The roads we drove along were eerily quiet and mysteriously dark for a Saturday night. I remember seeing a lot of cars to the right which was my usual route so when we came to a fork in the road, I took a left instead. I had only been this way a few times but since we were already going to be late, it couldn’t hurt. It seemed as if the area was deserted because many streetlights were out, or flickering, making it such a challenge to see. The night itself was also very foggy.
As we were driving along the road, someone suddenly ran into the road right in front of the car. I swerved as far as I could to the side and slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting and running the person over. The squeal that was made was unbearable and caused my ears to ring. At this point I had lost all control of the car and slammed into a guardrail. The guardrail, obviously, was up for a reason. In this particular case it was blocking off a rocky cliff and from what I’ve heard before, was a 50 foot drop into a major highway. I was thrown from the vehicle and landed in a grassy field on the other side, straight on my head. When I looked up into the sky I saw nothing but a single star, but soon that was gone too.
Even though everything had happened so fast it felt like an eternity.
From what I learned after, Ryan flew out in the opposite direction onto the road and suffered many traumatic injuries that ultimately killed him at the scene. He fell down the rocky cliff and landed on the road below.
Where I Woke
I woke up in a white room. Many beeping machines were scattered among the room. As I turned my head I got a sharp pain in my left wrist. I tried to look down but I couldn’t. Something wasn’t right. I moved my head as far down as I could and lifted my arm up. I noticed an IV in my arm and before I could think someone pulled open a curtain on the wall across from me and walked in. The woman quickly turned around and yelled, “She’s awake,” in the hallway before making her way back in the room.
“Hi dear, how are you feeling?” She asked.
The only thing that came out of my mouth was “Where am I?”
“This is California Regina Hospital. I’m your nurse, Lauren.”
Then I vaguely remember what had happened. It was something that would never slip my mind like a memory engraved in my heart and head as a warning with regret. I felt exhausted and just wanted to go back to sleep. The nurses understood and let me rest.
3 days after originally waking up, I finally felt strong enough to eat something. Since I was moved out of the ICU, or intensive care unit, people were finally allowed to come visit me.
My mom and dad were to the first to come.
It was so nice to finally talk to someone after losing what seemed to be everything. They were the ones who explained what had happened the night of the crash and my injuries.
“Violette, you were involved in a rollover crash at approximately 7:56 PM on West Ave. The police think you hit a bump in the road and swerved off the road into a tree. Sadly, Ryan died on impact from the crash. But, surprisingly you only suffered a traumatic brain injury contusion, or a brain bruise. From what the doctors know, they think you suffered direct impact to your head after being thrown from the car. You will immediately start being given steroids to reduce swelling and antibiotics to treat any infections. Also physical and occupational therapy will start once you're stabilized to avoid memory loss. You have a long journey ahead of you Violette,” My mom explained.
I was stunned. I had nothing to say or do. It’s amazing how everything was so perfect one second and how everything could flip the next. A nice date night turned into the worst night in my life. Everything I had was taken away in the blink of an eye.
Lauren, my nurse, then walked in and told me I should get some sleep because tomorrow was going to be a long day so I should be rested.
I didn’t know what else to do so I decided to listen to Lauren. I began to drift asleep but set off the IV machine as I pulled it so I turned over and shut my eyes again.
Then the police walked in and told me they had to ask me a few questions.
“Why did you swerve the car?” They first asked.
I thought about it for a moment, “I didn't want to hit the person who ran in front of us,” I responded.
“Okay, when this person ran in front of the car, do you think they meant to or do you think they were just at the wrong place at the wrong time?”
“Well, I don’t think they would’ve ran in front of the car by accident, they would’ve waited until after. I also don’t think any random person would be walking along that road. It was obviously a suicide,” I stated.
“Lastly, were Ryan and you wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash?”
“Yes, we both were the whole time.”
They then thanked me for my time and left. I finally went to sleep with no more interruptions as it was after visiting hours.
The Next Day
I woke up in a hospital, but not the same hospital. I found myself in Room 235B in the child delivery wing at Texas Woman's Hospital. I tried to talk, but the only sounds I could form were cries like the tears of child- which I soon found out, I was again somehow. I tried to stand up but I couldn’t straighten my legs. I couldn’t even turn my head enough to see what was around me. I looked across the room and noticed how small and pale I was.
