For my second post from the archives, was this post from January, which was probably one of the hardest posts for me to write. It was the first time I wrote and published my story about my accident. It was hard to hit publish and it was probably hard for people to read. Some of my friends and family who knew about my accident hadn’t heard the details in this way before. I’m glad that I eventually had the courage to post it and it turned out to be my second most popular post on the blog.
From the archives – Post 2
Three years ago this month, I was involved in a motor vehicle accident that in an instant has changed my life forever. At the time, I was working as a Child and Youth Worker in a school with students with behavioural issues who were often aggressive. In my free time, I was part of a book club, the Toronto chapter of the Girly Book Club which met once a month. Occasionally we would get tickets to different events and on this particular night, we had received a bunch of passes to attend the red carpet screening of the new Nicholas Sparks movie Safe Haven starring Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough. I thought it sounded like a fun way to spend a Monday night so I signed up to go.
I came home from work that day and changed into one of my favourite dresses seen here in a picture of me from a few months prior. One of my favourite looks is wearing a day dress with a boyfriend cardigan. A look I put together that night and one that I still love today. I remember that I had gone to get my bangs trimmed prior to heading over to the movie theatre. I was looking good!!
I walked to the movie theatre because it was close to my place and walking around the city of Toronto was a favourite pastime of mine. I remember bits and pieces from that night. I remember that we had to hand in our cell phones prior to the start of the movie so I created a password for my phone before handing it in and getting a ticket in exchange. I know that I had my go-to snack at the movies (nachos and cheese with an iced tea) and I can remember images of the movie and most of the plot. When the movie ended there was a Q&A with the stars but I couldn’t tell you anything that was said. I remember walking out of the screening and getting out my ticket to pick up my phone but that is my last memory of that night. I know that I was headed home, but I never got there. I only made it about a block when in an instant everything changed. I was crossing the street on a green light when I was hit by a bus who was turning left.
How my life changed in an instant
He says he never saw me and I (luckily) have no memory of leaving the movie theatre let alone the accident. My next memory is a week and a half later when I was still in the hospital. According to my family and friends, I was mostly conscious during this gap in my memory and for the most part lucid. There were moments when I behaved in ways that were very unlike me and I talked about things that were unrelated to what was happening at the time but that was due to my injuries. I fractured my skull in two places and my brain swelled a lot. When you have a head injury there are a series of questions that they ask you several times a day: your name, the date and where you are. Apparently I was traveling because at various times I told them I was in Anne Arbour, Queensland and Trafalgar Square – all places I have never been to before. I was also told that I talked about a lady and a boat. I had been discussing the book The Forgotten Garden in the days before the accident so we think that I might have been remembering parts of the book. (FYI, if you are looking for a good book, I highly recommend it – so good!!)
The swelling in my brain resulted in a lot of pain and to help with that I was on morphine. Nothing was really helping though and my doctors were unsure of what to do next. Then the worst happened. A week after my accident I went into respiratory arrest. To relieve the pressure on my brain I had to be rushed into an emergency surgery where a craniectomy was performed. My neurosurgeon removed a piece of my skull on the right side of my head about the size of my hand. This was to allow the brain to continue to swell without bumping up against my skull. The bone flap (that’s what they call it) would remain out for three months to allow the brain swelling to decrease on its own before they would reinsert it. My first real memories after this accident are from a few days after this surgery when I remember feeling like I could think again.