Donna Smaldone
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Friday / January 13 / 2012

I never screamed

The air smelled antiseptic. The walls were sterile white.

The room which had been so cold just moments earlier was now drowning in warmth as my emotions raced. The similarities were eerie.

I patterned my breathing to endure the pain memory as the doctor debrided my leg, removing parts of the infection from the new wound on my 25-year-old burn scar. Even with the anesthetizing spray, I could feel the sterile metal scraping.

I made small talk to feign distraction. The pain would come later once the anesthetizing spray wore off.

My Momma remembers a similar scene from 25 years earlier. Similar and yet oh, so much more horrific…

The burned flesh on my leg had to be debrided several times a day, and still I fought infection.

The triangular bar strategically dangling from the bar above my hospital bed was the only means of moving my body. With my leg in traction, a healing broken hip, and severe 3rd degree burns on my right leg, the only release from the top half of my bed was to lift myself with the triangle.

I remember how glorious the air felt on my hot back. And when I tell you there is nothing like a back scratch, I know of which I speak.

But when it was time to debride those many years ago, Mom says her daughter would grasp that triangle with white-knuckled fists, forbidden to move while the procedure was taking place. Trying to keep a brave face for her little girl, her Mother’s tears filled her soul.

Mom stroked my hair, she told me she loved me, and she prayed. 

I imagine seeing my 16-year-old child endure the most agonizing pain imaginable, time after time in just one day — and it brings me to my knees. That she would stay by my side means worlds to me.

My Momma gifted me, again and again, with pure, unconditional love — and the strength to turn my pain into song.

Not once did I look during those dark moments. I just grabbed that metal triangle in a desperate attempt to meld my hands to it. And I sang.

Well, it was more like a deep, growling, “la la LA LAAAA” as I willfully made the choice to “sing” rather than scream.

I never screamed.

 

“Any questions?,” the doc asked, slipping off his latex gloves. I had none so I smiled and said, “Thank you.”

Thank you.

Breathing deeply and purposefully, I reflected on my life and all of the many people for whom I am so consummately thankful. Most notably, my husband Skip, who now opened my car door to be sure I was gently tucked into the car he had warmed up for me.

That he would stay by my side means worlds to me.

My husband has gifted me, again and again, with pure, unconditional love — and the strength to once again turn my pain into song.

I try not to think much on those dark moments. I just grab his hand; the hand which dons the gold circle I gave him. And I sing.

Oh, how fantastically thankful and blessed I truly am.

20 responses to “I never screamed”

  1. Kim Saheim says:

    This, my dear, is extremely well written. Took me back, pulled me in and lifted me up…
    What a blessing.

  2. Dawn says:

    LOVE YOU!!! There’s not much more to say, you are one of the most amazing women I know and I am so greatful to call you one of my friends.

  3. Annie says:

    Awesome!!! Brought tears to my eyes!

  4. David Covey says:

    Donna! Your strength is boundless… Emotionally & Physically. You are a loving model of faith and resolve and understanding. You so nurish my belief in the Power of the Mind!

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      I love how you said I nourish your belief in the Power of the Mind, Dave. There is so much to be said about the old adage, “mind over matter”. But more than that, I am blessed beyond measure with a strong, encouraging support network – you included! Thank you. You are cherished.

      With love, I am thankful,
      Donna

  5. Julie says:

    Love you, sweet friend!! <3

  6. Debbie says:

    Love you!! We’re praying for you every day. I hope the infection clears up quickly. You are so strong!!

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      I have Lainey’s “Get Well Scripture” up on my fridge. I’m better already because of who you’ve raised her to be. Thank you.

      With love, I am thankful,
      Donna

  7. Carrie says:

    Every day you become more and more “Donna Lonna Bonny” to me!

  8. De says:

    wow.
    Thank you for sharing stories of your life Donna.
    …and for being an exemplary example of the strong, courageous person we all wish we could be.

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Wow right back atcha, De, my beautiful childhood friend. You have warmed my heart. …you’ve also prompted me with an idea for a blog post about where strength and courage come from. More soon!

      With love, I am thankful,
      Donna

  9. Elaine Racette says:

    I loved you more than life then and I love you even more now. Amazing how there are no boundaries for love.

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      My sweet, beautiful, wonderful, amazing Momma!! I am so touched by your comment. The ways you have warmed my heart and comforted my soul are countless. Consider this one thankful and blessed girl that there are no boundaries for love. I love you so much!

      With love, I am thankful, and forever,
      your admiring little girl

  10. Sara Mannix says:

    What a beautifully written and powerful post Donna, you are so generous with your love and so honest. Sending my love and well wishes your way.

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