A heavy post on dealing with emotional pain and the four words that changed everything for me

In a previous post I mentioned I was going to write something about ‘dealing with your stuff’ and how to get emotional healing into your life. 

Heavy I know but I’m going to walk you through a few things I’ve learned and that have worked for me. 

First up, mental health is real and if you are having concerns, please go and get a referral off your GP to go and get assessed. There’s no shame in it and you deserve to be well. 

Secondly, what I’m about to say may trigger deep emotional pain you’ve suffered in your life so be prepared and watch out for any addictive behaviour or mood changes this could cause. 

Woah. 

OK. So as humans, we don’t like to experience pain so we do things that minimise pain or momentarily distract us from it. This could be keeping yourself busy with work, texting your crush for attention, eating, drinking, constant need to feed on people for attention- that sort of thing.

Basically anything that stops us thinking about painful moments. 

I’ve heard various counsellors say things like ‘you need to go to your pain’ which I never really understood until my friend and now Pastor Kristy Whitfield came out with these amazing words she learned at Bible College:

“Anger is unprocessed hurt”

I’ll say it again because this is huge and unlocked a whole lot of healing for me:

“Anger is unprocessed hurt”

 I realised that I’d been carrying around a lot of frustration and anger and didn’t really understand why. Nothing really ‘bad’ had happened to me other than the normal bumps and disappointments of life-but who hasn’t had those?

So I figured I must have ‘unprocessed hurt’ and therefore, I needed to process it. But how do you do that?

Again, I’m not a psychologist so I can only say what I did and be careful. I lay down starfish on that floor in my bedroom with nobody around and started reframing my hurt. So instead of saying ‘that situation pissed me off” I would say “that situation hurt me,  I was hurt by that”. 

Now the key is not to put any judgement on the hurt. Don’t minimise or try and pick winners and losers and rationalise the scenario. Just address the hurt. As you name it, the feelings will come back and you will start to feel terrible. You might cry or feel upset and angry but that’s OK, that’s the processing happening. Let the feelings you’ve been suppressing pour out of you onto the floor and let them leave your body. A friend of mine went to grief counselling and was told that “emotions are like quicksand, the more you struggle against them the deeper you’ll sink, so just float on the surface and let them be.” You’ll find the big feelings will be around your family and your relationships. Again, don’t try and judge ‘well I said some hurtful things too” just acknowledge your hurt and let it be about  your healing. As Joyce Meyer famously says “hurting people hurt people” so the more healed you are, the less likely you are to hurt others in the future—let this be about you. 

I have a much better control on angry and frustrated feelings now as I can reframe them as hurt “that hurt me” —it’s not victimhood it’s just being self aware and then you can let the feeling go. Anger is a defence system-especially for women and we can build up walls, not wanting to appear weak. But you end up carrying the burden of that hurt and it can really weigh you down. 

Proceed with caution but process those emotions and you’ll live more free and healed. 

It's good to be home

Well it’s been two weeks since my return to New Zealand. I watched Hunt for the Wilderpeople on the Sydney to Auckland flight (how great was Taika’s cameo in the church scene? lol) and then caught the little plane to Taupo. 

“Kia ora”

A super nice lady on my Taupo flight introduced herself and we started chatting about her travels. She was a New Zealander living in Australia and her husband had died suddenly of a heart attack. So she was in the process of getting the body transported back to his marae down Gisborne way. Air New Zealand requires that the body is embalmed before transport and then it gets vacuum packed and then you get a funeral place Auckland side to put the body in a hearse and drive it down the line. It was all morbidly fascinating so I just let her talk and you could tell she was devastated and it was not the trip that she wanted to do. 

They had just booked a cruise and he wanted to do an All Blacks tour so she said she was going to do one to honour him. She had another family tangi to go to in Turangi so that’s where she was headed. 

She apologised for telling me all her worries and her attention shifted to me and how I was going to get home from the airport. She offered me a ride for the 50 kilometres from Taupo airport to my house and made sure I had a place to stay. Once we got off the plane she helped me get my luggage and again, made sure I was OK to get home. 

It made me think of the time in Sydney where we had a client meeting at LARGE CREDIT CARD COMPANY in the CBD. My supposed team mate from the agency was driving and she had a brand new four wheel drive people mover thingo. I made the appropriate ooooos and aaaaas about how nice her new car was and we drove across the bridge to LARGE CREDIT CARD COMPANY. The meeting went late and we left the office tower to heavy wind and rain whipping up the street at 6pm. My supposed team mate, fresh of the company team building evening, then got in her brand new four wheel drive people mover thingo and drove off, leaving me standing on the side of the road in the weather. 

