1st Car Accident – Nov 12, 1993
Hi Roger again, like to share with you all yet another chapter in my life. It's been about year and a half since my paralysis. Well I started College at Eccc South Campus for Computer Information Systems in the fall of 92! While there I met up with another guy in wheelchair Mark Dunford. Granted it was little intimidating at first since this being my first time out in society in wheelchair. I wasn't able to drive yet. So the van service pretty much had to drive me back and forth to school which sucked! Cause there so unpredictable sometimes. Sometimes you're waiting to get picked up for 15 min up to 45. I am Bing Bing Person. As I talked more with Mark, he kept going on about joining Wheelchair Basketball Team there in Buffalo the [E.P.V.A]. I was quite nervous an unsure so I declined. But I would love to check it when I am up to it. Feb. of 93' I became Independent. I bought my first car a 92' Ford Tempo. Now I was able to come and go as I please when I want. This actually opened up a whole new life for me. A little bit of me felt free, no longer did I feel trapped inside my own body. No more counting on others to do things for you. Having them hold that guilt over your head. Even though they don't mean to but you knew that you couldn't go anywhere unless it was them to take you. Lot of times I'd have to beg and plead to go anywhere. That's all changed now! Over the summer of 93, I contacted Mark Dunford. Talked to him bout the Wheelchair Basketball he mentioned while back. He invited me out to his home. God I loved the ability to drive and the freedom to choose when an where to go. Mark was just the right friend I needed. He opened my eyes to so many opportunities. As I pulled up to his house I noticed he was out on the rider lawn mower. Which completely shocked me although I found out it was an automatic rider. I had not known there were riding mowers that were automatic. Yet here is one. When he was done mowing his lawn I met up with him in the garage. I was kidding around and said yea but what happens when you run out of gas. He laughed and said that, that had happened to him down by the edge of the lake. He went on to say that he had to get down off lawn mower and hop his butt on the ground back to library to get back into his wheelchair and grab the extra container of gas. Ever since that day he has kept an extra gas container. Wheelchair basketball season didn't start till the fall so in meantime we took up little tennis. Even though, we had no idea how to play tennis. We didn't know the rules or anything. I think we just pretty much chased the balls more then we actually played the game. But that didn't matter not to me. It was just getting out there having fun enjoying the day with a Friend. The fall of 93' I started back at College. That semester I was quite eager to start. Caught up with Mark at school he reminded me that Basketball was starting up once again. I followed him up to where they practiced. Buff State University is where they practiced. I got to meet everyone there and just amazed watching them. Everyone seemed to understand what they were doing. Because I had no clue what they were doing. I found out that every 2 turns of the wheel you have to dribble if you wheel a 3rd time without dribbling then that's Double Dribbling. For someone who was never much into sports before injury, this all was new and fascinating to me. It's definitely a lot different being a participant then an observer. And the one thing I liked bout the (E.P.V.A) team. Was the idea that everyone got to play at least once. No matter what their level or skill even if it's only for 5 min. Couple months gone by. I started getting the knack of the game. Found out at practice we had a Tournament in Connecticut. Was quite excited the traveling was starting. Though, I prefer to fly, though most drove. I was all excited that day. I had classes all I could think bout was getting to play in tournament. After class I head back to house to pick up my gear/bags and then off to airport. As I was coming home from college I was at the intersection bout to turn left onto my road. I waited for traffic to clear. I had the blinking Yellow light. I waited for 2 cars to go through. It was clear after that, well so I thought. Once I started turning left a woman was flying around corner in her car. Well I stopped halfway I wasn't all the way across. She could have swerved or slow down or made some attempt to avoid hitting cars. But she didn't she came crashing into the front right side of the car I just closed my eyes and prayed. I could feel car jerk like crazy, pulling me very hard here n' there. After car stopped moving around, I knew I didn't feel right. Shaken up mostly! It seemed like she pushed me back up the hill I just come down from. Belt held me luckily, but did some damage. I was sitting halfway in the ditch. The cops arrived at the accident. When paramedics showed up they started getting me out of the vehicle. I mentioned that I was paralyzed from waist down. And they thought it just happened. But I told them no, it didn't just happen. It happened after I was shot 2 times. Before I was able to finish what I was saying. The one EMT guy was yelling for the cop telling him that I just been shot 2 times and is paralyzed from waist down. And after he said all that, I finally got to finish telling them. They were relieved for the most part. With a spinal cord injury either new or old, they had to make sure to brace the spinal cord as much as possible when pulling someone from vehicle. I remember going into the hospital but after that, it's blank. I remember waking up, it was hard to breathe. I looked around, so many people was there, bout 9 doctors, both my parents with expression of concern. I was worried. I looked up at the pulse monitor and it had dropped down from 85 to 50 then to 40 and then down to 27. What's going on now I asked? I looked around at everyone running back and forth unsure what was happening. Then it started to drop down again to 15 then 10. I realized I was dying again. Why? Why was this happening? What did I do this time? At least both my parents were there this