Tuesday, May 25
Where I am now...
On March 15 I was about to drive home from the gym, like I'd done so many times, but you know how every now and then you get a weird feeling, but you just can't put your finger on why you have a weird feeling? That was happening with me, so much so that before I started my car, I called my husband to tell him how much I loved him and how I couldn't wait to see him when I got home. This is really not so strange as we're a pretty 'lovey-dovey' couple, but I had some sense of urgency to get home this day.
Our neighborhood is right off of a major highway in the Myrtle Beach area, so I often end up sitting at a red light about 200 yards from my house, and then if I'm lucky, I get a green arrow so I can go before the other side can...and this is what happened that day. Sometimes, we get so accustomed to things and make assumptions based on past experiences; one of them for me was assuming I could safely "go" on a green arrow and no one from the opposite side would be texting, not paying attention while driving, run a red light, and crash into me.
Needless to say, it sucked to be me on March 15, 2010. It was surreal to say the least. I never lost consciousness and at first, I didn't understand what was happening. I just knew that I had shifted into some alternate universe where blurs of black, white, and gray flashed in front of me and horrible sounds were stabbing my ears. Then I got it...I'd been hit and was spinning and then finally, I came to a crashing halt, and the real world grabbed me by the throat and slammed me back into reality...hard. Hissing, smoke, an air bag in my face, my heart racing...I grabbed for my door, but it was wedged closed and wouldn't budge. I felt panic rising when thankfully - there was a voice, and I saw a man bracing his foot against the side of my car and yanking the door open.
Don't try this at home, but he picked me up out of the car and laid me on the grass. (You shouldn't move an accident victim in case there's neck or back injuries that could lead to spinal cord damage...but because of the smoke, we both thought my car might catch fire.)
I'll cut to the chase - shattered femur, lacerated liver and kidney with internal bleeding requiring 2 blood transfusions, 2 fractured transverse processes (never knew what those were before) and a myriad of bumps, bruises, and scrapes.
Petey (my PT Cruiser) did not survive the accident. He was totaled and is probably in junkyard heaven as I type this.
I realize people are in car accidents all the time, but this threw me for a serious loop and tested my strength in a huge way.
Time travel back for a sec with me to 1987 -- a hot August night and I'm on the back of a motorcycle that my then boyfriend was driving when he hit a curve going a little too fast, ///alternate universe, blur blur, slam/// ...and then waking up in a trauma unit to a voice saying, "You've suffered a spinal cord injury."
I've been a paraplegic even since. BUT...I've been the best darn paraplegic I could have been...active, productive, 'do everything but walk' kind of paraplegic, super healthy, the kind of healthy where for 23 years the only time I was hospitalized was in 1991 to give birth to my son.
I guess I thought the first accident in 1987 was in some way enough for one lifetime and that surely the powers that be wouldn't let something like this happen to me again.
Unfortunately, we're not guaranteed an easy life. Bad things will happen, even if you feel as though your 'bad stuff' quota has already been filled. 'The sweet is never as sweet without the bitter.' What's important...what makes these instances 'make or break' experiences is how we deal with them.
I learned a long time ago that whether I was happy or sad, upbeat or downtrodden, I was still going to be in a wheelchair...so what's the logical conclusion? Might just as well make the best of it, right? Right!
There's so much more to say and share, but I think I'll break here.
Posted by Team Chastain at 7:00 PM