Writing this is becoming more difficult. I’m struck by the large gaps in my memory and the time that is completely gone. I also know that soon I’m going to tell you about losing Kalkidan, and that is unbearable. I’ll press on.
I have a vague memory of Russ telling me he loved me and they would get me out. That is jumbled together with a memory from immediately following the accident when he had unbuckled me but not yet climbed back to check on Kalkidan. He kissed me and told me he loved me and we would be okay.
The next thing I remember is someone breaking a hole through the windshield and looking in. The man told me that they were going to lift the car and get me out. Time passed; I don’t know if it was one minute or ten, then I heard the rumbling sound of a generator.
I felt myself being pulled out through the window and great pain in my right hip. I was laid on a backboard and lifted. I don’t remember being carried to the ambulance, loaded in, or anything at all. (When Russ read this, he told me that the backboard was laid on a stretcher which had been lowered to the ground and then lifted. He helped them wheel me to the ambulance. The EMTs had arrived and taken over breathing for Kalkidan, so he was able to move between us.)
Perhaps it is God’s mercy to me that I didn’t see the mangled car, my daughter on the ground as emergency workers did all they could to revive her, Russ with blood on his head and face praying over her, traffic stopped on the road, police cars, and ambulances.
Next I remember being in the ambulance, one EMT on each side of me, a woman my age to my right, a younger woman to my left and closer to my feet. I had a large neck brace on which I was sure was making it difficult to breathe. I pulled at it with my right hand and gulped for air.
In my confusion and fear, I asked, “Is my daughter okay?” The older woman paused, put her hand on me and said, “They’re working on her.” I’m not sure how many times I repeated that question over the next hours, but each time I was given a similar response.
They explained that we were meeting a paramedic further up the highway who would check on me. There was great concern because I take Coumadin and the risk of internal bleeding was significant. (Russ later told me that he told every emergency and medical worker he encountered that I was on anticoagulants.) The younger woman told me that they were going to cut my clothes off. I have a slight memory of scissors cutting up the leg of my jeans to my waist.
Time passed again. I have a flash of memory of the paramedic on my left side. I don’t know if he stayed with us the rest of the way or not, nor do I remember arriving at the hospital, being unloaded and wheeled in.
The next thing I can recall is being in a room with people on every side of me. There was a man to my left near my head who was my nurse. I think he was with me for a long time; although I don’t remember ever seeing him, his voice was present. A doctor was on my right talking to me. Medical folks were moving quickly moving around the room. A woman held my left foot up, rubbing it with her hand, “You’re so cold,” she said. I felt the hot prick of a needle as she drew my blood; it registered slightly with me that they urgently needed an INR to determine how thick or thin my blood was.
I asked again (many times), “Is my daughter okay?” They assured me that she was being cared for. I cried, “I need my husband,” also many times, but he was being seen by another doctor.
Time passed. I was rolled through halls – then in a room having a CT – I think my nurse stayed with me holding my hand. Then to another room. By now I’d been given pain medication which was a welcome relief but made everything foggy. At one point I was transferred to another surface, my right foot caught on the blanket and I cried out, “My leg, my leg.”
Time passed again. I opened my eyes to see the trauma doctor on my right; I don’t remember what he was doing. I looked at his kind face and with a tearful voice said, “Is my daughter alive?” He rested his hand on my arm, and gently said, “No, I’m sorry she’s not.” He went on to explain that she had died instantly due to injuries from the impact of the accident. I cried, “Oh no, oh no. I need my husband, I need my husband.”
Minutes (or maybe an hour) later, Russ came through the door, rushed to me and held me as well as he could with the large brace around my neck. His face was on mine, we sobbed, our tears running together.
All for today. Lord have mercy. Friends, please pray for us.
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