Keloids, Oedema & Back on Two Feet (9-15 March)

A Life in Words
Finally, here’s a (poor quality) photo of my original scar in all its Glory. Unfortunately, we’d never thought of taking photos at any other time so this is the earliest I have. (Damned shame we didn’t get any pics of the raw wound.) The large red rectangle at the top of the photo is where the surgeon took the skin for the graft and directly below it is the ‘meat pie’ hole to which they grafted it …around which, incidentally, you can see the horrid suture marks from the first job by the surgeons botched. The scar directly under my finger is, I assume, where I was impaled by the metal which I yelled at the rescue worker to “just fucking rip …out”.

Monday 9/3/87

Did I tell you I’m 60kg again? Well, I was measured yesterday. Oh, and by the way, Mark’s shitty with me again. I said something about all I need is Jemima & Fiona as friends & he (taking I didn’t need him) said he’d never talk to me again, no matter what I said or did. So he’s shitty with me. I s’pose I can expect another goodbye letter perhaps in Wednesday’s mail? Oh well. My appointment was the major news of the day, originally (god its hot) He (the dr.) said it’s excellent. Looks a bit “gooby” to me …but I’M ALLOWED TO WALK AND GO OUT ETC!! WOWEE! That’s what I was waiting to hear. Back at school next Monday YAY!! Although, I dunno; if Mark’s so shitty. I’ve been slowly trying to straighten my leg. IT IS SO HARD. I haven’t yet. WOWEE!!

Tuesday 10/3/87

Hope I sleep better tonight – the last few nights have been terrible – I keep waking. Oooooh! I am doing SO well! I can straighten my leg almost completely back, now & can put most my weight on it for a few secs. And I’m so proud. [Good!] At this rate, maybe I will be walking by the (or for the) weekend! Sandra W rang me this arvy -said Mark understands what I meant ..it’s just he’s upset that I spend more time with my friends at school, than him [what? you haven’t been at school for all bar 3 days of the school term so far…?] (it really matters to him.. he does care) I thought he might ring tonight but no. Oh well. Went & saw nana today. Well & good. . . (boring visit) [oh, to have had hindsight…] also Jo & Mike rang. A Life in WordsThey’re counting the days til they come up. I did no schoolwork this morning again. Justine & Mrs Mac came this arvy, as they left, mima & polly came. Yru gave Julia an enormous leaf of aloe vera to give to me. I haven’t been putting anything on my scars lately UMAH! [I can be ‘religious’ about certain things (obviously!) but it seems treating my scarring was not one of them. I have very soft skin which is a blessing but the trade-off  seems to be that I scar badly: hypertrophic-keloid scars are reddish, raised lumps (you can easily spot them in the photo of my leg above) which thankfully often fade and flatten out over time, but never disappear, unfortunately. While not yet fully understood, keloid scarring seems to result from excessive collagen in the wound healing process; one of my doctors gave me the impression it’s as if your body heals over-zealously?!] mmm… hot, yes. Rain? yes. pimples? Yes – going away? Yes (I hope) Mark – I love you? YES!

A Life in Words
Cairns Post, Wednesday 11 March 1987
Since its completion a decade later, the memorial has been everything our great principal desired.

Wednesday 11/3/87

Mr P [Monique’s father] rang this arvy..sounds so ‘tired’ and ‘weak’ ..Mrs P will not be back for another 2 weeks or so. No call from Mark (of course). Nor any mail. I wrote him a letter which I’ll post tomorrow. Hope it doesn’t sound silly. GUESS WHAT? I CAN WALK WITHOUT CRUTCHES!!!! UNREAL, HUH?! After only 2 days – I can let go and (hobble, limp) walk ’round! (Today I went to Earlville with mum – did shopping but I took crutches – needed them – got tired easily. Oooh runny nose. (Fi & mim came round this arvy, too.) I actually read my novel today (although that was the only schoolwork I did) And didn’t have a bath tonight – just ran out of time. [ew!] Rainy again – but cooler today at times. I slept rather well last night!! Oh, I wish Mark’d ring or something I wish he’d talk to me. Oh I love you. Don’t treat me this way.. PLEASE!!

