October 22nd

Natalie S

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I compartmentalize my life into two categories. Before the accident, and then after. On October 22nd, 2018, my life was changed forever because of one mistake. I was on my way home from getting my senior pictures. I was happy and carefree and most importantly, speeding. I was going somewhere between five to ten miles over the speed limit like I, and everyone else I knew, had done countless other times. Unfortunately this time was different because as I was driving around a curve, my rear passenger tire slipped off into the shoulder of rocks and I lost control. I swerved across the road, back and forth, back and forth. When I saw an incoming car, I made the choice to try and swerve into a yard. When I turned the wheel, I flipped and rolled my car four times into the ditch. Most people, from what I’ve been told, are knocked out by the impact of this but I was not. What was around 10 seconds, felt like years. I saw every one of the windows shatter. I felt the roof of my car caving in on the top of my head. I heard the crunches of my car being destroyed every single time my roof hit the ground. My airbags never even inflated. I was taken by ambulance to the hospital where they found I had suffered from multiple deep lacerations into my left arm, an extensive injury to my thumb, and abrasions covering my entire body. I had sliced the knuckle of my thumb through the bone, severing 50% of my tendon. The skin was missing from most of my thumb and my forearm from road rash. This was because my arm had flown out the window during the last roll and was dragged through the glass. Not to mention, I was a seventeen year old girl who had just looked death in the eyes. The road to recovery was long and painful for me. Physically, my entire body was bruised and swollen. Changing the bandages on my arm was excruciating. However, the real pain was in my head. Every time I closed my eyes, I was back inside of that car, rolling. I never intended on getting into another vehicle, ever again, especially not driving. I couldn’t stop thinking, “What kind of God puts a person through this? What did I do to deserve this?” I ended up having to have surgery, I went to occupational and emotional therapy, I got a million different types of scar cream. I decided that it didn’t matter to me why the accident happened, it was about what I decided to turn it into. In the months since the accident, I have told my story to as many people I could to try and prevent this from happening to anyone else. No one should have to go through what I went through. You never think it’s going to happen to you until it does and hopefully you’re lucky enough to survive it like I did. Slow down, be mindful, and stay alive.