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To the Car Wreck That Caused My Chronic Pain

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Dear Car Wreck,

It seems like yesterday that I woke up in the emergency room completely unaware of what the previous days and hours had been. I never thought something like you would happen to someone like me.

The really good thing about you, the only good thing about you, is that I don’t remember you at all.

I don’t remember the screaming, the initial pain, the windshield as it cut my face open and left me in a pool of blood, the “friend” yelling for me to be quiet as I lay there with my legs barely hanging on, the sound of the jaws of life as they cut me out of this terrible mess you had me in. I don’t remember the impact as the other car hit us at a speed of 55 miles per hour. I don’t remember any of it, and I’m so glad that part of you is not etched in my mind.

You see, you are now part of the past, but the pain from you still lingers.

As I awoke in the hospital, I really had no clue about you and the way you crushed both of my femurs between the dashboard and the seat of the car. I had no idea I would have a collapsed lung, broken ribs and be forever changed.

You changed me forever. The first glimpse of what I would live with for the rest of my life from you showed its ugly head in the hospital. You see, I was in terrible pain from you. Because of you, I will forever have titanium rods in both my femurs and many scars. Scars that tell the tell of a tragic time that, as the doctors say, will forever be part of me.

As the nurse came in to do the first round of physical therapy, I felt this pain. This pain that would linger. It was all I could do not to hit this lady trying to help me as I healed from you. Slowly healed from you. This was the beginning of a journey you began at the young age of 14 in my life.

I don’t remember you, but you will never be forgotten.

As my stay in the hospital continued, I learned more about you. I also learned more about the people I was with. You see, a friend is one who is there through good and bad, and sadly, these friends weren’t those friends. I did also learn who my true friends were, ones who would come and take me out in my wheelchair. I learned that because of you, I now had someone else’s blood running through my veins because of multiple blood transfusions. Because of you, I would stay in the hospital until this lovely chest tube could be removed.

As my journey to healing continued, I was broken, depressed and had no hope. At the age of 14, because of you, I had to stay home and not return to school. My homeschool teacher tried to keep me on track, but it didn’t work. I missed the whole rest of that year. Because of you, I quickly realized that even after three months in a wheelchair, learning to walk again and months with a walker and crutches, that this pain would never really go away. But I was sure it would! Maybe it was the screws holding my rods in. Maybe taking those out would relieve my pain. Time would tell. And time would tell the worst. My pain from you wasn’t going away. And no one knew why.

Now years later at the age of 33, the pain from you is still there. You have certainly taken so much from me. Many times you have taken my joy. Many times you have kept me up at night and there is no consoling me. Many times you just really make life hard and inconvenient. So as I write this letter to you, car wreck, I am really writing to the pain. The pain you caused. Though I don’t remember you, the pain reminds me of you every day.

I would love to hear the doctors say one day that they know the reason why this pain you caused won’t go away. I can hope. I can hope it will get easier to live with chronic pain. And some days it is. Some days I am totally OK. Some days I can have joy in spite of the pain you caused.

May this pain you caused help me to help someone else along the way.


Woman and man sitting together on a hammock outdoors

Originally published: February 15, 2016
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