Thursday 12/3/87

Well, I’m doin’ good . . . walking’ (limpin’ really!!) round! Mum woke me early Dropped Jules at school (went past the seniors – saw him) then we waited an hour or so before we went in. . .took off the dressing. I think doctor Clark was pleased I could walk… I asked questions – they were answered [I’d love to know what I asked…] – nothing to worry about (physically, anyway; I didn’t send the letter to Mark, or even give it to Jules to give to him – will tomorrow – damn, I forgot to re-write it.) Read my play today so .. that’s it. I’ll have to do some solid work tomorrow: MUST. Am going to the movies 2morrow nite with Fi & Jules! Hey, hey! Gonna ask mark (if I get that letter re-written. Shaved me legs 2nite & armpits – didun wanna but had to. [I preferred waxing… but that must have been too large a feat for me to accomplish, somehow?] Ankle looks absolutely revolting – fat (swollen) Leg a bit sore from using it lots I think – it’s looking even better today- I can’t believe it! mm ..hot. rain, though! Fi came down ‘S’ arvy→ ambulance man dropped off some videos drove to fi’s & Watched them. BORING seen before! [I’m guessing they were a collection of news clips/footage that, like everyone, I’d’ve seen repeatedly over the past month.] Oh neckache.

Friday 13/3/87

A Life in Words
This isn’t my ankle, but it could have looked very similar…

Today (not bad luck – much) I took my first WALK. I mean WALK, NOT LIMP!! Fantastic! (And I had a shower, standing all the time!) [I think I can vaguely remember this feeling: the uncertainty of pressing down into my foot was dwarfed by confidence and the knowledge that it was okay to do this, after the doctor’s positivity yesterday. Oh yes, it felt really good!] This morning I hurried a new letter to Mark .. to give to Jules to give to Fiona to give to him. But, we didn’t go to the movies tonight after all – Fi wants to invite mima, tomorrow night (she works 2nite) & even if mima can’t come we’ll still go. So, (Fi was convinced he’d ring me – he didn’t) if he went, we wouldn’t’ve been there – he’ll be even angrier. And if he didn’t go, it means (he didn’t ring) that he doesn’t care. Oh shit. I need you to contact me, Mark. Please, please God, let things be the way they were before the crash. It’s not fair. My life’s the pits. My ankle’s so ugly & fat (swollen) [I failed to understand that my entire leg had been blown up like a balloon during the accident, so the elasticity in the entire appendage (not just the dermis) would have been incredibly tested and it would take some time for it to return to somewhere near normal (thank God I was young and still growing). The fact is, my right leg would never be the same size as its counterpart again: even after a night’s rest, my right lower leg is always 1-1.5cm thicker in circumference than the left.] Beka (came round this arvy) said hers took awhile to go down. [I think she had had a sprained ankle. A somewhat different injury (!) but wonderfully supportive of her.] GREAT. But I walked today that’s something right? [Yes.] And I did some work. And Trina dropped over my negatives & photocopies of photos of Monique. And I sunbaked (towel over my legs so I don’t get a mark from the bandage) & get this – got burnt slightly after only 15 minutes! [Ah the FNQ sun: it cooks you quick!] OH MARK. PLEASE RING ME or come over.

