January 30, 2016, The day that changed my life forever…

multiple words, life, change, positive

 

(you have until the Lines to decide, if you want to read further or not… I have explained below…)

This is not for the faint of heart. This post may be too much for people to read. This post tells of the accident that occurred on Saturday, January 30th, 2016 approximately 0800, how I felt just prior, during and until I was taken to my hospital room. This is a first-hand account of the pain, fear and all the emotions that I felt on that morning. I have tried to remember as much of the details as I can, as I remember them. The events that occurred are from my perspective.  I want everyone to remember that I was not the only person who was injured in this horrific accident. The other person has a family and friends who are going through their own personal hell. That’s is the important part my message I want people to take away from this, no matter what happens this is my story. I posted this because I want people to understand that in life, we all have choices to make. Every time we get behind the wheel and decide to drive we have a responsibility to ourselves and to others. This is my story, this not the whole story. I have decided to remove some details from the accident scene, that I do remember and things that I was told later by the first responders and medical team.  I started writing this on February 6th just one week after the accident. It has taken almost two weeks before I could continue this post.

I also have attached the photo of the before and after of my car, BB8. The one who sacrificed himself for me.  The car that saved my life (I will make a separate post on BB8’s story). The reason that I can say “I LIVED“. I purchased BB8 on Wednesday, January 27. BB8 was a 2008 Subaru Legacy. I had my car for only 2 days prior to the accident. Many first responders, Pastor Bill, countless officers all said the same thing “That car saved her life” “if she had been in a different car, this would have a different ending” So for that I am thankful for the Subaru car company for making a car that saved my life.

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The First people on the scene were Pastor Bill Craig and his son’s. They were amazing. I have met Pastor Bill in person, he came to the hospital to see me, I am forever grateful to him. The first responders, firefighters, EMT, Paramedics, Police that all arrived, I wish I could thank each of them personally. I would like to shake each hand, hug each person who was there to help me. If it were not for those people I would not be here.

The Doctors, Nurses, Techs, the Trauma team that initially assessed my injuries, cleaned my wounds, removed the glass, sutured my open cuts…Thank you!

The Hero’s to this story are those named above, for they run into a burning building while others run out…for that I am eternally grateful. I am proud to say that when I finish school, I will be running right along side them into that building.

Below is the line I have drawn in the sand…The line that I am inviting you to cross. The line that once you cross, you may experience many emotions, flashbacks of your own, feelings that you may have suppressed from your own past traumas. You need to think very hard before you scroll down and decide to cross this line. If you decide you can not, I understand. Again, this is my story and I need to tell it.  I will not think bad of you, I will not judge you. The words, emotions that I have expressed are real. I want to tell my story because it’s part of my healing process.

I will understand if you choose to skip this post…This accident has brought on many emotions, memories and trigged many things for many people who have herd the story, seen my injuries immediately following the accident and the days after.. so this is your “PUBLIC SERVICE WARNING” if you will….This is your last chance. 

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Welcome, you have chosen to look into the pensive. You will now read from my memories…

6 February 2016

It has been one week since the accident that changed my life forever. When I close my eyes I see the car coming straight at me, I can feel my body tense. My brain starts; it is on overdrive thinking, fast…I scan the road, I see the park-in-ride to my left, that means crossing into the other lane, what if the driver corrects, then I will hit the other car, NO… to my right I see part of a shoulder of the road. Is it white; snow? Barrier? I should have enough room to move out of the way. The drivers will realize and correct themselves and go back to the other side of the double line. I need to avoid this car hitting me. In the split second that all that happened, I feel my foot pressing on my break, I can feel the wheel in my hands veering to the right, my fingers find my headlights and I flash them, the car is coming closer, right at me, one final thing I can do, to make the driver aware they are going to hit me, the head lights are getting closer bigger, coming right at me…I hit my horn, I can close my eyes BAM……

