27 December 2011

I am grateful for 2011

What happened in 2011. Let me tell you.

I had torn my ACL in November of 2010, and finally got around to having knee surgery in January. The initial surgery date was 08 Jan. I got everything all set up, my mom and my brother and Amanda (my best friend since 2nd grade!) were all waiting for me! As they got me into pre-op, I began feeling incredibly anxious. Not unusual, I don't give up control easily, and to give up my control to even breath, scary! So I informed the nurse that I would need something for anxiety. Ativan, Valium, Versed, Haldol. I wasn't picky. Something to calm me down. My anesthesiologist, who has to order the meds, was in surgery so we had to wait. In the meantime, the nurses would be proactive and start the IV and hook up some Lactated Ringer (normal electrolytes that are in the body) The second the LR started dripping in, I couldn't breath. I was tripoding, my SATs were dropping, my anxiety climbing, and the nurses attributed it to my anxiety.
"This is different" I told them. 
"You're fine" They replied, brushing my concern off. 
The anesthesiologist hurried to my bed side when I couldn't improve. He questioned my medical history, took my vital signs and finally told me "You aren't having surgery today."
"What?! WHY?" I was mad, scared as I was, I wanted this done. 
"If I put you under, with the problems you're already having, you will end up in the ICU with aspirated pneumonia."

Angrily, I went home. I was already off crutches. I'd been working with the broken knee. I was functioning fine. Was this a sign that it wasn't worth the surgery? I had been nervous enough. And then I had this problem?
Research (with the help of Kristen, my friend and partner's girlfriend) told me that the reaction I had to the LR, should only ever happen to 80's + people with severe renal problems. I am 22. With asthma. 
I don't know why I had a reaction that I shouldn't have had. but I did. And surgery was cancelled. 10 days later, I was rescheduled with the condition that the surgery be performed in a hospital (maybe the operating room being accessed through a back alley way should have been my first indication that the first place wasn't the right place. :-P) and regular saline be given instead of OR. Also, easy access to an ICU.
I went into surgery terrified. But after a few prayers, a blessing and a lot of support, I survived. I actually went into the Operating room calm. The only sign of weakness was when I asked the OR aide to hold my hand while they put me under. 

It took me 7 days to transition from crutches to a cane. and 3 more to hobble relatively well solo. 

The following 2 months are a blur of 3 a day Physical Therapy. pain medication and knitting. What an adventure that was! But, I was healing quickly! In fact, my surgeon expressed deep concern when I told him that I had a timeline. I had to be back to work in 12 weeks. 3 months. 3 months to go from broken to whole. Or whatever level of whole I could obtain again. 
"Dibe, I would give you 8 weeks before you could get back to a desk job. But YOUR job? ... I don't want to give you false hope. I don't think it can be done." He told me. 
I knew different. Not because I had faith in my super-human healing, but because I HAD to. My mom had always proven to me, necessity can make things happen. Things that normally wouldn't otherwise. I trusted that, I'd seen it work time and time again. I HAD to be back, and so, if I worked hard enough, it would. 

I left PT crying most days, it hurt. I was discouraged. I didn't feel strong enough. 
I left PT most days with my physical therapist wondering how I was progressing to the point I was. 

"Alright, so the plan is for your first session, Dibe, is to see where you're at. Don't get discouraged, but we don't expect you to be able to complete any of these tasks yet."
I nodded. Wrong thing to say to a perfectionist. Anything I couldn't accomplish, I would take personally.
3 reps of 20 stretches. Check 
Hamstring stretching (scooting on an office chair with wheels across the floor about a hundred times!) Check
Passive motion to 90 degrees. Check. To 100 degrees? ... check "Dibe, your knee is able to bend at 120 degrees... That shouldn't be possible yet"
I met his challenge.  "Dibe, I want to try something. I want you on the bike. Slowly, with no resistance. I just want to see if you can make a full rotation." 
I did. And when his back was turned, added resistance.

JAN 25: First step without crutches
Jan 28 ish : walking sans cane! FREEEDOM!!!!! (I really tried to get my surgeon to order a perscription for a  cane with a hidden sword. When he said no, I tried to convince Mike to get a cane so we could duel. He said yes. You decide who is cooler!)

(FEB 10: Gladys, my trusty - not so reliable - 1994 Mercury Sable went to the big race track in the sky. A moment of silence, if you will.) 

Feb 16: Rode my bike for the first time since surgery! Made it to the end of the block and had to turn around. 

(March 03: I got to meet Elder Melchin of the 70. Cool experience! My ride kind of forgot about me. And while I sat outside trying to figure out what to do (could my knee handle a 13 mile walk home? Prolly not.) Elder Melchin and President Williams traversed outside and sat with my until a ride could come and get me. Epic.)

