The Accident

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Spazway
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The Accident

Post by Spazway » Fri Mar 10, 2006 7:41 am

The sun was bright and the temperature warm on that Sunday evening in 1985. March tenth, the start of spring break. Yippee! No school for a week! Little did I know there'd be no school for the next six months for me.

It started out like any other Sunday. We'd all gotten up, dressed and had breakfast before heading to dance lessons. I'd just started learning modern dance (or jazz dancing as they called it back then). Before then I'd done ballet and tap. I was seven-and-a-half, my little sister almost five.

It was six o'clock in the evening. My family had just finished dinner and my sister and I went out to play on the swings. We had had the swings for six years. Steph went into the house to ask my mom something. I wasn't going very high on the swing. I was pushing myself with my legs. I leaned back while holding onto the chains that hold the swing up so that I could pick up speed, the same thing millions of other people on swings have done millions of times before. The same thing I had done numerous times.

Suddenly while I was swinging, I fell. First my back, then my head, then my butt, then my legs hit the ground. I was in a lot of pain. I got up and sat in front of the swing and cried. I got up and walked into the house. went into the living room. I sat down on the chesterfield. Standing up didn't help, neither did sitting. Everything I did hurt like hell. When I told my mom that I'd fallen and that I was really sore, she suggested a warm bath because I'd probably just bruised some muscles.

I sat in the water for a while after I'd gotten washed. I was one of those kids who loved to play in the bath.

"Time to get out," my mother told me when the water had started to get too cold. I started to stand but I couldn't. My legs wouldn't cooperate with me. "No time for games."

I told my parents that I wasn't playing this time, I honestly couldn't stand. My father picked me up out of the tub and put me on my feet. My legs were like jelly and wouldn't hold me. Like a ragdoll I fell to the floor. Dad picked me up and carried me to my room where he tried to get me to stand again. Once more I fell to the floor. My father went to start the car while Mom helped me into my pajamas. Dad came back in and carried me out to the car and took me to the hospital.

Once in the ER, he asked if I wanted to sit in a wheelchair or a regular chair. Something told me that I wasn't in good shape so I told him I'd like to sit in the wheelchair. He put me in one and then went to the nurses' station to register. He came to sit beside me and I told him that my legs felt funny. He asked how they felt funny and I told him that they were pins-and-needles and numb. He put his hand on my leg and I told him that I couldn't really feel his hand. I knew that something was seriously wrong with me then. Every few minutes he would put his hand on my leg and each time I felt it less and less.

An hour after we got to the hospital I was taken into the exam room and lifted onto the stretcher. They did a pinprick test where they run the point of a safety pin over areas of skin to check whether you can feel it. The results were not good. Four hours from the fall to the exam. That's all it took for all movement and feeling from my waist to my toes to be gone. After many tests and x-rays they couldn't tell us why I could no longer feel or move my legs.

My grandfather arrived and brought my mom to the hospital, my grandmother was with my sister. He and my dad went home and I was transferred by ambulance to the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto for further testing. Mom and I played the Alphabet Game all the way from Richmond Hill to Toronto. I was so tired. It was after 10 p.m. Way past this little girl's bedtime.

The rest of what happened over the next four months (actually most of the next year) is fuzzy, not because of any head injury or temporary amnesia. It's more likely because of the fact that seven-and-a-half-year-olds can only handle so much before their minds begin to protect them from trauma.

I do remember the giant Winnie-the-Pooh stuffed animal on the wall outside the door of the exam room at Sick Kids. I remember being so tired and cranky and they wouldn't let me sleep because they were afraid of brain injury. I remember my legs being black-and-blue with bruises from the pinprick tests because I'm so fair-skinned and bruise easily.

I remember the ambulance ride from Sick Kids to the rehab centre at the end of March. That I remember because my uncle was the paramedic who drove me and my mom to the rehab hospital and we stopped at McDonald's for Chicken McNuggets on the way. :lol:

Twenty-one years ago today it happened. Twenty-one years, countless x-rays and blood tests. Twenty-three operations. The bicycle that I had just started to learn to ride without training wheels has been replaced by first a manual wheelchair and now a motorised one. My vacations have been spent in hospitals, including my 16th birthday.

It's funny how something so innocent as a fall from a swing can change one's life so drastically forever.
If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you. ~ A. A. Milne

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heinzs
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Post by heinzs » Fri Mar 10, 2006 7:49 am

I know this was hard to write, but I'm glad you did. You're a very brave lady, Sarah.

:hugs:
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rlnimages
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Post by rlnimages » Fri Mar 10, 2006 3:19 pm

Thank you for writing that and sharing it with us, Sarah.

Richard

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ninian
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Post by ninian » Fri Mar 10, 2006 3:22 pm

oh sarah, yes what heinz said, this can't have been easy to write...thank you for sharing it with us...

ninian
Anyone can be passionate, but it takes real lovers to be silly.

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Spazway
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Post by Spazway » Mon Mar 13, 2006 8:17 pm

Thank you all for taking the time to read and respond to this. Yes, it was very hard to write. For some reason it's much easier to speak about it than it is to write about it.

Thank you Pops for encouraging me to explore this more and helping me realise that it was all right to let some of the emotions go.

This was something that I really needed to share that day and I might continue adding to it over the next while. We'll see. :lol:

:hugs: to all for your kind words.
If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you. ~ A. A. Milne

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Debbie
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Sarah....

Post by Debbie » Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:41 am

When I read this.....I fought the urge to cry.....it took courage to write this Sarah....you're a brave woman.......one never knows when tragedy will strike and how we will handle it....looks to me like you have done well...you are always such a kind woman...I see a heart of gold when I read many of your comments to others...God bless you dear heart....
:bow: :bow: :crying:

love Deb.
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nekot
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Re: The Accident

Post by nekot » Thu Nov 08, 2007 6:13 pm

:crying: :crying:

Wow.....I just read this Sarah within the last hour. My husband came home and I read it to him. Neither of us could hold back tears.

I can only imagine how difficult and sobering and searching of the soul this was to write. Yet, I also read in your lines a gratitude for life and for the people in your life.

You are wonderful lady!!.. and shine brightly to all who are graced by knowing you.

:bow: :bow:
~eloquently scattered~
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Leysa
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Re: The Accident

Post by Leysa » Fri Nov 09, 2007 9:25 am

It made me sad to read this ... and then I was overwhelmed with your courage, your amazing sense of humor, and your lack of self-pity. That's hero stuff.

Thanks for sharing. :hearts:

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Spazway
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Re: The Accident

Post by Spazway » Sun Jun 26, 2011 8:41 pm

I just re-read this story. My, how much has changed in the 3 years that I wrote it...namely the 7 operations I've had since then. Maybe one of these days I will continue adding to my story...
If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you. ~ A. A. Milne

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MJPease
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Re: The Accident

Post by MJPease » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:02 am

Hello Sarah, With all the years that have passed I finally understand much more about your disability and your ability to to overcome it by reading "The Accident" Keep up the good fight Young Lady. :hugs: Take Care
Take me back, so far back, adjust this fate. Afeared lately of pen, in abscence of light. The fear I might stumble upon a plagiarized soul. Wipe this dark slate clean, regain my thought. Add the words that rekindle my depth of soul.

From: Summers Discontent 7-24-02

Sincerely

Michael J Pease

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