Take Two

DECEMBER 21, 2019

Let’s try this again, shall we?! 🤞🏼 From SFO to the hospital via ambulance and now back to San Francisco airport 48 hours later… stable, okay-ish, bleeding far less, examined inside-out andddd medically cleared to fly home to my family for Christmas (and then it’s right back to UCSF hospital for additional treatments, screenings and appointments). As I sit in the very same lounge where I discovered my shocking internal bleeding just two nights ago, where I sat in a weak, pained and fearful stupor, where medics and EMTs treated me, where I was rushed out on a stretcher to the emergency room, I realize that I have not yet processed any of what has happened in this fundamentally life-changing period of time (you should only know!). It simultaneously feels like a flash and an eternity — too surreal to comprehend, unbelievable in the truest sense of the word, an inescapable horror film I never thought could actualize, the most terrifying and treacherous nightmare. This accident clearly devastated my physical self, gashing through skin and breaking bones in my face, fracturing my jaw and knocking out teeth, necessitating multiple surgeries and ongoing procedures, but the myriad of traumatic injuries go far beyond the exterior. A major concussion has wreaked havoc with serious, pressing, enduring neurological consequences that overwhelm both body and brain — and now doctors discover yet another dangerous interior ramification in the form of internal bleeding throughout my gastrointestinal system.

Did any of this even happen? I wish the answer were no, that I could put it all behind me and rewrite this script entirely, but the bruises, blood stains and raw skin all over my body make it impossible to forget the devastating and all too literal blows of the past two days, not to mention the unrelenting aching of my face, unabating tooth pain and unremitting dizziness which have not ceased in months. I can’t answer many specific questions about this latest ordeal, because I lack the energy, clarity, time and even necessary information — nor can my mother, so please kindly direct questions about me TO ME. Feel free to bombard my inbox or phone (but again, not hers) and I promise to get back to you. Every single word, message, comment and emoji is wholly appreciated and lands meaningfully in my mind, heart and psyche. Right now, all I know is that I am alive, that my mother is miraculously by my side, that modern medicine is phenomenal, and that we walked out of the hospital feeling abundantly blessed to have access to and received such prompt, skilled, advanced, comprehensive care. God bless doctors and nurses — and may the universe bring only goodness to one Justin specifically, to whom I will be indescribably grateful until the day I die for his life-saving work and remarkable heart (he is coming over for dinner and deserving of everything I can possibly do to recognize, acknowledge and thank this hero, as soon as I am well and in perpetuity; mark my word.).

In line with my twilight zone-like existence of late, I had the very same wheelchair operator take me through airport security tonight as two days ago, a TSA agent search every nook and cranny of my medicine and liquid-loaded carry-on bags on the exact same table (whilst my checked luggage has supposedly made it to Boston without me!), the same wonderful American Airlines staff greet me at the lounge with concern, care and comfort (upon receiving the news, their team lead — my friend from years of flying in and out of SFO so often — rang my cell phone yesterday to check in and support)… but here’s hoping I don’t leave the lounge in the same way. I’d like to be rolled out in a wheelchair, not a stretcher. And go to my gate, not the tarmac. To travel via plane, not ambulance. With a destination of Boston, not the ER. If it’s not blatantly obvious by my actions and resolve, Christmas at my grandmother’s means the world to me on levels I cannot adequately express — which if you know me, you know. I am not insane though, have the okay of doctors, am within striking distance of the best hospitals, will lay low with family, exercise extreme caution and swiftly return to San Francisco for further care.

In the wake of yet another complication which revealed a veritable medical emergency, it seems the road ahead is far longer, far more complex, far more tumultuous, far more uncertain than anyone could have possibly begun to fathom — and that’s saying something, given that my so-called recovery over the three months since my accident has constantly proven to be horrendous, horrifying and all but hopeless. I’d be lying if I said I was existing in anything other than a precarious state ridden with exhaustion, agony, confusion, fear and sadness. The truth is that I am no where near close to good, but I am here — and with little to celebrate, feel positive about, mark as progress or even muddle together, I have to be grateful for and view even the negligible as a minor win.

Health and family are paramount for me, never more than at this moment in time when I’ve been forced to become acutely aware that nothing is promised, all can disappear in an instant and our very existence is a miraculous gift. My wishes this holiday season are simple. My goals quite modest. My honest prayers humble… may one be answered, for you too. 🙏🏾 🛫🎄✨

Read more of my journey here. 

© 2020 Erin Schrode. About Erin. Contact.

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