When I had my car accident, I was sixteen. Looking back on it, I don’t remember what happened or what exactly I was doing in the car: playing with the radio, or talking to someone on the phone. I don’t remember.
The next thing I remembered was learning to walk again and everybody cheering me on to go further. I remember thinking that I was too tired and asking my physical therapist if I could sit down. She just looked at me and said, “No.” She continued cheering with everybody else.
I kept asking myself, “Why? Why do I have to relearn how to do the simplest tasks, such as walking, and my friends just get to come watch?” Sure, they had to go to school the entire day. But I had to stay in Community Medical Center’s rehab unit, 24/7! I didn’t get to go home for dinner, sleep in my own bed or see my pets.
I used to look at my mom at the end of those long days and ask her, “What happened?” When not even twenty minutes before, I asked the same question. The answer was familiar, but I honestly didn’t remember asking the question. Even though it broke my mother’s heart to tell me what happened, she’d say it again.
“You were in a car accident sweetheart. You rolled four times down Hillview.”
Seeing my mom cry made me cry. When her eyes filled up with tears, so did mine. I remember telling her how much I missed my pets, and what I wouldn’t give to sleep in my own bed, and how much I missed rolling on the floor with my dog.
I remember thinking about how I was such a defensive driver. This couldn’t have possibly been me.
Sure enough, the next day my first therapy was speech. The therapist came in with many different types of food and said, “Sidney, today were going to work on eating solid foods.”
She fed me some Jell-O, watched to make sure I chewed it up enough, and let me swallow it.”OK,” she said. “Now let’s try Mac-N`-Cheese.” Once again, she fed some to me, watched me chew, and let me swallow.
I look back at those times–three years ago. And I think, “How could I have been so strong?” I hardly had enough energy to get out of bed in the morning, let alone learn to walk again. I honestly don’t see how I had enough strength and energy to do this.
When people hear my story, they say things like: “I couldn’t have been that strong, I don’t see how you did all of that in such a short time period.”
Truth is, I don’t see how I did it either. I try to remember how I managed to have the energy to do this, but I can’t seem to find it. But I did it. I’m here today to tell you about it, and to let you know the dangers of driving. You just have to remember, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”