My nose smells the burning, the “hot wire smell” the smell of fire, the dust from the airbags. My eyes see the broken windshield, the crushed part of my hood, the air bags in front of me and to my left. I can see the smoke in the air. I can hear myself screaming in pain, a terrifying moan, leaves my lips. I realize that I am trapped!! I am going to burn up, my brain tells me through the pain, oh the pain the pain in my whole body head to foot, ill come back to that. My brain tells me that the car is on fire and that I am going to die right here on the side of the road…why did I choose this way to come home? Why? I’m going to die, I will never see my Steve again, my mom, my friends. They will have nothing left of me but a body. I can’t die, not this way, not knowing that I am going to burn. I start to scream for help, LOUD, as loud as my voice can be… I don’t even know if I am making noise. I just keep screaming “help me” “HELP!!!!” over and over. I need my phone, my brain tells me 911, you need to call 911!! You need help because you’re going to die! I see the pink of my case tucked inside the drink holder of my car. ‘oh thank you… it was attached to my AUX cord, it made it. I can’t get the phone to work?? Why can’t I make my hands work? My right thumb will not work I can’t make it move. I can see it’s on my hand but I cannot make it move…my arms are not moving. My legs, they are broken. I can see with my eyes the deformed shape of what was my right leg…all the time I’m still screaming, for help. My brain then does something amazing; it starts to function on several different tasks, independently. Like my brain is really several brains assigned to very specific tasks, not to be distracted or interrupted by all of the stimulation. I have a brain that is concentrating on the pain, that is taking all the firing from the pain receptors and categorizing them, what they feel like where are they coming from, “OH THE PAIN” that part of my brain is screaming but it’s not coming out of my mouth, “HELP” “HHHHEEEELLLLLLPPPP” is still coming out of my lips, using the loudest voice I can make. Then my nurse brain starts to kick in. I do an internal check of myself. Categorizing my injuries. Something is forcing my mouth, lips to move, yell, scream “HELP” over and over, another part of my brain is internally doing an assessment. I have a broken right leg, my eyes look down, I can not move my neck, I see its “broken” my knee is facing the left, and is burning and my foot is facing the right at the ankle joint, it’s pulled up and in. my left foot is sore, my left knee is stinging, but brain tells it to move just a fraction of an inch to support the right leg. I move slowly up my body in that one part of my brain, my hips and pelvis are not moving. I can feel the left side of my abdomen burn, and start to immediately become hard, my chest feels like its has been crushed, my breathing is shallow, I see my hands my hands are not moving, the pain in my shoulders, I can’t move my neck. My brain tells me not to move my neck because I might have a spinal injury. My face? I think my teeth have been knocked out, my jaw feels broken. I know it’s moving because I can hear myself screaming for help. Yet another part of my brain is in pure panic mode, there is nothing calm about this situation, I feel like I have been sitting here stuck for hours, days, weeks months… I need to get out, the inside of the car is closing in on me, I can’t breathe, I need fresh air, the seatbelt has me so tight, like protective cage holding my broken body together, I need it unhooked. I need the door to open and I need to fall out on the ground; I need air, I can’t breathe, I am going to die. I am going to suffocate. I can feel less and less ability to breathe, I am going to suffocate in the car… My brain then goes to Dawne; this is what happened to her, my godmother, in 1989. I know it; this is exactly what happened to her in her accident. I can feel her presence with me…I want to close my eyes, I want to pass out…then, my ears hear the most amazing sound ever, it the sound of an angel. It’s a man, he is talking to me, what is he saying? He is telling me his name. His name is Pastor Bill. He is telling me everything is going to be ok. “What is my name?” I stop screaming and say “Cheryle…” as I do the sobs break loose. My brain that was divided starts to merge together again. All the senses merge like a tidal wave, a huge crash upon the beach, wave after wave of pain, fear… Why can’t I pass out, I know that’s what I was thinking. I just want to close my eyes and let go. I want to give into the pain, give into the injuries let the waves crash upon my body and let go… Each time I try, I hear the sound of the Angel again…It’s Pastor Bill. He is telling me, he is using a knife to cut my side airbag, so he can get to me. Now, he is asking for my phone code to call someone…He is calling my mom. The waves of pain rush over me again…I can see Steve’s face, in my mind’s eye. I can see, our life, everything we have done, everything we have not done…I want to close my eyes again. I want to give in to the pain…”Cheryle…”I hear my name it’s my angel asking me, what is hurt. “My leg is broken, my side, my chest…” I can hear the words coming from my mouth yet, I don’t know that it is really me saying them…I can hear him talking to my mom, giving her information…I can feel the tears fall down my face, I can feel the wet, fall from above.. I can see the glass from my windshield. Why did this happen, my brain has a split second of clarity, and then it’s gone again.