I just remember standing in the rain thinking “NOTE TO SELF: DON’T EVER BE THAT PERSON”. You work you arse off in a job you hate to buy a new people mover thingo to impress your neighbours and can’t even offer your work mate a lift to the nearest train station one block up the bloody road. 

The super nice lady on the flight was doing the hardest trip of her life and she still had the time to be concerned about me. There is an end and maybe we need death to remind us of what’s important. 

It’s good to be home. 

Why I’m moving back to New Zealand (the post I never thought I'd write)

Well this is the blog post I never thought I’d write. 

I love Sydney and have made a home here and always thought this was forever. I have amazing friends, love the weather and my church but sometimes life dishes you up a set of circumstances when you realise that you won’t be on planet earth for very long and you have to get your priorities right. 

So… I’m moving back to Tokaanu (Southern Lake Taupo) to take over the running of my parent’s motel so they can retire. 

Another thing I never thought I’d say but there you go. 

Why now?

Well a lot of things changed for me after my accident. It’s quite interesting that when your world collapses, you are forced to face a lot of your fears. The corporate world runs on fear and insecurity, especially in ad agencies. 

If I don’t work until 10pm every night people will think I’m lazy. 

If I don’t answer the email in 2 minutes people will think I’m incompetent

I don’t have that fear anymore so I found going back to the corporate life, I would just shrug my shoulders at people and walk away. I know who I am and what I’m about and if you don’t get it, well that’s not my problem.

Also, the main reason I’ve loved working in Social has been based in voice. Everyone gets a voice. The way Social has been bastardised by agencies into “pumping stuff into the back of Facebook” really doesn’t interest me anymore and working on one of the biggest influencer programmes in Australia made me resent social and the ‘pay for comment’ machine that it’s become. 

 So basically, I hated what I was doing and then my parents have had some health challenges (my Dad will be 70 next month) and they are ready to hand over the keys. There is also a lot of legal stuff going on to work out my compensation from the accident so I’ve had lots of specialist appointments I had to be in Sydney for but that’s coming to an end (fingers crossed). 

What I will miss:

Lovely friends

Sydney

My lovely apartment and Danish flatmate Martin (actually I should probably tell him I'm moving out...)

My church

My friends

Danish flatmate Martin

What I’m looking forward to:

Being able to write and post whatever I want without corporate drones telling me what to do

Being able to help my parents out

Having a free house and car and business #realtalk

Not having to work on a Windows machine

How you can help me:

The main thing I’m worried about is getting lonely and having no friends because Tokaanu is quite remote and there aren’t many youngish people so please come and visit me. We have thermal hot pools on site and the motel is halfway between Auckland and Wellington. Most people come for the hot pools and to walk the Tongariro Crossing or go skiing at Ruapehu. 

So brace yourself for some outrageous freestyle blog posts, and lots of tweets about painting, carpet laying and bed making. I won’t be doing social for the motel because it’s quite small and ticks along well as it is but I am thinking about buying a backpackers as a next step so send me an email if you know of anyone selling one in the Taupo/Rotorua area. 

I woke up the other morning with a great sense of panic that I’d made the wrong decision and then it dawned on me... “the bullshit is over” and I can go and make some beds and give people extra towels and provide people with free wifi as every accommodation place rightfully should. I am no longer a slave to a game I don’t want to play anymore and I can express myself and be the real me again. I can almost feel my personality flowing back into my bloodstream and that, I'm looking forward to. 

Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Deuternomy 5:15

A change in season

This is a very important painting to me. It’s the first time someone has ever painted something and given it to me and it has a promise attached to it that has been very encouraging to me. 

My friend Tia painted it. She is a very talented designer (you can see some of her stuff here) and one day, she said she was feeling a bit down so she decided to start painting. The more she painted and created, the more she took her eyes of her circumstances and frustrations with life-as we all have- and thought about the beauty in the world. 

When Tia had finished the painting, God told her it was for me and the blossoms were Japanese sakura blossoms. Sakura blossoms bloom in March/April and that was the time that I was going to bloom as well. 

Today is the first of March, and I’m very much looking forward to my blossoming season. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at the the painting during my own times of waiting and frustration and remembered that a new season is coming and how fortunate I am to have nice friends who do lovely things like paint thoughtful paintings. 

We all have tough days and frustrating seasons and I love how out of her own struggles, Tia motivated me to continue and stay positive in my own. If you are going through a tough or confusing season at the moment, can I encourage you to do something nice for someone else and take your focus off your own circumstances. Buy someone a coffee, say something to someone that builds them up or send someone a nice card. 

You can even borrow a look at my beautiful Sakura painting for inspiration and remember that everything has its season and today is a new one for everyone. 

My sweet as sugar fast

I decided to do a 21 day processed sugar fast that is generally related to the Daniel fast and was spurred on by Peter Fitzsimons' excellent column on his year off sugar and booze. 

