Sunday, December 7, 2014

There were Angels all Around Us

     I can only speak from my perspective when I relay the delicate details of my memories, but in conversing with our children, they feel as strongly as I do about how each one of you who helped in any way has been an Angel sent to us.  

     There are few memories from my extrication and transport, but those few seem like such large remembrances.   There were people surrounding our car, helping keep the girls and I calm while waiting for the emergency crew to come to our aid.   Per my husband's communication, he arrived in record time and he skidded our truck to a halt in front of our scene. There was only a fire truck and a few cars on the highway.  Jumping out of the truck as his vision was tunneled only to see our white car, he regarded that the air bags blocked his vision of us as he hurried towards the passenger side.  Speaking with our girls he calmed and reassured them as the ambulance crew started to assess the situation.   Looking at the passenger side of the car, he thought, "Okay, this might not be too bad", then as he rounded the back of the car toward my side, he was shocked by the devastation staring back at him.

    Kneeling beside my window in the frozen grass, he lifted the airbag and asked, "Carey...... are you doing okay?"   At the sound of my husband's voice I felt my resolve shatter.  I was trying to stay so strong for our girls.   " It hurts so bad" I whimpered softly, but no tears could come with this cry as I was in shock.  I could only see an outline of him, but every part of me felt his presence.  He filled me with words of confidence and affection and moved back to the passenger side as the paramedics began to remove the girls from our demolished car.  I floated in and out of consciousness for the remainder of the extraction. 

     Feeling fairly calm this entire time,  I knew that my husband was able to comfort the girls so I had given into the darkness waiting to claim me.  Firemen and paramedics continuously woke me and I was able to give yes and no answers.  My personality is usually mellow and that seemed to stay true with me during this traumatic occurrence.  I'm sure if I could have formed the thought, I would have surmised that acting like a raving lunatic would have gotten me no where except being told to quiet down so the firemen could get me out more quickly.   

     As customary, I sat quietly and answered when spoken to.  I remember very little of this process.  I do remember once looking out my window and my gaze landed on my husband and my Dad, standing by the railroad tracks.  My vision had been only in black and white when I initially awoke, now my vision was again in color.  They both had their hands in their pockets and were staring at me with solemn faces.   Anguish for them consumed me.  I reassured them I was fine and not to worry, but that I was grateful they were both there.   

     They didn't respond, I discerned after a few moments that I hadn't actually spoken the words.  I was speaking novels in my head but the words were not emerging from my mouth.  I tried to show emotion through my eyes but by this point I was incapable of accomplishing much on my own.  I knew because I was in shock that I had that hollow stare and hated that they had to witness this from someone they loved.  I allowed my eyelids to fall shut. 

I believe the 'health care' training I've received helped me

understand the phases I was going through and how I needed to respond.  I also was consoled at the thought that at least one person out of all of the emergency crew would have to know me personally.  I didn't recognize any voices, but they were fantastic in how they handled me.  They were firm and direct when asking me questions or disclosing what action they were taking next, yet extremely consoling and supportive.  Never once do I remember any derogatory words, yelling or anything that would make me panic.  They were professional and compassionate in their work.  I will forever be grateful for their demeanor as a team.

     In the midst of cutting the car apart, one of the firemen advised me that they would have to remove the roof off the car.  "Okay" I acknowledged.  The next thought that entered my mind was sarcastic and I chuckled as I reflected to myself, 

"Well Greg's sure gonna like that!"  Like it really mattered, right?   It is amazingly odd how our minds work. 

      During the extraction, there was always someone to the right of me in the car, soothing me, quieting any fears I had.  Having this person there since my husband was unable to be near me as this transpired was essential.  After the roof was removed my husband leaned over the hood of the car and told me the ambulance was leaving and transporting the girls to the hospital in Rolla.  

     He asked me what I wanted him to do.  The girls couldn't be alone!  I told him to follow and take care of them and I assumed I would be following them shortly in my own ambulance.  I'm sure he had already come to this conclusion.  He translated that my Dad was going to stay with me so I wouldn't be alone and that Dad would give him regular updates of my progress.  I was comforted at the thought that he was still going to be there with me.  My husband's position was appalling .  

     He watched his family being separated from each other.  I did not follow them to Rolla.  We were taken to two hospitals in totally different directions.  He was being forced to make a decision to leave me, not knowing how severe my injuries actually were.  His strength is admirable, but his situation is not envied.

     I remember very little until I was pushed into the ambulance. 

Immediately paramedics cut off my clothes and when the woman had to lift my right leg I couldn't help but to moan out in pain.   I vaguely remember the Emergency Room sign as I was being wheeled into the hospital in Sullivan.  They performed CT's and many xrays and I remember nothing.  Having been conscious at some point when my Dad arrived at my bedside, I relayed in a childlike voice, " Daddy, I broke both of my legs".   Funny how tragedy makes you revert to childhood endearments.   

     As I was being pushed back into the ambulance the woman paramedic was overly apologetic to me.  She delivered the news,stating, " We can't fly you out because it is too foggy.  I'm so sorry, but we have to drive to Barnes Hospital and it's going to be a long, rough ride."   Moaning my disapproval I begged, "I don't care, just give me some medicine so I can go to sleep."  I believe that is just what happened next.  There is not even a vague recollection of that ride to St. Louis.

    By this time Dad has given my husband the news that I miraculously did not have brain damage or organ injuries.   My bone damage was severe, but I would survive.  

     There are angels all around, wrapping their beautiful wings around us in our time of need, disguised as ordinary people, living ordinary lives.  Most of us believe in angels, but have you ever thought of that angel as You?


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