After some weeks he was woken from his coma. He remembered her, she thought, but couldn't move his left side or speak. The deficits would gradually show themselves. He ended up spending two more months in the hospital- one in the ICU, and then transferred to a rehab where he could learn to speak and hopefully walk again. Andrea was there every single day for months. She did everything she could for him. She fed him, held him while he cried, helped him try to speak, try so sit up on his own for even just a moment. Those months she spent more hours than she can recall just staring at him, praying praying praying while he slept, and counting his eyelashes while his body fought to live. She felt her presence could tether him to the earth somehow, keep him for slipping off and leaving her forever.
Rehab went well. Michael is truly the strongest human Andrea has ever known. He was scheduled to come home. It was around this time that Andrea was diagnosed with severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She wasn't eating, sleeping. She was unable to focus and cried almost all of the time. Her eyes were always swollen shut. She began to fear everything and had trouble driving. Every sound of an ambulance passing caused panic attacks. Every mention of a car accident eviscerated her. She ate lunch in the hospital one day, early on, when news of Michael’s accident came on the cafeteria television. She saw his ruined truck. She pictured his ruined body. She prayed God to take her, if He was determined to take him. Inside she was in pieces, and it only now, with his homecoming, could she begin to get whole. But it would be so much harder than she thought to emotionally recover. Michael finally came home. It was joyous, but frightening. Andrea had nursing training, so his care would be left to her, and she was afraid she would make a mistake, or that he would get hurt while she tended to their baby. She realized on the day he came home, as she helped him to slowly walk into their home with his cane and neck brace, that she had gone from wife to caregiver. She didn’t mind. She would do everything he needed and he would be ok. She was determined. As he slowly got better, things began to return to normal. Day to day life became what would be their new normal. Michael went from patient to husbands but Andrea still found herself stuck in the role of caregiver. The role of caregiver is not a sexy one. Their intimacy suffered. She did not feel beautiful. She did not feel like someone to be lusted over. She felt like a nurse.
Andrea believes God gives us what we need when we need it. At church she was approached by a friend who asked her if she would like to take boudoir photos that she was hosting at her house. She showed Andrea photos of her own, and they were so lovely that she decided to try it. At least it was an excuse to wear lots of makeup and some high heels. Andrea did not have high hopes for the photo shoot or the outcome. The stress and pain of the last year had her self esteem at a severe low. The trauma had broken her, therapy and yoga was only slowly helping her to recover some soundness of mind. She spent a week picking out the perfect outfit. She spent a week picking out her makeup. The shoot was a fantastic, uplifting experience. Shannon made her so comfortable. She made her feel so sexy, like a woman again. Andrea felt like someone worth looking at, someone worth wanting, someone worth something. She was sexy again.