I gave up booze about four years ago but the sugar monster has been visiting me a bit too frequently from my birthday through to Christmas so I decided to starve it off a bit.  

The full Daniel fast removes meat, dairy, bread and sweets but I didn’t want to get rid of the meat because I need the protein to keep growing my leg back to full strength after an injury. The fast starts on 3 January and I had a bit of a dilemma with the amount of sugary goodness still in my house in the forms of yoghurt, orange juice, cereals, ice cream and christmas chocs. I tipped the orange juice but felt a bit wasteful dumping the other stuff so I decided it could stay- I’ll return to this idea later. 

I drink a lot of coffee both at home and at cafes so my biggest weakness was having something ‘with’ the coffee like a muffin or a biscuit. Sugar in the coffee switched to sweetener so that was quite easy.  I just told myself ‘if you are hungry, have a sandwich or a proper meal -otherwise you don’t need anything’. I found by not denying myself food I could quickly decide if I was genuinely hungry or not and stop the snacky stuff. 

It’s a good time to do the fast with all the summer fruit around at the moment and I found buying a big watermelon and eating diced watermelon worked well in my danger zone times such as 3pm or after dinner. Prunes are also good and get yourself a container of mixed nuts so you aren’t going for sweet stuff all the time. Also, try not to go to extreme the other way and say ‘well I’m not having sugar so I’ll eat burger and chips’ -the more sustainable the better. 

There is also a spiritual side to the Daniel fast and in the first week I was thinking a lot about how sugar makes you more hungry and crave the more you have. It made me think about shopping and consumerism and how you can grab quick fix things to make you happy in the short term but ultimately, you will always just want to buy more stuff and end up with lots of excess (excess weight/excess stuff and clutter in your life).  Feeding on good quality whole foods and fruit and vegetables is a good investment in your health and how we can use money for junk purchases or for investing in good things that will last. 

In the second week I’ve been thinking about the difference between living in lack and living in abundance. At Christmas, we have an abundance of rich foods and we tend to overeat so we need to establish discipline to live an abundant life. It’s easy to ‘give up’ food if you don’t have it in the house but I’m quite glad now that I didn’t throw out all the nice Lindt chocolates and stuff because I’ve developed the discipline now to not eat them.  The other thing I’ve really learned is that 21 days goes really quick and I only have a week to go so I think I might continue the processed sugar fast through until Easter and maybe be like Peter Fitzsimons and go for a year (I wouldn’t mind a hot cross bun at easter). 

If you are feeling a bit chubby or unhealthy after Christmas I definitely recommend knocking out your ‘weak area’ for 21 days and thinking about what it represents to you e.g. I know my coffee and a biscuit behaviour is a time out/comfort thing so by just having the coffee I can still have a breather but not have the calories. If you’re grabbing sugary/carby things all the time it can also be a sign that you are tired so be a big Nana and go to bed an hour earlier.  21 days goes quickly so don't scare yourself and think 'I'm never having chocolate or beer or potato chips' ever again. Just do something sustainable that you can stick to and the weeks fly by. 

Sweet as. 


Further reading:

Daniel Fast = Jentezen Franklin has the best resources

Peter Fitzsimons year off sugar and booze


7 ways getting hit by a taxi has made me a better leader

2015 has been the hardest year of my life. If you don’t know the back story it’s here but basically, I was walking along a footpath in central Sydney and I got hit by a crashing taxi. I thought I was going to end up in a wheelchair and be disabled for the rest of my life but thanks to modern medicine and modern prayer, I can now walk again and my life is settling in to what will be, my new normal. There is an old Israeli saying that the shepherd sometimes breaks the leg of the sheep so he can carry it and that is in essence what I learned - I learned how to be carried

So how does being carried make you a better leader?

1. Let it go
I have no idea how much the rent is on my house. I have no idea when the cleaner comes, how much internet data we have or how the toilet rolls make it into the bathroom. My housemate travels a lot for work and he manages everything to do with running our apartment- I pay a set monthly amount to him and everything just happens. The more I have surrendered knowing everything, the more he carries the weight of responsibility and I can focus on other things. Women especially are not very good at surrendering control to others and get preoccupied with the hand wash in the company bathrooms, the tidiness of the company lunch room and having sign off on every document that exists in the company. In 2016, try to let it go and focus on the big things. 

2. Care for the carers
One time before an operation I asked for a Chaplain to come and pray with me. At the end, I asked her if she needed prayer and she was completely blown away. She was working in the palliative care part of the hospital which basically means that she sits with people at the end of their life and she told me there had been a few people pass that morning and she was feeling emotionally drained. The prayer had strengthened her to go back for the afternoon. Care for the carers. 

