My Accident (pg 2)
I remember everything about the dive. I remember thinking it was a great dive -- it had great form (as weird is that may sound). But those carefree thoughts were quickly interrupted by the bottom of the shallow lake below. I remember how unexpectedly my hands touched the slimy bottom. They immediately buckled and then my head made contact. I heard my neck snap and I flipped over and ended up facedown in the water. I knew I had to get out of the water to make sure I was okay. I tried swimming, but I wasn't going anywhere. The real shock came when I opened my eyes and saw all my limbs motionlessly dangling out in front of me in the water.
Extreme panic set in. All my concentration went to holding my breath. Since I've always been such a prankster I knew my friends would think I was kidding. I wanted to give them some signal that I needed help. The only thing I could do was shake my neck back and forth. I was hoping that they would notice something wrong with my head moving and nothing else (not the smartest thing to do as I look back, but I was panicking). This was undoubtedly the most terrifying experience of my life.
So many thoughts were going through my head. The longer I held my breath the more I felt like I was going to die. I couldn't believe my life was going to end this way! I held my breath until I couldn't hold it anymore. I remember my last thought being, "well I guess this is it." I was just about to take in water when at last someone pulled me out. I've never been so relieved! They laid me down by the waterside, questioned me, and called an ambulance.
Time went by really fast. I didn't quite grasp how serious my injury was either. From the moment I heard my neck snap I was denying the seriousness of the matter. I was apologizing to everyone for ruining their party. I was making sure someone told my boss I wouldn't be able to work that night. I didn't want them to call my parents because I didn't want them to worry. My thoughts went everywhere. When the paramedics came I had to answer tons of questions. I actually got excited when I found out I was going to be transported by helicopter. I've always wanted to go in one, just maybe not under those circumstances.
In the emergency room my thoughts continued to run wild. I recall when my family came in to see me . I remember the terrified looks on their faces. I didn't want them to worry. I was telling them I would be okay and trying to assure myself the same thing. At the same time, everything that was happening didn't seem real. I couldn't move or feel anything below my shoulders! I tried imagining spending my whole life paralyzed. Just the thought of it made me want to die right then and there.
I wasn't left much time to contemplate everything that had happened to me because within hours I was pushed in to surgery. I remember my family coming in one last time to pray everything would go smoothly. From that point I stayed pretty sedated and don't have many memories. For the nine days I was at the Orlando Regional Medical Center I only remember small fragments of friends and family that came to visit me. Morphine sure is some good stuff! While I was under I was battling pneumonia, a collapsed lung, staff infection, some MRSA virus, and a UTI. Things were looking pretty bad. Every day my parents came in to visit they were told, "She's probably not going to make it."
I needed to be transferred to a more specialized facility. On the 9th day I was to be transported (with my mom) via Learjet to Atlanta's Shepherd Center (Brain and Spinal Cord Rehabilitation Center). We were hoping things would start looking up for me...