My angel never leaves me, and then I can see the first responders. They are asking me what hurts. I can hear them talking, I start to float up, and out of the car; I start to float up I start to feel no pain…”Cheryle!! Stay with us…” the voice pulls me back down. A new face is in my window; he has a firefighters hat on. He tells me his name…He said he is going to stay with me. I’m then covered with a white blanket, am I dead? No, I can hear the machines cutting at my car…I’m so scared. I can hear myself moan. I am so afraid, of the noises, I can hear. The machine breaking the metal of my car, the popping of my door… its time, they are going to try and pull me out… they need to get me on a board…they pull, shift and tug on me. I am trapped under my steering wheel. My brain kicks in and says “I’m sorry…I’m not a pixie” (yes, even in this situation I had jokes..) I keep apologizing…then the moment passes and I want to pass out again, the pain is too much. My face is covered again, in a white blanket… then a face pokes in under the blanket to mine and says “they are cutting the roof off to get you out, you are trapped” I look and all I can say is “ok”. I am so scared, and alone…What felt like hours, days, weeks… was maybe 45 mins. The next bit I am still a little fuzzy on…I know that I was put on a board, and carried to a waiting ambulance. I can hear the words “she missed the helicopter…we have to get her to PG NOW!!” I responded, “I have to go to AAMC, I work there”. The face then pops over the top of mine and looks into my eyes and says “We have to take you to a trauma center, and we do not have time to wait for a helicopter, you missed your ride.” My brain then split again…One part of it took over the pain receptors, the burning in my chest, the filling feeling in my left abdomen, my leg that I know is broken, disfigured, my hips, why do my hips hurt. Another portion of my brain starts to calmly think. They need to do their job, they need me to be calm, so they can treat me. I can let them do this to me. The last part of my brain, that was not so calm, that was not processing the pain, started thinking about my family. What this was going to do, how could I take care of Steve, How could I work, How could I go to school… Again things get a little fuzzy here.  “We need to leave NOW…” I can hear in my ear. I can feel my clothes as they are cut from me. Again, the calm voice in my head thinks… “Oh, god I’m going to be naked…” Now the face again, I wish I could remember his name. He is talking to other people; the ambulance is moving, FAST. I have been tied down to the board, I can feel every bump in the road, and I can feel every turn. I feel like I want to pass out again…the face, the voice keeps bringing me back. He is asking me questions…I guess that I answer them. I get an IV in my arm and he tells me, “this is for pain…”

I am now being wheeled into the trauma room… I can hear so much going on around me. The trauma team starts to take over. “Cheryle, I am Dr. Boggs…” I see a female in my line of sight. She starts talking to me. A nurse is to my right, she is telling me in my ear that “I am ok”, I am at PG trauma hospital… they are asking me about my injuries. They are starting another IV, they are giving me pain medication, I can see the bags of fluid that are being passed over my head. The rest of my clothes are cut away from my body, I am so vulnerable, I am lying open to the room, and everyone can see me. I can feel the tears run down my face and I can hear the moan leave my lips. I feel the gurney, that I am laying on start to move, “Why is she still awake, give her more medication”

I am now being scanned, a CT scanner my brain tells me. I know what this is my eyes close again…

I am back in the trauma room, back where it’s cold. I can feel a blanket over me. The next thing I see is the most beautiful face ever, Jessica. It’s my best friend, in the whole world. She is standing over me; she is the first friendly face I see. I can feel the tears again run down my face… I am so thankful she is here for me; this means that I am going to be “Ok”, I know that I will be Ok because she is here, she will make sure they do what they are supposed to do. She will tell me, she will take pictures so I can see. Jessica will make sure that I am ok. I look to my left, and I see the other most beautiful face in the whole world Dawne, My godmother is here, She came for me. I tell her, “I know what happened to her because she was with me…” Dawne tells me that “Tammy, Ron, Kayla, and Timmy are here in the waiting room…we all came. I talked to your mom. I start to shiver. Then I hear the next best voice ever. It’s Chris, all the way in California. (I don’t remember much of this, but Jessica had called him on video chat. So he could talk to me) this is why, I knew I would be OK, Jessica knows what’s important to me. “Your mom’s on her way with Steve and Jerry,” Jessica tells me. I’m so thankful she is here, she is not leaving she tells me. Sherwin is here too. She got the call from my mom, and came straight here! “I needed to see you!” she tells me. The tears flow down my cheeks again because I needed to see her, she is my sister my family.

