I can’t wait to wear some normal fucking shoes, I thought as I limped along the tough carpet through the gym. These slip on shoes suck with no support or comfort. Grabbing the wall with my left to take a break, I stopped. I had been limping for a few months now as my injuries healed. I took a deep breath and looked over my left shoulder and peered through the glass. On the other side was a room filled with a few people on mats and colorful blocks. I watched as the teacher spoke to her students as they all began to lie back on their mats and close their eyes. The lights dimmed and beautiful music filled the room. I didn’t know what they were doing, but it looked amazing.
“Hey Tina, ya ready to get outta here?” my brother asked. “I was ready when we got here,” I told him, feeling ready to get home and take some pain meds and go to bed. My brother drove me to the gym since I was still unable to drive myself anywhere. A week earlier, I completed my physical therapy and graduated to using the gym. My left leg was so atrophied from multiple casts that it was the size of my thin arm and half the size of my right leg. I had a lot of strength and size to build up, but the effort to walk about the gym was exhausting enough. I moved from being bed bound, to using a wheelchair, to using a walker, to using crutches, to finally using a cane. As sour as my attitude could be sometimes, I was exceptionally excited for the little wins and gains I was making overtime.
Eventually, I was able to drive myself to the gym, and I even had my first pair of gym shoes on my feet. They felt very strange on my feet at first, but I was so happy to have them on, I took a picture of my feet in those Adidas, and emailed it to my doctor.
Checking in at the front desk of the gym that day, a new person working greeted me. She looked at me with some concern in her eyes and told me she knew me from somewhere. I told her I was sorry, I just couldn’t place her anywhere in particular. Then she said, “By any chance were you in a motorcycle accident a couple years ago?” Of course I told her she was right, but asked her how she knew, because she still didn’t look familiar in the least bit. Besides, the town my accident was in was about 40 minutes from the town we were currently in.
“I was the lady who ran outside of her house, told the car to back off of you, and held your head in the street until the ambulance came,” she explained to me.
“Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? Youuuu were.” I muttered as my mind flipped through a thousand flashback memories of a minute by minute playback of what seemed to be the worse memory of my life.
“Thank you. Thank you so much for being there for me. You were my angel that day.”
I was still in disbelief that we had somehow met again in a totally different location. I don’t think I would have ever remembered her divine role that day.
Hobbling across the gym floor, I made it into the women’s locker room, sat down and cried. More and more details started flooding into my mind. I remember trying to pull myself up to sit and being stuck.
“I caaaan’t movve my…” I said at the same time I noticed my left leg was under a car tire. “Fucking move now, you’re on top of me.” No movement from the car. Why aren’t they moving? I thought. Reaching to unfasten my helmet strap, and thanking the universe for having me pick that day to be the only day I actually wore my helmet since I bought my motorcycle, a lady ran over to the car that was pinning me down. “Back up, back up! You’re on top of someone.”
The driver rolled off me, and I slowly sat up as much as I could. “Woooow, so that’s what the inside of your body looks like,” was my first thought examining my gaping wounds as I was sprawled out in the middle of the road.
Quickly after that, I thought, holy shit this all looks really, really bad and I am scared. I can freak out and start panicking, go into shock, or really try hard to hold my shit together. Okay, I’ll hold my shit together. Someone told me an ambulance was on the way, but it wasn’t long until it felt like 20 fucking years had already past.
Then it was a game of 1,000 questions.
What’s your name? Kristina.
How old are you? 23.
Are you married? No.
Who can we call to tell what happened? No one.
No one? No.
Really? What’s your parents number?
Don’t call them (I don’t want to scare them).
Do you do drugs? No.
Have you been drinking? No.
Have you done any drugs today? No.
Have you taken any drugs today? Just like the last 8 times you asked me the same question, no I haven’t (Jesus, did a large bag a dirty syringes roll out of my pockets or something? Why do they keep asking me if I take drugs, because I don’t, like at all).
A paramedic flashed a pair of scissors, reached for my jeans and I shouted, “Don’t cut my favorite pair of jeans.”
“Do you want your jeans or your leg lady?” he asked.
“Fine, cut ‘em.” I complied.
It seemed I waited forever for an ambulance to arrive to rely on something tangible to keep my sanity. What I didn’t realize on the ride to the hospital was that I was in for a much longer life changing experience.
That casual Friday afternoon taking a short ride over to my friend’s house flipped my life upside down. My happy, carefree life turned into shock, worry and a desperate hope that my leg and foot would be ok.