I was an 18 year old college freshman about to enter my second year. That summer I was having the time of my life. Sunbathing in my bikini during the day. After dark, gazing at the night sky studying constellations for my astronomy class. Recently engaged to be married. Then in a matter of seconds my world fell apart. Ironically, while driving to the car races where we expected there might be a crash or two, another car hit us head on at a high rate of speed. The driver of my car and I wore seat belts that saved our lives. The drunk driver who hit us was not as fortunate. She died.
Fast forward through the next six weeks: lying flat on my back with multiple broken bones in the hospital, surgery, blood transfusions, bed sores, constipation, pain like I had never experienced before with injections of narcotics every four hours that wore off in three. These physical challenges were difficult enough for an 18 year old to deal with. But as my body started to heal my emotional scars were just forming. I felt all alone as I tried to cope with my new self image of feeling ugly with all my scars, my fear I would never walk normally again, facing my own mortality, never again hearing from my fiancée and finally, depression.
My orthopedist visited me a few minutes everyday. I give him credit for my legs being the same length and my ability to walk again. But it was the care from nurses who were at my bedside day and night who convinced me that speech pathology was not going to be my life’s work. Nursing was.
There were many things I could no longer do after my accident. I could have given up and become a victim. I chose not to. Instead, I focused on what I could do. After a year of rehabilitation, I changed my major and transferred to another college in a new city. I dedicated my life to helping others recover emotionally and physically from the kind of trauma I experienced.
See my resume for the rest of my story….