Personal Narrative- Car Accident
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Personal Narrative- Car Accident
Disappointment, disbelief and fear filled my mind as I lye on my side, sandwiched between the cold, soft dirt and the hot, slick metal of the car. The weight of the car pressed down on the lower half of my body with monster force. It did not hurt, my body was numb. All I could feel was the car hood's mass stamping my body father and farther into the ground. My lungs felt pinched shut and air would neither enter nor escape them. My mind was buzzing. What had just happened? In the distance, on that cursed road, I saw cars driving by completely unaware of what happened, how I felt. I tried to yell but my voice was unheard. All I could do was wait. Wait for someone to help me or wait to die.
The third maddening buzz of my alarm woke me as I groggily slid out of bed to the shower. It was the start of another routine morning, or so I thought. I took a shower, quarreled with my sister over which clothes she should wear for that day and finished getting myself ready. All of this took a little longer than usual, not a surprise, so we were running late. We hopped into the interior of my sleek, white Thunderbird and made our way to school.
With music blasting, voices singing and talking, it was another typical ride to school with my sister. Because of our belated departure, I went fast, too fast. We started down the first road to our destination. This road is about three miles long and filled with little hills. As we broke the top of one of the small, blind hills in the middle of the right lane was a dead deer. Without any thought, purely by instinct I pulled the wheel of the car to the left and back over to the right. No big deal but I was going fast. The car swerved back to the left, to the right, to the left. Each time I could feel the car scratching the earth with its side. My body jolted with the sporadic movements of the car. The car swerved to the right for the last time. With my eyes sealed tight, I could feel my body float off the seat of the car.
I opened my eyes to see the black road in the distance above me.
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Car Accident Personal Narrative Big Deal Hurt Alarm Wear Lane Disappointment Dirt
I could feel the cold ground on the side of my body. I couldn't move and couldn't understand why. It had happened so quickly. I lay there until my mind comprehended what had happened. I was wedged between the hood of the car and the dirt. The car rustled, every movement of the car pierced my body. It was my sister. She was okay. I could see her slowly crawl out of the back seat window then tear away. I opened my mouth to yell her name but air failed to escape my lips. Gasping like a fish out of water, I dreamily lied there until someone would help.
I heard an uneasy voice in the distance, "Betsy! Oh my God! Betsy!" It was my dad. I was disappointed and embarrassed of myself. I had let him down. My voice yelled for help as my heart beat rapidly with fear and relief. The car jiggled. I could feel the weight of the car lift slowly off me. For the first time, intense pain struck my lower half. "Crawl out of there," someone yelled to me. I pushed against the ground with all my might but I couldn't move. The pain was excruciating, nevertheless I could not feel the lower half of my body. I felt paralyzed. Still struggling to move, I felt strong arms glide around my shoulders and under my armpits. They drug me out of the way of the falling car. My dad had saved me. As I lye on the weed covered ground, several people surrounded me. I dreamily looked around and saw my sister sitting Indian style next to me, plastered in blood. She had run barefoot to the nearest house to call 911 and my dad. She was my angel. We sat there in shock. Was it just a dream? Everything had happened so fast. Every minute lying on that dirt felt like a lifetime. Strangers kept poking every inch of my body and prodding me with questions that I didn't have answers to. Finally, the ambulance arrived. They rushed over to my sister and I. They asked me a number of questions that I obliviously answered and started to get me ready to go. With a bright orange brace around my neck they slowly pushed me onto a stiff backboard. Each tiny movement they made pierced my lower half like a knife. We finally made it into the ambulance and made our way to the hospital.
My sister and I were sent to Delta Hospital. My sister was all right. She had stitches in her eye, head and elbow. I was relieved that she was not severely injured. I don't know what I would have done if something extremely bad had happened to her. I was sent to the Denver Memorial Hospital, where I went under surgery that same night around midnight. A plate was put on my hipbones to help them stay together. I was in the hospital for six days and in a wheel chair for around eight weeks.
I have now realized how precious life really is and that it can be taken away in a single minute. This is even easier when you are driving a car. One little mishap can result in extreme injury or even death. I am lucky that my sister is all right and that I lived. I will never forget that moment when I was lying on the ground, disappointment flooding my mind, waiting.
I recently published a post on Facebook that referenced a horrible car accident I was involved in. One of my friends said she didn’t know this about me and encouraged me to share the story. So, here it is.
On March 16, 2000, I was on a first date and celebrating my first college Spring break. We were on our way to see a movie in Mechanicsburg. I can’t remember the movie. In fact, I don’t remember even getting into the car.
Have you ever had a dream that you knew was a dream, but you still couldn’t wake up? That’s what I experienced for about four or five days.
I realized that a good amount of time had passed. In a panic, I started screaming. When I finally woke up, a woman came over to me and asked me what was wrong. I don’t remember what I told her. The woman was a nurse who explained that I was in the hospital and that I had been there for a few days. A million questions came to mind and I started asking as many as I could think of. The nurse was confused and I couldn’t understand why. My Dad arrived a moment later and casually asked me how I was feeling. I thought, “Dad I was in an accident! AHH!” He seemed confused, too. The nurse and my Dad talked for a moment, then Dad said, “honey, you’ve been talking to us for days… don’t you remember?”
