It's funny how it became such a literal experience and one that I will never forget.
It was December 22, 2012. I lay in bed knowing that I needed to get up and get ready for the four hour trip to my dad's house (I planned on spending Christmas with him), but anxiety swam in my chest and I just kept laying there trying to block out the light from the window.
Before I left, I went outside to hug my boyfriend goodbye and I said, "I'm so glad we're making this move together." I was referring to the fact that on Jan. 31 we'd be flying to the Philippines. But life had other plans...as it always does.
It was around 3:00 pm and I pulled up to a crossing about 12 miles outside of where my dad lives. The crossing had traffic coming from the left, but I looked to the right. For some reason my brain fogged and it wasn't until I pulled out that I looked to the left and saw a truck coming at me at 70 miles per hour.
I looked at the driver. He looked at me. And all I could think was get ready, here it comes. Maybe I closed my eyes, maybe I held my breath. I don't know. All I felt was the spinning, spinning, spinning of my car and when it stopped I noticed the air bag had deployed, but I hadn't felt it.
Within seconds people were out of their cars and crowded around, making sure I was okay. I couldn't breathe, but I figured I was just in shock. I tried to take deep breaths, but I couldn't. Everyone was so kind and waited with me until the ambulance came.
When the ambulance got there I almost told them I didn't need to go to the hospital, but I'm glad I thought twice about that. The ER took an x-ray and found that my left lung had collapsed. A small chest drain was put in to pull out the air from around my lung and I was admitted to the hospital for much longer than I would have ever thought. Thankfully, my room had a window and I could see the lake and a small pond with ducks. Everyday I watched the sun come up over the water and brighten my room.
After a week of no improvement, a lung specialist was brought in and it was decided that he would insert a scope to see what was going on. What he found was something I've been living with all my life and didn't even realize. Lung blebs - little pockets of air sitting on top of my lungs that randomly pop and can cause lung collapse. I had had minor pops in the past (now I know what all those chest pains were about), but the wreck is what caused the big one to pop and cause rupture.
So he stapled my lung and agitated my chest wall so that the lung would adhere. He also inserted a larger chest tube. I now have a scar in the form of an X on my left side. It makes me chuckle :) x marks the spot.
After 15 days I was set free. All the air had been drained and my lung was working on its own. Now I'm aware of what's going on in there and it scares me a little, but I guess it's better to know and understand.
So that Jan. 31 trip didn't happen for me. In fact, flying is a little risky for people with my condition, but that is a whole other story for another time.
Here's the thing about my 2013 word - expand. It came to me one of those days I was sitting in the hospital bed, watching another hour of Lifetime: I literally had to expand to heal. My lung had to expand and latch on to my chest wall to heal.
What a beautiful metaphor for life.
To heal, we too must expand and latch on to our Source. For me, that's God. It may be something else for you, but whatever/whomever it is, latch on and don't let go. There's something bigger at work here and it's creating and guiding and teaching us beautiful things.
When I chose this word I didn't expect to live it so literally. I don't want to go through that again, but I want to keep expanding and growing and experiencing life. I want to expand spiritually and mentally and physically. I want my writing to expand and my dream business and my connections on this earth.
And I want my heart to expand. To share. To serve.
Would you like to expand this year? Tell me about it, dear one.