So I'm going to share a time when I didn't surrender to a hard, challenging time. I could tell you about the challenges of completely putting myself through law school with little money and only taking out $6,000.00 in student loans and doing well in school. Or cramming a ridiculous amount of facts in my head to pass the bar exam. But those weren't the most challenging times in my life.
The one I'll share with you happened five years ago next week. It was part of my worst year ever. To give you a little background, I've been with my husband over 30 years now and he's always had serious lung problems that have required him to go to the hospital on many occasions, some life threatening. He's gone from being on steroids and lots of other medications to also using oxygen at home and a walker to get to from his car to work or for any walks that involve much walking. He doesn't do much of that even with the walker.
So about six months before this experience, I went through another incredibly hard experience. My younger sister, and only sibling, died after a courageous 15 year battle with breast cancer. But I won't share that extremely difficult experience today. Fast forward six months. My husband's step-brother was getting married so we went to Dallas to visit my husband's family, to Austin for the wedding, and two days to San Antonio for a mini-vacation. This was the first fun thing we were going to do since my sister's death.
The wedding was first and we had a great time. We took my father-in-law with us on our trip to San Antonio. We had a wonderful first day visiting the Alamo, eating at a really good Mexican restaurant, and going to a Mexican shopping mall. We had a full day of fun activities planned for the next day too.
That night around midnight my husband went to get ice while my daughter and I watched a Harry Potter movie. He fell outside our hotel room for no reason and broke his femur and hip replacement and dislocated his elbow. He had to be airlifted out of our hotel room because the stretcher wouldn't fit in the elavator. I was so grateful my father-in-law was with me. He got us to the hospital all the way across town in this unknown city and stayed in the emergency room with my 10 year-old daughter and me all night.
Surgery is always extremely risky for my husband and this surgery was very dangerous. Like very life threatening. And they couldn't do his surgery for six days because there was a really bad auto accident the same night and those surgeries had to come first. So he was on heavy duty medication for the pain while he waited.
My mother-in-law flew in and she and my father-in-law took care of my daughter while I was at the hospital all day. The day of the surgery was torture sitting in the family waiting room for 6-8 hours with a call from the surgery room about once every two hours to update me. Sitting there alone was so hard. But I had to be strong for my husband, my daughter, and my in-laws. Thankfully he survived it and the doctors were so relieved they all high fived each other.
But in trying to reset his elbow, they severed a nerve to his hand. They didn't know if the nerve would ever grow back. So he only had use of one hand and one leg.
Then my daughter went back to Dallas with my in-laws and I was in San Antonio alone. I had to find a cheap hotel to stay at, a car to rent, and just figure out how to get around. All in a place where I knew no one. I spent all my time at the hospital. My husband was in a semi-ICU room with four to five other patients for about a week. That experience would make a good adult novel because the people were so weird--like a drug addict and someone who'd been a gang member just to name a few. More than once while he was there I'm convinced I pulled my husband back into wakefulness from near death. He thinks I did too.
The best time of this horrible experience was when he was moved to rehab. There was no other patient in his room so I got to stay there for a little over a week with him. I've never been to a hospital for myself or spent the night there. But I slept the best there on a fold out chair during this whole ordeal. Just being with him was reassuring.
After about a week and a half of rehab, I knew I had to leave my husband there and get my daughter and go home. Because I needed to get a ramp built and get him a wheelchair and other things he needed when he got home. I arranged for my nephew to bring him back about week later. It was the hardest thing to leave him. Even though I knew he was in good hands and okay, it was so hard going back to Michigan with him so far away from home all alone.
When he got back, my daughter, who was 10, gave up the rest of the summer of camp with her best friend to care for him while I went to work. She learned how to give him shots and do everything he needed while I was gone. She was so amazing. I took him to rehab three days a week before work and to all his doctor appointments and worked full-time. Because I had a few really messy bankruptcies to fix and my first Michigan Court of Appeals appeal to deal with that I had filed the day before we left for our trip. And I had no idea what to do but I knew there were big deadlines. Like lots of research and a brief to write. While going through this with my husband and juggling my full caseload at work, I had to write this very major 50-60 page legal brief. The attention to detail in that type of brief is as bad as in any published book. And I had to do all the research and write it in about six weeks.
My husband miraculously bounced back from this. He was able to walk and went back to work. For awhile he worked with only one hand but then amazingly the nerve grew back in his hand after six months. Our families who saw him then can't believe how well he overcame this. We are so thankful.
During so much of this ordeal, I wanted to crawl in my bed and pull the covers over my head and never get up. But I had a helpless husband to care for, a daughter looking to me to tell her things would be okay, and my in-laws looking to me to handle everything. So everyday I put one foot forward after the other and did what needed to be done. Sometimes I was a mess inside emotionally, but I did what had to be done.
I honestly try not to think about that time because it was so awful. The whole year was. But I'm glad for this blogfest to reflect a bit. Because I realize I've been through the worst life can probably give me in one year. And I didn't give up and I didn't surrender. Unfortunately as you grow older (yes I am older than many of you), you realize that life does not always give you good experience. But we can survive them and there is so much in life to be grateful for.
I'm facing my next big challenge right now. My company lost its funding and is closing in two years. I'll have to find a new job and career after over 25 years in one job when I'm laid off. It's already so hard being there some days. But as I face it, I'll remember this time 5 years ago. And it will give me the inner strength to know that I can survive this challenge too and I know I won't surrender.
I'm going to end by sharing Elana's new awesome book.
Here's a description from Goodreads:
Forbidden love, intoxicating power, and the terror of control…
Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father’s rules: He’s the Director. It’s because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent—a power so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi.
All of that changes when Raine falls for Gunner. Raine’s got every reason in the world to stay away from Gunn, but she just can’t. Especially when she discovers his connection to Vi’s boyfriend, Zenn. Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine’s father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what might happen if she helps Vi remember it. She’s even starting to suspect Vi’s secrets might involve Freedom’s newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque
I'm giving away my ARC of SURRENDER. And I've decided to extend the contest until June 23rd to give you an extra chance to enter the contest. Because you want this book, trust me. I also won a copy of Elana's e-book REGRET. Since I already have this, I'm going to give away the new one I won too.
To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on June 23rd. I’ll announce the winner on June 25th. If your e-mail is not on Blogger, please list it in your comment. International entries are welcome.
If you mention that you've signed up for Elana's NEVER SURRENDER BLOGFEST, I'll give you 5 extra entries. If you mention the BLOGFEST on your blog or Facebook, I'll give you two extra entries.
On Monday I'm interviewing Lynda Mullaly Hunt and giving away a copy of ONE FOR THE MURPHYS, a contemporary story about a girl in foster care that I really, really enjoyed.
And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Agent Spotlights on Thursdays.
Hope to see you on Monday!
So what's a time you didn't surrender?
So what's a time you didn't surrender?