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As I slowly opened my eyes, struggling to get a clear view of my surroundings, I could feel this excruciating pain everywhere in my body. It felt as though I had been crushed in a press, like a piece of scrap metal being made ready for recycling. I could barely focus my eyes on the things around me. As the blurriness started to clear, I scanned the room trying to figure out just where the hell I was and what the hell happened to me. Is this a bad dream or is this real? At first, I couldn’t tell. I soon realized that it was very real and I was laying in a hospital bed. I was unable to move my arms and legs. The only thing I seemed to have any control over was just a little bit of movement in my neck.

There were tubes coming out of every hole in my body and there were a few new holes that had been made for more tubes and needles. I was intubated and had tubes in my mouth and down my throat. I was hooked up to a machine that was breathing for me and was connected to eight different other machines, all injecting life sustaining medications. I was very frightened and all I could think of was my husband. Where is he? Is he okay? My eyes scanned the room for him and then finally after what seemed like several minutes, I saw him. There he was, right by my side. Then I immediately thought to myself, well if I had been in some kind of accident, either he wasn’t involved or if he was, he wasn’t hurt. Either way, whatever is going on with me, he is here and watching over me, so I will be okay. Then I closed my eyes and everything went black again.

The next time I woke up, the extreme pain was still present and, in fact, it seemed to be worse, though I didn’t think that was possible. My right hand and arm was bandaged to the elbow and had some kind of brace on it to keep it from moving. It felt like there was something seriously wrong with it. I was so confused! What was all of this? What was happening? But, once again, I saw my love right there beside me and then, after a moment or two, I could hear my mother’s voice in the background.

As I focused, I thought to myself maybe I was in some kind of car accident and had been thrown from a vehicle. Or, maybe I had pulled someone through a car window, trying to save them. Maybe this could explain what happened to my arm. My right arm. The hand and arm I use to sketch and paint and create. What is wrong with my right arm? Why can’t I used it? Why wouldn’t it move? Maybe it got slashed open by the glass from a broken window? That must be it?

It seemed like a lot of time passed, though it really wasn’t very long at all and then my husband told me that I was here because I had a heart attack. This was confusing because I still could not understand why my hand and arm were wrapped up and why I was unable to move either of them. Then, I tried moving other parts of my body again and nothing would budge. I tried to speak. Nothing! I thought to myself what the hell is happening?? Then I remembered that there were tubes down my throat preventing me from speaking or making any sound at all.

Anyone who knows me would definitely say that not being able to speak, must have been one of the hardest things for me. Why you ask? Because I love, love, love to talk and sing and truly just make noise all the time! When I wake in the morning I start talking to whomever is present. It doesn’t matter who it is. I talk! It could be my husband or one of our three house cats, it doesn’t matter. It is usually Jam, she is our oldest indoor cat. She is typically lying right beside me on the bed. I start talking and singing in the morning and I do not stop until I go to bed. Unless I get into a good television show. Then I’m quiet, for a little while, maybe. Sometimes I even talk in my sleep! Just ask DW! lol

I thought to myself that this was going to be quite a challenge for me, not talking. I certainly hope it isn’t going to be too long until I am able to speak again!

Next I thought, okay, this must be pretty serious, and why can’t I move? Damn it! My husband could tell I was confused. After a few moments I started to remember going to the Moncton Hospital with chest pain, in a fast moving van, and then some pieces started to come back to me. Slowly, I started to remember the things leading up to the moment when everything went black, in Moncton.

He told me that I was in Saint John and I knew what that meant. It had to mean that I was transported there for ugent care and probably by ambulance. This must be serious? I still wasn’t clear on what had happened. But, it was enough information that I could at least process that it was really serious and I was not out of the woods yet.

My husband looked so tired but relieved to see my eyes open again. He told me afterwards that he didn’t want to explain everything all at once, as it might have been too much, too soon, for my mind to process. I agree, it would have been very overwhelming to have been told every detail of what had happened to me, in those moments. In fact, at that point, I had no idea that I had been in a coma for two weeks. I think that knowledge alone would have been very upsetting, in my fragile state.

He could tell that, even though I could not speak, I was able to understand what he was telling me at that moment. This was a huge relief because none of the doctors were really sure what level of brain function I would have when I woke. Considering how long I was in full cardiac arrest. It was a little over 35 minutes. Not to mention all of the other complications that followed, during the two weeks I was asleep and there were alot of them. My husband was told, on four different occassions, that he should prepare, as this could be it…

I will talk more about that in future writings.

As the hours passed that day and I started to understand a little more about what was happening. My husband started to talk to me about things we had done together and experiences we had. He started with things from way back, when we first met, and slowly and subtly, over a couple of hours, worked his was to the present day. I did not realize it at the time, but he was trying to get a feel for my cognitive function and memory retention. As the day progressed, it was a huge relief for him and a win for the doctors. My mind was showing good signs of a full recovery. As time passed and I worked through my lengthy rehabilitation process, my doctors and other medical professionals would perform many tests in order to find out exactly how much brain function I managed to retain. I have lost some of my abilities and capacity for memory retention, but, all things considered, I am very happy with progress I have made…

I have had to work very hard to get to where I am now! But, I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to truly live, this time around. My second kick at the can…

Stay tuned for the next post, this is a long journey and we’re just getting started.

In fact, my book, Bear It All, which we are planning to publish by this coming summer, if everything goes well, tells my whole story. I have started from my earliest childhood memories to present day, in explicit detail. It’s quite a story! Even I have a hard time to believe it sometimes, as I read through while editing and proofreading, and I’m living it! We are going to self-publish this first edition, as an e-book to start, then in paper copy as things progress. It will be available on the store page on this site as well as some of the more well known global platforms, such as Amazon Kindle. I will continue to post regular updates on our progress, as we get closer.

I thought maybe it would be a good idea to include a contact/pre-order form, at the bottom of this post, in case anyone would like to have an email notification when we are ready to publish.

With Love, As Always,

Tanya Jean