The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Sep. 20, 2020. This month is coming up on a year since the event that changed my life forever.
I shut my eyes, slammed on the break and turned my wheel as hard right as I could. When I opened them, I was facing the opposite direction on the highway looking through my shattered windshield screaming for help. I won’t get into too many details from that night, but I remember the phone call I somehow managed to make to my parents with my two broken arms.
I was flown to Shands Hospital where I stayed for two weeks and had surgeries on both of my arms and legs. I was stuck in bed for two months, not even able to use the bathroom on my own until I eventually was able to start learning to walk again in November. I still have issues with my left hands and legs, but, surprisingly, I kept a positive outlook almost the entire time.
I’ll save you the painful details because the most important part of this story is what I took away from the experience and how I got through it.
The biggest thing I learned was how important it is to have people who care about you in your life and to always appreciate that. I was lucky enough to have a strong support system. My family made sure I was never left home alone in case I needed anything at all. My little sister slept on the couch in the room with me every day for almost two months. My friends visited whenever they could, even though all they could do was sit next to me while I was lying in bed. Without this, I honestly don’t know how I could have made it through without breaking myself mentally.
Sometimes I’m glad that the people in my life I met spring semester last year didn’t know me during this because I know how hard it was for everyone around me. I hate imagining my best friend who had COVID-19 at the time stuck in her dorm hearing and not being able to do anything about it.
As corny as it may sound, I did learn to look for the positive rather than dwell on the negative. I kept the mindset of “it could be worse.” Sometimes I did get angry at the fact that this happened to me but generally I was just thankful I was given the chance to keep living and that my injuries would probably heal. I just felt lucky that I didn’t lose anything completely.
I basically wasted my Fall semester class-wise because I had to medically withdraw from my classes which pushed back my entire academic plan. But, I pushed myself to get better and was able to come back to Tallahassee for the Spring semester. I’ve always been the type of person to just push things off and not actually do them, but I worked incredibly hard through my physical and occupational therapy exercises. I made it back, even though my dad was scared to let me go live on my own again (rightfully so). It was hard, but my friends were here to support and drive me around when I needed it.
I did start driving again a couple of months ago and even though I’m still nervous behind the wheel, every day I get better and more comfortable. I’m still recovering but if you take one thing away from this article, it should be that life has a funny way of changing directions unexpectedly, but you really have to make the most of it.