The rest is just like a crash in the movies, everything went in slow motion, I saw the windscreen shatter, the flesh of my mother in laws thigh moving in mid air. My brain screamed
F***K! THIS IS GOING TO BE REALLY BAD!!!!!!
Then in a fragment of a second it was over.
Then the screams, the howls, the pungent smell of mangled cars, and of course the pain all hit.
Everyone jumped out of the car, except me, I was slumped down in the foot well and couldn’t move. I wiggled my fingers and toes as much as I could, I remember my mother always saying, “If you can move those it’s a good start.”
The car was smoking and I became panicked, begging to get out, even though I knew my neck was bad. My father-in-law who had taken a hit to the head but was mobile, scooped me out, thankfully he is a big, strong farmer so did this with not too much trouble. I was laid out flat next to the car.
What about Gaz? Where was he?
He had jumped from the car, but I couldn’t see him. I was told he had collapsed on the other side of the vehicle.
Screaming, shouting, anger, confusion, continued for 20 minutes, until police and ambulances arrived. Until that time civilians that narrowly missed being involved in the three car and truck pile up, of which 12 people where involved, helped to get things under control.
A retired paramedic was in the car that followed us; he was a guardian angel, keeping things together, and constantly checking on us until help arrived.
Gaz was taken away by emergency helicopter, due to internal bleeding; he lost 2 liters of blood, and was lucky to survive his internal injuries.
Out of 12 people involved in the crash, there were several shattered bones, and concussion, but Gaz and I were the only ones that ended up in intensive care.
Gaz’s injuries were far worse than mine, but that is a whole other story. My injuries included a ruptured bowel, hernias that were treated in emergency surgery, and neck trauma, I was placed in a neck brace on arrival of the ambulance.
After a week of intensive care, I was put on to a standard ward, thinking I was on the up and up, starting to get out of bed and take a few steps, when I began to loose the feeling in the tops of my fingers on my right hand.
I didn’t think much of it, but as it got worse I mentioned it to the doctor on his rounds. I was then sent off for more x-rays, this revealed that I had a fractured c6 and c7, and needed to be put into a stable position as soon as possible.
Things really took a turn for the worse at this point; the doctors talked me through the process of having to be put into traction.
This involved going into surgery awake, using a local anesthetic while they drilled holes into my scull above my eyebrows and behind my ears, my bone would anchor the bolts that would hold the metal halo that would go around my head, then a wire width weights would be added in 15 gram increments, until my spine was guided into the correct position.
It was necessary to be awake through out the procedure so that I could tell them what I was feeling, and if I was losing any sensation in my body.
Once this was completed I was wheeled back to my ward, flat on my back, unable to move.
I was desperate to know how long I would be like this??
The nurses had no answers; they said it could be days, weeks. I was terrified; I just didn’t think I would have the mental strength...
An excerpt from Lucia Tigri-Brown
Made Beautiful By Scars- real women's stories
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