walker to walker jump. Standing. Sitting on a ball. Driving. using my left arm. Holding a baby. Putting on make-up. Getting dressed by myself. Showering by myself. Running Youth by myself. Pottying at home and in public restrooms. Cooking/baking by myself. Painting. Not beating people or yelling at them when they stare... Leading as normal of a life as I can for now.

And that's life...


  1. I was moved by your experience, Jennifer. And as I read your blog, I can clearly see that you’re one brave woman. You won’t survive the accident if you’re not. You’ve been through a lot of mishaps, I believe you deserved a big help from your insurance company. You will need it for your medical bills. I hope you recover soon!

    Cayla Dupont

  2. Having seen the injuries the accident caused you makes me think how courageous you are to be able to bear all those surgical procedures. This is a story that is inspiring and worth sharing. Was there another person involved in the accident?

    Maggie Malone