Family Matters: In Sickness and In Health

priscilla-hedlin-familyI never asked the doctors if I would walk again. I already knew the answer. I knew the moment it happened.

I was paralyzed in a car wreck on September 12, 1999. I was 18 years old and I was just starting
my life as an adult. I almost lost my chance at the future I always dreamed about, but I was still alive. I was still breathing. So, no, I did not ask the doctors if I would ever walk again.

The first question I asked the doctor was if I would still be able to have babies. I couldn’t imagine a life without being able to hold my own babies. They assured me that most likely I would be able to, so not to worry. That was all I needed to hear.

I already knew life was going to be different, and it was a challenge I was ready to face. I had a huge support system, and that system grew in 2001 when I met my husband. In a short period of time we were engaged and I went back to college.

Then life got in the way. I developed a pressure sore. I had no idea until it was horribly infected.

My new fiancé stepped in and took over my care between hospital stays. It was humiliating to lose my independence again, but even before we said our “I Do’s,” he stayed. In sickness and in health.

I recovered and once again regained my independence. We were married in December of 2002. We welcomed our first son in December 2004, our second son in May 2008 and our third son in June of 2011.

My three sons.

I can’t thank my husband enough for these precious gifts and the ability to stay home with them. If given the choice, I would never give up the life I have, even if doing so would take the injury away. People occasionally ask if I have help and the answer is no, at least not usually.

My independence was once again threatened last year, when my titanium rods broke. I wasn’t feeling well and had intense pain in my back, so we went to the ER. They discovered the break but they couldn’t make sense of the pain. The break and the pain didn’t match up.

They ran test after test and finally decided to do surgery to remove the rods. The doctors found a massive infection they would have never discovered without the break. I spent more time in the hospital than I care to remember and even more time recovering at home.

We had to hire a nanny, and I felt like a failure. If I couldn’t be the only one caring for my kids, what kind of mom did that make me?!

It was a very emotional time for me. I felt that the one thing that kept me going in the beginning was being taken away. Once again, my husband stood by me and did everything he could to make this frightening obstacle something we could overcome.

Obviously, my role as a mom wasn’t being taken away permanently. We all need help from time to time. That just makes us human. That’s what I am — an average suburban mom. I just do it sitting down.

Life is back to normal, and it’s just the boys and me during the day. I do the grocery shopping, the housework, the carpooling and I’m the teacher.

Life couldn’t be better.