#9…The Recovery…by Terri Lucher

A Year of Recovery and growth.  After all of this and I am amazed at my recovery.  Amazed of God’s Miracles and Grace.  I’m so Grateful to be delivered from my suffering.  So Very Thankful to be alive and well. 

Looking back at photos of myself in the weeks before the attempt and I just didn’t look right, wild eyed and tired at the same time.  I was in another place, somewhere outside of myself.  I am still having a real hard time believing all of this happened.  I just can’t make a connection to any of it.   I am well now, healed, no longer have any depression or anxiety and that is the true miracle.  It’s like starting over, back to toddler, learning, growing and improving every day.  I have forgiven my mother, you can’t imagine how wonderful true forgiveness feels and how freeing forgiveness really is.

Reading and re-reading every word of all the support posts from my amazing family, friends and even strangers, overwhelms me with love.  Before, my definition of love was skewed, now I truly understand love from God, Thomas, my brothers, dear family and precious friends.

Hospitalization for 56 days makes you weak, very weak, ridiculously weak.  The last few weeks of the hospitalization I was at TIRR inpatient rehab for therapy.  They took me from a limp noodle to an undercooked noodle.  When I left there, I could walk to the bathroom without a walker and that seemed like finishing a marathon. 

When I arrived at TIRR the ambulance crew wanted me to transfer myself from the stretcher to the bed.  Of course, they did, I looked young enough to be able to at least move to the bed, I could not.  The guys looked puzzled but helped me.  Exhausted from the ambulance ride, rest was all I wanted.  At TIRR therapy starts right away, no rest for me.  Each of the therapists PT/OT/ST came to evaluate me.  Let’s say I didn’t do very well.  They assured me that I would get stronger, it really was hard to believe.

Initially I was only allowed to transfer to a bedside commode with assistance from either Thomas or the staff.  When I was in the room they would set the bed alarm so if I tried to get up on my own everyone within ear shot would know.  I suppose when suicide attempt is mentioned, many people assume you are not trustworthy.  I was so determined to get stronger and go home that I wasn’t going to do ANYTHING that wasn’t supposed to do.  Because of the weakness I was terrified to fall.

Every day we did 3 hours of therapy, not consecutive but 3 hours throughout the day.  For most of the time I did a lot of resting and not much therapy.  My blood pressure would drop every time I changed positions or tried to stand making progress very slow, but we did make progress every day.  We started with sitting and lying exercises, lifting my arms and legs a few times and that’s about all I could do.  They told me that my body had fought so hard to survive, it burned up all my muscle, that is not an exaggeration.

As the days passed we went from sitting exercises to walking a few steps, riding the exercise bike for a few minutes. We did music therapy, learned to play a song on the guitar (a very easy song).  We cooked in the therapy kitchen, me and 2 ladies chopped and stirred and somehow put together a casserole for lunch.  One day the therapist walked me from the rehab department to the outside sitting area.  It took more than an hour to get there because we had to stop and sit in the wheelchair she was pushing behind me every few minutes, but we made it.  Thomas came to visit the next day and didn’t really believe we went that far, so we did it again, this time it took just under an hour… Progress.  I always did everything they told me to do, because I was determined to be well.  The therapists even said they were impressed with my never quit attitude and lack of complaining.   Thanksgiving in the hospital, I’ve never been more thankful than to eat yucky turkey and stuffing.  My strength improved enough so that I was allowed to walk to the bathroom from my bed without help, then I was safe enough to go home… YAYYYYYYYYYYYY… Nov 29th I was able to go home and start my life over again with Thomas, we were both so happy.  They had a graduation ceremony for me, I rang the bell and walked down the aisle, pure joy.

We arrived home, getting in the house was a big effort, the dogs were sooo happy to see me they each knew I wasn’t well or strong enough to play.  They were very gentle with me.  The therapists told me my best exercise would be walking, so we started to walk.  Thomas would carry a chair and we started down the driveway, stopping to rest when we needed, after a while we made it all the way to the mailbox (at our house that is ¼ mile).  Hindsight, that was too far.  After that day I was exhausted and couldn’t do anything for about a week, so we started back but not as far.  There were also weight and other exercises for me to do, more and more each day.  We got the little bike pedals that sit on the floor and I would pedal while watching TV.  Rehab at home, TIRR set me up for outpatient therapy after discharge but our Insurance didn’t cover much so we opted for doing it ourselves at home.  I walked with a walker then a cane then on my own, I walked, and I walked, and I walked. 

