Sunday, January 27, 2013

Barbara's January Visit ~ Peace!

I am always so grateful to Barbara for her outstanding post each month!  Knowing what she's been through the past few weeks makes this post even more special!!!

You rock, Barbara!

Peace - It's A Sign
by Barbara Gruener

It's been 17 days, but I can still hear the mangling metal, see the shattering glass, smell the leaking fluids, and feel the overwhelming fear as that oncoming car crossed into my lane on that two-lane bridge and left me no options but to brace myself for the head-on impact. As I slammed on the brakes and clung to the steering wheel for dear life, I couldn't help but wonder if this was it, if I was going to die. But that thought was quickly usurped by the fact that I was alive and could feel my legs and had better get myself out of that salvage that used to be my van before it blew up {I'll admit I've seen that happen on t.v. a time or two}. My door wouldn't open, so I crawled over the tray onto the passenger side and inched myself out onto the sidewalk on that bridge. Trying to collect my thoughts and make sense of what happened, I glanced over at the car that had slammed into me and thought I'd better help that driver get out if she could 
(before her car blew up, of course!). 

I stepped over the guard rail onto the road to ease my way to her Xterra. I tapped lightly on her window (as if I needed to politely knock) before attempting to open her door. "Excuse me," I heard myself say, "but you might want to try to get out of the car if you can." That's when everything started to turn fuzzy and white and close in on me. I told her that I needed to go sit down and headed back to the guard rail. I thanked the lady in the yellow shirt who arrived first on the scene for offering to call 9-1-1, and that's all I remember until I came to and was lying on the ground with EMS First Responders were attempting to secure me for the ambulance ride to the ER.

Trust me on this one; the ambulance ride to the hospital is another story for another time, so let's fast forward to the ER. I spent five hours in the hospital and was released after a series of x-rays and some sutures to close up the severe laceration on my knee. Getting the twelve shots to numb the knee cap so the doctor could stretch the skin and put it back over the bone was probably the worst pain I've ever known. I was squeezing my husband's hand so tightly and repeating my one little word - gratitude - over and over and louder and louder. I had to work hard to find something, anything to be grateful for as the doctor stitched me back together. He explained that the wound was quite deep and that it was somewhat star-shaped so it wasn't an easy fix. I left there with twelve stitches, a fractured radial bone in my wrist and a chip in the medial bone in my ankle. Three acute injuries plus the fact that every muscle in my body ached from the impact.

At this point, you may be wondering what's the point of today's post, so here it is. Despite everything that I've gone through in the last two weeks and will continue to go through as my fractures heal and I go to physical therapy and attempt to get my knee to bend again, I've intentionally looked for - and found! - so many blessings in this burden. And focusing on gratitude rather than the gravity of the situation has helped me feel peace despite the pain.

I was able to spend an hour at school this past Friday, my first visit back since the collision on the tenth, and look what I saw outside of Mrs. Martin's kindergarten classroom:

Don't you just love this? And can you see why I can't wait to get back there, to my peacemakers, where I belong! 

During my recovery, I've received so many kind notes of affirmation and gestures of love. Friends and family have been bringing meals so I don't have to cook and driving me to all of my doctor appointments. One of my kindies wrote me a note asking when she could come to peace class with me again (I'd never heard anyone refer to guidance as peace class before but hey, I like it!). Another told me that he was going to ask his mom to get me a new car ... and he was tickled pink to give a pink car-shaped mouse for my computer yesterday ... too cute! So many of them have said that our school just isn't the same without me. Isn't that just better than any medicine the doctors could possibly prescribe?

The biggest irony of all? Remember that star-shaped laceration that caused me so much pain and that the doctor worked so diligently to stitch up? Well, I got those stitches removed on Wednesday and the scar that's left on my right knee doesn't look like a star at all, but rather it resembles - and I promise you I am not making this up - a peace sign! 

My wish is that you always look for {and find!} 
blessings in your burdens and peace in your pain.



  1. Barbara, I am so glad that you are okay and I am amazed at how you are able to find the blessings in the pain.

    Thinking Out Loud

    1. Thanks, Jana! It is kind of weird to me, too, and I know that I will have some rough days ahead in PT, but I guess that when you're given another chance at life after something horrendous like that that could have taken so much more than it did, you look at things through a slightly different lens.

  2. Oh my goodness!! I think it truly says something about your character that you were able to find joy despite your injuries! I'm so sorry this happened to you!


  3. Barbara - Your strength amazes me! I know I'm a little late in writing this comment, but I had chills the moment I realized you were talking about the accident. The fact that you found a positive to look at every step of the way is amazing. You are indeed an amazing woman, and I respect you even more now than I did before! I hope your recovery is going well.

    1. Wow - thank you Britanny and Heather! It truly has been a difficult 11 weeks and I still wake up in pain several times a night and wonder if I'll ever completely heal. Still, I'm convinced that a positive attitude will get me there sooner than a poor, pitiful me one.

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