Then Dad started to explain that I was in an accident on my way to the movies. We were hit by a truck that was making a left-hand turn at the intersection of a hill. The person I was with was OK and had been released from the hospital, but I was going to be here for awhile. “What’s wrong with me,” I thought. I felt fine and was ready to get out of there.
Dad said I had just been moved from the ICU and that I had suffered some injuries that required me to be there for a while. One of the major injuries was head trauma including a skull fracture and an eye fracture caused from hitting the dashboard and the windshield. He said they needed to monitor it to make sure I was going to be OK. It was clear to him, at that point, that I could have memory issues, for starters.
I also broke my lower back – my L5 – and I needed to be fit for a brace that would cover my back and leg to keep it immobilized. I had surgery on my left humorous because the bone actually came out of my arm when I braced for the dash. My lungs were punctured and had to be inflated. And finally, because there was no air bag, I had some facial damage. My jaw was broken in three places and had to be wired shut.
Dad handed me a mirror.
I didn’t recognize my own face. It was twice its normal size from swelling and there were big stitch marks across my jaw. That’s when I also noticed I couldn’t talk very well. In fact, I could barely open my mouth!
It’s funny the things that ran through my head as I was confronted with this kind of shock. All I could think about – and ask about – were rather insignificant details. “What happened to the clothes I was wearing? That was a new outfit!” I proclaimed. “I’m not missing any school, am I?”
Dad explained that all of this stuff was no concern. He was just glad that I was alive.
Over the next few days, the hospital made preparations for me to go home. I was fitted for the brace that would be my shell for the next few months and taught how to walk with it. My parents were given instructions to help me in and out of the brace when I needed to use the restroom, take a shower, or change clothes. My diet was soup through a straw and liquid ensure for vitamins. My arm was to remain in a brace for a few weeks before I could begin physical therapy. And, finally, I was told that I could not go back to school – at least not for a few months – until they could figure out the magnitude of my head trauma.
The day of my release was an adventure. My Dad wanted to lift me into the car, but the hospital staff told them that I had to learn to do this stuff on my own – and the sooner, the better. I was so frustrated and embarrassed trying to get into the car for the first time.
My Mom worked half days at her job so she could take care of me. She had to help me with the brace, prepare food that I could eat with the mouth wires, make sure I had all the medicine I was required to take, and clean up after me since I was unable to do simple tasks like make the bed or do my dishes.
I spent most of my days watching TV, writing, or going to physical therapy. Most of my ‘friends’ were around the first few days then slowly disappeared. I can’t blame them – I was a gimp.
It took about two months until my jaw could heal enough to remove the wires and three months for my back to heal to the point where I could walk without the brace. I was told I could return to school again in the fall, so I started back in September of that year (six months after the accident).
Because of my age, I healed pretty quickly. To this day, I have only a few injuries that still affect me. I have lower back problems, which come and go. At times, I need physical therapy and medication to help to manage the pain. My jaw did not heal correctly, which leaves me with an uneven bite and a metal plate that loves to cause a scene at airport security. And, finally, I have significant hearing loss due to the head trauma. The hearing loss has affected me the most. It’s something I struggle with daily, but have become used to.
All in all, I’m pretty lucky. The doctors said I would have died upon impact, if I had not been wearing a seat belt. Also, my back was broken due to stereo equipment launching forward from the back seat. Had the equipment hit me just a quarter inch lower, I would have been paralyzed from the waist down.
Twelve years later, a few things remain at the forefront of my mind when I think about the accident. Whenever challenges happen in life, it’s surprising who lends support and ‘runs for the hills.’ I am forever grateful for the support of my family during that time in my life. They took the time to be there for me when I needed it most.
When my parents arrived at the hospital the day of my accident, they were told to ask for a gentleman named “Jeff.” As it turns out, the crew that was called to the scene thought it was a fatality. It’s policy at the Hershey Medical Center to contact the chaplain and have him greet the parents when this happens. My Dad said he will never forget the feeling he had when he was greeted by “Jeff” and thought I was dead.
I also think about all of the events that have happened in my life. I have had several significant and unfortunate events happen to me over the years. This was the first of them – and a strong preparation for many more. Whatever doesn’t kill you, can only make you stronger. They aren’t kidding.
Lastly, and something I did not realize until recently, is that we ARE here for a reason. As I said on Facebook, we all have a purpose. Each day is truly a gift to fulfill. We go through many challenges in life and often ask “why,” but it all becomes clear at some point – even if that point is many years later. I’m grateful to have found a purpose in life through my business.
I could have been permanently injured or paralyzed; I could have even died on that day 12 years ago. Thankfully, I did not. But, for better or worse, my life will never be the same because of it.
What moments or events forever changed your life?
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