My Journey to My New Normal Begins...

by Maryann Levine

I was involved in an auto accident on January 30, 2019, and lost both of my legs below the knees. I left Jersey Shore Medical Center on February 22, 2019. I had been in ICU for nine days with four surgeries trying to save one of my legs, the other was gone from the start. Then on the trauma floor for two weeks and two more surgeries with skin grafts. Then I transferred to rehab for physical and occupational therapy. This is where I've existed in unbelievable pain, I was unable to move, and laid only on my back for weeks (if not months). I thought it would never end. I've since left that behind.

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This is where I looked out and saw the colors of the sunrise, and the moon, and incredible rain and lightning. I watched the bare branches of winter on each tree, and learned the patterns. I saw the leaves begin to bud, and finally fill in. I lost sight of the branch's patterns which I knew like an old friend. It was actually sad I couldn't see them.

I've watched countless ambulances and Wall Township, NJ cop cars come and go at all hours of the day and night. I've watched residents being pushed in wheelchairs on the sidewalks, and some walking with a cane or a walker. I wondered over and over again when.. when will it be me. And why...why me.

This is where I cried alone more times than I can remember with family and friends, and the staff. This is where I've laughed with family and friends and the staff. This is where my family and friends had to come to help me, and do things I couldn't do for myself. This is where I read all the messages of love and support. I treasured every time I saw my kids. I hated to be the one who needed them, instead of them needing me. I cried terribly every time after they left. I'd watch out the window to see them drive away and wave. Even though I knew they couldn't see me, I hoped they knew I was watching.

This is where I've been well taken care of by nurses, CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistant), therapists, the kitchen staff, and maintenance staff and grown to become so close to them. This is where I've had so many roommates. I've lost count. All were funny, kind and thoughtful except two who were “batshit crazy” or condescending to the staff. The later I helped get removed...nope, no place for that anywhere in this world.

This is where I've yelled at the TV more times than not, it never ends!!!! (You all know what I mean).

This is where I've finally stood alone, and walked in a not scheduled therapy session. Where my legs now can be my roommates. Not sure how much longer I'll be here or where I'll be next, but I do know I'll need a U-Haul when I leave...and leaving will be so bittersweet.

TONY'S NOTE: As of the posting of this essay, Maryann is officially one of my many Superheroes.


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