Saturday 14/3/87

No phone calls from Mark, today, let alone a visit. Hope, really hope he didn’t go Friday night..he’d be so shitty (so much more shitty) with me. I rang Fi twice ..3rd time lucky. Mima might not be going tonight – depends whether she gets her schoolwork done or not (speaking of which, I did none) I danced today! (Not really physically jolting- just “bopping” around! I spent most the day writting out the major things that’d happened in the weeks past .. ready to do up my scrapbook. Fiona’s late!! ..it’s 7:20 – movie Jumpin Jack Flash starts at 7:30. Oh Mark, stuff you. (Told Fi, she said she’d ring him tomorrow for me. She’d really expected him to ring me last night.) NO VISITORS today Rather boring day ‘But Jeez, my ankle’s gone down! (I spent ½hr or so in the sun again today – just head & shoulders..wanna bleach my hair. where’s the lemon juice?)A Life in Words [After 4 weeks in hospital my hair had darkened considerably… and as a natural blonde this was displeasing to me. We used lemon juice whenever we could but I don’t know how well it actually worked…] tell you ’bout the movie tomorrow. My ankle – I can’t believe how much it went down, after putting it under a pillow last night. [yeah. I’m sure I meant the pillow was under my leg, not vice versa…] UNBELIEVABLE! Dad & Jenny came over today – this arvy. Amazed at me walking

Sunday 15/3/87

I’m not so worried about school, even though I got bad news from Fi tonight (well..not good .. not bad(??)) I’ll probly get the nerves tomorrow. See, he & Steven & Cameron & Keith were going to see the Stroopers, so they went to Fi’s …she tried talking to him, but he didn’t say “anything”. (At one stage she said “I was going to call you tonight” & he said “why don’t you tell her you rang but I wasn’t home?” Nice, huh? What’m’ I s’posed to think of that? KNOWing me- the worst. [Well, it’s hardly inspiring…] He hates me. But he can’t. I couldn’t accept that.) Wonder what’ll happen at school? (Today I did chem. & nothing much else – a bit of art) I was going to rest my foot as much as possible today so it wouldn’t hurt for school tomorrow… know what happened? (It’d gone down even more this morning (not much more) but more) It swelled right up again. [A perfect example of what happens when sitting for too long… unless elevated of course, which I doubt I would have been continuing now that I was almost ‘back to normal’…] NO visitors of course. Esp. not mark even though they were in the area. It’s too much to ask. Oh I’m nervous. Angela R. rang tonite – is coming over wednesday arvy. Oooh.. I’m worried. I’m hurt. His song’s on the radio now Miracle of Love. [Hmm, don’t remember that. But I still like the song. Check it out below…] SHIT it’s NOT FAIR.

The Bath Breakdown & A Thunderstorm Shock (2-8 March)

Monday 2/3/87A Life in Words

I AM HOME. It’s not quite as different as I thought it’d be. . . [a great example of the Mind’s potential to create “a mountain out of a molehill”…] but I don’t think I’ve had enough time to think about things etc. I was ‘lucky’ (in a way) to be allowed to come home- I’m not allowed to go anywhere.. I can walk on the crutches for 1 hour per day – the other 23 I have to spend with my leg “up”, relaxing. Great, huh?! Mark didn’t ring – I thought perhaps he might .. But, no. My leg gets funny feelings through it – some painful, some not. I had a shower this arvy (at hospital) – Went home around 3:15 – got home 3:30. Lots of visitors – Fishers, Mandy, mima & family & fi. Oh, now to sleep. I wish I’d seen or heard from Mark- I hope I get some mail from him or something… a letter I’d really like. Oh well. Next monday 1:30→ take off dressing! Until then – boredom at home (?!???!!) Rather ‘doubted’ leaving this morning but Kerri [the social worker whom I had adopted as my counsellor] “helped” me change my mind. Brewers gave us their video & TV. UNREAL!!

