As I sit here and think of everything that has happened in my life, it's easy to ask why. Why me? But I try to remind myself that God just has faith in me that I can handle these hard times. He knows I got this. These are just the stepping stones in life, they are some pretty big stones, but none the less, they are just stones and knowing me, I'll just skip right on over to the next one. With His help, of course.
If you've read this story before, thank you! If you haven't, I'm just going to tell you now, it's long but it's part of who I am. I hope you enjoy it.
I remember the night before, stuffing my fanny pack with cassette tapes, a Walkman, and candy.
Being in 5th grade and being eligible to play on the volleyball team at your tiny, little, private, Christian school makes a 10yr old feel pretty grown up. You get to ride the school bus with the rest of your team and the flag football players, what could be better? Little did I know, that next day would turn my world upside down and change my life forever. Forever.
Our little, no good, volleyball team lost that game. We mostly didn't care because frankly, we still felt cool. We got to leave school early, ride the bus into Austin, meet new kids, and hang out on a school night. We were definitely cooler than the kids whose parents drove them to the game; so we thought.
We were so cool that we were playing M*A*S*H and singing "99 bottles of beer on the wall. Remember M*A*S*H?? It was a very legitimate game that predicted your entire future; mansion vs. shack; how many kids you'll have; who your lucky groom will be and whether or not you'll drive a fancy car. Man, I loved that game.
Our game playing and singing all came to a screeching halt when we were being tossed from one side of the bus to the other. What was happening? Things got very dusty, very loud, and I couldn't see what was happening. I could hear voices but no one was speaking clearly. Pretty quickly I felt less tosseled and a lot more "hung up", if you will. There was an extreme burning sensation. I wouldn't describe it as just hot. It was definitely burning. As loudly and as clearly as I could, I yelled, "STOP". The burning continued for some time. (at this point I have no idea on the time frame, like anything horrible, 7 seconds feels like 7 days)
I'm a bit blank on the next couple seconds. I'm sure with the shock of everything, I blacked out.
The next moment I remember feeling really, really stuck. I wasn't in a lot of pain, mostly confused and....well, there really isn't a word for how I felt.
I was a ten year old girl who just experienced a life changing moment, somehow I knew I had, but at the same time, I didn't have a damn clue. A school bus, the place you least expect to have something bad happen, just crashed. Literally. It just tossed you from side to side, it sent your little, ten year old body, out the window, drug you down the interstate and then proceeded to land on top of you. How could this happen? How could this NOT be a dream? How could I be laying on the road? I'm only in 5th grade, I'm not allowed to be laying in the road. I'm so small.
All the noises stopped. The dust was slowly settling. I was still stuck. So damn stuck. That's all I could think about.
"What was making me so stuck? I could move my legs and my head but then again, I couldn't move at all. I felt like the right side of my body was in a hole, below me. Had I fallen into a crack in the road? Could there be a crack big enough to fall into? I hope someone is calling 911. OhMyGosh, I'm gonna be on the show, Rescue 911. How long will that take?? I have dirt in my mouth. Who's arm is that laying behind me? There sure is a lot of blood. My mom hates blood. I wonder what everyone else is doing."
These were all thoughts that went through my head. Literally. In that exact order. I remember like it was yesterday.
There were voices saying my name and telling me to get up. Why were they all sounding so panicked? Why were they freaking out? What could they see that I couldn't? Why was it clear to me that I was stuck like glue but they still insisted on pulling on me?
I didn't have the answer to anything. Nothing made sense. I was in severe pain when the bus was moving but now I feel nothing. When I pick my head up, I see a lot of blood and a random arm in the distance. Surely that means someone else is hurt because my arm is stuck below me in the huge, non-existent crack. There was no use trying to figure it out. I would just lay still and rest my eyes for a while....
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 lying 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 I 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 are a few moments of blackout here.
I still had not cried. Screamed? Yes.
I was calm enough to give the paramedics my information, my parent’s 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 mom’s 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.
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 mom’s 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.
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. 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 more pointless conversation.
We 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.
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.
So there I laid. Doctors, nurses, counselors, therapists, psychologists, you name it, they were there. My parents? They were on their way. Someone 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.
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. They 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. My mom’s 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.
September 28th, 1993, at ten years of age, I became a right arm amputee. Just above the elbow, I lost my dominant arm. There was no saving it. It was crushed to pieces. There was minimal skin left. The nerves were damaged beyond repair.
