Yes, it happened.
The year was 2012. And I just realized recently that I hadn’t really posted about that whole incident.
It doesn’t seem that long ago in a way, but it also seems like it happened forever ago, too. Isn’t that weird?
Here is the culprit...this isn’t ours, but yeah, we still have it and still mow with it. Up until the middle of the season, I was mowing with it. That’s when we figured out that my sinuses did not like to mow at least as much as the rest of me.
That mower, or rather, the evil one, still liked to play games with my mind when I was mowing and gave me a lot of anxiety.
So anyhow, back to the day it got real up in here…
I often would mow the yard with our John Deere 316 hydrostatic transmission mower. It was (is) old, but Tommy had kept it running and looking fairly nice after going through it to replace what was needed, including a new seat and a new paint job several years ago. We don’t throw nothin’ away, folks.
I would trim as close as I could to the house, sidewalks and trees so that there wasn’t much left for Tommy to weedeat or to use the mower on himself. Behind our shop however, there is a steep hill. The shop actually sits “in” the hill, having dug out to fit the back corner into it so that at the top of the roof on that side, you can stand almost level with said roof. Actually, you can take a step up onto the roof and walk across it if you don’t have any sense. But I don’t do that…I have sense. Our shop is about 20 feet high to accommodate the 7-ton car lift we have in there. At the opposite end of the shop is where that hill levels out and joins the rest of our yard. The shop is 60 feet long, so whatever pitch that creates in fall…if you are a mathematically inclined personage, you can figure that out for me. If you do that, you let us know and then we can all be grateful and know how steep that makes the dreaded hill.
Okay, so for some reason, maybe because Tommy was working late, I decided I’d help him by mowing that hill.
Boy, I helped alright…
I had no clue how he mowed it. I tried not to watch because it scared me. He’s not worried about keeping me from freaking out when he’s doing these kinds of things. (remember walking across the shop roof? that would be Tommy checking the gutters) Myself, genius that I am, figured that the logical thing would be to mow from top to bottom, right?
Am I right, ladies? Isn’t this how you would do it?? From the angle I was at the top of the hill, it didn’t look quite as steep, y’know? So off I started when I immediately felt the thing slip. I don’t know if it actually slipped or if something mechanical did, but it made me take notice.
I thought to myself, “Self, if this thing decides to flip, you’ll not only be off of it, you’ll be underneath it. That’s probably not good.”
“Yeah,” I agreed with myself. “Prolly not.”
“Self,” I said again, “you should prolly try to get off this thing soon as you can so you don’t end up under it.”
“Yeah,” I agreed again, then, “ummm…how should I do that, ya think?”
“Self,” my wiser, sager part responded, “I believe if you jump reeeeally hard, you can clear the deck with no problem. Whaddya think?”
“Uh, well alrighty then,” I again concurred. “I guess I can do that…”
Of course, that entire conversation took place in maybe a second and a half. Next thing I knew, I was sitting on the ground probably 4 feet from the very bottom of the hill, watching the mower plod right on past me where it came to rest with its front nosed up against what is now the chicken run. I remember thinking, “That thing’s gonna kill my butterfly bush!” and wondering how big the hole would end up being that it had begun to dig with its back tires.
[Because it’s the first question most people ask at this point, I’ll stop the story to address it here. The auto-shut-off under the seat was disconnected because we have a lot of slopes in our yard, besides the steep hill. I was constantly having to shift my weight from one side to the other, and every time I did it (and sometimes for Tommy, too) the motor would shut off. It was maddening, so yeah, that was disconnected, but it happened so quick, there’s no way the blades would have been completely stopped before they hit my foot and I in no way feel this is something to be blamed on anyone. It was a freak accident in which I made what was possibly a less-than-stellar decision. Um…yeah. End of subject.]
Then I noticed that my left shoe was gone. I looked over my right shoulder to see it about 12-15 feet up the hill from me. “How in tarnation did that get up there?” I wondered to myself as I started to do what I knew I had to… I had to look at the foot.
[author’s note: No, people. I don’t normally talk with so much country flair, but if you listen to me, you can definitely tell I didn’t come in on the bus. However, when I’m pondering these happenings in my mind, they come out all peppered with these words. I’m just puttin’ em down just ‘zackly like how they come to me.]
There was no pain, oddly enough. I saw blood but that’s all I knew. I couldn’t see where on my foot it was coming from only that it appeared to be the back half, so I took my right foot, which still had a shoe and rested it on top of my left heel. My rationale here was that would create pressure. Pressure’s good for bleeding, right? Even when you can’t tell where the blood’s coming from?