3. There is no such thing as ‘self-made’
I sat down last week to write Christmas thank you cards for all the people who had helped me in 2015. The list ran from police, to paramedics, nurses, plastic surgeons, orthopaedic surgeons, physios,  and psychiatrists without even starting in to friends and family, whoever called the ambulance?, pastors and even my fellow patients in the ward. A huge team of people carried me through an accident that was no fault of my own. As a member of the ‘Twittering classes’ it can be very easy for us to intellectualise everything and not bend down and help people in practical ways where they are. People took me to the toilet and showered me and made hospital meals for me and I had to let go of ‘self’ and receive from others. 

4. Specialists talk to other specialists
I overheard a conversation between my orthopaedic surgeon and plastic surgeon as they were standing in front of my x-ray: “you don’t want to get an infection in to one of those- nasty -chop the leg off material”. My plastic surgeon immediately ordered tests for infection and changed my wound dressing regiment. Although my leg was healing up fine, the specialists knew the real risks and took responsibility for making sure nothing went wrong. Both are respected surgeons in Sydney and they valued each other’s judgement and knowledge. Always listen to specialists and don’t be reckless with other people’s wellbeing. 

5. The most valuable tool you have as a leader is empathy

I remember grumbling to God one evening in the hospital about why this had happened to me and saying ‘I didn’t ask for this’. He replied ‘nobody does’. I looked around the hospital ward and instantly realised that nobody wants to be in hospital or sick or dependent on others. Nobody asks for suffering. For all sorts of reasons, people can end up injured, down on their luck, divorced, unhappy in their job -that’s life and empathy equips you with mercy to help people up where they are at and get them going again. Your job as a leader is never to judge or strategise some intellectual breakdown of how that person got in that situation- your job is to get them up and get them going again. 

6. Hurry up and wait
You spend a lot of time in the healthcare system waiting. Waiting for skin grafts to take, waiting for doctor’s rounds, waiting for the waiting room to open so you can wait. I’ve got very good at waiting in 2015 and it has made me a lot happier. If I have to wait for something, I just sit….and wait.  Stillness is a skill you have to learn and when you can be still, you’ll be a lot happier and interact better with others. 

7. One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is to trust them
When I had my first outpatient physio appointment I could see that they were a bit concerned about my injury. They had never dealt with something so serious and wanted to make sure they could treat me effectively. I was a little nervous but I was too physically and emotionally exhausted to go shopping around for physios. So I trusted them. The physio rang the surgeons and read lots of medical articles on my injury. He used me as a university teaching case study and trained the other physios in the practice. One morning he came in and proudly declared “congratulations, you aren’t our worst patient anymore!”. Because I had taken a chance on them, they now have other motor vehicle accident patients and their business is growing. I saw their eagerness to learn and genuine care for me and we both benefited from choosing to trust. 

Thanks to all of my online and offline friends for your support in 2015. 2016 will be the best year yet -I’m believing that for me and I’m believing it for you to. 

I got hit by a taxi part three: the long hobble to freedom

vlog: marking my first day weight bearing

I started physio yesterday. I’m having it twice a week; one session for the ankle and one for the knee. We started with ankle yesterday and I can’t really walk today. The physio got me to lie face down on the bed massage table thing and he grabbed my foot and tried to twist it off the bottom of my leg. Now that it’s all titanium, you can’t break anything it’s just the pain thing so I told him to go hard out because I could handle the pain and I just want to get going again. He warned me that the ‘safe word’ is STOP and not ARGgGGGHHWDHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh because it was going to be a bit of a hard restart so I got through it with lot of ARGgGGGHHWDHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Needless to say, my pain threshold has gone up considerably over the last few months. 

this is pretty much how I walk

Your body adjusts really fast and you end up with your ‘good leg’ really strong from hopping around and the damaged leg all floppy and without muscle tone.

    
first steps weight bearing- feels like walking on marbles- kermit the frog styles

I was surprised how much of the physio is on your quads and your gluts and hips but I guess it’s getting all the scaffolding and balance back to normal. Without the crutch, or one crutch which I use to take the weight off the damaged leg, it feels like you are going to flip backwards like being on a snowboard. 

6-week x ray of my leg. knee to ankle tibial nail that will stay there forever
It takes about six months for the bone to grow back and 18 months for all the tissue and muscles and stuff to get back to normal. The tibial nail will stay in forever so it’s a life-long injury. Insurance companies love it when you tell them that and you can hear the team of ‘Rehab Services’ people, which is insurance company code for ‘lawyers’, go really quiet when you say ‘life-long injury’.  Keeping it simple works really well with them too. I’ve found that by ending every sentence with ‘…because your client drove a car into my leg’ makes them super happy and they just want to rush off the phone and go outside to celebrate or something- they just can’t contain their joy. 

