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I was trapped beneath it – completely immobilized. My younger sister heard my muffled screams as I struggled to take a full breath. She rushed downstairs to the kitchen, which was under renovation, and saw that the refrigerator had fallen facedown on top of me.
My head was barely visible beneath the huge appliance. My sister stood paralyzed for a few seconds, unsure what to do – we were the only ones home. She tried moving the fridge off me, but it was much too heavy for her.
“What should I do? Who should I call?” she asked in a panicked voice.
“The police!” I yelled. After she made the frantic 911 call, the minutes passed like hours. I could feel myself starting to black out.
Finally a lone cop arrived. As he stepped through the door, he reassured my sister that an ambulance was on its way. But when he saw me, his shock was worse than my sister's. His first attempt to move the fridge was barely more successful than my ten-year-old sister's.
Then he was hit with an idea. “Okay, honey,” he said to her, “when I lift, you're going to pull him out, okay?” He squatted next to my head, and my sister crouched nearby, ready to pull.
“On three … one, two, three.” He held his breath and – in what would later be called an adrenaline-fueled feat of superhuman strength – the officer lifted the fridge just enough for my sister to pull me out.
When the officer released the fridge, the vibrations from the slam resonated through the house. He picked me up and carried me like a sick dog out to meet the ambulance, which had just arrived.
In the back of the speeding vehicle, I moaned in agony as an EMT pulled my shirt up to reveal a profusion of marks covering my twelve-year-old midsection. The policeman called my mom, and I could sense her panic as I listened to him attempt to calm her so she could focus on driving safely to meet at us at the emergency room.
Doctors determined that I had cracked four ribs and they would need to operate immediately to stop the internal bleeding. My mom arrived at the hospital as my stretcher was being wheeled into the operating room.
When I saw her tears, I tried to explain. “I'm sorry,” I said. “I only wanted a snack.”