THE HEALING YOGI: Part 2

kristinakubicek the healing yogifile00002
4 days after my accident.

I remember flying up and seeing the leaves of the trees and wondering what was going on. The lady driving the SUV hit me from behind so I had no clue what was happening in those first few seconds. It felt like slow-motion, just like in the movies. Up towards the trees I popped, then I landed down on the pavement of the road flat on my back. That part happened relatively quickly along with the pounding of my head on the pavement. Every time I think of that moment, I thank my lucky stars that I strapped my helmet on my head that day.

The back of my head was killing me and I was almost certain it was from the harness apparatus they had strapped around me to keep my spine from moving in case of head or spine injury.

“OK your mom and dad are on the way,” my boyfriend walked in and told me.

“What do you mean? I told you not to call them,” I bitched.

“They’re going to have to come and be notified anyway so I called them.”

He was right. Of course someone should have called them, but inside my heart broke at the thought of worrying them. They’ve been through enough. My parents had just begun the first day of their week-long vacation time together. They were at dinner looking over the water and my mom could sense something somewhere wasn’t right. Her mother’s intuition was justified, I was just sorry I didn’t listen to my own that day. Something felt off to me too, but it was a little late for that. Before I went riding I had a deep pit feeling in my stomach that I didn’t have any of the other days I went out riding. I questioned it, but I couldn’t put my finger on it, so I went through the motions of plans with friends.

Doctor after doctor stopped to screen me in the ER. Before I could beg them to take the brace off my neck and head, I was pushed through the halls into x-ray and cat scan rooms. Finally, I was rolled back into the ER where I found my parents standing. The doctors told us I needed to go into surgery immediately to begin cleaning the debris out of my wounds.

That first surgery was 8 hours long to which I woke up in a dark recovery room trying to ask for someone. The tubes in my throat during the long surgery left my throat so dry and hoarse, all I wanted was some water.  Oh shit, and what about my injuries? I tried to lift my head slightly but all I could see were casts on my left leg and ankle.

kristinakubicek the healing yogifile00003
This was after the first surgery as we waited for a planned to be made. 

Over the course of the next several days I was pumped with every pain medication and antibiotic known to man. I even had a morphine drip which meant anytime I was in too much pain, I could simply pushed a button to get a dose of that poison. Let’s just say, I pressed it often. The pain was excruciating and all I wanted was rest and sleep. Those two items on the top of my wish list weren’t fulfilled for months. I was in it for the long haul to which I wasn’t aware of at the time. Day after day, round the clock, I had a doctor or a nurse come in to either check vitals or give me a shot. Once I dozed off I was woken by someone else sticking me with a needle. I think it was in the middle of my first week in the hospital, and my parents were just waving off the friends visiting me, when an audiologist came in my room. She had white hair that was perfectly groomed and an all-white dress and matching sneakers. She explained how she needed to do some hearing tests as she set up some kind of board with several buttons and wires. My parents stepped out into the hallway to let her do her thing. She placed a couple plugs in my ears and asked me questions. I couldn’t hear a thing she said but for some reason she started yelling at me. I thought what the hell is she yelling at me for? I can’t hear a damn thing she’s saying. Once her finger waving accompanied her yelling, I had enough.  I could barely reach it but I stretched through all the wires attached to me and grabbed my bedpan, throwing it as hard as I could at her. Damn, I missed. Someone just get her out of here please!Of course the crashing of the metal pan against the wall and floor alerted my parents who quickly walked back into my room.

16 years later. Lotus mudra; rising from the muck to the light. Falcon tattoo; overcoming, strength, & connecting to the higher world. 

“I guess that’s the last time we’re leaving the room,” my dad said. We laugh about it now, but in the end they think my hearing was slightly rattled from banging my head. I already had bad ears from years of ear infections as a baby and throughout my childhood. I had tubes in my ears twice, but nothing seemed to help.