surgeons ooo and aaahh and take photos and say this is a really good graft
We still have to watch the skin grafts on the front of the leg and make sure that the open wound from the reconstruction is healed up properly. A community nurse from St Vincent’s hospital comes and visits me and changes the wound dressing which is pretty ace. Wound care technology is pretty sensational. 

wound care technology is awesome
I have a hydrogel called Flaminal Forte that goes on the wound out of a big toothpaste tube and that gets covered with this cool silicon gauze stuff called Adaptic (some surgeons like Adaptic, some like JeloNet or this other dressing called Mepitel but Adaptic has smaller holes so less bacteria gets in and the silicon stops it sticking to the wound) and then a big nappy thing called Zetuvit that protects everything and then a compression stocking to hold it all together. The swelling stays around for a really long time so I have to try and elevate it but the reconstruction is happy and the circulation seems to be working and it’s not all purple like it was a few weeks ago. 

So tomorrow, it's the knee's turn at the physio- ARGgGGGHHWDHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Isaiah 35:3-6
3 Strengthen the feeble hands,
    steady the knees that give way;
4 say to those with fearful hearts,
    “Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
    he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
    he will come to save you.”
5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
    and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
6 Then will the lame leap like a deer,
    and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
    and streams in the desert.

Related: Part I: How the accident happened
               Part II: Hospital things and what they did to me

I got hit by a taxi - let's see what they did to me

I’ve got a plastic surgery clinic on Thursday and I’m going to pack a few things because the last time I went in for a clinic I got readmitted to hospital for two weeks.

When they took the plaster off from the first surgery, there was a big hematoma which is a big swollen blood clot that was from the impact of the taxi bonnet, or the brick wall maybe but that was where it took the biggest bash anyway. 

The first four days after the accident were a lifetimes worth of hospital for me so being told I had to go back in for two weeks felt like I was being sucked out to sea.  Then I decided to be like the chill-ass orangutan and surrender to the whole process so Christmas and New Year's in hospital for me it was. There are starving children in Africa and people in the ward with lifetime, genetic muscle-wasting illness and stuff like that who needed four people to move them in bed. My leg seemed very minor and temporary in comparison. I've been pretty healthy for the last three years or so. I stopped drinking booze altogether and got a lot more active and tuned into managing stress and just generally realising that I wasn't bulletproof and had to listen to my body more. It made a big difference to my physical healing and just being able to push your body to relearn things. It also meant that I was thumped by all the medicines being pumped into me so I was pretty quick to start refusing pain meds and wanting all the chemicals to stop. I took my last antibiotic tablet yesterday and I'm not on any medication now- fingers crossed that's the end of it. 

Of course, you can't just sprinkle some Chia seeds over your leg and have some fish oil tablets when you're having open surgery on your leg. They have to knock you out which involves wheeling you into a cupboard and putting a rubber mask on your face and shoving a pipe down your throat which triggered a reptilian 'do not want' response from me apparently- I don't remember any of that but a traumatic frightened cat hit by a car response seemed pretty understandable. Well done me. 

I've finally read the discharge letter and can see what they did now: 

Surgery one

Tibial nail insertion and open reduction internal fixation of left medial malleolus 11/12/2014

Titanium rod thing from knee to ankle, inner ankle screws and something to my knee that isn’t a knee replacement but when people say they are having their knees done that’s what I had. Washout is cleaning up all the mess. 

Surgery two
Washout left leg wound 23/12/14
Then I had to go in for a second surgery which is a Washout to clean up all the hematoma blood clot stuff and get it back to a point where it could be stitched up. 

Surgery three
Washout and application of vac dressing to left leg wound 25/12/14 <<< Christmas Day

plastic surgeon checking the donor muscle -hole left from the hematoma- yes the white part is bone
Turns out the skin had all died above the hematoma so I had to go for surgery number three to have all the skin cut off. Then you get a left with a big hole in the front of your leg. Having a huge hole is a totally bad idea at the best of times but when you’ve just had a metal rod put in your munted leg it’s an even worse idea because you can get a bone infection and if that gets into the metal work then you can’t get it out so you have to amputate the leg.  Yes amputate. So as much as everyone reassured me that wasn’t going to happen my brief stint in public health was enough to make me know that there are all sort sorts of ebola-cousins lurking in hospitals and the only places more germy than hospitals are those floating petri dishes called Cruise Ships (seriously: Google cruise ships + norovirus, it’s not just an evening show you’re catching on the Emerald Princess). 

vac dressing sucking out all the bad stuff and circulating air and moisture to fast track healing
Then I had a vac dressing put on to prepare for the fourth surgery which means you have a plastic pipe stuck in your leg-hole to suck all the bad stuff out and speed up healing. It also means that you are plumbed to the bed and if you want to go to the toilet, you have to take a big tube and wrap gauze around it with medical tape so you get to do some craft. Then you go to the toilet and hold the pipe that is attached to your leg and are quite convinced that salmonella is setting up shop in your leg and pouring down the pipe like a bacteria hydroslide at Wet n Wild. 