Finally, my 6 week post-op appointment.
"Aw, my little dancer!" (blasted dance off. Unless you're a Jet or a Shark, they'll get you everytime) He inspected the knee. Pulled, pushed. bended. Had me shake, rattle and roll. Finally, in a huff he stomped out of the room. Only to return bewildered. 
"When was your surgery?" He demanded. 
"Jan 18th" 
"No it wasn't."
"Yes sir. I was there. Incidentally, so were you." 
"Can't be." He responded. "You look like you're at 12 weeks, with how healed you are. Not 6 weeks."
I grinned. "Does this mean I can go back to work?" I asked. 
"I want you to take another 2 weeks of physical therapy. If you can get Brian's approval, you already have mine. Here's a note for work. and for Brian." 
I smiled and thanked him
"I don't know how you did it, Dibe. But I've never seen anyone recover like you have. If I could bottle that, I'd be rich."
(If he bottled it, the level of bad luck could be a weapon of mass destruction. But who asked me :-P)

Brian, also astonished, wanted another 2 weeks of maintenance therapy for the knee. And So it was. at 8 weeks, a full 4 weeks early, I passed the lift test and returned to work! 
May 18th: Took and passed the AMR lift test!!
May 23rd: Returned to work!!

May 24th: second day of the tour. Easily one of the most difficult days. Had to call a patient. 0722. The time she died. That was tough. I've seen people die. But this one hit me hard, 
March 27: learned God loved me. Best. Feeling. Ever. Thanks be to my home teacher for that, for honoring His Priesthood, and listening to the spirit. And not letting me push him away. Rock star  Home Teacher!

April (7th) First impression to go on a mission. Yipes. Really? Has the Spirit met me? I don't teach. I don't know how to teach. I don't trust myself to teach... Must have been an errant thought, 
 April (25th) Talked to Bishop about these endless "errant thoughts" of a mission.

May 1: Osama bin Laden. Deader than doornails. (What on earth does that phrase mean? Why doornails? Are they more dead than other dead things?)

May 4th I wrote in my journal: "Don't you quit. Don't you quit. There are blessings ahead." Thanks Elder Holland. Sometimes I need a reminder! 

May 28th: Finished the Bolder Boulder 1:54:3584 My goal was 2 hours. 6 minutes faster than my goal!

June 15th: We were asked in our Institute class to write down what he wanted on our head stones when we died. This is what I'd decided at the time: "Dibe Hall; missionary, friend, servant. Daughter of God; "Just passing through"
I'm weird sometimes

June was a tough month in the ward. family deaths of close friends. Stress. That kind of thing
June 8: Finally admitted to myself that I needed to go on a mission
June: Alex's birthday!!!!

July 8th: a gal I used to work with, good friend from the theatre, Cassandra, died. alcohol poisoning. that hurt. 

Called to teach in relief society. Poor girls. 

July 9th: Transported a patient with Tuberculosis. Got exposed. Yipee! After several frantic texts and phone calls. The Elders showed up at my apartment to give me a blessing.  
2 positive readings and 2 negative readings later. I was clear. For now
July: Seth's birthday! 

August: went to a church dance. Didn't hate it too much. I was shocked. 
We may or may not have (and absolutely DID) begin a prank war against the Elders. There were many involved. We gather ideas from people from all walks of life. Including Sister Bishop. Take that Elders. High up's were involved!
August: Tess's birthday!! YAY!!!!
End of August: Creeped to Greeley to feed the brother unit, and Elder Allred. It was his birthday. 

September 5th: Mama, my paternal grandmother. Died. Fairly devestated. Tried to be strong and keep it together. Failed
I was at work when I found out. I was having fun at the Taste of Colorado. Then that email came. I knew I wasn't far from losing it. So I told my partner that we needed to talk to the supervisors so I could leave. They wouldn't let me. I can't tell you how utterly demoralizing and devestating that was. My own superiors in a company equipped to deal with the worst of anyone else's emergency, refused to let me deal with mine. I was more angry than I can remember being. If you know me, you know I have varying degrees of anger. If I'm silent, I'll get over it soon. (if the situation requires a simple 'sorry' to smooth things over, I don't like to get angry. Not worth it.) If I'm yelling at you, be frightened. If I'm crying. Don't expect me to ever trust or respect you again. I hit level three in .03 seconds when they refused to let me go home

Two days later, I was back on shift, planning a trip for the funeral and feeling miserable. Toward the end of the first day, I suddenly went pale, cool, sweaty and dizzy. Turns out, I had a cyst explode on my ovary. That wasn't fun. At all. 
We went to Florida not long after for the funeral. Tough. Really tough. But it was great to be surrounded by family. I got to meet my Uncle Steve, who is quite a riot.
Also, the Denver temple was under construction, and had been since August, so I decided to do what I do best. Run from the problem, straight to the temple. So I ended up going to the Birmingham Alabama Temple. Amazing. It was a great experience. The temple president thought I was 16. 