Tuesday 3/3/87

In the shower tonight –  I really cried. I think that was my “breakdown” or, maybe the start of it. [I’m a tad confused: I vividly remember suffering a breakdown (a crying ‘tantrum’) but my memory places me in the bath – not the shower – looking down at, and bawling over, my ugly, deformed, scarred thigh (and all the death wishes that went with it)… but I just mentioned that my dressing wasn’t being removed (by the hospital doctor/s) for another week yet. Hmmm. Strange.] Boring-ish day. A Life in WordsSpent my morning hours (alone- mum at work) doing thank-you letters. [It was an etiquette our mother – via our grandmother – had instilled in us] When mum came home, we watched Norman Gunston tapes (on video) – Brewers gave their video to us, with a TV!! Julia came home & the Brewers- Mrs B. Polly & mima and fi came over. Watched Zapped on video. TV watching tonight. Toilet’s easy to go to Mrs McI also came over- Donald [her son] is so tall & skinny (& cute!) [Just to clarify, he was a child so this ‘cute’ definitely did not relate to physical attraction…] No letter, phone call (let alone a visit) from Mark. Hope he does get in (some form of) contact must go to the loo again. Rather warm day, rain & thunderstorm tonight. More visitors (& boring hrs) tomorrow? . . . Who knows. Slept alright last night. . hope so again 2nite.

Wednesday 4/3/87

Got a little upset in the shower again tonight but nowhere (I think) near as bad as last night. Delanie rang!! [Privacy omission] Short talk – she said she’d ring back in a couple of weeks (when I’m able to walk, I gather)→ when I’m back at school. Got a (monstrous) letter from Tania & (small one) Mrs M. Wrote to Tania 10 pages! Watched “Lampoon’s VACATION” on video today & “YOUNG ONES” & “D Generation”. A Life in WordsBig sore zit near my right eye. Jacque also rang – big thunder storm – had to hang up – I saw a spark & heard a “pop” on the line. [That gave me a bit of a fright… our parents had warned us about using the phone during thunderstorms: the danger of receiving an electric shock. Turns out it’s definitely not an Old Wives Tale either: the Mythbusters have tested it (see here) so I guess I was “very lucky” this time…] Oh, wish Mark’d call … or come over. (at least write a letter) Missing him already. Damn it. Hope I can save heaps of money (or win the lotto) so I can go to USA with Mark next year (if he wants me to) – HOPE SO! HOT!

Thursday 5/3/87

Mark rang this arvy – we had a long phone call .. about 1½-2hrs (??) at least (??) NO! about 1 hr at the least. And it started off usual ‘bickering’ but then a kind of “arguement” or disagreement – all about my trusting him & mainly, my ‘attitudes’. [Doesn’t it take two to Tango?] But it ended not so bad. Also, Crabbe rang. Good old talk to him Too (Fi came over this arvy – stayed for quite awhile) Delanie’s coming over Saturday, but so’s Mark. Oh! Boring day today. Watched music video. I missed the Last Starfighter cos’ I was talking to Mark. Another big thunderstorm. Mum was worried – see yesterday, on the phone to Jacque during a storm, I heard a “pop” on the line & it scared me to death- you’re not s’posed to be on the phone during a storm – could get electrocuted – [Uh-huh. So why did you repeat the experiment? I clearly wasn’t frightened enough by yesterday’s experience?] But it was alright – storm went away quickly. I do trust him now. I believe everything he tells me- it’s the truth. A Life in Words[Right. That sounds suspiciously like someone trying to convince herself…] I weighed myself. GUESS WHAT? 55KG WOW! I’m 55kg! shower wasn’t so bad 2nite. talked to Mark about the crash also. He doesn’t really like talking about it.