From my parent’s perspective: about an hour into the operation, the surgeon came out to the waiting room. (remember, it had only been a little over an hour that my parents went from thinking their daughter broke her arm to being shocked with the truth that she would be changed forever)
The surgeon came out with a couple options. "I can TRY to save her arm. Saving it will mean many many more reconstructive operations in her future without being able to promise any usage. Ever. Or, I can do a clean amputation tonight and she can get on with life."
My parents were in shock, to say the least. How do you make that decision in a matter of minutes? He needed to know right then. He stood and looked at them.
My mother asked, "Do you have a daughter?" He said, "Yes ma'am, I do" She then simply told him, "Pretend for a moment she's your daughter and just do what is best." She gave him a hug and put my future in his hands. He said okay returned to the operating room.
11:00 p.m., my eyes slowly opened. Opened only enough to see that it was, in fact, exactly 11:00 p.m., on the nose.
"Was it really 11 p.m. already? This is way past my bed time. Wait. It's still the same day?? This has been the longest day ever! Oh, there's my mom. She's sitting in the corner, crying. She is still in her work dress. Oh, she sees I'm awake. I have nothing but moans and groans coming from my mouth. She says that it's all okay and I should just rest."
Roughly, two days later, I'm awake, awake. I remember very little from the previous two days. There was a lot of, awake for a couple minutes, asleep for most of the day. I have very few images in my head of seeing my parents and doctors in and out. I do remember feeling pain. All the pain was on my right side, of course.
I could feel my arm. My hand. My elbow. The whole bit, it was all there, hurting. I had no reason to think any different. Every time I woke up, my head was positioned to the left. My bed was shoved up against the wall, on the right hand side. All visitors were on my left. I knew the accident involved my right side, so it made complete sense to me that I was in pain "over there". I had no reason to look. I didn't really want to. My adrenaline rush was over. I didn't have to be brave anymore. I wasn't alone. My parents were there, the doctors, the nurses, they were all taking really good care of me. I had no need to question anything or try to figure out what was happening. I was in pain and was told to just rest.
Little did I know, there was a little thing called, phantom pain. When a person loses a limb, because there is no way to get rid of the nerve endings, one's brain still believes the limb is there. It's a very complicated thing and there are so many different explanations for it. The only thing you need to know, it's real. It's as real as my left hand that I'm typing with now. Look it up if you'd like. No matter how short you "cut" the nerves, the endings will always be there. They will always be triggering one's brain to think the arm and the fingers are there. It sucks.
What sucks even more? Even with all the medical persons at that hospital, it never dawned on anyone that I MIGHT just be having these pains and since no one was allowing me to look in that direction, how was I supposed to know I didn't have an arm? I realize they were all trying to do the best they could. Nineteen years ago was a long time. There has been a lot of research on phantom pain since then, I realize that. I'm not asking to go back and not let this whole thing happen to me, I'm simply asking to have someone re-do those 36-ish hours and break the news to me in a different manner.
Here's how it all went down.
I was fully awake for the first time in 2 days. There were no signs of any complications and I was ready to be moved from ICU to a regular room. They wheeled in a different bed for the transition. Once I was ready to be moved, my natural reaction was to sit up, lift myself up with my two hands and start to scoot over. Guess what happened when I sat up and wanted to move over? My life came crashing down when I see the awful sight of an arm that's gone.
I can't even begin to describe what that looked like to me, how it made me feel and how disturbed I was. It was worse than seeing my arm torn to shreds. It was this short, swollen stump, wrapped in ace bandages. It was the ugliest thing I had ever seen. My arm was missing and I looked stupid. I was different. I immediately hated it. I looked back at everyone and they just stared back at me. "What will she say? How will she react? Maybe we shouldn't have let her find out this way..." My mother was mortified. She had told the professionals, time and time again, "let me tell her, let me talk to her in a way that I know best." All of them advised her otherwise because that would be too traumatic. She trusted them because they were in fact, the professionals.
Five hours later, after a long meeting with a child counselor, I was moved to a private, regular room.
My hospital stay was a total of 6 days. Tuesday to Monday. It was filled with typical hospital things. Visitors, naps, long walks, long nights (esp for my mom), denial, acceptance, more denial, tears, you name it. It was a lot for a ten year old.
