Broken glass. Yellow stripes on the road. Empty window pain. These were the only things I could see.
My body was positioned to where I was basically laying on my right side. The right side of my face was laying flat on the road. The school bus was on its side and I was in between it and the road. Half of me was "out" of the bus and the bottom half was technically still "in" the bus.
One would think my most vivid memories would be, what I was feeling physically. Not true. My most vivid memories were what I saw and what I was hearing.
Military pants, tucked into military boots. The window pain and the broken glass were no longer the only thing to focus on.
A man's voice was coming from these boots. I never saw a face. Just the pants tucked into these, almost scary looking, boots. It was the last thing I expected to see, but then again, nothing about this situation was expected. I never expected to be literally drug for what seemed like a mile down the big interstate that my parents frequented, but I was. I never expected being able to know what it feels like to have your skin peeled away from your bone, but I did. I never expected to see my arm torn to shreds, detached from my body, but I did. Considering all of that, military pants and boots should have been the least of my worries.
Who was this mystery voice though?! He was yelling. He was giving orders to what sounded like a group of people. His voice was deep. He was scary. I was terrified of him.
He told me he was going to get me out of there. I assured him that number 1, I was going to be too heavy to lift and number 2, I've already tried to get up and I'm STUCK. He very sternly told me to put my left arm around his neck and hold on. "on the count of 3, we are going to lift you out." "1. 2. 3....." Nothing.
Military boots and myself didn't budge. "uhhh, told you so." Yet again, he insisted we were going to count and I would be out. "1. 2. 3." I was lifted. I was unstuck. Military boots carried me out and it would be several days until I found out who this mystery man was.
There's a few moments of blackout here.
I still had not cried. Screamed? Yes, so I've been told but I consider tears and random screams to be different. I love giving myself props for remaining semi-calm.
I was calm enough to give paramedics my information, my parents information and to follow directions very well. "Keep your head to the left." "Tell me what you're feeling." "Keep talking." "Keep your head to the left." "Keep your eyes open." "Keep your head to the left." "What is your address?" "What is your moms phone number?" "Keep your head to the left." "Where does your mom work?" "Who is your dad?" "Keep your head to the left."
You get the point. They were keeping me alert and hoping to decrease the chance for me to have PTSD? They kinda were too late and were doing a shitty job, at that.
My thoughts then on their outrageous requests? Lame. I specifically told them, "I AM looking to the left. I ALREADY told that other guy my moms phone number and how much more do you want me to say? You've got me in the ditch. The grass and ants are on my legs. There are 37 people hovered over me, all asking me the same exact questions.
I instantly went from ten years old to thirty, y'all. I didn't even recognize myself. Who was this little girl giving these orders and popping off attitude? It was a ten year old in shock. That's who. I didn't know I had it in me.
The ambulance ride was hot. Again, with these random things that stick out in my head. I'll probably never know why I remember such odd moments.
The sun was shining DIRECTLY in my eyes. Come to think of it, do ambulances even have side windows in the back?! Either way, I'm One hundred percent sure this one did. It was beaming directly in my face. Heaven forbid I turn my head any direction other than left to maybe get away from the sun. Lame.
I was getting sleeeepy. It was either the meds I was being pumped with or said sun in my eyes. All I wanted to do was close my eyes. A cat-nap if you will. The ride to the hospital was a long one. Five o'clock traffic into Austin? Yeah, it's going to be a haul. The paramedics and I had pointless conversation. Thinking back on it now, they might should keep a notebook with them of interesting things to talk to patients about. Just a suggestion. I remember being very let down and disappointed in them when they simply said, "ummm we aren't sure. That's something you'll have to ask the doctor", when my question was, "do you think I'll have to stay the night in the hospital?" :)
We have arrived. Why can't I remember the cool parts of the arrival? Being a fan of Grey's Anatomy (now, of course) I seriously wish I would remember the dramatic arrival scene. People waiting at the door for you. Folks on standby, then running you down a hallway, into a room with tons of bright lights, being greeted by doctors who are about to have a great rush of adrenaline because THIS is the kinda stuff they thrive on. Instead? I remember them telling me there will be a speed bump and the jolt MIGHT hurt. You don't say.
Finally, I'm in the big white sanitized room with the 87 overhead lights. Those rooms are exactly like you see on tv and also overwhelming to a ten year old (even if you are 10 going on 30). Those rooms always have that sterile smell. It's like it's saying, oh hey, this is the room where hurtful things happen. Be scared of my extreme whiteness and weird smell.
Low and behold, they pulled a curtain over the right side of my body. The upside to that? My neck was really starting to hurt. The downside? It would screw with my mental state later.
So there I laid. Doctors, nurses, counselors, therapists, phsycologists, you name it, they were there. My parents? They were on their way. Some lame ass told them I was at the wrong hospital. Also? They were told I had only broken my arm and they simply needed to come pick me up. They were in for a shocker.
I had an inkling things were pretty bad. I realized the blood I saw was mine. The arm I saw was mine. I knew how bad it looked but I had no idea what would come of the situation. I warned the doctors my mom didn't like blood. I asked them to please keep her head to the left. Crazy, huh?
My time of excruciating pain was yet to come. They warned me it was about to hit. Somehow I knew to tell them, "I'll handle things much better if you just pre-warn me." How did I know that? Who was this voice inside of me?
The doctors, the nurses, the child counselor, they all warned me. There was a bucket of water, with alcohol and peroxide mixed in. It was going to be dumped on my right side to clean out the gravel. Good. And that's just what they did, cleaned me up and prepped me for surgery. Hurt like hell. It was just as bad as the dragging.
Shortly after, I saw my parents. I'm not sure if they really were across the room but it seemed as though I was looking and talking to them from a distance. It could have been the drugs making things seem different than they actually were. My moms eyes were swollen and my dad was white as a sheet. I told my mom, "I'm sorry mommy, I think this is pretty bad." She said it would all be okay but I know now, she really didn't know what to believe.
This is the last thing I remember from that day. I would soon be waking up to a new life.
~stay tuned for part 3~