March 28th, 2016, is a date that forever will be engraved in my mind. It was my senior year, spring break had just ended, and it was the start of my high school’s last spirit week. On a Monday after school, me and three of my friends decided we wanted to run to the mall and pick up a couple of things to wear for spirit week, so we took off in my friend’s car. Little did we realize what was about to happen would be so monumental.
First we stopped at Target, but we didn’t find anything, so we decided to go look at Party City because it was just across the street. Party City was literally a couple of minutes away from Target but nonetheless we had to drive back on the main street, where we had to take a left turn. We pulled up to the left turn to that led into the complex with the Party City and our driver took the turn… Then everything went black. A car t-boned us.
I never saw the other car hit us and I didn't realize until way later that our car ended up rolling over three times. Due to a concussion, I don’t remember a lot from the accident prior to getting to the hospital. Oddly, one major thing I remember was the smell of the accident. The smell was so strong, I could smell gas, and quickly I asked if everyone in the car was okay and luckily everyone was. I urged everyone to get out because I knew it wasn’t safe, I would have gotten out too but I was facing a major problem: I could’t feel my legs.
I ended up losing consciousness in the car and when I regained consciousness firefighters had pulled me onto a gurney and I was being lifted into an ambulance where they began putting in IVs and heart monitors. I remember the whole ride. I kept asking if everyone else from the car was okay because I had no idea what had happened to them, but the paramedics said they didn’t know. When we finally got the hospital, all the testing began and they notified my parents.
I got a CT scan and an MRI done and they admitted me into the ICU because my blood pressure was spiraling out of control. Before getting admitted, my parents showed up and I have never seen such relief in their faces. Both of my parents ran into the room and had tears in their eyes because the doctors couldn’t tell them over the phone if I was okay. All they could say was “your daughter has been in accident, get to the hospital quickly." I won’t lie the moment I saw my parents I started bawling. I finally felt like I was going to be okay no matter what my results showed.
My CT came back showing that I had a concussion, but my MRI showed something much worse. My MRI showed that, due to the impact of the accident, my spine had tethered - which means my spine had stretched and caused some nerve damage. The nerve damage was what caused me to lose feeling in my legs, but luckily with some rehab and physical therapy, there was a huge chance most feeling would come back.
Then the journey began. I knew that I was going to work as hard as I ever had and I was going to walk again.
Some days were harder than others, sometimes I would get so angry or sad. I kept asking, why did this happen? However, I knew I just had to take it one day at time and focus on the big goals that were in my future. I had been accepted into my dream college, San Diego State University, and I knew that nothing was going to get in my way of making it there.
Slowly but surely, feeling began coming back to my legs and my fourth day in the hospital I was able to walk using a walker. After spending a week in the hospital I was transferred to a rehab, and there I started walking with no assistance. But my left foot kept dragging because I had very limited feeling in that foot. At the rehab center, they fit my left foot for brace that would stabilize it and it helped a ton. I was able to walk really well with the brace and finally, I could go home.
To this day I still can’t feel areas in my left foot, but it did get much better and I no longer have to wear the brace. Although the physical injuries of the accident were hard, sometimes the emotional injuries were harder. Whenever someone else is driving and they get ready to take a left hand turn my heart always skips a beat. For the rest of my life I will always have to monitor my spinal cord. For the rest of my life, I will always have to remember the accident.
Here’s the thing, although I always have to remember my accident I have made peace with it. Things could have turned out so much worse and I thank God every day that it didn’t.
I accomplished my goals; I am at San Diego State and I am walking. Most people who see me could never even tell I went through an accident. Because of my accident I learned that life is so special and it should never be taken for granted because at any second it can be taken away.
The biggest lesson I learned from my accident is never forget to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you. Always remember we are all only given this one life.
Don’t waste it.