There are only a couple things that stick out in my mind from the stay. (I think the first days were so much of a brain over-load, I shut down after all the excitement was "over") The first thing I remember was my first bandage change. It was THE MOST horrendous thing I've ever felt. It was a SLOW and drawn out pain. I'm pretty sure there had to have been at least three ace bandages used, the first came off fine, the next two were pretty well stuck on. It was just like ripping off a Band-Aid except 148 times worse. I have tears in my eyes just thinking about it. It makes me want to vomit. I believe it was worse than the actual accident because I knew it was coming, they were doing it slow, I had zero adrenaline and well, just take my word for it, it was a bitch. I had never screamed or cried so hard in my life. I actually told my mom I wish I could just die. Literally. After that was over, they gave me a shot in my leg and I went to sleep. I couldn't tell you how long I slept but I'm sure it was for a greater length of time than I was getting in the night.
Nights were tough. The phantom pain was very VERY intense and there was nothing I could do for it. How do you help something that isn't there? And how do you explain that to a child? As long as I stayed busy, I was ok. The minute I tried to lie down and close my eyes, I was a basket case. We took countless midnight walks. I basically only napped during the day. This was worse on my mom than on me, I'm sure. I hate she had to go through it.
A day or so before I was released, I was having pains in my left hand and then some bad bruising was setting in. They took me for an ex-ray, and sure enough, broken thumb. They casted me up and then I was officially helpless.
Re-living this part, has been by far, the hardest on me.
I've been looking at this blank post for a couple days. Much longer than I intended to or wanted to. I have no idea where to start. The other three posts were "easy" because they were simply telling a factual story, from memory. I find this post more difficult because I'm dealing with my feelings and well, basically the last 19 years of my life.
Just like when I started this journey of storytelling, I have no idea where my heart will take me today. It might take me down a lengthy road and require me to make this an ongoing story or I might just wrap things up here. I'm feeling the desire to do both, so I have no idea. Bear with me, please. I love that everyone has "enjoyed" reading thus far, thanks for all the support, my friends.
I think I'll start with my overall feelings towards things in the first days and weeks. To wrap up my hospital stay, it wasn't all horrible. The nurses were really nice. They catered to my parents and tried to provide whatever they needed. My dad brought me seasoned fries every evening when he came to visit and random folks brought me malts and such. There were definite perks to being inpatient. I, of course, had a ton of visitors. More than you can count. At one point we counted the amount of balloons I had. I don't remember the exact number but it was something crazy, like 79. That's a lot of balloons in one tiny room. My family and I were clearly, very loved.
On that 6th day, I was discharged. I was "well enough" to go home. For the nurses and doctors, I was just another patient, another case completed, another notch in their belt. They saved another life. Their duty was done. They probably even did a hand shake or a slap on the back, for a job well done. A little girl was going home, safely, with her parents.
On that 6th day, I was going home with my parents to a life that would never be the same. I was missing my right arm and was casted on my left. It's a brutal thing to say, but it's true people. I left my pink bedroom on the morning of September 28th as a typical, ordinary, 5th grader and returned 6 days later, to the same pink room, as a different person. Inside and out. For me and my family, it was just the beginning.
The outside part was the part that was most obvious to me, at this time. I didn't realize anything was going on, inside. That part will come many, many years later.
More than anything, I wanted all the hugs, all the letters, all the phone calls, ALL the attention to just GO AWAY. It's almost like I dealt with things in the hospital and when I returned home, I wanted life to go back to normal. I'm not trying to sound unappreciative but damn, I already knew I was "different", can we please not focus on it any more than I already am?
Looking back on it now, I do appreciate everything everyone did. It was an awesome show of love and support and I know my parents were really moved. There was huge benefit put on in order to help with medical bills and there were multiple interviews done with me to spread the word. I HATED every minute of it. In fact, hate is not a strong enough word. I vomited every time there was something I had to attend. It was too much. WAY too much.