Surgery four
Local flap reconstruction of left lower leg wound + skin graft repair

Covering up the hole required plastic surgery and some skin grafts. It’s called Local Flap so they cut a piece of good skin off the side of your leg where it’s just muscle and tissue, and move it around the front to cover the exposed bone. I also had some skin taken from my upper thigh and used to patch up the parts that weren’t covered by the Local Flap. Skin is the most amazing thing in the universe I think (name a man-made thing that can self-heal? exactly…) so the side of my leg skin has covered up the bone and no more Oscar Pistorious for me. OK, technically there is still a risk because when you get a crushing injury, stuff can get left behind and it could go feral but I got doused with IV antibiotics for a week or so to blast all the Cruise Ship germs. 

Skin grafts have to be untouched for about five days so you have to lie in the bed and do the worst thing in the world —nothing. You would think that lying in bed watching TV all day and being brought food would be like an awesome long-haul flight but it’s actually terrible because you have to pee in a bed pan which is the most revolting thing I have ever experienced because you are horizontal and you marinade your butt in your pee and have to balance until the nurse comes to take it out or it spills everywhere. After two goes I refused any further bedpan action and opted for the high-tech toilet seat chair option although the nurses would get a bit angry with me because it’s more work for them getting you up and down but the bedpan decision was final.

mobile sanitation device connect to your regular toilet and minimises ebola in your leg

One especially tricky nurse tried to convince me that she had to ‘measure my urine volume’ but I was on to her and her tricky schemes and I had to get my terse voice out, and then she threatened to put a catheter into me, nurses really do have a strong escalation game. So I got the doctors to put on my notes that it was infection control issue and i had to be taken to the toilet, i.e. no bedpans. Touche. 

During this time, a lot of attention is paid to your plumbing actually and you soon surrender to the morning ‘have you opened your bowels today’ questioning and it’s all recorded and charted and they give you potions to ensure the question is answered in the affirmative. I was provided with ‘treats for my bowels’ aka Coloxyl and sometimes they just wheel you to the bathroom and leave you there for a while to see if anything happens so you feel like a puppy being left on the lawn to go number twos. When you do go, you get a big pat on the head and tick in your chart so it’s a great shared achievement. The old guy in the room next to me was on Day 15 and refusing treats for his bowels which you’d have to think was a seriously bad life decision. Protip: take the treats. 

Local flap 'dusky' due to blood vessels venous congestion -wiring not all connected up yet
The skin is your skin so that part is happy but all the blood vessels have to reconnect. Blood goes in but doesn't come back out so that's when the leeches were brought in to try and save the bottom part of the Local Flap that was looking a bit -according to the discharge letter- Dusky. 

Harvard Medical School highly trained specialist surgical leech- likes blood and warm places

The leeches are proper medical ones and you prick the skin like a diabetes person does and get it to attach. The leech has natural anti-coagulant in its saliva so a good one can sit there for a couple of hours and hoover away at the wound. The leech created much excitement- it feels like a normal garden worm on your leg and doesn't hurt. 

Leech doing his/her thing on the Local Flap

The only thing is when they bloat up and are full, they wander off really quickly and head for the warm parts of your body so I had one full bloated one travelling at speed up toward my warm parts which was suboptimal so I decided to stop the overnight treatment because nightmares. 

The good news is the fracture is all zipped up now. There is a big wound on the side of my leg where the surgeon took the Local Flap from and it looks bad but people in the know assure me that it's all muscle and tissue so meh.

   


I couldn't care less about scars and how it looks as long as my leg works I'll be beyond happy. A quick journey through disability has been a huge eye-opener for me and I'm beyond blessed that my journey has been relatively short and successful -some people have to live everyday with chronic pain, unhappy outcomes and far worse limitations. 

The wound specialist came and visited me yesterday and we put this cool hydrogel stuff on the wound and it soaked up all the bacteria and it's all looking nice and pink and healthy now. 

So yes, Plastics clinic on Thursday so I can remove the big dressing on my upper thigh from the skin graft donor site hopefully, and then the big date is Monday 19 January with an orthopaedic clinic and x-ray to see if my leg can bear weight so I don't have to ski around on crutches. Then I can test-drive my new titanium leg- good times :)


7-10 How beautiful on the mountains
    are the feet of the messenger bringing good news,
Breaking the news that all’s well,
    proclaiming good times, announcing salvation

Related: See how the accident happened - I got in the paper and everything



I got hit by a taxi -in photos

It was an ordinary sort of Thursday. I was going to go to a thing at church, stop for a coffee and then write up some ideas from women's co-working day or maybe the startup australia Stripe chat at fishburners with Justin Kan and co. 