{My memory is fading in and out… I am sure that I have missed something’s that happened at the accident scene, the ride to the ambulance and in the trauma room. I will be able to add more of things that I remember…}

I am now in my hospital room when I see my mom’s face, and my Steve’s face it was like a wave of calm fell over me, just like seeing Jessica. I knew that I really was ok. I knew that it did not matter how broken I was, I would be OK… I can close my eyes…I am going to be ok.

Wow…that was an emotional roller coaster… even reading, editing, writing and adding details I could remember. Trying to put things in the right order…This is what I go through each time I close my eyes at night, this is what I see when I ride in the car and see headlights (I have only ridden in the car three times since the accident). This is what I feel when I wake from my dreams in the middle of the night. I did not post this to frighten anyone; I did not post this to make anyone angry with me for posting the horrific thing that happened on that Saturday morning. I posted this because in order for people to understand they need to know.

My life is forever changed; it will never be the same again. I cannot go back and change what happened, if I had a ‘time turner’ and could turn back the clock I would, but I can’t. What I can do is move forward. My nursing career has been put on hold; my graduation has been delayed. I am not able to support my family. The bright light I could see at the end of the tunnel as been pushed back. The secure future that was just within my reach, as been pulled away from me. I have spoken to several people who survived accidents similar to mine. The message that I took from them was a message of survival. I know that my wounds will heal; the bruises will fade. I will be left with scars that are visible and some you will never be able to see. I am going through my own personal hell with pain, the prospect of possible surgery, the possibility of being disabled for the rest of my life; I know all of this. I also am growing stronger, each day. I wake each day in pain, burning pain that rips through my shoulder, it takes my first breath away…but I can feel that pain, I can take that breath…I am alive to live another day. I will survive this, and be even stronger than I was before.

The love and support that I have been shown through this horrific event, I do not even have words that express the gratitude that I feel…

I will be posting more of the days following the accident being in the hospital for 6 days, and the days first days of my recovery at home…

please feel free to comment on this post…(all comments must be approved by me first. If you would not like your comment to be made public, please note that in your comment…)

here of pictures of my car:

car 1 car 2 car 3

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Pastor Bill came to see me and I was able to say “Thank you” to him in person. I am so thankful to him and his son’s for stopping that day.
Just remember… I lived to tell my story… Thank you for letting me tell it to you.

3 thoughts on “January 30, 2016, The day that changed my life forever…”

  1. Wow! What a roller coaster ride. I am so glad you decided to stay with us even though you have to endure so much with the pain and uncertainty. You write so well. And I am glad I decided to cross that line you drew. Please know that I am here for you. Hopefully, in the coming weeks you will see the possibilities ahead and I believe that this forum is a good way for you to work things out. Soon I hope to be able to share some more pictures of Lilly with you and connect with you in person. Until then be sure that my spirit is with you when you need me. Love you my dear!

  2. Wow you were right. I read your perspective on the accident and had tears. I feel so bad that you had to go through that and all the pain you had. I am however so happy you are hear to tell about it. It also hurts to know how scared you were. I have always said that you are a strong women but you have outdone all my expectations. I keep tabs on you and how you are coming along. Let me say how glad I am to have met you. I hope you have no ill effects from your injuries. This experience may help you in your nursing career. Just wanted to end by saying that I love you and hope for the best and that all your dreams come true. You really deserve it.

  3. Thank you Bobbie and Donna, for crossing the line and reading my story. It really is the story of survival. Thank you both for believing in me.

    I love you both so very much! My life is so much better because of people like you.

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