Friday, October 3, 2008

Emotional Distress

Some of you may know, and others not, that I was in a life altering car accident back in December. I remember it vividly, as if just yesterday. It was December 26th, and I was on my way to Arkansas to visit my, then in-laws. It wasn't something I was thrilled about doing since my husband and I had been separated. Without divulging into too much detail about our relationship-I felt like I needed to go. It was something I needed to do for me, and for him.

A sickening feeling overwhelmed me Christmas night. We'd be leaving the following day -driving along with my sister in law and her husband. We were taking our truck. I was scared. I didn't have a good feeling. Along with my mom and dad, I convinced myself that everything would be okay, and that I needed to go.

That day came. We completely filled the back of the truck with all our luggage, Christmas presents and extra luggage we were taking to the family. The four of us piled in the truck and headed towards Arkansas. Again, a bad feeling overwhelmed me and I asked my sister in law to say a prayer for us. She did, and I felt a little sense of relief afterwards.

About ten hours later, Adam decides he wants to take a nap. I offer to drive and he directs me in the correct way. Not ten minutes into me taking over the drivers seat, a cloud of fog surrounds the vehicle. It inhibited me from driving safely. I drove with my lights on low-beam, I slowed down, but I was uneasy. I had never driven the road and was uncertain of it's path. I wanted to stop. I couldn't drive. I pulled over and got out. I felt bad that Adam didn't get to sleep, but he felt more comfortable driving than I did. So again, he took the drivers seat.

Two minutes later, there was zero fog. I rested my head on the pillow and was just dozing off-when it happened.

I heard screaming. It was the most terrifying scream I've ever heard. I awoke startled and frightened. The car was spinning. All I remember is yelling - I wanted to know what happened. I kept asking if Adam had fallen asleep. I asked if there was fog, if there was ice. I wanted to know what happened before I died; because at that time, I thought I was going to die. I felt us stop and then lift off the ground-we flew up in the air landed upside down and rolled several times. We stopped.

Silence. That's all there was. I couldn't see. I couldn't feel. I couldn't hear. Finally, voices. Everyone asking if the other was okay. my feet were on the cold snow, sticking out the passenger window where the truck had landed. Finally my eyes opened and all I could see was blood. Blood everywhere. I was terrified. I kept asking everyone if they were okay-asking where the blood was coming from. I still couldn't move. I couldn't feel. I tried to find my seat belt to unlock it, but couldn't. I was getting claustaphobic. My heart was pounding. I was hyperventilating. I needed out. Adam tore the front windshield off-somehow Scott, in the back undid my seat belt and Adam picked me up. I held on, but collapsed. I couldn't walk. I couldn't stand. I still couldn't feel. He lifted me and laid me next to the truck.

From there, it's a blur. I remember someone holding my hand, someone giving me a coat. Paramedics wanting to move me, fearing the truck would roll again. But at the same time not wanting to move me until I was on a bed. I heard them talking about me being paralyzed. I was shaking. I wanted my mom.

I asked them to call my mom. I kept screaming. I needed to talk to my mom. Finally, we got her on the phone. I vaguely remember the conversation-but I know we hung up with her thinking it was a lot less serious than it was. Then, I was in the ambulance. Alone. They wouldn't allow Adam to go with. I was alone, and scared. I ended up at the hospital about 20 minutes before any of the others and by this time I hurt. My back hurt, my neck hurt. I could move my fingers and toes, but that was it. I couldn't lift myself.

The others eventually showed up and we were all cared for. The other three were released the first night, and I still hadn't been able to move my upper body. Two days later I was transferred to a spine specialist in Kansas. Adams parents came to the hospital and a day later my parents did as well. After many scary, painful days I was released. I'd broken my neck and had to be in a brace for three months. I'm now awaiting surgery and still in much pain.

I'm grateful we all lived. We are very lucky to be alive after such a horrible incident. But, now, I'm dealing with the after shock traumatic experiences. I wake up from horrible dreams and sometimes in a daze. It's a terrifying experience to be in a car. I can't bring myself to go on a car ride longer than an hour. I'm suffering from emotional distress. I have constant flashbacks. I feel like I sometimes have panic attacks while in a car. I have persistent pain from the horrible accident.

The car accident has affected and impacted my life in more ways than I could have ever imagined. I sometimes feel at a loss to know how to cope with the panic. I think I'm experiencing symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder. The healing from the psychological trauma is taking longer than I'd expected.

3 comments:

Got Bombshell? said...

Oh, my goodness! I had no idea! That is awful. I am glad you are not paralyzed. As bad as it is, it could always be worse, right? Like you said, that is a definite blessing.
That kind of thing definitely sticks with you for a while. My sister lost control of her car on a mountain road and slammed into a tree head-on after spinning. Luckily she did not suffer severe injuries like you did, but she couldn't ride in a car for about a year. And when my parents made her, she sat in the backseat crying the whole time.
It will eventually get better, but I'm so sorry that you are going through it now!
My prayers are with you, girl.

Michael D. Christensen said...

Wow I had no idea! I'm really truly happy you're okay, and I hope you can get the surgery to fix your neck really soon. You seem to have really come a long way from the girl I grew up with in S.F.! I'm really glad to see you're doing okay now though.

TiAta said...

I had no idea this happened to you. I am so sorry. I'm sorry we have lost touch. I don't have a blog but I have a facebook page http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1209129870 or you can email me at tiata@byu.edu (work) or tiata1@msn.com (home). I am here if you want to talk (798-2586). Clyde and I just moved into a brand new home in Spanish Fork. We've been here one week today. I would love to have you come visit any time. It is funny how one moment in time can change your entire life. We don't ever know why tragic things happen to good people. Heavenly Father only gives real trials to those who can handle them and make good things come from them. You are one of the strongest people I know, and I know that there is a purpose to come from this. I love you and know that you will grow stronger from this. Ti'Ata