Ok, I don't often use the bakery and its media outlets (ie: the blog) as a personal soapbox, but I do occasionally make exceptions. This is one of the exceptions.
WARNING: the following video (and story) may not be appropriate for young children; the video is VERY graphic.
This video is a PSA from Australia and I have to say it may be the best anti-drunk driving promotion I've seen ever; it's 5 minutes but please do it justice and watch the whole thing. Click here to go to the video on You Tube.
I cried the entire second half of that movie, both from remembrance and gratitude.
I remembered the bright light as his jeep rounded the corner and the explosion I saw in my head before waking up almost 60 feet from where I was hit, not able to move my lower body, tasting my own blood in my mouth, and wondering if anyone in our group was dead.
I was grateful to still be here, walking and talking, despite terrible odds.
I don't talk a lot about the accident; it was over ten years ago, my sophomore year of college. Some friends and I were walking home after a party to the apartments right behind campus. We looked both ways and began crossing the street (a small campus street with Greek houses and student apts). Two guys, other students, were driving home from a bar just a couple blocks away; they were going between 60 and 70 miles per hour when they rounded the curve in the street and, without once hitting the brakes, plowed into our group. They hit the two people in the middle, myself and my friend Jackie, and kept right on going. We were each thrown about 60 feet.
Jackie skidded on the pavement and tore her scalp off from her eyebrows to the back of her head. She fractured her hip as well as an arm and had to have reconstructive surgery on her face.
I broke bones in my knees and my pelvis snapped in multiple places, one of the shards tearing through my bladder and causing significant internal bleeding.
Jackie and I were taken to different hospitals and it was the longest night of my life. I couldn't move my legs and there was excruciating pain everywhere. When I arrived at the hospital, I was rushed into the ER where my clothes were cut off of me and I was stuck with so many needles I felt like a pincushion. Before I could be medicated, xrays and CT scans had to be made, so I had to be moved onto cold, hard tables while different scans were run (all with a pelvis that was completely broken in multiple places); I couldn't stop from screaming from the pain. Finally after being returned to the ER, a friend was allowed to come sit with me. Jordan picked the gravel out of my hair piece by piece and stayed with me, even after I, from major trauma to my body, threw up on her. And so my healing journey began.
It is a miracle that not one, but both of us survived that night. The survival rate of a pedestrian being hit by a vehicle at that speed is less than 2%. We were both hospitalized and underwent a lot of medical treatment.
I was in a wheelchair for 3 months and suffered intense nerve damage that kept me up almost every night for months literally screaming in agony. I underwent a lot of physical therapy and a big victory was the first time I could go to the bathroom by myself. There are still patches of my body without much feeling and I have metal screws in my pelvis that look like carriage bolts.
And we were lucky. Most people don't survive.
That night, my mom got a call at 2am from the school dean asking if she was the mother of Katherine Gordon and that there had been an accident, a call that every parent dreads. But it could have been worse; that same weekend another parent got a similar call from the dean, but the news was much worse.
Please don't drink and drive.
Call a taxi; seriously, it's $20 to take a taxi just about anywhere in Memphis. Save the number in your cell phone: 577-7777. Or call a friend or a parent or a son or daughter to come pick you up. Don't jeopardize yourself and someone else.
Who knows whose life you might save.