CHICAGO - Nearly two weeks after her feet were severed in a boating accident at the "Playpen" in downtown Chicago, Lana Batochir says she still hasn’t seen her two young children but expects to be discharged from the hospital by the end of the week.
She hasn’t told her 6-year-old daughter yet that both her legs were amputated below the knee.
"I really want to tell her sooner than later and just be able to hug her and kiss her," she said in a video update from her hospital bed on Wednesday. "I know she’s going to accept me. And she’s going to understand that momma’s going to have robot, prosthetic legs. And hopefully she’ll think it’s cool."
Batochir, 34, said she’s been video chatting with her kids every day but said "it’s just not the same."
"This is why I feel so lucky. I could’ve died — and I’m alive. And I’m able to hug my kids. I’m able to kiss them," she said. "I’ll be able to see my kids grow up and see them graduate from high school, college. It’s going to be good. That really keeps me going."
She said the accident "feels like it was a long time ago, but then it feels like it was yesterday. It feels like it was a nightmare. It doesn’t feel real but I know it’s real because I’m sitting here with half my legs gone. I’m still recovering."
The accident happened late in the afternoon on Aug. 13 as the captain of a rented yacht struggled with a malfunctioning anchor and began drifting, according to a preliminary accident report.
To correct the drifting, the captain placed the boat in reverse and it smashed into a floating raft. Some people on the raft fell into the water, and Batochir and another woman got caught in the yacht’s propeller. The other woman lost a finger and cut her arm.
Batochir said her husband saved her life by pulling her from the water.
Authorities said they planned to interview more than two dozen people who witnessed the accident. It’s unclear when the investigation will be completed and if any charges will be filed.
Batochir said she has had a near constant stream of visitors to her hospital bed. "How much love they’ve been giving me, it’s overwhelming. I feel so lucky, I feel so blessed to have people like this in my life."
She recently had her IV removed, so she’s able to wear regular clothes "and be free."
She said she’s especially touched by the home-cooked food brought by her parents. "Your dad’s food, your mom’s food just hits different," she said. "They’ve been able to feed me and not make me eat hospital food, even though it’s not too bad. Eating your own Mongolian food is just the best medicine."
For a rare moment, she had the hospital room to herself on Wednesday and decided to make a video.
Batochir said she’s decided to document her recovery from the "life-changing experience" in a series of videos. "It’s important for me to remember and document it for my sake, and remember how it started and, down the road, how it’s going to end up."
She expects to start rehab in the next week and "hopefully I’ll be as normal as possible. And my life will be as normal as possible. And I’ll just be that mom that goes to her kids’ school, and just be that regular soccer mom, maybe, I don’t know, what my kids want.
"Know that I’ll be OK and that I’m doing better," she said.