I Was In A Head On Collision At 70 Mph...On Thanksgiving Day 2008, I had driven the 4 hours from my home north of Dallas to pick up my Mom and drive another 45 mins to Thanksgiving dinner at a cousins house. We were about 15 minutes away, on a two lane country road, and had just looked the clock. It was 11am so were talking about getting there at a good time. That was the last normal thought I would have for far too long. I remember the the jolt, the horrible crunch, the weird sound that I would later realize was my own scream. I am not sure if I didn't see her cross the line or I have just blocked the memory. All the stories you hear about it seeming like slow motion are true. We were spinning and I braced myself because the road was so crowded that I knew we would get hit by someone else. By some miracle, no one else hit us. When we stopped, a volunteer firefighter was almost instantly in the car holding my neck straight. He told me the wreck wasn't my fault and to hang on because he had already called for a medevac helicopter for me. Except for hyperventilating and some pain in my lower back, I thought I was fine. My Mom had some broken ribs but was fine other than that. It took 30 mins for fire/rescue to reach us and another 45 to get me out of the car. During that time people kept telling to hold on...they knew better than I did how badly I was hurt. When they finally pulled me out, I realized things were bad because the pain was almost unbearable! When they got me on the stretcher, the pain subsided (they might have given me something) and I was thanking everyone for helping. I also wanted to be flown to Dallas instead of Temple so I would be close to my friends and some family. I was told that I had to go to Temple because it was the closest level one trauma center. Somewhere in flight I passed or was knocked out because my next memory was in the emergency room. All I cared about was Mom! One of the nurses called the ER in my hometown, where she was taken, so I got to talk to her. She said she was fine and she would be in Temple as soon as she was released. I remember a lot of questions, pain, then nothing. The next time I woke up, I was about to go into surgery for a broken pelvis. They told me they were going to try to put pins in but my pelvis was so badly broken they weren't sure it would work. The next time I woke up, I was in a room and the cousin we were going to spend Thanksgiving with was sitting on the couch across from me. I immediately asked where Mom was...she didn't make it. What???? My mind couldn't wrap my mind around it. I searched for anything else to talk about. I asked who was taking care of my cat that lived with Mom...he had to be put to sleep because he got sick and was too old to recover. I didn't want to know anything else. Unfortunately there was more. Mom had gotten pneumonia and couldn't fight it. She had just beat stage 4 breast cancer and just didn't have enough fight left. I had also contracted pneumonia and had spent almost a month in ICU knocked out by drugs. I went to sleep on Thanksgiving Day and woke up after Christmas. Mom wasn't just gone, she had been buried two weeks before I knew anything had happened. Them there there was the joyful news that not only had my pelvis been turned into a jigsaw puzzle but me left femoral had been shattered, requiring a rod to be inserted, and about 2/3 of the front of my left leg had been ripped off. I was in Scott and White hospital for a total of two months and has 6 operations. Then I had to go to a rehab hospital, this time in the city I lived in, for a month.
There were and still are so many emotions! Let me start by saying I have the most amazing friends and family in the world. Even though none of them lived anywhere near Temple, someone was at my side every day I was in ICU and during every surgery. Also, at least one group came to see me every weekend when I was moved to a room. I love them all!! Even with all of there love and support, I still had very dark days. There were days that I wished I had died, days I was furious with God, days I was mad at Mom for leaving me, and many, many days that I thought I would never walk again. One day I knew that walking was my choice. I could sit in the wheelchair and feel sorry for myself or I could get up and fight to get my life back! Not that there aren't still dark days, but I always try to remind myself that, no matter how bad it is for me, there are millions of people that can only dream of having it as good as I do! Yes there is pain, yes, I never take a step that I don't worry about falling, yes, I anxiety issues but I have my life! Also, after surgery #7, I can walk do things with some sense of normalcy...it is my new normal.
The people in the car that hit us had fairly minor injuries and were both out of the hospital in a couple of days. All she got was a ticket for crossing into oncoming traffic since she wasn't drunk...just stupid. She was a high risk driver so she had horrible insurance and, without my wonderful agents at Allstate, would have made the whole insurance process unbearable. The final piece of the settlement was just finalized about a month ago a the last little bit of her policy paid out.
Anyone wanting the detailed version can read my blog at www.pegyjane.com.