Jan 5, 1998 will forever be imprinted on my heart. It was the day before I would begin the second semester of my Senior year of high school. It was a Sunday, and I was on my lunch break from the part-time job I worked. I went home to grab a quick bite to eat. When I left my house to return to work, my mom said, "Keep it (your car) on the road and out of the ditches." I had no idea what she was talking about or why she even said that. She hadn't ever said that before. So, without much thought further I pulled out of the driveway and headed back to work.
I had driven this road countless times since getting my license almost 2 years prior. I had even made the comment "I can drive it (the road) with my eyes closed." Boy, at times we can be so foolish, can't we? The road I grew up on was very curvy--much too curvy for the 55 mph posted speed limit. As I was going around one of the curves, my pager went off (those were once the cool things to have). As I looked down, I ran off the road and over corrected. I hit another vehicle head on. Because I hit another moving vehicle, it was double impact. I hit my steering wheel at 110 mph.
This is the after math...or what I most often refer to as "the day I almost died."
Brace yourself or hold your breath...
So, you may be wondering how on Earth I could survive the mangled mess that was once my car. It's simple: God's grace and mercy. The one characteristic that I hated so much about myself--my petite size--saved my life. The space between my steering wheel and seat was just enough space for my broken, beat up body.
I was trapped in my car for two hours as rescue works called in the "jaws of life" to free me. (I met a former friend of my grandpa's who told me that he tried to pull on my car so much his hands were bleeding. That's before the rescue crews arrived. Thank you Mr. Willis!)
Once, I was finally freed, I was airlifted to Mission Memorial Hospital in Asheville where I spent about a week in ICU. I had 8 hours worth of surgery the day of the accident to implant metal rods in both of my legs. I had broken my left femur and right tibula. I also broke my pelvis, my lung was collapsed, and I had countless staples and stitches.
Finally, I was conscience and moved to a regular room.
On January 30, after 25 days in the hospital, I finally was allowed to go home. Home, sweet home. It was 2 days before my 18th birthday.
I spent the rest of my Senior year being a home-bound student, attending physical therapy 3 times a week, and learning how to walk again.....Oh! And being so very grateful and undeserving of being alive.
So even 14 years later, I can say without reservation