I was a baby again.
I was little again. I was helpless again. Wires attached to me as if my life depended on it- which I did. You see, I was born premature along with my twin, Alex, who I hadn't seen in years. I would have loved to see her.
What if she was here? I missed her red hair, like the color of a blazing fire had exploded on her. She was a ray of sunshine that always used to shine on me. I missed that.
We stayed in the hospital for a total of three months after we were delivered at 28 weeks. We were so small that my dad's wedding ring could fit around our wrists as if it was meant to be a bracelet.
The room we were in was very warm and lonely. The only sounds I could hear was the beeping on the heart monitor and others babies crying. Then I heard a knob turn and people entered the room.
“Mrs. and Mr Johnson, here are the girls. The smaller one is Alex,” A middle-aged man, who I assumed was the doctor, said to my parents as he walked past our beds.
Just then, I saw my mother and father's faces appear above me. I wanted so badly to jump into their arms and give them a nice, long hug but I forgot I was just a baby. But anyways, my face instantly lit up when I saw them.
“Hi baby girl!” my mom said in one of those fake voices that adults talked to kids in, “You look so big!”
My dad jumped in, “Violette, you’ll be home with us in no time! Can’t wait for you to meet your big sissy Olivia!”
They then walked over to Alex and said the same thing, as if we couldn’t hear. After, the doctor escorted them out of the room, but I could still hear them talking right outside the door.
“Our CT-scan was clear on Alex but showed a ASD, or hole in the heart, on Violette. Now, I don’t want to scare you, but this is pretty serious and will need surgery,” The doctor told my parents.
“When?” My mom and dad said in unison.
“Well, the sooner the better but it is high risk with many possible complications. But we should probably do it now since she’s healthy.”
My parents both looked at each other in fear and they knew what they had to do.
Later That Day
After only being alive for 7 days, I was going back into surgery. They moved me from the NICU to the Cardiology floor. I was taken back to the operating room where they gave me anesthesia and I was off to sleep.
After the surgery, which took about eight hours, I was told that it turned out successful, meaning the hole in my heart was gone. In the future, every year I had to get scans done to make sure the hole does not reopen. I was still exhausted and in much pain so I went back to sleep.
10 Years Later
It was Saturday October 16, seven days after my tenth birthday or as it turned out to be, time for my yearly scans. Since my surgery, things have gone very smoothly. I was just an average third grader as I could tell. One major difference was height. Alex and I were the two shortest in our class, only being about 4’4”.
It was just before 6:30 AM and I should’ve been sleeping like any other average kid my age.
My dad walked into my room and woke me up, “Good morning Vi! It’s 6:30 and you have 15 minutes to go ready. Remember no food until after the scan!”
“Ok, thanks dad.” I managed to say while trying to keep my eyes from shutting.
I hated not being able to eat anything twelve hours prior to the scan. I was left with clear liquids but since an incident when I was seven I just stuck with water.
When I finally arrived at the hospital at about 9:30, we checked in and headed up to to tenth floor, or the radiology unit. I walked past many familiar faces and tried to put a smile on even though I was practically shaking in fear. I just had to wait 15 minutes until the scan. I was trying to push any bad thoughts out of my head and keep a positive attitude. I reassured myself that I was fine because I had no new symptoms that signified any relapse.
When they called me back I hardly could stand up. The thought of another surgery made me sick to my stomach. My dad gave me a kiss on the cheek for good luck and I walked off following the nurse. When we got to the room I already knew the drill. I took off anything metal, like necklaces or my phone, that could set off the results. I put the robe they gave me on and laid flat on my back in the machine waiting for it to start.
The room was cold and dark, as usual. It was quiet enough to hear a pin drop. As the machine turned on, my heart dropped. I knew since they were checking my heart, the scan would take awhile so I should try to fall asleep but the suspense was killing me. Even after the scan ends, I wouldn’t find out the results for another 1-3 days.
Once the scan was finally over, we left the hospital and headed to lunch at one of my favorite places. I ordered my usual meal, caesar salad and lemonade. It was delicious. Once we got home, I sat on the couch and relaxed after a long day. All of a sudden, the phone rang. I couldn’t help to think it was the results but that would be too soon. My dad picked up and immediately sounded panicked which made me panic. What if it was the hospital?
