Sunday, April 01, 2007

April Fools.....NOT! Twelve years later. My New Normal

Today is our 12th anniversary. Twelve years ago at 4am, my life changed. I was in a horrible car wreck involving a drunk driver. My close friend Jan's husband was driving and Bill and I were with him. Jan was working so she was not with us. Our wreck occurred around 4am on April Fool's Day 1995. She got a phone call from her Daddy saying her husband, her cousin (my hubby and my friend are 1st cousins), and her best friend were all in a wreck. The state police had contacted her Daddy and had him call Jan at work. They thought it would be better if it came from her Daddy. She was an LPN working the night shift and she was an hour away!! So for an hour, she had no idea what she would find once she got there.

What I remember most was pain...extreme pain! Coming in and out of consciousness for a few days. My foot was amputated except for very small area on the inside left of my right foot. The bone was broken completely through and it was a horrible open fracture. Very shortly after arriving at the hospital, I had already had tons of x-rays and many Drs. in on the consulting, and I was about to be taken into surgery.

I can remember a nurse asking me if I wanted a general anesthesia or a local, because they were going to take me into surgery to try and re-attach it. They assumed I would lose my foot, but weren't going to give up without a try. I was so out of it, I couldn't think straight. To this day, I am amazed that they were even asking me such a question. They should have put me completely questions asked! Why would anyone want only a local for what they were about to do? It was going to require screws and a lot of cleaning. All I could do was look at the nurse and finally I asked if Jan was there. That was it! I knew she could help me answer that question even if I couldn't. So she and her mom came back to the room where they were prepping me for surgery. She came in the room, leaned over and hugged me, and burst into tears....telling me that I had scared her to death and that she had to drive over an hour from home to the hospital just to find out if were were alive and ok. She said I can't even believe you are considering doing it with a local!

The Dr told me that I would have to have skin graphs IF my foot even survived. However one of the many miracles that occurred was that the skin did not have to be grafted. It survived on it's own!! I have had several surgeries on my foot and they final one being a fusion which means I have a rod in my right ankle and walk with a limp sometimes....mostly when I'm tired at the end of the day. They used bone from my hip to graft around the rod. I was in the hospital for 11 LONG days before being released.

I'm so happy that Bill escaped with only minor bruising. When we would go places, I would ALWAYS ride shotgun (front passenger) and Bill would ride in the second row. However this night I can clearly remember talking to him in the parking garage asking if he would mind changing seats with me. To this day he feels somewhat guilty about that. I told him it worked out the way it was suppose to. God had things worked out before we were even born so who are we to talk about what ifs.

Everything in my life seems to be described as before the wreck or after the wreck, but it changed me.....that's for sure.

And if you've made it this far, here's the journaling on the above LOs (both are in my gallery):

My life as I knew it changed forever on April 1st, 1995. It was April Fool’s Day and it’s the day my world collided with a drunk driver and came to a screeching halt. Eric, Bill, and I had been to Harrah’s in Vicksburg the night before and we were on our way home. It was only an hour and half drive, but we never made it home that night.

My ankle was essentially amputated and had to be reattached. The driver had parked his car in the right hand lane of the interstate to urinate. He thought he had pulled completely over. What followed was eleven days in the hospital, two surgeries, at least five months of rehab, another five day hospital stay, another surgery, two years in a walking cast, and two years of constant pain. Yet my life has been blessed immensely.

I’ve forgiven Cody….the name of the driver. What good would it have done for me to hold such hate towards him? I came home from the hospital 11 days after the accident. On April 18, the Oklahoma City bombing took place. Since I couldn’t walk around on my own, the only thing I could do was lay there and watch TV. That was all that was being covered. A day or so after the explosion, they found a young mother trapped under the rubble. Her leg was caught and the only way to free her was to amputate her leg without anesthesia. It was her right leg…the same as my injury.

When she was rescued, she was happy! She didn’t dwell on the fact that she no longer had both legs. While I had begged the Dr to just remove my foot because of the extreme pain, she had hers removed to save her life. It was a turning point for me! I’ve learned to accept my limitations. I can no longer walk long distances without pain. I can’t dance or run. No longer is an all-day shopping trip to mall something that I can do and enjoy. I can no longer skate. I will never learn to ski. I will never hike the trails in Mexico or Hawaii. Sure I feel sorry for myself every so often, but I quickly get over that.

But what I choose to focus on is what I CAN do. I can still live my life to the fullest….glorifying God and proclaiming the miracles that occurred. Now it’s my testimony of what God can do in your life and how he answers prayers. Maybe not in the way you thought, but He does answer prayer. You see, a few months before the accident we were told that the only way we would ever be able to have children was through IVF. We didn’t have the money for this! So, I prayed. I prayed that God would open doors for me if this was His will. I received very little money from the insurance companies for my life-long injuries. But you know how much was left over after all the medical bills had been paid off? Just enough to cover one round of IVF!! And that’s all it took.

So, you see, blessings come when you least expect. And God is still in the business of answering prayers.


Tam said...

Wow! A very moving story! And you are so right, things happen for a reason that God has already worked out before we are born. I am so thankful that you are here today to tell your story!

Tricia said...

WOW CARLA!!! Your LO is amazingly powerful! It is so wonderful that you have the attitude about things like you after such a terrifying time!! God does work in myseterious ways and I am thankful I read your story!

Tricia =)

Kelly said... are a brave person, and God does work in mysterious ways, you are obviously proof of that. Thanks for sharing your story. ~Kelly

Anonymous said...

Carla, what an amazing and powerful story! It's just filled with miracles!

Vicky Kelly said...

(((())))) I know this had to have been difficult & just remembering it over & over. Beautiful work, scrapping can be so therapeutic.

Dolores said...

OMG Carla, your story is so inspiring, You remind me of all the miracles that the Lord can provide us with. Your Faith in Him has been and will continue to reward you. You have such an amazing beauty I always thought it was your smile and now I realize that it's the beauty of the Lord that shines through you! God Bless You

~dawne said...

Holy toledo girl. I've heard parts of this story, but WOW!! What a blessing you are here today to tell your story!!

BTW, I've tagged you, so read my blog. And, I love your Tickled Pink layout!!

Jaci said...

WOW Carla! What a story! I had no idea! It's truly a miracle that you are here!
Wonderful job documenting it all! (as usual)! Your stuff ROCKS!


tasra said...

My goodness girl...that is intense! I never expected that when I looked at your scrap pages. You did a great job with them, but even more amazing is your story. Thanks for sharing!

Colleen said...

WOW! What a story! Thank you for sharing it.

Jane said...

Nice page...nice LO's and pics!!! I'm looking forward to getting to know you on this challenge!!!

Sheryl said...

Carla...your story brought me to tears! I have always said that things always happen for a reason and you had to have something bad happen to have something good happen...but look at the could not have asked for a better miracle! I am so glad to have met you here at the Shack and look forward to getting to know you better!

photo_chick said...

You so have it right. God has reasons. He has a plan. I am so glad the one round if IVF worked because I can see from the other LO's your DD is beautiful!

Tracy (from 13 conversations) said...

I'm left rather speechless (a rarity). What an amazingly inspiring life story and a true testament to God's plan for us. You are an incredibly strong woman & I am so glad that you are around & able to share this with us. "Don't ever lose that light in your eyes..."

cg said...

What alot to go through . So glad things turned out much better that they could have. And you are so right gosd does have a plan for all of us.

photomama said...

Hi, my name is christina and I ran into your blog looking for hospital patterned scrapbook paper on google. Your pages are great and I wanted to say Hi!