Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Journaling prompt : What was your most interesting injury?

Journaling prompt : What was your most interesting injury?

I found this great idea over at Lemon & Raspberry Here is a shout out of thanks to them!

Anyone who knows me personally knows about my scars.  Those who don't know me personally, but have seen me have asked about the biggest, if they had guts. There are many scars.  Each with its own interesting story.  But the largest scar (and a few others) is due to a single moment in time, 21 years ago.

Shortly after Christmas in 1988, my cousin and I, along with our boyfriends decided to drive from NJ down to Marco Island, FL.  Her family was already there in their condo, waiting for us.  I was on winter break from college and this was my first trip to the "family" condo and we were all very excited.  We spent a few days hitting the beach, seeing the sights, buying souvenirs.  We spent New Years Eve celebrating our joy as a family in a local restaurant. On January 1, 1989, 10 of us went out on a pontoon boat to visit the neighboring uninhabited islands off of Marco Island.  For those who do not now, this is a pontoon boat.
It is a small flat boat, primarily used for touring/sightseeing.  Doesn't go to great speeds given its size. We brought lunch and had a great day. We were all pooped from a day in the sun and looking forward to dinner.
I rested my head on my boyfriend's shoulder and fell asleep(?).  I woke up in Tampa General Hospital and this is what I have been told what had happened.  I have 7 days of amnesia so I do not remember myself.

My uncle was steering the boat through a "NO-Wake" zone towards the dock so we could get off.  A No-Wake zone is a zone with a speed limits for boats because it is not very deep and with boats docking they do not want a lot of waves.  

Here is an example:

Apparantly, some guy (I will withhold his name for his safety, LOL) just bought a Cigarette Boat from a police auction. This man had no job, no house, no insurance, no car...but the freedom to speed in a No-Wake Zone like an asshole.  This is not the actual boat. I do not remember it, nor do I wish to.
 
When his boat came alongside ours, he lost control, and his boat cut right through the middle of our boat...Where most of us were sitting.  My cousin was thrown from the boat and ended up losing a spleen.  A family friend was thrown to the side and broke his ankle.  My boyfriend (now VERY ex) was hit in the jaw by the boat and it was broken.  The propeller cut off the back of his right foot and he lost his achilles tendon.

I unfortunately suffered the most damaging, permanent injuries.  I was hit in the skull by the front of the boat.  Fractured my skull.  Permanent blinded me in my left eye (thankfully it is not that noticeable and only those closest to me can tell.) The propeller caught my left arm at the elbow and slice off the back of it.  I had no ball in my ball and socket anymore.  And the muscle was gone.  Luckily, I never went unconscious and there was a Doctor in the boat to get right to me! Thanks, Dr. D!

Quick trip to Naples Hospital (the closest) and then my ex and I were flown by small plane with my uncle to Tampa General due to the serious nature of our injuries (closest Trauma hospital.)  My head swelled up like a basketball and they had to watch for bleeding in skull (I almost had to have holes drilled to drain it.)  My poor brother had to drive in from St. Petersburg to identify me as next of kin until my parents could get there.  Multiple blood transfusions were needed due to my bleeding so much. I was chronically anemic for years.  Luckily, the hospital had the best surgeons to work on my arm. A muscle was taken from my back and moved into my arm in the hopes I can use it again someday.  A metal external fixator was drilled into my bones to hold my arm perfectly still for healing.  I had multiple skin grafts taken from my left thigh (thankfully by someone who knew what they were doing, cause you hardly tell where they came from anymore.)  I was hospitalized for 1 month, then was allowed to be released to a local apartment where my mom moved in with me to take care of me until I was able to fly home.  Then months of healing, cleaning the open wounds from the fixator and rest.  They then removed the fixator and I was permitted to go into months of physical therapy to get some movement back in my left arm.  Luckily, again, the bone grew itself back in my elbow (a miracle, they were considering taking a part of my hip to place there, ouch.)

The scars healed beautifully considering the depth of the damage.  But you can always see the scars on my arm.  I have been to plastic surgeons, there is no improving it. There is no bringing back the sight to my left eye.  There is no changing the affect the head trauma has had on my hormones (produced in the hypothalamus) which brought on infertility, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis. I have been back on boats (not a pontoon yet, soon) and got certified in scuba diving to get over my fear of water.

The man who hit us what not injured in any way.  He actually tried to get away, but some of my boat mates captured him for the police.  But of course, he was a local, so he was not alcohol or drug tested.  I have received much grief about going after him legally.  I started a lawsuit, but the fact that he had NOTHING would only cause the insurance companies to go after the other driver, my uncle.  I was not going to risk my uncle losing his house, business, etc.  I received a very small settlement from the dock company and have learned to accept that.

I have accepted my scars, they are my badges of honor, showing what I have been through in life and how strong I REALLY am.  I am better person for my experiences and can truly appreciate life each day!  All those who were involved in the accident are very close now (except for those we lost over the years.) Whenever someone has the guts to ask me how I got my scar, I am never offended.  I give the whole story with all its warts.  I hope the journey was interesting for you!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, just wow! What strength you have. I'm awed.

    ReplyDelete

C'mon let me have it!