time. For now I can tell them that I loved them, where in NC when I was shot and dying I didn't get the chance. My dad was like you can't die now you just met Lori. [This girl that I knew from the gym] I had thought cared for me. It was the first girl that showed any interest in me since my injury. She was now my reason to live. I huffed and puffed breathing harder and faster making a desperate struggle. It was so tiring to keep a steady breath. I noticed my pulse was starting to go up some. I gasped in relief it worked. So I took a few minutes to catch my breath. Then I noticed my pulse was dropping again. Went from 10 then to 5! I started begging for mercy. I began praying to god once again. Too let me live. I'd do anything it wasn't my time. I just found someone that loves me for me, etc. Then Pulse hit 1. Right then everything got fuzzy and faded way to dark. I realized this was it; I'm dying in few seconds to being dead. I did not want to die. I wasn't sure if I was dreaming or if was awake. I remembered few things but was kind of hazy. One minute I'm on operating table. As I look down raising head so I could see. Someone smacks my head & tells me to lay still. So I did, and yet I find myself looking again and getting hit again in forehead. Then my doctor comes and tells me I was in car accident and I was going to be ok, Then blackness came. I wasn't sure how long it's been, or where I was when I woke up. Though I knew I was in a hospital. Just lying there all groggily, I watched everyone bustling about. Did they know I was awake? When I came out of the coma, I had thought 2 yrs went by. Plus I thought I was back down in NC. Cause the one nurse had a NC accent. In my head as I laid there afraid to go back to sleep, worrying I would never wake up again. All I could think about was; where was I? I had to get in touch with my parents let them know I was alive. And when I did finally find a phone and called. My dad had answered the phone and was very upset. I was like, dad I'm alive. He was like, "who is this? Is this some kind of cruel joke? I buried my son 2 yrs ago." And he hung up the phone. I wheeled around town aimlessly dazed and confused wondering what had happened. Why did they think I was dead when obviously I'm not? I am very much alive but they think I am dead they got rid of all my stuff. I'm all alone now. No love ones anywhere what am I going to do. That's a painful thought, if you ever thought to yourself before, you'd know. Finally some doctors were coming around seeing me. I didn't know any of them. I remembered my doctors from NC. Finally some doctors were coming around seeing me. I didn't know any of them. I remembered my doctors from NC. Though I was calling him the wrong name but like I said, I thought I was back down in NC. Finally my parents had come to visit me. I was so confused. Since I thought it was 2 years later. Mom & dad had come in to visit. They said they been there ever since the accident. I was like. You have been down here in NC. Has dad been commuting back and forth from Buffalo to NC? He was puzzled as I was. They said no I was in Buffalo. They helicopter me from the Hospital in the local town and flew me up to ECMC in Buffalo. I guess I was getting that mixed up thinking they flew me up from NC. My memory was so fuzzy. It was like I could remember things but fuzzy on others. It was frustrating. What Irritated me the most was when I got get well cards. My mother read them first then gave them to me to read. I don't know why at the time why it irritated me. Till, today I still have no clue why it did. When I got to my regular room on the floor an out of ICU, I was relived. When my parents visited me in hospital, I don't know why but I would have this upset look on my face. After a while I had been really upset anytime my dad walked in. He'd see it in my face and would leave. I didn't understand why I had such resentment toward them. I loved them and I didn't know how to explain that I wasn't really upset at them. I could remember people's names but I could not picture who they were. It really frustrated me more. I guessed that's why I was lashing out at my parents. We tend to lash out on the ones we love. Why that is I don't know, but we do. The doctors would have me remember 3 words. Apple, Ball, Tree. Then talk to me, ask me other questions & at the end ask me to recall the 3 things. I would get at least 2 right. After the session though, I sat rest of day and night repeating those 3 items. Apple, Ball, Tree. Apple, Ball, Tree. Apple, Ball, Tree. The next day, I was like. OK now I have 3 things I want you to remember doc' Apple, Ball & Tree. He Laughed. Though till today, I sometimes notice I still have problem with my short term memory. We finally determined what had gone wrong from the beginning why everything turned to the worse. You see the medication I am on, Baclofen, Clonidine & Ditropan. The Baclofen I cannot stop cold turkey. The county hospital I was taken too. Didn't know I was on medication. I thought they knew. But then again I only remember going in after that I don't remember anything till I woke up 4 days later. You can't just stop Baclofen; you have to take it off gradually. My body went into a complete shutdown. Cause it didn't have the medication. That's why everything went down hill. The doctors thought it was a reaction to anesthetic or something. I was in the hospital total of 24 days for that accident. It took me awhile after I got home to get back doing for myself. Got back to gym, back to working out, exercising etc. It's very important for us in chairs to exercise. And if you have the means to wheel yourself around then do it. Stop letting others wheel u around. I get so frustrated when I see that. Damn laziness, but if people like quads that can't then that's different. I had to withdraw from my classes since I lost so many days. But I could retake them next fall semester. The car survived and got it fixed. Got back into basketball was able to do the next tournament which was fun. Oh yea that Girl Lori from gym, found out later she already had a Boyfriend. O Well, at least for a time felt nice thinking girl was interested in me.