I remember looking up as the head lights jumped the median and squeezing my eyes shut before the impact. I remember that horrible smell and my ears ringing so bad that I was sure there'd be permanent damage. I remember hearing a child cry and Ryan's painful moans. I was drowning yet I wasn't under water. I was terrified. I was angry that people kept asking me the same questions over and over. Why weren't they asking me important things? I remember when they took Colum, I can recite the exact words that were said. I kept repeating the words he has no pulse inside my head. I remember screaming and losing control for a second, but quickly focusing back on trying to suck in enough oxygen so I could thrive long enough to get to him. Breathing in was almost impossible. I remember that the minutes felt like hours.
I remember being pulled from the car and hearing my bones cracking. My left arm kept falling off the stretcher and I wished I would just die every time it did. I remember being in the ambulance and wondering why it wasn't moving. I remember men shouting to remember to duck when approaching the helicopter since they had to leave the propeller running. We will be at the Hospital in only about 7 minutes the kind man told me as the helicopter lifted off the ground. 7 minutes didn't seem very fast at the time, I didn't feel like I had 7 more minutes and I didn't want to fight for 7 more minutes. I remember thinking about Christmas morning and knowing it was slipping through my fingers. But what I didn't know is that most people don't remember this stuff.
On Friday Ryan, Finn, and I went up to the Hospital and met with our amazing AirMed team that rescued us. I knew very little to nothing about what they did exactly until this happened to us. They save lives. They see so much sadness and suffering. After they deliver critical patients to the hospital they are off to rescue the next person. They are modern day superheroes and we are so grateful for them. We were lucky that it was a clear night so AirMed had enough visibility to come to our rescue. The accident happened next to a golf course, which turned out to be quite convenient for the possibility to park 3 helicopters next to a very busy road. I can't decide if I want Finn to work for AirMed so he can live out his childhood superhero fantasies or be an Occupational Therapist when he grows up.
Colum was buckled in his car seat behind me. The flight nurse that took care of him told us that he was able to get his heartbeat and blood pressure back to normal. "Babies and young children usually bounce back quickly", he said. He had no idea what was wrong with him because he looked...perfect. He gave him medication for pain and later learned that he wasn't going to make it. His injuries were so rare they actually called the world specialist on Christmas Eve to take a look at his x-rays. His spine was severed at the very top of his neck so there was no way that he would ever be able to breathe on his own. He died. My baby died while he was right behind me buckled in his car seat. It's likely he didn't feel pain. He was gone. In a split second my baby was just gone. Due to the severity of his injuries life support wouldn't really sustain his body for very long and that is why he had to go on Christmas Day.
All of them came on helicopters from different places: Orem, Park City, and Salt Lake City. All of them told us that when they arrived and saw our cars they didn't expect to find any of us alive. They do and see this kind of stuff for a living and were shocked to see any survivors. We learned that they administer medication to give patients amnesia, and that I was given this as well as pain medication. Obviously neither of these worked on me. I naturally have a high tolerance for pain medications, it actually runs in my family. This is not a good thing and when I am in a doctors care and try to explain this it just looks like I am looking for a high. I told them my memories of being wheeled into the ER and how I got the impression that I wasn't wanted. I was horrified and the people surrounding me wearing white coats and scrubs weren't friendly & it felt as though they hated me. There was one woman with light brown hair who held my hand and talked to me for a few seconds. She told me I was going to be okay and had sympathy not anger in her eyes. I wanted to speak to her, ask her not to leave my side, tell her how much I hurt, how scared I was, and how much I needed her to stay. There were orders being shouted all around me and I was surrounded by young residents, and machines with monitors, tubes, and needles. I remember my new Frye boots being cut off my calves and the scissors touching my skin as my jeans and blouse were cut from my broken body. I felt exposed and shy but talked myself out of it.
They were surprised to hear about a horrible experience I had when I was supposed to be asleep but was just paralyzed and could still feel my body crying in pain, and could still hear the things being said about me. They encouraged me to talk to some one about my experience so it doesn't happen again. That it's not supposed to happen, because I'm not supposed to remember. The drugs didn't work on me.
I asked them why exactly couldn't I breathe? I asked dozens of nurses and doctors after coming to and nobody really knew. Well, you had a ruptured diaphragm they told me. They weren't sure until after the CT scan because they've only seen a handful of ruptured diaphragms. Yes! That makes sense! I had no idea until 2 days ago that my diaphragm had been ruptured. Closure. Answers. You had a lot of life threatening injuries. You are lucky to be alive. I've heard others tell us that, I've thought that myself from time to time. But, coming from the superheroes it really sunk in. We told them it was because of our Subaru but they didn't seem convinced.
In a strange way I'm glad I remember some things... because I like to know. I still had questions. It's crazy having your baby who has no pulse being taken from the seat behind you and not knowing anything. I couldn't speak because it was such a struggle to breathe. Most of my family heading home that night heard on the radio that there was an accident and went around us to avoid traffic. My Brother's family passed the scene and didn't recognize our car. They had no idea until 10-11pm that night after somebody read about it on Facebook and then called somebody.
I'm glad Colum was with these amazing people and it brings comfort knowing he was well taken care of. The AirMed crew are some of the strongest people I've ever met.
Just want to give a shout out to all of our Superheroes from AirMed:
THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO. THANK YOU FOR RESCUING OUR FAMILY!!!
|All of our heroes. Questions were answered and we were able to get some closure. I love these guys. Owe them our lives.|
|The ER/trauma room I was first brought to. It was surreal seeing this and being in there again.|
|This is where I got my first catscan. I was paralyzed but could still feel like I was moving. It felt like I was going through a tunnel. I was terrified I was going to get cut open while still awake.|
|The table swings out... tight fit in there.|
|Finn would rather get bit by a spider and swing from buildings when he grows up but I'm hoping he won't be too heartbroken when he learns that probably won't happen. Maybe this memory will inspire him to rescue people :)|
|The landing pad on top of the parking garage at U of U Hospital. It's actually really pretty up here.|
|This is the actual helicopter I rode in. I remember it being a tight fit and seeing it up close, IT IS TINY. I vomited on poor Doug in here.|