Wednesday was tough for me. There were so many new people and so much new that day. I don’t do well with strangers. When I got back I was shaken, scared and withdrawn. I was also excited, pleased and felt blessed. I had made it through the day. It was my first day alone, at a new job and with all those strangers.
I had a real tough night coming down from the roller coaster of the day. Fear and Joy lived in the same moment. So this was my Thursday morning following. Little sleep the night before and my mind racing in panic mode virtually all night. My morning was far worse.
Because of this morning they asked me to write what happened. At least what of it I remember. I will also not be home Friday night as a result. But we compromised I will be home Sunday night and back here on Mondays until further notice. I also won’t be home at night next week. Maybe a few more weeks before that happens for me.
It took a lot from me to be out like that Wednesday. Mentally and physically I was exhausted. Even so rest did not come easy. So this is my Thursday morning, the day after my first day at work. And an extremely tough day for me.
This is how Thursday March 19, 2015 began:
I woke early this morning while it was still dark and sat in front of my mirror. Something I’ve done now for years upon years. Instinctively I reached for the makeup box, my prosthetic and opened it as I have so many times. With the lights still out I picked up my prosthetic and the cleaner and began sanitizing it.
Without thought as the instinct of a decade and a half take over. The familiar cold as I swab my face with alcohol to clean it and prevent infection. Effortlessly my hands move to get this job done. As I sit I remember the pain as my face was slammed on that table.
Somehow I held back my tears I’m not always so lucky. Most mornings I’d cry and inside I could feel the breaking of bone and feel as my flesh was torn open. Moments later I’d feel my flesh ripped off and the pain once more real. This morning I only felt the slam.
My prosthetic is now ready and my face now clean it’s time to begin rebuilding my face. Aligning the prosthetic, feeling for the outer surface to show I begin the process of concealing the hole in my face.
As I close my eye (so not to get any alcohol in it) I place the prosthetic but it doesn’t fit and falls off. For a moment a familiar flash back as I think I’ve out grown it again. The terror climbs my spine as I try again and realize once more it still doesn’t fit. It still feel away from my face. Something was wrong, terribly wrong!
Fear races through me. The thought of a day without it, the questions I will have to hear. I scream and slam my hands on my desk still only half awake. As the terror fills me I begin to shake. I scramble to find it in the dark and I try one more time but the prosthetic falls away again.
In a panic I reach for the light. *click* I see my face staring back at me. Only then does it sink in that I don’t need it. The terror subsides slowly and in disbelief I touch my face. There I sit for more than thirty minutes crying. Allowing my fingers to trace my flesh where scars once announced my pain to the world.
I don’t know how long the doctors were there. Everything stopped for a moment and for that moment the world not only silent but empty. I could feel every heart beat in slow motion. I could feel it in my face and the tears feel like rain as they have many mornings since my surgery. Tears of joy and disbelief have fallen often but especially mornings.
I sat shaking, crying and oblivious to anyone and everyone. This was the first morning I’d cried out in pain. The first I’d not remembered my surgery before true desperation and frustration took hold of me. I’m told I screamed out “WHY!” and “God please help me!” and that is what brought the doctors.
I don’t know when they arrived in my room, I’m not even sure if they tried to talk to me. I couldn’t see them and in the moments of terror followed by relief I was alone inside. For the first time I knew what it was like to be alone in a crowded room, so lost inside my own head that time itself stopped for me alone.
When I came to and realized the commotion I’d caused I was very embarrassed. Two doctors, a couple orderlies, a nurse and at least a dozen fellow patients had gathered and seen me crying. Doctor Ann told me not to be embarrassed and that sixteen years of hiding takes its toll. I’m still embarrassed and in some ways it’s like I doubted reality. In some ways perhaps I even doubted myself.
But I didn’t stop believing if I asked for help from god he would come. He did to. He sent Dr. Ann and Dr. Beth to my room. He gave them the wisdom to let me cry and the words to reassure me. I’m sure he sat there rocking me and telling me go ahead cry it’s ok; just cry.
It’s still so hard to believe I feel like a doubting Thomas every day. I need proof the hole is gone every day. I feel lost as I check it’s still gone, one thousand times a day I check. I feel unworthy and therefore doubt even my own hands. But it is the truth.
No more do my scars cry out to be seen. No more do I cover them in vain. They are muted forever and now only seen in the darkness and doubt of my own eyes. It’s hard to believe this is finally me. I keep waiting to wake from this dream into the nightmare of my past.
I thank god for silencing my scars. Someday I hope they are silent even to my eyes and silent even to my doubt. For now the blessing of scars removed from sight and terror of their voices being heard; is now silent. My nightmare chapter is closed to those who would look and listen save for the one within.
For now the reflection stands silent and still. In the light of my illuminated reflection the truth cries out to be heard even by the one who doubts. For now it too seems muted until the light proves its voice to my own doubting eyes.