I had to go to PT just about every day, I think. This is probably the part that my mom remembers the most. On the other hand, she may not though because she was going on zero sleep. Zero. I didn't sleep during the night for six weeks. For six weeks my parents took turns sitting in my room with me, snacking and talking. What else was there to do at 2 a.m. when you couldn't sleep? I was wired from the pain. Yes, at some point, you can probably say I had my days and nights mixed up, but mostly it was the pain. If I remember correctly, it was more the "Why does something that I don't have, hurt?" That was frustrating as hell. What do you do for that? The doctors gave my mom an Rx for morphine and some other craziness that wasn't logical for a ten year old, she accepted with a smile and then never gave them to me. She knew what was best. She knew all along and still knows to this day. She's my mom, she'll always have my best interest at heart. Being ten and addicted to morphine didn't sound like the best plan to her. She knew there were other options that would better suite me. I took over-the-counter pain relievers and we talked. We did A LOT of talking. We talked all night. We talked during the day. We talked in the car. We only talked about the accident when I wanted to, other times we laughed and had silly talk. We were handling things in our own way. God was no doubt, guiding my mother. He was taking every step with her, because, she will admit to this day, there is no way she would have been able to do it alone or would have even known WHAT to do, at that. I'm pretty impressed to say, in all 19 years, I've never had a dream or nightmare regarding the accident. Not even one. To this day. I believe in my heart, the reason for that is all the talking my mom and I did and her making sure I never felt alone.
(I know I'm mentioning my mom a lot in these posts and I just want it to be known that my dad WAS there too. Unfortunately, one of my parents still needed to work while my mom was on an extended leave from work, so that's where he was 90% of the time. Love my dad.)
Back to my mom and I, and the not sleeping. Eventually I would crash and burn. I would cat nap here and there during the day. I would get to point where I couldn't physically stay awake. Usually this was during the day, in the car, on our way home from PT in Austin (an hour+ away). That was zero help to my mom. I know there was a time or two when she simply drove as far as she could and then pulled over to sleep while I was. It was the most logical thing to do. Sleep while I sleep. It was her only chance. God's grace got us home safely every day.
I eventually started sleeping and went back to school about 6 or 7 weeks later. It was great to get back into the groove of things and see all my friends again.
A prosthesis was made for me to wear. I hated that too. It was ugly as sin, metal hook and all. What little girl wants to wear a plastic arm with a fucking metal hook? Everyone was convinced I needed to wear it though. Surely I couldn't possibly make it through the day with just my one arm. Ugh. Just thinking about this, pisses me the hell off. (I'm gonna go ahead and apologize now for my language in this post) I can't tell you how much I wanted all of this to go away. ::Deep Breath:: ::Wipe Away the Tear::
Change of pace. I'm pretty sure I was ambidextrous and didn't know it. It didn't take me anytime to learn to write left handed. Granted it wasn't the best handwriting but it was definitely legible and I wasn't all awkward like one would think. I was pleased with myself. (side note: if you're needing to learn to write with your non-dominate hand, the best way, is to start with something up-right, like a chalkboard or dry erase board. And use a fat marker or fat chalk. It's easier to learn to hold something fat rather than skinny, this is why they have the fat ass crayons in kindergarten. You're welcome.) Even with the cast on my lefty, I was still able to manage. People are always shocked and seem to feel so sorry for me when they find out I WAS right handed and had to learn to be left. This was not my biggest issue, people. Pick something else to offer your sympathy for.
I'm loving Wikipedia's definition for ambidexterity, bytheway,
Ambidexterity is the state of being equally adept in the use of both left and right appendages (such as the hands). It is one of the most famous varieties of cross-dominance. People that are naturally ambidextrous are rare, with only one out of one hundred people being naturally ambidextrous. The degree of versatility with each hand is generally the qualitative factor in determining a person's ambidexterity.
The only thing I had trouble with was my cursive. It's like I completely never learned it. It was out of my brain. I couldn't write it and I absolutely couldn't read it. All the teachers deemed it as something I didn't NEED so we moved on. Thank God because it's totally lame anyways.
(Fun fact: I still can’t write in cursive and have a really hard time reading it, to this day.)
::Okay, Samantha, back on track:: So basically the next few years are a blur. Mentally, my little brain did what it needed to do to block out the things I couldn't handle. There were times I couldn't handle the pain anymore. Phantom pain is just a bitch. It really is. You can't do anything for something that isn't there and that's enough to send anyone to the looney bin. For Real. It's a constant, 24/7, sensation. Except instead of sensation, it's 1700 needles poking you at the same time. The best description I have is, when your hand or foot has fallen asleep and it starts to get REALLY tingly. THAT. That is what I feel 24/7, and that’s considered mild phantom pain. It will never go away. I have learned to manage it, handle it, deal with it, get used to it, whatever you want to call it but it's definitely still there. Some days are worse than others. In the first year of feeling it, I developed nervous habits. I chewed the skin on my fingers. I pulled out my hair. I flicked my fingers non-stop. All things I had no idea I was doing until my parents had to physically stop me. It was intense.