A few questions were coming through on a Board report we were submitting before Christmas- all was under control. The church event had wrapped for the year so I had a coffee over the road and read my Bible. Job and some John 10. God is God but he is also the Good Shepherd and he looks after his sheep. Got it. Because I was running early I decided to walk back to central station and get my big laptop (you know, exercise- Christmas is coming) so I walked down Bourke Street and then Foveaux in Surry Hills. It was drizzling but warm and I was thinking about the Lowy Institute event with the president of Ukraine I was going to at noon the next day. I needed to read up on the Ukraine thing. 

I got David Marr to take a photo of me with Alan Rusbridger (the best editor on the planet right now) and had lots of ideas from his Guardian privacy and press freedom event two nights before. Snowden and NSA and all that Internet changing the world's privacy business. Pulitzer Prize for journalism - look at that. 

I didn't think I was going to be the news. 
I was nearly at central station when I heard a car lock up and a loud bang. I turned over my left shoulder to see a car crash and a taxi coming straight for me. it was sliding and crashed into my legs, crushing me up against a garden wall. 
I knew my leg was broken and hopped a couple of times on my other leg before falling on my right side in a foetal position on the footpath. a crowd started to gather and various people tried to drag me out of the way. I had to keep swatting them away and I remember saying over and over "don't move me, please don't move me, wait for the ambulance, call an ambulance don't move me". 

I thought I might have a spinal injury.

One girl who was a nurse kept everyone back. it was very strange lying like a dead fish on a footpath in the rain screaming "don't touch my legs" at people in the middle of Sydney.  Leo from Kings Cross police arrived and told me the ambulance was nearly here. (note when you call an ambulance and they ask you where you are state the accident site, not your current location as the original call person kept driving and sent the ambulance about 2 km down the road). 

The ambulance arrived and they did that thing you see on the TV with a big board lifting a screaming mashed person off the footpath and into the van. The paramedic cut my jeans and handbag off (he couldn't bring himself to cut a pair of doc marten boots so they survived with a lace cut) and they put morphine into me. one of the guys kept singing Miley Cyrus Wrecking Ball and told me I was Wonder Woman and had just been put through a wall which makes sense now I see the photo. 
The first tweet went up from emergency at St Vincent's hospital which I where I still am now. 
For the medical nerds I broke bones in my leg and my inner ankle. because it was a compound fracture I went straight to surgery and had a tibial nail and some screws put in. Tibial nail is a massive metal rod that runs from my knee to my ankle and it will probably stay in forever. 
Turns out there was a CCTV of me being hit that was recorded by someone called - Emmanuel (God with us) so I was able to go straight into full care as a motor vehicle accident victim with a police statement. The paramedic had a big crucifix around his neck that dangled in my face as he pulled my mangled leg into a splint which was blackout painful. I spent Christmas Day in a Catholic hospital founded by the Sisters of Charity. I've got lots more to write about my new appreciation for Accessible toilets, my frustration at paper based health care systems where you have to repeat the same bloody information to multiple groups of people each day, how much I love Uber, how terrifying it would be to have this accident in a remote / third world place (the leg would have been amputated) but for now I'm just grateful that Jesus came and picked this lamb up off the pavement when it got hit by a car and looked after it. 
Christmas Day operation so I couldn't really eat the turkey dinner.
The main thing now is getting a large wound on my left leg closed up so the tibial nail and bone doesn't get infected. I'm having plastic surgery on Monday to cut a flap from around my leg to patch over the hole. The skin graft comes off my leg and covers the meat flap site. then it will be a few more weeks here in hospital to make sure there's no infection. 
A clip on the leg is annoying, but it's also made me see how important it is to serve the vulnerable, elderly and disabled because in an instant, it could be you. 

The serious crash unit took a statement and I'll probably get some significant compensation because it will be lifelong injury (tibial nail and some ankle screws) but I don't blame the drivers - how easy is it to have a close call in the city? I'll be on crutches for about another month and it's pretty amazing that no other part of me was touched like my other leg or wrists, so I can hobble around.

I'm just grateful that God was and is with me and my legs work and I'm not dead quite yet. I'll write more soon but thanks to everyone who helped me and I'll bore you to death on twitter from my hospital bed for the next few weeks. I have to stay here because the wound has infection risk *warning medical gore photos* The hole is big because the impact whacked all the skin and it died so that got cut away on Christmas Day.

Isaiah 7:9 If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all 


Limited edition Apple selfie fail with Bono

One TV journalist who doesn’t warrant mentioning said yesterday that U2 were being massive ‘try-hards’ by being at an Apple launch event. 