That’s when I realized I was saying, “God help me, God help me, God help me,” over and over. I remember that’s when the thought, “Oh no, Geannie, what in the world have you done to yourself?” while visions of amputation and living the rest of my life in a wheelchair sped through my brain. Along with visions of kicking myself with my one stumpy leg for being so stupid…
I remembered that I had my phone with me. I normally don’t take a phone to mow. My boys had lost too many of their phones that way, so I just didn’t, but that day I thought, “Hm, there’s a button on this pocket, it won’t fall out,” as I tucked it into the back of my denim shorts.
I had seen Corey’s work truck come in at his house just a few moments before I started my fateful climb up the hill, so I thought to call him. Melissa answered and I asked if Corey was there. She said yes, but he was in the shower. I said, “Oh, okay. Can you tell him to call me when he gets out? I fell off the lawnmower.” She says I hung up on her, but I could have sworn I said, “Bye.” The only time I’ve ever hung up on someone was trying to be the first to hang up or if I was really mad. Mel, I’m about positive I said ‘bye’! This will bother me til I die, folks.
I then dialed my husband’s cell number.
He answered and I said, “Hey, whatcha doin’?”
He said, “I’m fixin’ to come home. What are you up to?”
“Oh, I been mowin’. I fell off the mower,” I said in this amazingly nonchalant manner.
“Are you cut?” he asked.
“Are you bleeding?” he asked.
Next thing I heard was, “Boys, I gotta go! Geannie’s wrecked on the lawn mower.”
About that time, I saw Corey walking up from his house. Melissa was with him and he said something to her while motioning her into the house. He walked over, knelt down and began putting his couple years of EMT cadet training to good use.
Corey’s so good that way. Both our boys are, come to think of it, really calm in stressful situations. They are the guys you want with you if something bad happens because they can assess the situation and make good, rational decisions.
He asked me if I knew how bad it was. I told him no, I couldn’t see for the blood. He had me take my right foot off the left, and took the bottle of water he’d been drinking and splashed it on my foot. I barely caught a glimpse before turning away. I was afraid that if I saw it, I might easily go on into shock since I felt I was close to that already.
That’s about the time Tommy came barrelling into the yard with his truck. He pulled over to where I was still sitting behind the shop. By this time, Melissa had brought about 5 towels out of the house and Corey had moved my foot onto one of them and wrapped another around it. My dad pulled up about that time, too.
My poor dad…he is well-known for passing out at the sight of blood. I have no clue what he thought he was doing, but as Tommy was lifting me up to put me in the truck, he came running over to help. I’m not sure what I said, but all I could think of is how bad it’d probably hurt if he dropped me when he fell over, so he didn’t need telling twice to back up. Bless his heart.
Corey helped Tommy get me on into the truck and we took off. I heard Corey saying he would look for the rest of my foot.
I can recall thinking to myself, sorta as a passing thought, “Well, that doesn’t sound good.”
Tommy was absolutely flying and scaring me, so I did the next thing I could think of and that was to get a prayer chain started. I wanted to get my Emmaus family praying for me as soon as possible so the first person in my list of contacts was Shawn. Why? Simply because the poor boy’s last name starts with an A.
There’s a great backstory here that I’ll link to this post later, but Shawn and Tommy have a history through Tommy’s work. I didn’t know him that well, but through Emmaus, and Christ, he was now my brother, so I didn’t hesitate to call his number.
He answered and I asked how he was doing. I’ll never forget him saying, “I’m blessed!”
I told him he may not think so once he found out why I was calling. I told him he was the first name on my Emmaus list and then the reason for my call. He asked me what I wanted him to do…did I need him to come get me.
blink, blink I’m a little confounded at this since he lives a good 70 miles from me at this time. I told him no, but please get people praying for healing. I said that we didn’t know anything about it yet, but were almost at the hospital.
When he finally saw me later, I was in a wheelchair with my foot elevated, toes poking out of the thick bandaging.
First thing out of Shawn’s mouth is, “There’s your foot! You tole me you cut it off!” He’s pointing to it the whole time as if it might be a fake. It was hilarious, but he still swears right up and down that I told him I had cut my foot OFF! Lord help it, he thought that my foot was literally gone. I think he has hysterical hearing, that’s what I think.
When I got to the emergency room, the first thing the doctors asked after “What happened?” was “How long was she out?”
I asked if he meant “passed out” and he said he did. Tommy explained that he wasn’t there right when the accident happened, “… but our son got up there pretty fast and he said she was sitting up. She had called him and then me, so I don’t think she passed out at all.”
