On May 5th, 2015, I got into a major car accident because of alcohol and I had to be airlifted to University of Iowa hospital. Because of that car accident I was in a coma for eight weeks and now I’m in a wheelchair. I missed my graduation, my senior prom, and who knows what other experiences I could have had. I don’t remember too much of that night, but what I do remember, is getting into a car with my best friend. I didn’t know she had been drinking, and I didn’t know she wouldn’t have seen that semi. I also didn’t know she was capable of killing herself, the truck driver, and nearly killing me. I was at a party with my best friend Mary, and we both agreed not to drink any alcohol that night, because we didn’t want to get in trouble or be hung-over afterwards. We arrived about seven that night, and left around midnight because of curfew. She seemed fine, not even a little buzzed.
Have you ever had a constant image of something replaying itself in your mind and you can’t get it out of your head? Well I have, this image of my best friend Mary being torn in half, two metal claws devouring her body, bones breaking blood squirting everywhere. The point that she was dead even before this mutilation happened doesn’t make up for the fact that I was partially to blame. Because I was alive, she had to be destroyed.
Every high school student is witness to at least one wild party that got a little bit out of hand, the side affects consisting of groundings, and being hung-over. This party got so out of hand, six people got arrested because of drugs, and two others got into car accidents, but none as severe as mine.
I guess Mary did seem a little out of it when we left, but she hardly left my side the whole night, and I never saw her drinking. I assume some guy slipped something in one of her drinks, hoping to do something sick to her, but we left before that could happen. There was a full moon that night, and I couldn’t stop staring at it. It made the stars around it seem dim, but it didn’t matter. The moon made the road more visible, but harder to see headlights. I didn’t even notice the semi until it was directly in front of us and I couldn’t see the moon anymore.
We smashed into each other and I watched the man driving the semi fly out of the windshield. I don’t remember how we got into the ditch, but I do remember for a brief moment, I could see the moon again. This time it didn’t look as beautiful anymore, but only like a bright headlight to me.
When the car finally stopped rolling, we were sideways, and I was facing the ground. My head was smashed up against the window, and a large crack was formed around me. Mary was dangling from her seatbelt, but I could tell she wasn’t breathing. I tried to speak but nothing came out of my mouth but blood. I moved my arm around to push my head off the glass, and something felt warm on the side of my head. Dizziness washed over me and it became hard for me to focus on anything. Red and blue flashing lights appeared out of nowhere and suddenly they surrounded me. I heard loud voices belting orders to people, and I became frightened.
Mary’s window was already blown out, and a head peaked through the opening. I stared at it even though it was blurry.
“What’s your name?” a deep voice asked.
I opened my mouth to speak but nothing came out but a weak whisper.
“Can you speak?” he asked.
I tried again and this time a slightly louder whisper came out, “Naomi.”
“Okay, Naomi, you were in a car accident, and we need to get you and your friend out of the car.”
I didn’t nod or say anything I just stared at him.
“I’ll be back in a second,” he said, then the head was gone and I was alone again.
Mary still hadn’t moved or made a sound, and the way she was positioned, she looked completely lifeless. Another head popped through the window, but it wasn’t the same one as before. This head belonged to a woman. She put her fingers up to Mary’s neck, and then yelled something to the people outside the car. I fought as hard as I could to stay awake, but I was so tired. I closed my eyes for a second, instantly falling asleep. When I woke up, I was just in time to watch giant metal claws dig through Mary. Her body was torn in half and blood spilled onto me. As my best friend was being chopped up like some animal, I realized at that moment, she was dead, for good. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her body being shredded. I was the reason that she was being torn in half. I was alive, and she wasn’t. Mary wasn’t a person to them, she was just a part of the car accident that was in the way, and so they had to get rid of her.
After they completely tore Mary’s body apart they were able to get to me. I was put on a stretcher and rushed to an ambulance. As soon as we started driving I felt safer, like now if I wanted to sleep, I could. I closed my eyes in relief, but images of Mary came into my brain. I felt dizzier and dizzier and the person in the back with me screamed to the driver to hurry up. She kept telling me to try and stay awake, but her voice faded within minutes, my whole world turning black. After I fell asleep then, I didn’t wake up again for eight weeks.