Trip to You-Tah!! with two of my favorite girls, Becca and Lee! It was incredible! We got to sing with the Prophet of God!! saw so many great things, learned a lot of history! We got to go to the SLC temple! 

November: After some clerical errors and drama added with some confusion and a healthy dose of frustration, the Hall family is starting to be pieced together again! Temple work started! and in true show of Christlike love, my home teacher went out of his way to make sure my Dad and my grandpa's work got done. I truly am blessed!!

Mom's birthday! We love her!
Christmas: On duty. Lance and I rocked no sleep! 

Overall verdict for the year. Grateful. So many blessings to make the few rough patches that much more tolerable. 
20 things I'm grateful for:

1. A partner who is tolerant, compassionate and tough enough to deal with me! Easily one of my best friends, and one of the most decent guys I know (don't tell him that)

2. The Savior and His atoning Sacrifice for me. Being blessed to learn His love for ME. 

3: My family. No matter how dysfunctional, no matter how much we push each others' buttons, I love them. Very much. 

4. My friends. Before this year, I had a lot of aquiantences,  I had people I cared about, but I had only a few friends.Maybe more people counted me as a friend, but I didn't trust enough to count them as such. This year, I have friends. I haven't felt very lonely this year. I am blessed. 

5. Being an EMT. I get to interact with so many of God's children. People think that it's because I get to save lives. But really, every day, they're saving mine. I am the lucky one here. 

6. Prayer. Prayer changes things. 

7. the knowledge of forever. Truly. I would not have survived this year without the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation. Truly, the plan that leads to happiness.

8. My home teachers this year. Who have gone above and beyond the responsibilities of their calling to bless me, to support me and to show me that Heavenly Father loves me. For being examples of righteous men. For knowing me well enough to know when to push me, and when to just support me. Mostly though, for not letting me push them away, like I've done with everyone else. 

9. My Visiting teachers. For midnight phone calls. for random baked goods just because. For the love they show me that reminds me of Jesus and His love. 

10. For leaders who see me. Really see me. For better or for worse. and for not letting that influence whether or not they like me. 

11. For the Scriptures, which I am learning are able to be directly applied to me and my life, but also direct me on how to be a better follower of Christ. 

12 For the many blessings that I don't even recognize. And the countless ones that I do. 

13. The Priesthood and those who worthily wield it. For their love for the Savior and the sacred responsibility to bless others with it. 

14. For my bike: without which, getting to work would take me all day. 

15. The Simple things.

16. For hard times, I may not be grateful for them now, but I imagine they (the infamous they) will be right, when I'm through all this and looking back, I'll see the benefits.

17. For living next door to an ER. Since that happened, I have seemed to need it less. Hallelujah

18. Recertifying as an EMT. Come January, I still have a job!

19. Music, there are songs out there that say exactly what I didn't know how to communicate. 

20. For the Truths most worth knowing. (Nov 2011 CES fireside. look it up.)

25 December 2011

Glory to God in the highest


I sit here, struggling to put how my heart feels to words. To put how my heart feels into coherent thoughts. It's much harder than it sounds. 

Christmas. What IS Christmas? What has Christmas been to me? Is that different from how it is now?

I haven't paid much attention to the season, not really a grinch. I love Christmas time. I love the season of giving. I love the magical feeling of Christmas. I love the Spirit of Christ. But this Christmas season as passed me by, and as I watched it pass, I felt like if I could just try a little harder, I could actually catch up with it. To no avail. Then as I sat here realizing that it is Christmas Eve! And while it is widely accepted that Christ wasn't born in December, we choose this time to celebrate His birth. It hit me pretty hard, Christ was born! Jesus lived! 

an Angel appeared to the shepherds and did, in reality tell them, "Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy" ... and "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

I think of Mary, and wonder how she must of felt as she fed her baby. The Son of God. I think of her as she raised him. Did she feel inadequate? Did she feel overwhelmed? Did she know the miracles her son would perform? 

I wish I could adequately describe that Spirit associated with this holiday. The Savior of all mankind was born. And for what purpose was he born, but to die for us? But to give us a second birth. To see us again. He extends the mercy, so that through the eternal acts of Justice, we might still join Him again. HE meets the demands of Justice on our behalf, and for that reason, HE alone can provide us with mercy. On His terms, His generous terms. 

Tiding of Great Joy indeed. 

Today is Christmas. And the Spirit of Christ is strong. Glory be to God in the highest. 

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."