Specialist doctors would come to see me often. The orthopedic surgeons and plastic surgeons met to decide what to do then reported back to me. My tibia and fibula where going to be an easy healing job because there was remaining muscle, tendon, and skin surrounding them. When you break a bone, the blood flow surrounding it heals the bones. But in my case, my ankle was screwed. The action of the SUV’s front tire stopping on top of my ankle, sitting on it, and then rolling off of it, had done extensive damage. There was basically a chunk taken out. Add in the removal of all the road rash, and I wasn’t left with a lot to easily put together.

The easiest solution? Amputate my left foot. Fuck no. The doctors presented this idea to me first to which I told them if they took my foot, I’d take my life. Pretty dramatic, but that’s how I felt. I told them that wasn’t an option for me and to think of something else to save it.

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Beyond grateful for yoga & my yoga teachers

Over the next couple weeks I had 3 more operations to continue cleaning out road rash from my wounds. Although held together by a new cast, my toes peeked out the top where I had several stitches around my big toe from the burns. Before this accident I had never had stitches or a broken bone. But hey, whatever they could sew up or pull together was a good sign. Let me just tell you, when burn wounds are healing, it sucks. It itches like you’ve stepped in liquid poison ivy times a thousand. And guess what? You can’t itch them. They try to give you anti itch medication, which helps a 1/2 a percent. So cue in 100% sleepless days and nights and another pumping of medications to the list. The morphine was on overdrive for weeks now. Not good. I began to hallucinate big time and after the rats came marching through my room, we all agreed to removed that drip and rely on oral pain pills only.

My original surgeon left town for a few days and in walked his temporary replacement. God this guy looked a little familiar. His name did too. Sure enough he went to my high school and he wasn’t too much older than me. Not that it meant he was bad, but I preferred my original doctors through this complicated ordeal. After days into his rounds, he told my mom and I that they’d come up with an idea to try to save my foot. In short, they’d have to use another part of “body” to replace what was missing. This was all just to try it out too. Experimental surgeries were the next round of operations that laid ahead for me. He gave us the information and let us soak it in. I’m not certain but I have a feeling the long days and nights of zero sleep, trauma, and being pumped with a shit ton of meds lead to some goofier reactions to things. I started making jokes about using parts from a pig or something by reaction of thinking the doctors ideas were so far out. I couldn’t comprehend this idea happening to me. He finally had enough of us, which I can’t blame him for, and said he come would back tomorrow with the other doctors to talk about it again.

kristina kubicek
My daily happiness comes comes from the simplest things in life. 

This was their plan. They wanted to take out my lower left abdominal muscles and place them in my injured ankle. Not to function but to have something to fill it with a source of continuous running blood. They would also use bone grafts since there was ample bone missing. Also, they’d take a large skin graft from my butt cheek to seal it off. “Oh fuck that you’re not taking it from my butt.” I mean how the hell would I recover while sitting on a major wound there too? Finally, the doctors said they could take the skin from my left hip and I agreed.

Cue in complication number 88. You have three main blood vessels in your foot. With the extensive damage I endured, we didn’t know how many of mine I had remaining, if any. My doctors told me for the surgery to have any hope of working, I’d need to have at least one of the three blood vessels. Awesome. Add it to the list. To test for this, they pumped a colored die into my blood and slid me into the MRI machine. Please, please have at least one good one. I prayed so hard. My mom and I stayed up late playing a few games of our favorite card game, Phase 10. I beat her every game until I made the smart remark bragging about being tired of winning. That jolted her and I haven’t won a game ever since. Talk about eating your own words.

Yoga heals my mind, body & spirit everyday.

The next day we got the news about my MRI results. I HAD one remaining blood vessel left in my foot like they needed to attempt this surgical experiment. Game plan made and the next surgery was scheduled a couple days later to take my abs to my ankle. This was super weird to say the least. We were taking big risks, and more unforeseen events were about to unfold…

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The Healing Yogi: Part 1

Kristina Kubicek

I can’t wait to wear some normal fucking shoes, I thought as I limped along the tough carpet through the gym. These slip on shoes suck with no support or comfort. Grabbing the wall with my left to take a break, I stopped. I had been limping for a few months now as my injuries healed. I took a deep breath and looked over my left shoulder and peered through the glass. On the other side was a room filled with a few people on mats and colorful blocks. I watched as the teacher spoke to her students as they all began to lie back on their mats and close their eyes. The lights dimmed and beautiful music filled the room. I didn’t know what they were doing, but it looked amazing.