The BEST thing that ever happened to me was that I got accepted to the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas. This is the greatest place on the planet, ya'll. It was my home away from home. It was the one place where I felt normal. No one looked at me funny, no one pointed, no one asked questions, it was legit. I LOVED IT. In the first few years, we were going there every month. I was taking some meds (appropriate for children) that needed to be monitored and I was getting my PT and OT there as well. It was WAY better than any therapy I did in Austin. My therapist taught me how to bake cookies from start to finish...pouring vanilla into a spoon, cracking an egg, stirring the bowl without it sliding every which way, it was my kinda therapy. I was actually willing to use my prosthesis.
A lot of my doctors there and the staff there were actually amputees or had some other type of handicap. They actually knew where I was coming from. I just can't put into words the love I have for them and that place. They were determined to get me back on the V-ball court. They special-made a volleyball prosthesis for me. It was a flat arm that allowed me to get back into the game. They even went as far as setting up a net and got a whole team together so I could practice. It was pretty great.
I went for 8 years. Got a total of 4 prosthetic arms made there, all of which were worn only a few times and then thrown into my closet. They were never any use to me. I adapted so quickly to the one hand that anytime I had the fake arm on, it was totally in the way. I never knew what to do with it, just hanging there. Also? I always felt far more noticeable and different when I was wearing them and people always noticed me more, which was something I didn't want. At all.
All these three hour trips to Dallas with my mom, really got us close. More like best friends. She was my saving grace. For eight years we made this trip. We stayed the night in hotels. We ordered pizza. We shopped. We cried. We definitely LAUGHED. It was actually some of the best moments of my life and they wouldn't have happened had I not been in the accident. For that reason alone, it makes everything I went through, worth it.
So WHO is the mystery guy?? How do I feel about all of this now? More to come my friends, more to come. I was ::this:: close to wrapping it all up here but I decided to elaborate more.
The real hero is always a hero by mistake. <------ Truth.
The time has come for me to tell you all about "Military Boots". Who was this mystery man and where did he come from? Was he medical personnel? Did someone order him to help? Was it his job?
The answer to all these questions will amaze you.
I'm going to do the best I can to write this from his perspective. Pretend this is him telling the story.
"It was a normal Tuesday afternoon. I finished up work and was headed to pick my daughter up for golf practice. I was driving along the interstate when I saw sparks. They were coming from a school bus that was flipped on it's side, skidding down the road. Without thinking, I pulled my car over and ran to the scene. There were kids piling out of the back of the bus like a swarm of bees. They were all screaming and crying. I finally made my way around them and entered the bus. There were two adults and a couple kids standing over another child. They were pulling on her left arm, yelling at her to get up. She was obviously not going anywhere. I quickly advised them to get the hell out of the bus and let me handle things. My adrenaline was flowing full force. One minute I had been driving to pick up my daughter and the next minute I'm standing over this little girl in a wrecked school bus. I backed off for a couple seconds and assessed the situation. It didn't look good. She was lying in a pool of blood and gas. The front of the bus was smoking and was going to catch fire soon. I would be okay because I was wearing my fire proof flight suite. Never mind me though, I had to get her out. Now. This shit was serious.
She was pinned under the window frame. Her arm was still attached but just barely. The only way she was getting out of there was to lift the bus up. It had to be done and there was no way around it. Luckily, the wreck happened in front of a car dealership and many of car salesmen had come out to help. They were lined up, waiting for direction. On the count of three, they were to lift the bus up just enough for me to pull her out.
I approached the little girl, told her to put her left arm around me and I was going to get her out. She said that there was no way. I didn't know why she was arguing with me. She needed to listen if I was going to get her out of here. I told her again and added that on the count of three, I would carry her out. I counted to three, held my breath that they would be able to lift it, they did but not all the way. Plus, when they set it back down, they set it on my foot. Damnit. Let's do this again, people. 1, 2, 3, and it was lifted. I pulled her arm out very quickly but with care.
Blood started shooting EVERYWHERE. It was flowing out like I had never seen before. Her being pinned under that bus was actually keeping her from bleeding as much. There was a lot of help, waiting on the outside. I carried her out and wanted to be relieved that I was passing her off to the paramedics.