“Violette, get in the car now.” Dad demanded.
“What? Why? Was that the hospital?” I asked as I grabbed my shoes and followed Dad.
“I’ll explain later.”
The ride in the car was terrible. I didn’t know where I was going or what was wrong. I was too scared to ask because Dad seemed like a mess. I just had to wait and hope everything was ok.
After a long 15 minutes, Dad turns into the hospital. My heart starts beating so fast I can barely breathe.
I must of relapsed.
. While I was hoping it wasn’t me, what else could it have possibly be?
The walk in was long. Once we finally got there we stopped at the main desk.
“Hi, I’m here to see Alex Michaelson.” Dad told the receptionist.
I can’t believe I never thought of Alex.
“Dad, what’s wrong with Alex? Is she okay?” I asked.
“She broke her arm at gymnastics this afternoon. All I know is that it’s really bad.”
While I shouldn’t have been happy, I couldn’t help but to feel relieved that I was okay-for now. I just hoped Alex would be.
When we got up to the 6th floor, we walked around the corner and entered the room on the right. Alex was lying in the bed with her arm totally hidden by layers of gauze and ice packs. When we walked in she greeted us with a smile as if nothing was wrong.
“What happened?” I immediately asked her.
“Well… I was trying my upgraded series on the high beam and my arm hyperextended and I fell. It doesn’t look very good.” She explained.
Alex had always been the daring one from a young age. She was fearless, doing flips everywhere at a young age.
“Oh no. Do you need surgery or anything?”
“Yeah. I have emergency surgery early tomorrow morning. They have to put pins and screws in my arm to keep the bones together.”
This was devastating for everyone. Alex was such a high level gymnast so it was sad that this could end her gymnastics career.
Since it was already super late, I couldn’t even think about sleep. I stayed awake with Alex for support until she went in for surgery around five in the morning.
The surgery took 3 hours and she came out with two pins and four screws in her arm. Everything was all wrapped up in a giant splint that would be switched with a cast once swelling went down. You could tell she was exhausted because she didn’t wake up until around twelve.
Once she was up, we stuck around for a few hours but since my Mom had finally been able to come, she stayed so we could get some rest.
On the way home from the hospital, my Dad got a call.
“It’s them,” He told me as he passed the phone back to me.
I picked it up.
“Hello,” Is all I could say.
“Hello, Violette. We are calling you back with your scan results from yesterday. They came back clear!”
“Thank you so much!” I said with the biggest smile on my face.
When we got home I went to sleep with not a worry on my mind.
10 Years Later
I woke up to the sound of Ryan’s alarm going off. I wasn’t on call today so I tried my best to fall back asleep so I’d be rested for tonight but he’s not the quietest when it comes to getting ready. After I heard him leave I was sound asleep.
A few hours later once I was up for good, I finally got ready for the day and had an early lunch. I relaxed for a few hours and then started getting ready for dinner. I put on a dark satin dress I had recently purchased at the outlets as a reward for getting a promotion. It was the color of a midnight sky. The dress itself was short, but not too short, ending just above my knees. It was fitting to an extent, which I loved because it was the only tight dress I had. The straps were thin with flowers I had gotten embroidered on the neckline. My lush light blonde curls looked luxurious with the product I had put in the night before and the pearl earrings in my ears added a fancy touch. Lastly, I wore my favorite black boots I had gotten from Nordstrom.
“Violette, it’s 6:45 we’re going to be late for our reservations again!” Ryan, my husband, called.
“Coming honey,” I yelled as I made my way through the hall and down the stairs. Time really flew by!
Ryan opened the door the and cool breeze felt refreshing as it blew in my face. We had chosen the perfect summer night to go out. This was a lucky since it was the only night I wasn’t on call for in the next month. As we walked towards the car I glanced up at the sky and noticed the stars twinkling. This had to be the first day in a week it was clear enough to see the stars.
“You drive there and I’ll drive back?” Adam compromised.
I opened up the driver door and hopped it. The hot seat belt touched my leg as I buckled up like a wake up call. I turned the key, stepped on the gas and began to back out of the driveway.
The roads we drove along were eerily quiet and mysteriously dark for a Saturday night.