Scary Car Accident

It was 3am and I was sleeping in the back seat of the car without wearing a seatbelt.  The car was doing about 140 km/h.  It flipped over twice (single car accident) and I flew out and landed on the concrete.

When I was delivered to the ER I had a Glasgow coma scale score of 3 (deep coma/death), and after some deliberation, the surgeons decided to go ahead with brain surgery (rather than just attaching a monitor) because I was in a perfect physical shape and could have made it.  There was also jaw surgery, because the impact broke it into a few pieces (not sure about the details; the jaw looks perfect now).  I also knocked out three front teeth.  Later on, there was spine surgery, to put together a shattered vertebra.  Now three vertebrae are fused, and there is a titanium plate on each side.

When I woke up in the hospital (I have no memories of about 2 months following the accident), I was in diapers and couldn't walk.  Re-learning to walk was not fun, to put it mildly.  I would make a few steps (literally a few - two or three), with two doctors supporting me on both sides, and then my legs would just give out.  I'd do that a few times a day, trying to make one extra step each time.  After I could walk independently, the next challenge was climbing stairs.  The process was the same as with walking.  When I was strong enough for the gym, grueling workouts followed to get back into shape and strengthen the right leg, which was much weaker than the left.  Luckily, I love working out, and going to the gym made me feel that I regained some measure of control.

The most serious of my injuries was the brain injury.  I am still in university, studying to be a software engineer, so depending on its severity, the brain injury could have been deadly for my future career, rendering 3 years of hard work in school completely useless.  I got lucky there, too - the only changes were the loss of my sense of smell, and disordered sleep.  My neurosurgeon told me the sense of smell was gone for good, and I made my peace with that.  One day I found myself smelling coffee.  Now, almost 18 months after the accident, I can smell everything.

I kept a sleep diary for a week, and there was no pattern to when I felt sleepy.  The times and durations of my sleep (naps?) seemed random.  I started taking Alertec, which regulates my sleep cycle to match the rest of the world's.  I will attempt to wean myself off of it after I graduate.

Like many people who have survived similar ordeals, I am now happier than I was before the accident.  I don't get upset about small things, because everything else is minor in comparison, as I now have a new benchmark to measure problems against.  I also strive not to take anything for granted.
BlackCat08 BlackCat08
22-25, F
2 Responses Aug 30, 2007

I love stories where people make it out of terrible ordeals okay.

It sounds like you have made an amazing recovery! I wish you the best, and good luck in college.