Besides the obvious Bono being a shareholder and being friends with Steve Jobs thing and being an advisor on the whole concept of iTunes, I can confirm that this is rubbish because TRUE STORY I was with Bono when he saw his first in the wild U2 limited edition iPod in 2007, the same year iPhone went to general release and he was very cool and not try-hard at all. My one and only U2 story goes like this. 

I walked past the Hyatt Auckland (now the Pullman) in the morning and saw a guy with a telephoto lens waiting outside on the street.  He was  still there when I went home at about 6pm so I stopped to ask him who he was waiting for-just being nosey. He told me that U2 were getting ready to fly out to Japan and the drivers were bringing the cars out now from the car park if I wanted to meet the band. I wasn’t sure about the ‘meet them’ part and he said ‘oh yeah, U2 are great with people’ and that I would definitely have a chance to meet them and get some photos, chat for a bit. 

I just lived next door so I went up and got my camera (no iPhone then for me yet in 2007). When I got back, it was me and telephoto man and a guy from the Philippines and some Irish girl with a coffee table U2 book who was hugging it and crying-four people. Bono’s bodyguard guy came out and told us that since there weren’t many of us, we could all meet them as long as everyone was cool and did what he said. 

So we were told to stand on the footpath and not to come into the driveway of the hotel. The family and band management would come out first and leave in big people mover things, and then the bodyguard would bring each member of U2 out one-by-one. Each member has their own black  S-Class Mercedes and they all travel separately so the drivers bring the cars out from the hotel carpark and leave them all running in a big formation out the front, it’s very impressive.  The bodyguard man then showed us his new shoes he bought at Footlocker and stood and chatted with us and was super nice. 

Bono's bodyguard 

The guy from the Philippines said he had the new, red U2 iPod that he wanted Bono to sign and I was pretty impressed by his dedication coming all the way from Manila-especially as I was just randomly on the footpath and everyone else seemed to have worked very hard for their moment. I mean, the Irish crying girl had a book and everything. 

So then the set play started. We did what we were told and got back on the footpath and the families shot down the motorway ramp in a motorcade of vans. Then Larry (the drummer) came out. He seemed the least enthused but was pleased there weren’t many people so still signed everything and I said “hi’’ and he said “hi” and that was about it. 

The Edge in his black beanie

Then Adam came out and then The Edge came out in his trademark beanie and then I started getting that stupid star-gazed grin because he’s that guy that you’ve just seen on the TV and he’s standing right there talking to you and it’s all a bit surreal. The three band members all left and then there was a dramatic pause and everyone knew the main rock goblin himself Bono was about to come out. 

You could sense the security guys tightening up a bit and see the flash of star-crossed hotel staff faces as they all nodded and rushed to open doors for him and he walked through the lobby and out the electric front doors. He strutted out across the forecourt and went straight to the crying Irish girl hugging her U2 coffee table book and signed everything and hugged her and got photos and stuff and I was beyond impressed at how non-douchebag he was. Here is probably one of the most famous people in the world and he has time for four strays hanging around outside his hotel.  Everything was going great and he came up to meet me. I shook his hand, I know, not very cool but it was sort of awkward instinctive and I started babbling about the guy next to me who had come from the Philippines and wanted his iPod signed (was I his agent? why did I say that?!) and he said he had never seen a finished one before and that he thought it looked really cool and where should he sign it? So we stood there for a bit and turned it over a few times and he thought maybe sign the screen so he scribbled BONO across the front in black Sharpie and the guy made him do it again just pretend so that he could get photo evidence that it was actual real Bono that signed it and he seemed OK with that to- talk about patience of a saint. 

Hug screamer crashing our iPod chat with Bono

In all this excitement I realised I hadn’t got my own photo with him and the telephoto guy was busy clicking and chatting away and he had waited all day so I didn’t think it was fair to ask him so I turned around to get a selfie with Bono and just at that second, some stupid screaming girl rushed at Bono and hugged him wailing “I LOVE YOU ARGHHHHHHHHH”. 

Turns out that crying Irish girl had texted one of her friends and she decided to crash our well-mannered U2 footpath meetup with her crazy sauce, obviously unaware that in the post Lennon era we don’t do things like that to scare famous rockstars.  Friendly bodyguard man pulled the hug-screamer off Bono and another security guy appeared out of nowhere and pushed me back away from him too and that was the end of that. Bono was bundled into his Mercedes and the car boosted off to the airport and we farewelled U2 for Japan. 

Bono selfie fail

None of my photos turned out that great but I was happy with my random meeting and I can confirm that Bono is not a douchebag and was so nice to us and that there is nothing try-hard at all about having Steve Jobs make one of the most incredible inventions ever inspired by your massive famous band, thank you very much. 

Download the free U2 album in iTunes
Guy Oseary on @U2's $100 Million deal with Apple and what's next for the group