Wednesday, November 12, 2008

365 days ... and counting

One year.

That's how long it's been since the wreck. Sometimes I can still feel the spinning, the impact. I can hear the crunch of metal and the crash of broken glass. I can hear my own voice -- not yet even knowing it was my own voice -- whispering, "Oh God, oh God. Help me. Someone help me." I can remember fumbling with my phone (how in the world i didn't lose it during the accident, I don't know) and calling 911. I remember a woman pulling over to help me, and I remember being trapped in the SUV. I can feel the blood flowing down my face and the oddly disconnected, swollen sensation in my left arm. I was driving down McFarland in Tuscaloosa yesterday, and there it was -- almost like a flashback. Everything. Or nearly so.

It was enough to make me pull over for a minute.

I remember going into shock and shivering uncontrollably. I remember the steam rising from the radiator against the velvety black November sky. It could have been beautiful under other circumstances. I remember being strapped to a backboard and being lifted bodily out of the SUV. I can remember people telling me to hold on, just hold on.

I held on.

I don't remember much about my time in the hospital, or the days after. I know Misty came, and I was glad to see her. But I don't really remember calling her. I know she was there every time I woke up. I remember being semi-conscious while x-rays of my head and arm were taken, and I vaguely have the sense that I tried to fight one of the techs. But I could be making that up. I'm not really sure.

The wreck shook me like nothing else really has. Every time I think about it, I wonder how -- and why -- I walked away from it. Well, I guess 'walked' isn't quite the right term. But I saw the vehicle afterward. Believe me when I tell you that I shouldn't have lived. I rolled over as many as four times, then hit a tree. My scalp was ripped open (and in some places, nearly off). There's still a furrow -- or a dent or divot, if you prefer those terms -- in my head that won't grow back. Probably not noticeable to anyone but me. At least not at first glance. I still have scars on my head and arm -- and an odd bend in my left forearm.

I'm not 100 percent. Not even a year later. But I'm not bad, either. And I'm working on getting even better.