The ER doc did a double-take, maybe because I hadn’t cried the first tear either and shook his head. “Wow…okay then.” and that was the end of that. To this day, I’m not sure if that was a good wow. like, “Man, she’s a tough one.” or a bad wow, like, “Man, she must be one of those psychos.” I wish I’d thought to ask him…
I can’t recall the exact order of events past this point. I was admitted, of course. The surgeon came in the next morning and said he needed to do a procedure to clean out the debris before he could know positively what needed to be done. He did a lot of poking and prodding at the rest of my foot, asking if I’d had nerve damage from the diabetes already. No, I hadn’t. He told us the cut was down to the bone, but no major nerves had been hit. The whole inside slab of my left heel had been lopped off, but even though Corey later brought the piece to the hospital, they couldn’t reattach it. There was a nick just behind the ball of my foot where the tip of the next blade had hit. If it had been any further up on my foot, it would have been really bad news.
This is when we began to realize and see God move in mighty ways and truly understand that even in the midst of a terrible season of your life, He can create a calm place where you can rest.
After the surgery to clean the cut up, I began to shed tears.
Lots of tears.
They had me on pain meds afterward, but then my blood pressure started dropping, so they stopped the heaviest ones. I have an extremely high tolerance to pain medicines for some reason. The anesthesiologist always tells us after a surgery that they had to administer the highest dose permissible to do the operation. So not being able to have the stronger meds wasn’t good for me at all.
I recall the miserable night I spent moaning and crying out from the pain. It was horrible and felt like the longest night of my entire life. Looking back now, I feel so bad for poor Tommy having to listen to me when there was nothing anyone could do. He’s the world’s best nurse, trust me. I’ve had him tend to me too many times over the years. He may wait til I’m about to die, but once I’m to that point, when I really need him, he’s right there through the puke and blood and blisters and whatever else happens to erupt from me.
After that one awful night, things got better. It was determined that a skin graft would need to be done in one or two months, depending on how well the cut healed. That was the big question now…how well would this thing heal?
I call it a cut, it was a gaping wound!! I have posted photos HERE for those who would like to see them. I know we’re not all medically inquisitive by nature, so I have only put the much-later photos here on the post. With THIS link, you’ll be taken deeper into the site where, hopefully, no one will accidentally click. See, I’m here for you. I got your back!
But seriously, if you can stomach it, you should GO LOOK. They’re supposed to be in chronological order, but the app in WP made it a monumental task to do that, so I captioned them the best I could, so that stinks….but still….it’s really amazing to see how it changed from day to day. The pix are all thumbnails you can click to view as a slideshow if you want. God really healed that nasty foot AND the donor site better and quicker than most hangnails I get.
People with diabetes tend to heal very slowly because our blood sugar is constantly fluctuating up and down. We can’t hold a steady level especially through stress or when there’s an infection or even a wound that may become infected. Any extra stress on our bodies will make the diabetes do weird things, cause problems in some way.
Here is a what’s going to blow your mind…you can choose to disbelieve, but I was there. It happened TO ME, I have no choice but to believe it because I saw it happen. Since I already believe there is a sovereign God who created the universe and all the beings within it, including you and me, I believe it was God who did this amazing thing.
Remember when I told you about getting Shawn busy on letting people know to pray for me? Well, he did and this Emmaus bunch, they are some serious pray-ers. During the second and third day I was in the hospital, I had to disconnect my insulin pump. My sugar kept falling repeatedly, so we finally just took it off. The first time a meal came, I tested to see if I needed to give insulin for the food. It was still at normal levels, but I think I did give some insulin for the carbs in the food…and I ended up going too low. The insulin made my blood sugar drop too low. From then until I reconnected my pump, I didn’t use any insulin at all. Two days. For those two days, I was healed. I believe that people were praying so hard for me to be healed, that God literally healed me of diabetes for those two days.
Now, that will beg the question, “Why did God give it back to you?”
I don’t have a clue.
And. That. Is. Okay.
I don’t know why this wasn’t a permanent healing. However, it was a healing just the same. During a time when my body needed stable blood sugars so it could do its job with the trauma my foot had sustained, God showed Himself to me in such a real way. And He didn’t stop there.
Nope. He continued the healing of my foot (and later, the donor site for my skin graft) The nature of this wound required a wet-to-dry packing. We put saline saturated gauze on the wound itself, then a couple squares of dry, so that it would dry from the outside inward. That kept the wound “fresh”, which is what you need to do a graft. But even though they were doing that, keeping the wound open, fresh, whatever, you could still see it changing and healing. You could see the flesh that had been under my skin begin to rebuild itself. You could see the fatty portions recreate and begin to move to the surface where they belonged. You could see that wound that had always been concave, bowed inward, begin to fill out and prepare for some new skin.
God kept working after the graft was done. I had more pain with that ol’ graft than I did with the actual wound (except for that one night without pain meds!)…it stung and burned like a deep sunburn the entire time it healed. It didn’t matter that the skin they’d taken off was such a minuscule thickness it couldn’t be shown without measurement tools, it hurt like the dickens. The mere suggestion that there was a possibility my heel might reject the skin and we would have to do another graft made me all the more determined that this graft WOULD take the first time!
