When Life Strikes Back

*It’s been almost 3 years since the accident and this is the first time our youngest son, Christopher, has really opened up about it. For his first college english paper, he chose to share about the day that changed our family. Christopher is a freshman student athlete at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene. I’m so proud of my son and the path he is on, not to mention he gets his creative writing style from me.

Where am I? What happened? “You’ve been in a pretty bad accident Chris”, one of the first responders said. I can’t feel my legs, my body is cold and hot at the same time and I can’t move any of my limbs. I’ve never been in an ambulance before it smells like a hospital. Where is the rest of my family? “Chris?”  The first familiar voice I’ve heard since I’ve been conscious but I can’t quite make out who it is. Thinking back I remember I was with my Mom, Dad, and Uncle. That’s it; it was my Uncle in the ambulance with me. I look at my arms and see blood flowing down them and glass shards everywhere as if I was a star in a horror film. I want to go to sleep but I keep hearing “Chris you have to stay awake buddy”. Sharp pinches going in my veins. I can’t take this anymore.

I’m in a portal weak, and wounded. The environment is foreign. What is this spinning around me? This can’t be where I think I am. Stuck in the Twilight Zone, or is it purgatory? No one is anywhere to be found.

I can’t move my legs. Am I paralyzed? Feeling the weight of a boulder on my chest. Every breath I take sounds as if I’ve been smoking cigarettes all of my life. My body aches like I had been tossed around in a tsunami. There are crimson stains all over the sheets as if just surviving being tortured. Stuck in a dull room with hospital equipment all around me, needles in my arms and tubes running across the bed to my nose.  Surrounded by worried and grateful people. My brother stands over my bed sobbing in disbelief. They tell me I’m in Intensive Care at Breckenridge hospital in Austin. They all look at me like I’m a different species. “Where are my Mom and Dad?” Everyone becomes silent and only talk about my dad. In a daze I pay no attention to the withholding of information. A young man, tall and scruffy comes into the room and my family disperses. I say nothing to the man and he says nothing to me. Not paying any attention I get stabbed in the wrist and instantly feelings are gone. He begins to sew the gaping hole in my wrist back together. “Wait there is something in there,” he says. Within a matter of minutes there was a pile of debris stacked up on the bedside table.  Glass? It couldn’t be. He continues to tend to my battle wounds not telling me of internal injuries. Patiently waiting to be debriefed, I receive nothing as if I was a child that shouldn’t know what was going on.

The rock of his family, the provider, and the protector walked into the once dull and unsecure room and light and security followed him. The man I look up to and the man that never shows weakness was weak. Seeing him like that is like seeing superman be effected by kryptonite. He spoke with a strong and comforting tone. He began to tell me exactly what happened. We were rear ended by an eighteen-wheeler going 60 miles an hour at a stoplight. The impact forced us to hit the truck in front of us and spin into on coming traffic where we were then hit by a suburban who went up and over the side of the car. No pain medicine could even come close to weeding out the horrific images. He proceeded to tell me the injuries I withstood. Broken collarbone, broken pelvis, cracked sternum, punctured lung, broken ribs on both sides, and a torn meniscus. Paying no attention to my injuries I immediately said “and Mom?” with rain drops slowly rolling down my face splashing onto the bloody sheets. “She is strong” is all he said and he stood up and walked out the room with his eyes glued to the ground.

Images of my mother began scrolling through my head like a movie film. She’s strong were the only words I was thinking about.  Thinking about what she looked like brought a waterfall to my eyes. Every negative possibility went through my head. Lying in my room alone like a helpless child once again.

The woman that I’ve never seen hurt emotionally or physically was now suffering through both. Finally I got details about my courageous mother. She broke her neck, and clavicle and would have to undergo two surgeries in one operation.

Thoughts of my recovery went through my head. Would I ever be able to do physical activity? Would football be out of my life forever? Trapped in my brain in a straight jacket and padded walls. I was being man handled by my brain. My negative thoughts ruled my world and took over me. I was in a dungeon and there was no visible light. Going back to the twilight zone. Never seeing life the same again.

Climb out Chris. Climb out. You were put here for a reason. You’re not dead. You’re still breathing. Dropped into this world to lead an army by example. You don’t have to say anything. Crawling and scratching to get out of the pit at the top there was a hand to pull me out. No man can do anything by himself and no man in this world is you Chris.

To this day everyone that was in the wreck is better off now than they were before. We are stronger emotionally and physically. When you hit rock bottom not very many people can get back up from and strive to the get to the top. Everyone in this world is put through hard times and good times but it is the people that can get through the bad times and come out on top that will survive in this world. I am who I am because of this wreck and every feeling I felt and every negative thought that I thought.

 

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