Someone was taking off their shirt to tie around her arm to slow the bleeding, which was great. Then, there were other folks assisting the other kids. It was a mad house.
After the paramedics and firemen finally arrived, I sat down for a second. Those four minutes had seemed like four hours and I was exhausted. Completely, 100%, worn out. The little girl had been taken away in an ambulance and here I was. What do I do now? How could I possibly go on with my day?
A fireman approached me and asked where had I been hurt. I said, nowhere, why? He pointed at me, I looked down and saw that I was covered in blood. It was everywhere. I literally looked like I had bled more than the small girl. I stood up and he hosed me down. All the blood was washed away like it never even happened. If only it were that easy to wash away the memories. Someone hose down my heart. It's broken.
I proceeded with the rest of my day. My daughter grilled me for being late before she realized I was soaking wet. When she asked me what happened, I simply told her, I think I just saved some one's life.
I had to work pretty hard for the hospital to let me speak with her parents. They weren't taking any calls. I just wanted to know if she was okay. Finally, I was able to get through. They were SO grateful to speak with me and invited me to come see her. Her name was Samantha. It was a good day."
So there you have it, ladies and gents. "Military Boots" aka: Jim or The Colonel, is a real life hero. Who else can say they have a real, genuine hero? Someone that actually saved you from something horrible. He never asked to be in that situation. No one told him to stop and help. It was most definitely not his job. He was sent by my angels. I like to think his angels and my angels were cooking up this plan for some time. They made sure we were both in the right place at the right time. It couldn't have worked any other way. And yes, I indeed was in the right place at the right time. I wouldn't have wanted anyone else to save me. NO ONE. It was supposed to be him. My Jim. My hero. My military boots.
I am beyond blessed to say, we are still in each other's life, to this day. We make a point to meet up every few months. He was at my graduation, he was at my wedding and he was there shortly after Kaleb was born. All of these things wouldn't have been possible if not for him. When I'm around him, I still feel protected. I feel like nothing bad will ever happen to me, as long as he is there. That might be silly to say but it's so true!
Tonight, we had an amazing dinner together, to more or less, celebrate the day we met. It's not a sad story. It's a great story and we love to talk about it. I'll never be able to repay him for what he has done...and it's been a lot throughout the years. I did give him a gift tonight though, it has all the different meanings of hero on it. I'm pretty positive he loved it. :) We are two peas in a pod, he and I. We'll be connected forever, in a way that no one can touch. Love that man.
It's true. In the past 19 years, I've had my moments. Moments where I had a pity party. Moments of poor me. Moments where I gave up because I believed I couldn't do it or didn't want to try. Moments when all I could do was think about that horrific day and wonder why it was me.
All of those moments are over. They are all in the past.
A few weeks back, when I decided to start writing this, I had no intentions. I had no idea what made me start writing this or why. One afternoon, I just started typing. It took me farther than I ever imagined. I had no idea what it would unleash.
When it was getting close to the time to start writing "the final" post, I had ideas in my head. A lot of ideas of how I should write it. It should be awesome. It should be a real tear jerker. It should have extreme highs and lows, with my brutal honesty about how so many things I went through caused SO much insecurity and SO many tears throughout the years, something that could be considered the grand finale. Something inside me changed this week. Friday, the 28th, in fact. Five blog posts later and a dinner date with the man who went through it all with me, changed me and changed this entire story for me.
With all of this writing, all of this remembering, all of this digging deep inside and all of this emotion, I'm finally ready to let it go. I gave it (the accident) credit where credit was due. Yes, it was a horrific thing to happen to a child and yes, it changed me physically but it made me a better person. I can finally say, for real this time around, I'm done. Finished. I'm so over it. It's so not a big deal anymore.
You just don't know the feeling of release I've had in the last few days. Like I said, I never expected this. Honestly, when I started making the hero gift for Jim, I thought, "I should totally blog about him cause he's a cool guy. I bet not many people can say they have a real life hero, plus my gift is going to be really legit, I kinda wanna show it off." BOOM. That decision right there, changed my life, y'all.
So here's your grand finale people: This is THE last time I'll let what happened to me as a child rule my life. I'm moving on with the all the blessings God has given me, this one included.
I've said it before, I sincerely thank everyone who has taken the time to read these posts. It's clearly changed me. I pray that my story reaches and helps someone who might be going through something similar. Feel free to share it with anyone and everyone. Here's to the next 19 years, deuces.