Alone and missing pieces.
I was 17-years-old and I had just started my senior year of high school...only three weeks in, to be exact.
It was a Wednesday afternoon on August 30, 2000. There was a back road that I took every day too get home and relax for a couple of hours after picking my youngest sister up for elementary school and before heading back out to go to church. When I pulled out of my premium parking spot in the senior lot, I never thought that that day would be any different, but I was hugely mistaken.
Traveling eastbound on this very familiar two lane road, my car was hit from behind. The driver of the other car tried to miss me and as he swerved his car to the right, it clipped my back end, sending me into oncoming traffic. Everything came to a rest and I quickly ran my hands down my face. I wasn't bleeding!!! I was okay!!! Then, BAM!!!!! I was hit head-on by a box truck.
The impact dislocated my left elbow pretty severely, broke my left femur in two places, and shattered my right ankle. I had never broken a bone before this.
I was very lucky, though, or so I thought. There was a fire department literally within sight. The paramedics and EMTs heard the impact and came running across a field, but when they got there, it was far worse than they had expected and their faces revealed too much. Now I knew I wasn't okay!!! As they ran back to get their trucks and more equipment, one of the paramedics stayed to evaluate my condition. I asked her several times, "am I going to die??" She avoided my question as much as she could but when I was finally forceful in knowing my answer, she held my hand and told me, "baby, we need to get you out of here..." Apparently the fractures in my left femur were serious, VERY SERIOUS. Because of the way it had broken, bone marrow was flushing through my system and starting to shut my body down; a condition that is known as fat embolism syndrome. I guess it’s not very common, either and the mortality rate is usually 100%.
The last thing I remember was the helicopter landing in front of my car, amongst the tombstones. Oh yeah, the accident itself took place in front of a funeral home that had a cemetery beside it. Looking back, that's kind of eerie.
With my body slipping in and out of consciousness, I missed the whole helicopter ride. The next time I woke up was when the helicopter landed on the roof of the hospital and my Mom was there. She was working at that hospital at the time and heard the call come in.
Not only had I crashed my car, but my body was crashing as well. In surgery, my bones were set, casts put on, and even an exploratory laparotomy was done (leaving a horrible scar), but I slipped into a coma. 11 days of darkness. My parents were told to pull the plugs because the hospital needed the bed. Luckily the nurse that was on my case didn't believe that. She pushed some pressure points that are in your eyes and I moved. From that point on, it was a slow and arduous recovery period, but I recovered. Well, for the most part.
Because my ankle was shattered, it caused neuropathy (loss of sensation) in my entire right foot, from the ankle down. It was really weird to try and learn how to walk again on a foot that I couldn't feel, but I did it. I had to wear a brace. It was discreet, but it was still a brace. That, in combination with the fact that I couldn't feel my foot, was a constant reminder of the horror I had faced. I was thankful to be alive, of course, but the whole situation was making me question my faith. Why me? What did I do wrong to deserve this?
I struggled with the brace and my questions for about a year and a half until I eventually had to have my right foot amputated. More struggles, more pain, MORE QUESTIONS!!!!! I tried to answer the questions on my own and the best that I could come up with was, "well, if this is all that happens...." It’s never crossed my mind again. It’s just a part of me now. But I know that all of this has made me stronger than I could have ever imagined. Whenever I am faced with adversity or any type of animosity I find myself saying, "I should be dead...I am missing a piece of myself...THIS IS NOTHING." My spirit may have been broken for awhile, but because of the experience, I am whole again.