My parents said that they got a call at two in the morning, telling them that their daughter was at University of Iowa hospital. They rushed there and they were told about the accident. Apparently my mom got sick on the spot, right next to the nurses shoes. My dad, being a Nero psychologist, wanted to make sure my brain was okay. The doctors told him that they had to remove part of my brain, due to inflammation. After that, my dad got sick. Both my parents waited a few hours before they could see me, and neither of them went to work that week. My brother showed up after my fifth day in a coma. He stayed for a few days, but he had to leave because of college, but he visited every weekend.
Both my parents said the best thing that they heard over those eight weeks were “She’s not brain dead”. My mom had to go back to work after the first two weeks, but she would come visit every few days, and she stayed in my room overnight on the weekends. Dad worked at the hospital, and he would come down most days with all his paper work and just sit in a chair.
When I began waking up from my coma, it started very slowly. I was awake for about five minutes before falling back asleep on the start of the fifth week. The second day I woke up again, was for about ten minutes. The third day I didn’t wake up at all, but my parents never stopped hoping. The fourth day I woke up for fifteen minutes. I didn’t know what was going on around me, but I was awake, and to my parents, that was all they needed at that time.
It took me a little over a week to fully wake up from the coma, but nothing was the same. I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t walk, and I couldn’t eat by myself. My parents would try and talk to me, but it was still hard for me to comprehend what they were saying.
I had a tube down my throat helping me breath, so I couldn’t talk back and there was also a feeding tube lodged in my stomach. They removed the breathing tube a few days after I fully woke up, but my brain still couldn’t keep a thought in, so even the movements to feed myself were too complex for me. But at least I could tell who was in the room with me.
My mom had stopped teaching because it was summer, so she never left, unless my dad was there. My brother only showed up a few times after I was awake, but he seemed pretty hurt about seeing me in that tiny little hospital bed. My boyfriend Brock came at least once a week, always telling me stories about school and friends. I could hear what he was saying, but it still didn’t make sense to me.
I had a therapist help me with moving my arms, and another to help me with my speech. It took a few weeks of therapy to even say my name, but I could finally not only hear what people said, but I understood. One day a doctor came into my room to check up on me. He began a light and easy conversation, and then he started telling me what happened. It was a lot to take in all at once, but the two things that hit me the hardest, was that Mary was dead, and I was paralyzed; I would never walk again.
Once I found out I couldn’t walk, I wanted to give up. Therapy was so hard! I knew in the back of my mind that I could do it, but without walking, I was just a freak in a wheelchair.
It took me another three months of therapy to get me back home. I still wasn’t fully myself, and I had physical therapy four times a week. Accepting myself for who I was after that accident took a lot of time, and it’s still hard to deal with. I had nightmares about the accident and my parents had to send me to yet another therapist. They still are there, but it’s less of a problem now.
I was so glad both of my parents had good jobs that they could afford all of my medical bills. Because of the wheelchair it’s harder for me to find a job, and I still had problems thinking and staying focused. Time seemed to move more slowly for me because there was so much less that I could do.
I made one of my parents to Mary’s grave at least once a week. No matter how much therapy I got, I still knew I was responsible for her being ripped to shreds. Her family came to visit me in the hospital a few times, but I hadn’t heard from them since then.
For now my life is pretty much at a stand still. I have a lot of therapy to do still, and that takes up most of my time. Talking is still hard and some people can’t understand what I’m talking about sometimes. For the next few years, I guess I’m stuck doing the same thing over and over until I get it right. I hope some day to go back to school and maybe get my life back to where it was, but that’s just a fantasy of mine. I know nothing is going to be the same, but I don’t want to forget the past. I want others to know that because of alcohol, I was in a coma, my best friend died, another man died, and I’m in a wheelchair.
Maybe when I get well enough I can tell the story to teenagers who think drinking is just fun and games. If you read this story, you know it’s not fun and games. It might be for the first few hours, but when it results in years of regret, you never want to see alcohol ever again.
Getting past everything I went through took lots of time, and it’s an ongoing process, but now I know to never give up. In ten years, I hope to be out of my parent’s house with a job. In fifteen, who knows, maybe I’ll get a husband and a family of my own. For now I just need to get better.
I am lucky to be alive, and I will never forget it.
Tag der Veröffentlichung: 25.05.2012
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