Friday 6/3/87

Fi came down again this arvy. I also saw Sandra H. I’m busting to go to the loo now! Guess what? Ngaire R is having a party tomorrow night &  it seems everybody’s going. NOT FAIR. Couldn’t they put it off one week? [Sure, JUST for YOU… I so hated “missing out” on things…] Not fair. (Still, I guess I’d look funny turning up to a party on crutches.) [People have turned up to parties looking a lot worse, I’m sure…] Did “nothing” again today (Mrs McI came down- got my [Speech & Drama] certificate – grade 5) besides watch 2 videos. In the morning, I read memorial programmes and had a little crying session over Monique. I even had a little talk to her. I feel guilty that I only think about Monique. [Compassionate to a fault? Am I really beating myself up for loving and missing one soul more than the other seven I didn’t have as strong a connection with? Apart from being too hard on myself it also demonstrates – on the upside – how ‘evenly’ I value all life…] She’s the one I ‘miss’ the most – the only one I think of & really cry over. [I think it’s excusable, Liss] I thought Mrs McI was her mum, this morning (similar car) Had a heart attack! Watched TV movie. Silly. No thunderstorm today. Fi said Mark said he’s playing golf with the other guys 2morrow & coming over sunday instead. No phone call from Mark. Fi said he said he doesn’t know if he’ll go to the party- but thinks yes maybe. Wonder if he will – if so, what he’ll do?

Saturday 7/3/87

Boring! Nah! Justine F & Mr Paddy & Lainie & Leah (& Deborah & Mrs C. later) and Michael B & Amanda (staying the night) & mima & Mrs B. & Dad & Jenny. That’s about it (cherie for a few minutes, too!) for today. (I heard Mark got 4th (out of 4 people) in golf today! Cameron 1st, Glyn 2nd, Steven 3rd & him last!) Wonder if he’s at Ngairie’s party – it’s gonna be so BIG. BITCH that I can’t go. Bloody pain in the tit. [..as opposed to arse. I think ‘tit’ was my mum’s preferred word because it wasn’t as ‘crass’.] I think there’s some ‘discharge’ where the skin was taken from – it’s “weeping”. We rang hospital – said no worries – Dad’n’Jenny said not to worry too. Oh dear. A Life in WordsWasn’t noticeably too hot today. Bloody mozzies. Watched Zapped, Last Starfighter – Young Ones tape (½) & ½ of Singing in the Rain. Also, Robinsons gave us their VHS so we went (well, mum jules & Amanda went) & got out SPIES LIKE US. God, it’s good! One & ½ more days to go!! Yay!!

 Sunday 8/3/87

Mark came around 2:30 and (I didn’t think he was coming) left around 5:45. I think he was bored lots of the time – he did go to the party – left at 1:30, went home. The ambulance man came this arvy, while he was here & we were talking about our position on the bus- I know where we ended up now. [Partly helping to clear up the confusion I experienced while pinned under the bus, looking out a hole in the ‘undercarriage’ wondering how the trees I could see were still standing. I was completely disoriented. If you (somehow) missed it, this link will take you back to the full horrific tale on 4 February.] Mrs Strooper came this morning – talked pretty well! [This was the second time Erica’s mother had visited me; the first was while I was in hospital, and it hadn’t been a joyful meeting (possibly why I didn’t record it in my diary). She was naturally very distressed, her grief was so fresh; she needed answers. All I remember was her asking me lots of questions that started with “why?” …but they were unanswerable. Like, “why did Erica get on that bus?” Understandably, the encounter was very uncomfortable: apart from the natural compassion for her incredible suffering, I felt useless and depressed by my inability to answer her: I was too young and inexperienced to know that I wasn’t ‘responsible’ ..to supply the answers, that is.] (She gave me about 5 photos – most of myself – a ‘big’ one of Monique & Erica (really beautiful) & a beautiful (although blurred) photo of the 5 of us. Really nice. Mark was being rather (concealed) nice ‘fore he left… still no kiss. I think we both feel ‘afraid’ again. I dunno. Watched videos all day. Boring for Mark, I’m sure. I felt terrible (even when the ambulance man was here, talking ’bout the crash) Cameron & Glyn came in for a few secs before mark left. No conversation really. A little hot 2day Slept terribly last night – so restless. Hope it’s better tonight. Hospital tomorrow!!!

A Life in Words
This was the large photo of Monique & Erica that Erica’s mother gave to me. Such beautiful girls xx