As I was getting Stronger, Thomas was falling apart.  This has hurt him deeply.  He has said, during the hospitalization when everything was emergent, and things were changing all the time, his mind was occupied, now that the urgent part was over, he has had time with his thoughts and they are very traumatic and scary.  He nearly lost me several times.  I will spend the rest of my life trying to make up for all the trauma I’ve caused him and everyone.  Thomas has also improved over this year, he is stronger, and we are stronger. 

Christmas 2016, our Christmas gift came from God.  He gave me life and joy.  We were able to go to the Christmas Eve Celebration at church, it was Beautiful. 

For the 1st few months I had to use the electric carts at the grocery.  That is not as fun as it looks.  The batteries don’t last and when they stop, they stop, so you’re at the mercy of good Samaritans to help you get to the checkout.  Please plug those things in when you’re done.

In June we traveled to Atlanta Texas to meet my sister Judy and her beautiful family.  It was Amazing, she is the nicest person and we talked like we have known each other forever.  She told me a lot about my dad I never knew and we looked at sooooo many pictures, it was WONDERFUL.

As a nurse I know it takes 5 days of recovery for every day spent in the hospital.  Man is that right, it sounds unbelievable that it would take 280 days to get back to full strength, but it absolutely did.  My 1st goal was to be back to normal by the end of May, NOPE. Then I added 2 months and thought I would be back to normal by the end of July, not quite.  I worked harder and was back to full strength the end of August, 5 days short of the 280 days.

Over this year my faith has grown, my love for God has grown and I am reading and learning every day to keep my faith growing.  In September we celebrated my 50th Birthday.  What a blessing it is to be 50.  October 28th, 2017.  We renewed our vows in a beautiful ceremony at our place with all of our friends and family in attendance.  It was magical.  I felt like a blushing bride.  It was an amazing expression of love and commitment.  We wrote our own vows.  It was so emotional.  Lots of tears, happy tears.

I am so thankful that Thomas is my Husband, these are some of his words to me:

“I tried to stay strong and steady to show you the level of my love for you.  As you’ve improved, I’ve admired your strong will and dedication to your recovery.  I’ve also felt your love for me become stronger than ever before while we’ve grown closer.  Now, I feel that I’ve been the one that’s blessed because you’re in my life.  You are truly my miracle.  You’ve shown me that anything is possible with faith and hope.  Your strength and determination has taught me to always keep trying and not to give up.”

And these are some of my vows to Thomas:

“Thomas… You are the proof that God answers prayers.  Before… I felt like every choice I ever made…led me to you….  But now I know that God led me to you… So that you could save me.   How do I honor the one who is literally… the reason that I am Alive?  Thomas… You are my Husband… a lot of people have those…   You are also my Hero… hardly anyone has that…  and I am FOREVER GREATFUL…   Without your constant dedication and determination… I would not be here… and this day would not be happening… You stood strong and had to make unimaginable decisions about my living or dying…  You believed in me and in us… and you never gave up… Even when it looked like you should.”

I’ve spent this whole year trying to understand what happened.  All that is certain is that God saved me, why I don’t know.  This gives me purpose and I am determined to find a way to help people that might be in the same situation and family members of those who didn’t make it.

I fully understand that there are some people who are bothered by the fact that this all began with a suicide attempt.  I can’t help that, and I can’t worry about that.  I’ve said before and I will say again, before all this happened my somewhat educated mind wouldn’t have believed this.

I really can’t make any connection to the suicide attempt.  Thomas will ask me if I remember something about our trip the month before and I don’t.  I really do not remember any of the week before the attempt, except for trying to help a friend.  I do not remember any of the day of the attempt, nothing, and I do not remember swallowing all those pills.  It wasn’t me who did all those things.  It’s very frustrating not to have any recollection at all, but it’s also a blessing.  I am not embarrassed or ashamed of any of it.  I don’t have any bad feelings toward it, I don’t try to hide it.  I don’t have any uneasy feelings when suicide is mentioned or discussed in front of me.  It really is like it didn’t happen to me.

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