Now more disabled!
The accused individual who done this:
•Illegal ("deported 4 times already")
•Open Alcohol Containers ("DUI 2 years ago")
•Witnesses said he was on his Mobile Phone
•Ran on foot from the wreck. Cops know who he is, but have not caught him yet.
•There's no insurance in his name.
A Canticle for Lazarus Article:
Jennifer and her husband Jeff were driving home, talking idly about dinner and their plans for the upcoming week. Out of the corner of her eye, Jennifer saw movement — and when she looked to her right, she saw the big SUV barreling towards her.
“Oh, Jeff, no,” she gasped, and instinctively raised her right arm to protect her face.
That was the last thing she remembered.
I was the recorder for the trauma activation. Our entire team stood ready when they wheeled Jennifer in — nurses, techs, xray, ultrasound, CT, pharmacy, the ER doc, the trauma doc, an ortho doc who happened to be finishing some notes after surgery when the trauma paged overhead.
EMS wheeled her headfirst into the room, c-collar in place, immobilized in a vacu-splint, blood on her face.
The medic started his report. “This is Jennifer. She was the passenger in an SUV that was hit on the passenger side by another vehicle. By the way, she’s deaf.”
I was so stunned by this revelation that I actually stopped writing for a moment. To be so badly injured, so shocked, so frightened — and she couldn’t hear anything we were trying to tell her. No reassurances, no updates, no warnings of upcoming procedures. Just silence.
I interrupted the medic’s report. “Guys, she’s deaf!” I shouted to the room.
The team responded instantly, and admirably. The bedside trauma nurse began speaking over Jennifer’s face, where Jennifer could try to read her lips. Another nurse returned with a laptop with a video sign language interpreting service, and held it over the bed as we tried to explain to her what was happening.
Her injuries were so severe that we knew almost immediately she would need to be flown south to the regional trauma center. As we made arrangements for transport, the x-ray team came to the bedside to obtain the dozens of films of her dozens of fractures. She cried out with pain as we placed the plate for each picture. I stood by the head of her bed and held her hand, squeezing it tight when she cried out. She was confused by the combination of pain and pain medications, and every time I met her eyes, I mouthed, “I’m sorry. It’s broken.”
“It’s broken?” she replied back, and I would nod.
And we would repeat the process all over again.
It was through a delightful accident of social media that I was able to connect with Jennifer again. We met in person for the second time in our lives – under much better circumstances – and we talked for well over an hour about what happened that night. She had received a new set of processors for her cochlear implants — her first set had been blasted off her head in the accident, and never recovered — and we chatted easily back and forth.
She told me the story of the moments leading up to the accident. I told her the sequence of events in the trauma bay. She shared with me the stories of her long hospitalization afterwards, and her ongoing rehabilitation.
She’s walking again — slowly, and with pain, but she’s walking. Not bad for a lady with two broken legs.
“We were so shocked when we learned you were deaf,” I said. “It was terrible for us — we had no way to tell you what was going on, or what we had to do next, or why we were hurting you by moving your legs.”
“What did you do?” she asked.
I shrugged, remembering.
With the med flight team on their way, the trauma began to wind down, and staff began to filter out of the bay and back to their normal duties. I signed out my charting to the primary trauma nurse, and then glanced back at Jennifer, still on the ER cot, still in her c-collar, still staring at the ceiling, the world bright and soundless around her.
One of our newer nurses had assisted in the trauma, and was busy tidying the bay. I grabbed her, and brought her to Jennifer’s side.
“Hold her hand,” I told her, as I stepped back into the noise of the ER, “and don’t let go.”
*Jennifer and Jeff have graciously given me permission to write about their accident, and to use their real names. Jennifer continues to push bravely through her lengthy recovery.
Their vehicle was totaled in the accident, and they will now require a handicap-accessible vehicle going forward. Please contribute to their GoFundMe campaign
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