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June 8, 2011
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The beaten down dirt road was a bumpy ride as we cruised along, looking at the tall green grass, dancing in the country breeze. One more turn was all there would be before returning my friend Jacob to his house, but that corner never came.

Driving along under the tall oak’s huge braches that were stretching out to reach the other side of the road and touch the outstretched branches of the tall trees I felt peaceful. The branches were so thick that the sun was being blocked out and only shadows were on the road, or so I thought.

As we were cruising along peacefully, at the last moment, something in the road caught my eye. I quickly reacted by jerking the steering wheel to the left and then quickly back to the right, and the 4-wheeler flipped over onto its left side. It plays like slow motion in my mind when I think about it; the ground coming closer and closer and my left arm outstretched instinctively to brace my fall.

Once we stopped sliding, everything seemed to be fine. Then I looked at my arm. Laying on my left shoulder my arm should have been pointing straight up, but instead my finger tips were almost touching the ground. At first glance, I knew that it was bad, but once I had gotten to my feet, I was able to examine the injury further. I could see the bleach white bones of my forearm poking out, completely broken in half. Then I looked at my hand. There was a huge rip straight across my palm, and my finger bones were showing through. My thumb was basically torn off, barely hanging on by a thread of skin. The whole time I was examining my arm I felt no pain, which was extremely weird considering how it looked.

That’s when reality kicked in. I knew that I had to get to a hospital, so I quickly helped Jacob flip the heavy machine back onto its wheels. We both climbed into the 4-wheeler and started the long ride back to my house. Jacob was forced to learn how to drive the 4-wheeler in a hurry with a popped tire, being sure to go slow over the bumps. Once back at my house, my mom quickly got into the car after seeing my arm and drove me to the hospital.

We both walked in slowly, me cradling my arm and my mom guiding me into the hospital. I was quickly rushed into some room and layed down. I had to take out my contacts with one hand, and then took some medicine for the pain. It is hard to remember every little detail, but shortly after being injected with something, somebody pulled on my broken arm and I could hear the sound of muscle and bone being moved. By now, my shirt had been cut off and I was loaded into an ambulance headed for Elmira.

I’m told that at Elmira, I was rushed into surgery right away, lasting at least three hours. My first night at the hospital would be the worst with little sleep due to the pain and the nurse constantly changing my bandages because of the bleeding.

“Now I have some pictures here if you’d like to see ‘em,” my doctor greeted me with the usual slap on the leg.

“Sure,” I sleepily replied.

“They’re pretty gruesome, and I don’t want you to look if you don’t think you can take it.”

“I’ll look,” I replied sitting up.

The doctor flipped through a binder full of papers until he found the page. Page after page I shockingly watched all the different positions of my battered arm.

“We almost couldn’t save it,” he said gazing deep into my eyes.

I just sat there, not knowing how to react until he continued. “It looked more like a farm accident, we thought that if we were able to get it put back together that infection would overcome. There was just so much dirt and things in there.”

All this information was hard to take. I was the last person to know the news, so it made me feel like everyone else was just lying to my face.
The days in the hospital were very boring and painful, but maybe the most painful was when I had to get a special machine that had been hooked up to my arm removed. The machine had a saran wrap like material wrapped around my arm which was still just raw skin, I hadn’t had a skin graph yet. A lady came into my room and told me it was time to take of the woundvac. She began to tear off the saran wrap and it wasn’t so bad at the begging. Once she had gotten to the raw area on my arm it began to scream with pain. She tried to go slowly but it hurt too badly.

With tears running down my face I whimpered, “Just do it.”
“Just do it?” she reassured.

Nodding and mentally preparing myself she ripped it off. Blood started to run down my arm and the pain was just throbbing. My mom rewarded me with a chocolate milkshake, and from then on every time that lady came, a chocolate milkshake soon followed.

My dad had started to count the days that I had been in the hospital on a little dry erase board that was hung on the wall, surrounded by all of my Yankee posters and pictures that were also hanging. I watched the days add up everyday.

My skin graph had been healing well and I was excited to get out of the hospital finally.

Day after day, surgery after surgery, and finally after seventeen long days in the hospital I was allowed to go home. At home it was a little more comfortable and easier to relax, although I couldn’t go back to school right away. For the first two weeks of the school year I had to have a tutor. Once back to school it was very different, I had to be extremely careful not to get bumped into or fool around.

After one whole year I was still going to hand therapy and couldn’t play sports. But finally I was able to return to the things that I love and pretty much do whatever I want.

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