I was in 4th grade. My mom and step dad were out of town at my sister’s, Danielle’s soccer championships in Alabama. So me and my other sister, Britt, were staying at my dad’s house.
We were dropping Britt of at her high school, just like any other day. As she was about to close the door and I was getting ready to climb into the front seat, BAM! The car behind us rear ended us. Both cars pulled out from the loop and parked in some empty spots.
Apparently the girl just got her permit and forgot to put the car in park when she was getting out. There wasn’t even a mark on my dads car, so we were just going to forget about it. But I felt the pain right away. Pain going through my back. It wasn’t like the piercing kind where you can’t even stand to move. But it was still there, aching. I told my dad as he was making sure I had my seatbelt on, getting ready to head to my school now. I told him how my back hurt, but the accident was so minor how would anyone know what it had caused? We stopped into Walgreens and he bought some of those icy-hot patches for me to put on my back, which I did. When he dropped me off he told me to call if it was still bothering me.
It never went away like I hoped. So at recess I asked my teacher at recess if I could go to the clinic. This teacher never liked me anyways because I talked so much in class. So when she asked why with a little snarl and I told her, she looked at me like I was making all this up. I got those looks a lot throughout the process. But she still let me go, and my dad checked me out.
When I told my mom over the phone she was so worried about me. As soon as she got back into town, she took me to a doctor. Arnold Palmer’s hospital. I will always remember my doctor, he had the thickest puerto rican accent. That’s not why I remember him though, partially because I went to him for years, but he never doubted me. Maybe he thought it in his head, but he never suggested that I was just making it all up just for some attention. He really cared about his patients, like a doctor should. I had to go to doctor appointments that were over an hour away about every month or two.
I had to get ct scans, MRI’s, x-rays, bone scans numerous times, not get to do certain things with my friends, and wear a back brace for 3 months that went from my neck to my tailbone for two years until they figured out what was wrong. I had a rare fractured vertebrae. That’s when all the talk about surgery and procedures came up, so just in case my mom wanted a second opinion. A doctor in New York somewhat agreed and a doctor in Florida said I was just a kid looking for attention. Thankfully he was retiring that year.
After a year, my normal back doctor had me scheduled for back surgery. And believe me, that was nerve racking. But the night before the doctors had a meeting and decided I should get and injection instead (which I am so thankful for). This helped so much.
Although I still have some back pain and it didn’t completely go away, I am so grateful for the people I had in my life at the time. My family stayed with me while I was in the hospital, friends that sent me gifts to feel better, and my teacher who I will never forget offered to drive all the way to the hospital to give me my work just so I wouldn’t fall behind. I appreciate everything they all did for me and hope everyone who goes something similar has amazing people in their life to take care of them like I did.