“Hey Tina, ya ready to get outta here?” my brother asked. “I was ready when we got here,” I told him, feeling ready to get home and take some pain meds and go to bed. My brother drove me to the gym since I was still unable to drive myself anywhere. A week earlier, I completed my physical therapy and graduated to using the gym. My left leg was so atrophied from multiple casts that it was the size of my thin arm and half the size of my right leg. I had a lot of strength and size to build up, but the effort to walk about the gym was exhausting enough. I moved from being bed bound, to using a wheelchair, to using a walker, to using crutches, to finally using a cane. As sour as my attitude could be sometimes, I was exceptionally excited for the little wins and gains I was making overtime.

Eventually, I was able to drive myself to the gym, and I even had my first pair of gym shoes on my feet. They felt very strange on my feet at first, but I was so happy to have them on, I took a picture of my feet in those Adidas, and emailed it to my doctor.

Kristina Kubicek

Checking in at the front desk of the gym that day, a new person working greeted me. She looked at me with some concern in her eyes and told me she knew me from somewhere. I told her I was sorry, I just couldn’t place her anywhere in particular. Then she said, “By any chance were you in a motorcycle accident a couple years ago?” Of course I told her she was right, but asked her how she knew, because she still didn’t look familiar in the least bit. Besides, the town my accident was in was about 40 minutes from the town we were currently in.

“I was the lady who ran outside of her house, told the car to back off of you, and held your head in the street until the ambulance came,” she explained to me.

“Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? Youuuu were.” I muttered as my mind flipped through a thousand flashback memories of a minute by minute playback of what seemed to be the worse memory of my life.

“Thank you. Thank you so much for being there for me. You were my angel that day.”

Kristina Kubicek

I was still in disbelief that we had somehow met again in a totally different location. I don’t think I would have ever remembered her divine role that day.

Hobbling across the gym floor, I made it into the women’s locker room, sat down and cried. More and more details started flooding into my mind. I remember trying to pull myself up to sit and being stuck.

“I caaaan’t movve my…” I said at the same time I noticed my left leg was under a car tire. “Fucking move now, you’re on top of me.” No movement from the car. Why aren’t they moving? I thought. Reaching to unfasten my helmet strap, and thanking the universe for having me pick that day to be the only day I actually wore my helmet since I bought my motorcycle, a lady ran over to the car that was pinning me down. “Back up, back up! You’re on top of someone.”

The driver rolled off me, and I slowly sat up as much as I could. “Woooow, so that’s what the inside of your body looks like,” was my first thought examining my gaping wounds as I was sprawled out in the middle of the road.

Quickly after that, I thought, holy shit this all looks really, really bad and I am scared. I can freak out and start panicking, go into shock, or really try hard to hold my shit together. Okay, I’ll hold my shit together. Someone told me an ambulance was on the way, but it wasn’t long until it felt like 20 fucking years had already past.

Then it was a game of 1,000 questions.

What’s your name? Kristina.

How old are you? 23.

Are you married? No.

Who can we call to tell what happened? No one.

No one? No.

Really? What’s your parents number?

Don’t call them (I don’t want to scare them).

Do you do drugs? No.

Have you been drinking? No.

Have you done any drugs today? No.

Have you taken any drugs today? Just like the last 8 times you asked me the same question, no I haven’t (Jesus, did a large bag a dirty syringes roll out of my pockets or something? Why do they keep asking me if I take drugs, because I don’t, like at all).

Kristina Kubicek

A paramedic flashed a pair of scissors, reached for my jeans and I shouted, “Don’t cut my favorite pair of jeans.”

“Do you want your jeans or your leg lady?” he asked.

“Fine, cut ‘em.” I complied.

It seemed I waited forever for an ambulance to arrive to rely on something tangible to keep my sanity. What I didn’t realize on the ride to the hospital was that I was in for a much longer life changing experience.

That casual Friday afternoon taking a short ride over to my friend’s house flipped my life upside down. My happy, carefree life turned into shock, worry and a desperate hope that my leg and foot would be ok.