After spending Christmas with friends, I flew out to spend New Years with my family. We were up in Maryland where much of my extended family lives.
THE ACCIDENT - December 29th, 2009.
The plan was to spend a few days in the Baltimore area then drive home to North Carolina the day of the 29th. I've always hated long car rides, so I always tried to sleep through them. I figured I'd be sleeping the entire ride to North Carolina, so I spent the entire night before my accident playing video games on my little cousin's XBOX (Lego Indiana Jones). I was asleep practically before we left my Aunt and Uncle's driveway. I did wake-up momentarily to hug my older sister as we dropped her off at the airport but otherwise I was down for the count.
How I spent the last night before the accident. I finished the entire game about 30 minutes before everyone woke up.
I slept in the back seat up against the door with my seat-belt on. From what I'm told, my Dad was driving on the freeway when he saw the car ahead of him stop suddenly. My dad slammed on the breaks and our car started spinning wildly out of control. Our car slammed into the bumper of a neighboring truck.
My Mom was in the front seat and had been knocked unconscious. My dad, awake and unharmed, told me later that I was screaming my head off; I have no memory of this. They shipped my off to Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland. I had two of my vertebrae (L1 and L2) completely shattered, broke both arms, and had lots of other internal damage. They put two stabilizing rods on either side of my spine but the surgeons felt it was better not do any surgery that could damage potentially intact nerves. The bones in my arms were set and a metal rod was placed in each.
I broke L1 and L2(top of Lumbar curve) but my injury level is considered T10(bottom of Thoracic curve) since that was the initial line of what I could move.
I woke up not able to move anything below the level of my belly button. The next few days were a morphine haze interrupted by a swirl of visiting family. I was sort of emotionally numb, staying upbeat the entire time. I just kept repeating that I wasn't going to be stuck using a wheelchair. They moved me out of there and into a rehab hospital. I starting to learn about the realities of my new life and what it would be like to move and live in a wheelchair.