Forever Changed

May 4, 2011
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There is a state of being somewhere between waking and sleeping, consciousness and unconsciousness. Most would describe this place as peaceful, a nice way to start a long day. I however, find it terrifyingly aggravating. My name is Lucy Turner and this is my story.

One of the most inconvenient situations you could find yourself in, is waking up with no idea where you are and what you were doing previous to waking up there. That is my current predicament. My brain is fully functional, but I cannot see or move. I am in a white haze of nothingness. Gradually my other senses seem to return. I can feel the cold un-forgivingness of the hard ground and there is a stench of burnt rubber in the air. The far-off sounds of frantic movement and urgent voices surround me. I am a fairly patient person, however, lying here waiting for my sight and mobility to return is the most frustrating event I have ever experienced. That said I also have an overwhelming sense that when I come to, I will not like what I find.

I once heard about this experiment where people wore these glasses that flipped everything upside down. It took three days for the brain to adjust and send messages to the brain to flip the images right side up. Then when they took the glasses off everything was upside down again. This is my first thought when my vision returns to me.

Everything is flipped the wrong way, and I just can’t tell what has happened. Has the whole world just flipped on its side or can my brain just not adapt to this new perspective? The colors are so bright they sting my eyes, but I dare not shut them, desperately trying to understand. I see the blue car flipped on its side. The orange flames jumping in every direction, the black smoke billowing into the night sky. Streams of sickening blood are trickling away from me. But the one thing I can’t see is your face. And that’s when something else sets in like the shock of a defibrillator. Panic.

In my panic I discover that I can now move the upper half of my body. My legs however are trapped under the crushed metal of the steering column. Surprisingly, other that the mild ache from the gash in my head I don’t feel any pain. There is a roar of noise surrounding me as the firemen work, feverishly trying to release me from the wreck. I think they are talking to me but all my mind can focus on is you. You were in the other car weren’t you? Why can’t I remember what happened.

Suddenly there is a fireman crawling into the car, he is trying to get in beside me. He has a set of large metal claws with him. When he gets to me he slowly starts to cut the metal that is trapping my legs. I am trying my best to zone out and ignore what he is doing, but the high-pitched screeching of the metal being twisted is hard to ignore. My gaze is drawn back to the metal claws at work. There are scraps of metal everywhere, but I can definitely tell that as the fireman works there is less surrounding my legs with each passing minute. I am beginning to feel faint and I hope I can manage to stay conscious. After what seems like hours, but in reality is probably only minutes, he is done. He tells me that they are now going to get me out but just then I pass out.

When I regain consciousness I find myself in an ambulance. We arrive at the hospital and almost immediately I am being rushed off to an unknown destination. Although I am still dazed from passing out I can pick out certain words from the doctors surrounding me. Phrases such as severe blood loss and major infection in the legs are being thrown around. However, the one that really catches my attention is ‘amputation’. Desperately I try to tell them they can’t, but I am so flustered I can’t get the words out. I am only seventeen they cannot honestly be thinking of cutting my legs off. The next thing I know is I am in the O. R. They are saying something about containing the infection in my legs. Although I am worried about my legs my last thought before they knock me out is - where is Peter?

When I wake up I feel the most intense pain I have ever felt in my life; my legs are on fire, although I suppose I should be happy that they are still there. It is not long before a nurse race's in to give me medication, which dulls the pain but also makes me drowsy enough to sleep. For a whole week this is my life, waking up in pain and getting put back to sleep, the doctors say I need to regain some strength before any of my questions get answered. Although I was not conscience for much of that week a couple of the details of the accident had started to come back to me. Peter, my best friend, and I met up somewhere I don’t remember where but we were drinking and then we decided to go for a drive. That’s all I have remembered during the last week but I am determined to get some answers today.

When my mother walks into my room I blatantly ask her what happened to Peter? Smoothly she deflects the question and asks me how I am doing. Thankfully just then my father, who just flew in from a business trip, walks in. He has never been one to hide things, but even so he still hesitates slightly before he says, “Honey I am so sorry but Peter – he… he’s gone. He didn’t survive the crash.”

I am in shock. This can’t be happening Peter is not dead. I don’t believe him I won’t believe him. I’ll just have to go find him. Upon seeing my intentions my parents try to stop me. They needn’t have bothered, to my horror I can barely move my legs; there is no strength in them whatsoever. When I finally give up on trying to move my parents gently try to explain that my legs were just so cut up and they did what they could but the doctors aren’t miracle workers. They reassure me that in time I will regain my strength and in all probability I will walk again. Apparently, I will be off to rehab as soon as the chance of reinfection has passed.

It is now a month later and I am finally getting released from this prison hole of a hospital. I remember all the details now but I wish I didn’t. Peter and I had been drinking that night and we decided it would be fun to have a race. So we got in our cars, found a seemingly deserted highway and did just that. Peter was driving on the wrong side of the road and we must have been going at least 140 km/h when suddenly from around the bend comes a huge four ton truck. The truck in its attempt to swerve out of the way ended up spinning out. Peter hit it head on and apparently died on impact. My car was hit from the side and ended up flipping.
I am leaving the hospital today but I am not going home. I am going to a rehabilitation facility for who knows how long in order to re-learn how to walk. I do not now if I will ever accomplish my goal. However, I do know that even if I do walk again, I will never drive again. A lot of things were broken that day. Some are fixable like the cars and maybe even my legs. Others will never be repaired like the hole in the lives of Peter’s family or the whole in my heart. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of Peter and regret what happened that day. My life will forever be broken because of my bad choices.





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