Things are not always what they seem

In 1997, an event happened that would change my life as I knew it. I was involved in a near fatal car crash that left me with a twisted spine, a gash to the head  and other things that are no so apparent. I was checking the post box on a main highway yet rural country road in Texas and had pulled out to cross traffic but my car got caught in newly laid gravel. A 1 ton pick up truck had been in the distance and I thought I had enough time to cross the highway.

Unfortunately for me, the driver was speeding and plowed into my small Toyota Corolla, almost completely taking the front end completely off my car. I had not been wearing a safety belt at the time as I was only crossing the road  and was very fortunate that I did not fly through the windscreen. I instead grasped the steering wheel tightly and as they say, my life flashed before my eyes. My head flew into the upper awning of the door and all I can remember is seeing blood splatter everywhere. I somehow managed to reverse out of traffic and avoid any further collisions.

I do not remember a small elderly man that was my neighbour talking to me. Instead, I was adamant there was a lady speaking to me. This would be the beginning to unusual occurrences in my life as I would later realise- I would know things that I had no way of knowing, have some psychic dreams and experience encounters with divination.

As I looked up the road,  I could see that the lady who had collided with my car was standing outside her vehicle a good distance up the road.

The ambulance arrived and strapped me down to a stretcher, asking me questions to see if I would respond. My mother arrived about the same time and was in hysterics, I can still remember her face and I was quite calm until the medics tried to insert the intravenous needles. I was brought into the Emergency and was left waiting hours upon hours in a room, strapped to a bed and continuing to bleed from my head wound.

The highway patrol showed up and questioned me on the accident and I was in such pain, I just wanted him to go away and let me be. I admitted I pulled out in front of the car, so I was the one held accountable for the accident.

The nurses and doctors finally came after hours of waiting and shaved the left side of my head. I watched as the lady who crashed into my car walked out with a neck brace as they sewed up my head. I was then directed to have x- rays done and without assistance, was lead down the hallway and I noticed how hard it was for me to walk. When they left me alone to go to the toilet, my mother was frantically looking for me. She helped me walked back to the room and I was then wheeled out of hospital in a wheelchair,still covered in blood and my hair that was left on my head all matted in dried blood.

I went home and slept, but the next morning I could not lift my head out of bed. My mother took me to a friend’s house, who was also a hairdresser and she washed all the blood out of my hair. It was her that noticed that there was an infection in my head wound and advised my mother to take me to a better hospital in the next city of Beaumont.

My mother did accordingly and rushed me to hospital, where the doctors confirmed that there was indeed an infection. The doctors in the Silsbee hospital had not stitched up my wound properly and the infection had set into the gaps. They could not remove the stitches as it had been 24 hours but prescribed me antibiotics and heavy pain killers (Vicodin) as the previous hospital had not. A MRI and CAT Scan were also ran and that I would suffer memory loss amongst other things from the accident. The doctors found that my spine had been twisted badly in the crash  and I was told that I would have to spend at least 6 months to a year in physiotherapy and some time in a wheel chair to regain my strength.

This changed everything. I was heavily medicated and people who knew about my accident would come up to me and talk to me as if I was mentally handicapped. They would ask me questions like, ‘do you remember me?’. I had already suffered from serious bouts of depression and attempted suicides prior to the crash and rapid weight gain from not being able to move as much alongside the mental incapacity did not help. I suffered sharp stabbing pains in my eyes, constant blinding migraines and lack of focus.

I sat my SATs only 2 months after my crash and even though I was once a stellar student, I did poorly on the test and knew that all my chances of attending  a good college were lost. I took the only option that was available and attended the Art Institute of Houston where I was accepted based on my artistic skills and portfolio.

During my time there, I continued to struggle with what is known as blunt force trauma, which is caused from a heavy blow to the head. I couldn’t concentrate on anything, my studies, nothing. I reverted to heavy drinking and drugging , anything to take the depression and pain away. I knew that I had become a different person, my method of thought had changed. Nothing mattered anymore, I had walked away from a crash that some people would have died in.

After college, I moved to Dublin, Ireland and continued to fight with my demons. I had a long past as I said with depression and several attempted suicides, resulting from emotional and physical abuse that I had sustained from my mother while growing up. I continue to fight this depression even now and after losing my grandmother in 2007, just when I thought I had eclipsed my lowest point of depression, the walls came tumbling down on me again.

Too often people look at the outside and assume people are normal. I have never used what as happened from the accident as a disability even though it would have been an option for me, especially after losing my job in 2008 in finance. I know many people who have been in serious accidents like myself or have an ailment and have used it to gain employment or to their benefit. However, I do not wish to be treated special just because I have an injury.

I realised after speaking to someone online last night, that even I, myself have been guilty on looking at someone and not scratching the surface to ask them more about themselves. I would like to thank that person for sharing their conditions with me, I know how hard it is and how judgmental people can be when you admit imperfections. It has led me to want to share my story and perhaps give hope and maybe inspiration to people who struggle with depression or any other affliction. I am looking to becoming involved in a local support group for people who are finding it difficult to cope with depression or life long illnesses/injuries, etc.

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About jessienileacai

Irish speaker and artist. I love music, art, languages,literature, history, travel, photography, and comedy. I love Ireland, my heritage, the old ways and the beauty and people of this small island and its surrounding tiny islands
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