When I went into the orthopaedic’s office for the pre-surgery meeting (in about a month) we saw a different doctor. Our doc was in the other office that day, but wanted me to be seen anyway. So the guy is examining my foot very closely, he’s saying it looks great, it looks like a fine candidate for a graft. We mention that we’re grateful it healed so well in spite of the diabetes.
He stops suddenly and picks up my file, flipping through it hurriedly. He stops, looks up and asks,
[My D-peeps… don’t you just LOVE when this happens? You realize the doctor who’s examining you has no clue you have diabetes? Yeah. Me too. (NOT!)]
“But you’re type 2, right?”
“No, type 1 actually.”
He furiously flips some more, then asks, “How long ago did this happen?”
We tell him. He flips more, then almost throws the file over his shoulder onto the counter behind him and gets up close and personal with my foot. I mean, his face is almost touching my foot as he eyeballs my heel…
“That is ah-MAZING!” he says.
We are almost cracking up now. I said, “I know. That’s what we were saying, God has healed me unbelievably fast!”
And so, when the doctors said it would probably be six months before I could walk I was walking in about 3-and-a-half. When they said I wouldn’t be able to wear a shoe for a year, I had on tennis shoes in 6 months. When they said it looks like the graft might not take, it took perfectly with no inkling of infection or complication. That next summer, I forced myself to get right back on that mower, too.
My God is an AMAZING healer!! And of course, there’s a backstory to this whole thing too concerning the weekend I spent helping minister to residents in a women’s prison in Nashville just the week before this all happened. But that’s for another post…
Please comment! Let me know if you checked out the pix!
I went back to the pelvic health therapist again yesterday. We did the biofeedback, which was very informative and surprising. I was honestly expecting to find that my muscles were super-tight, perpetually stressed.
Turns out, according to the results, my “stuff” isn’t extremely tight after all. I do seem to have weak muscles, as a matter of fact. Which either created or resulted from poor muscle control. It was, like I said, informative and surprising, but also strange/weird. Ha ha… She had me tense my pelvic floor muscles for a few seconds, up to a minute, then relax. The biofeedback showed that my contractions were pretty weak, but that, contrary to what we expected, the muscles actually do relax after instead of steadily increasing in tension.
That’s so totally opposite of what my symptoms seem to point to… that my muscles were overly tight and unable to relax. I guess that leads to realizing that the problem is more due to the scar tissue and the trauma of the pain and conditioning over the years to tighten in response.
*sigh* I was kinda hoping this would be more physical than that, and be something we could “exercise” (HAHA!) out of me instead of having to retrain my mind. Muscles, I believe, are much MUCH easier to retrain than a brain.
Hubby was able to go with me this time, which was good. I wasn’t feeling really great about driving up there by myself. He ordered himself some shoes last week and we had hoped they would be there for us to pick up yesterday. But of course, they weren’t in and we are leaving for Nashville after church Sunday. He really wanted to have them in time to wear at his conference. If they come in before Sunday, we may end up driving up there (in the opposite direction of our destination) to get them, THEN drive down to Nashville, which is a 3 1/2-hour drive anyway! Ugh.
I’m working on getting laundry done and attempting to get the house in a teeny bit better shape before we go. I swear, it’s so horrible now. Just stuff… papers and little things scattered all over. I made a stab at it Sunday afternoon and cleared, or at least organized, all the papers piled up on the bar. It’s still a mess since when Hubby got up from napping, he insisted we go out and get some landscaping done. He had picked up a truckload of gravel for the three trees in the back yard, so he pulled all the weeds out, pulled up the filter fabric and de-rooted it then we replaced the fabric and shoveled the rocks around the trees. That was encouraging, even if it wasn’t what I wanted to do. He had done a great service/tune-up job on our old (a 1976 model!) John Deere lawn tractor, replacing the blades, belts and changing oil and other fluids. When he mowed last week, it was SO evident all the work he’d done on it because the yard looked better than it has in ages! Even and smooth. Now with some of the landscaping refreshed in the back, I am getting encouraged to keep it going, get the house in shape, get the rest of the landscaping cleaned up (the areas right next to the house are a mess!) and get busy with some cookouts and get-togethers with lots of fun, friends and family.
I’ll close this post out before I ramble into yet another topic. But I’ll add this… it is extremely evident that the worst of the depression has been dealt with. Whether it’s the higher dose of Wellbutrin or just that I’m beginning to get healthier, but although I won’t say I’m “great”, I am definitely better. A lot better.
For that, I am extremely, immensely grateful.
Proverbs 3:5-8 –
“5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
8 It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.”