Last Nights Dream

I’m seated in a waiting room… At least I think it is a waiting room. Painters white covered with strategically positioned photographs surrounding me. Placed to give a sense of warmth, but instead just leave me wondering whom they paid to decorate this disaster. I glance at the plethora of National Geographic’s and settle upon the tiger addition. I casually flip through the pages when a matter-of-fact voice speaks up above the drab elevator music. “We almost lost you again…” I look around to see where the voice came from. I hadn’t noticed her before, but now I see a woman who seemed to embody the word ‘grandmother’ seated off in the corner. Not quite sure who she was talking to, so I simply smile and returned to my Nat G-O. She says once more, “We almost lost you again…” I look over and hear myself say, “Excuse me?” This grandmother had kept her eyes fixated on the floor, yet now she slowly lifts her gaze and rested it gently on me. Her piercing blue eyes seem to burrow into my soul as she repeats, “We almost lost you again… didn’t we dear.” My head begins to spin, my heart starts to race, my vision becomes cloudy giving way to black as I reach up to rub my eyes. Memories come flooding back…


I’m worried. I’m out of surgery but by the look on my mothers face, not in the clear yet. Someone is complaining about a drain that needs to be put in? Emptied? I’m not sure, something about a drain. In another voice I hear something about a fever. I don’t feel well, and pain medicine keeps me from understanding what is going on. I notice my mother doesn’t much like one of my nurses. Wow, she must have done something very wrong to get my mother this visibly upset. I don’t feel right. I don’t feel settled. I’m scared that something is really wrong and no one will tell me. I close my eyes as I hear a decision has been made to take me up to ICU.


BEEP…BEEEP… BEEEEEP!!! I open my eyes to an obscene sound coming from one of my monitors. I glance over and see and all to familiar monitor. I reach up being careful not to twist my newly spit-open stomach, willing my index finger to stretch far enough to reach the pause button. From behind me somewhere I hear, “Carly? What are you doing?” Damn. Busted. I look back ever so causally, hoping to see the face of someone who will to let my nurses know that the monitor had gone off, going for my best angelic smile. “Your oxygen level is a little low, Carly. We need you to take a couple of deep breaths.” Sure… No problem. Innnnhhhhhaaaallllleee….OOOOOOOUUUUUUUCCCCCCHHHHH! THAT HURT!!! My stomach feels as though it is once again being ripped open. I look over at David… no… Derrick…. no… Darren… Oh, whatever his name is, thinking I won’t be doing that again… Well, at least not without some more painkillers. Darren kept telling me to take deep breaths, and that he would be back to check on me soon. I think to myself, yeah, sure thing Darren… I’ll get right on that. I close my eyes and fall back to sleep. “Carly?? Carly?? Come on, take a deep breath for me Carly…” Darren again. Ok, here it goes. Innnnhhhhaaaalllleeee…. Exxxxhhhhaaallleee. There, happy? Now please let me sleep. I think Darren is trying to keep me awake because he jumps into telling me fun facts about himself. Three kids… Congrats. Married ten years…Great. May I go back to sleep yet? My question is answered as he shoves the oxygen tube up my nose. Guess not. The fun facts continue as I feel myself drift off once again. The next time I opened my eyes everyone is in a panic. Mom’s here… Crap. It’s still dark out, meaning still extremely early…that’s not good. Something is wrong. “Take a deep breath Carly,” everyone says in unison. I soon realize that I can’t breathe any deeper and it starts to scare me. Suddenly, I feel as though I am caught in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy as several nurses whisk me off to my second stay in the ICU…


The dream is over and I wake up safe and sound in my apartment, knowing that going back to sleep isn’t going to happen.

The little grandmother in my dream, with her sobering words, reminded me how close I had come to not being around anymore. As I set up in bed, I try to come to terms with everything I went through.

Moments like these in which I could’ve been slipping away without ever realizing it scare me. I was under so much medication that a couple of trips to the ICU didn’t set off any alarms that maybe things were a lot more serious than I thought. Sad to think that I have been to the ICU so many times that my thought process is, oh well, I’ll be back on the recovery floor soon. It worries me that I could be so close to having a serious problem but would never know, completely comfortable in my painkiller haze. My biggest fear is I wouldn’t know to tell my friends and family how much they mean to me, what a gift they have been to my life, and saying for the last time that I love them.

My memories haunt me. I catch myself thinking about certain aspects of my hospital stay and find myself cringing from some of the painful things I had to endure. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but the real painful memories can sometimes feel like my own personal torture chamber.They sneak up on me when I least expect it. Some days are better than others but lately it seems to be a constant struggle to gain control over my mind.

This subject has been one of the hardest for me to talk about. The alterations in my physical everyday life haven’t change all that much. I keep reminding myself it took me two years to recover to as close to normal as I was ever going to get after the accident, so this time may not be any different. I keep telling myself that what I can control is my mental recovery; therefore I work on it everyday.

I read, I write, but I have to say that my favorite way of getting control of my thoughts is walking my dog Buddy. We usually walk for about an hour or so as I try to train him to not be afraid of cars, bikes, and people. The funny thing is as I am training him he also seems to be training me. Whenever I start to tense up from thinking about the “what ifs” he nudges my hand with his nose, ever so gently, to steal me away from my fear-filled thoughts.

Copyright© 2013 Carly Speelman
Editor: Lauren Speelman


1 Comment

  1. So beautiful are your words and so haunting. I can’t fully imagine everything you have been through yet I can relate if that makes any sense. Our thoughts can be so debilitating yet so powerful depending on what mindset we are in. I know the ways that can help shift me out of what I call the useless mind-talk….. listening to a meditation tape ~ one especially I like is called “Peace of Mind” or putting in one of the “Laws of Attraction” CDs to allow someone else’s words to take the place of my negative ones. I so agree about walking with a dog allows each of us to learn… and I do feel that they train/teach us as much more so than we teach them. I can always tell when my thoughts are going to a not-so-good place for Max will immediately stand in front of me and look at me with an intensity. Or on one occasion, I was driving a country road with Max the back seat. My thoughts were filled with worry and I was feeling somewhat anxious. I then heard a sound from the back seat… not a whine but just strange vocals.. and I looked and Max was staring at me very intently. No words were spoken but he could just sense where I was at that moment. Just his look alone told me to breathe and to simply “let it go”. I love your BLOG and so very much appreciate these tender insights into your life. Much love to you!

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