Our story continues from the moment in my first blog post when Beth tells me that everything will be okay. The Jaws of Life frees her from the car. She is rushed to a helicopter, blades spinning.
“I was, strangely, very calm,” Beth wrote in a school essay. “A nurse told me I was in shock. The doctors stuck many needles in me during the helicopter flight that seemed to last only a minute. I found out later that these were high doses of medicine that slows the chain reaction of nerve damage. I landed at St. Vincent hospital in Toledo."
"I was taken to an exam room and they cut off my clothes. They jokingly asked me if those were my favorite jeans, and of course, they were. When I was taken to a room in intensive care, my dad asked me if I wanted to know what the doctors had just told him minutes before: I was paralyzed from the chest down. I believed it, but it did not scare me.”
I was scared enough for both of us. The single tragedy of not walking spiraled out of control with shattered neck bones, surgeries, a cut spinal cord, paralyzed organs, and serious health risks of quadriplegia. I waited on edge for her optimism to crash. I felt like nothing would ever be okay again.
Beth's morphine haze faded as we prepared to leave intensive care for rehab, ten days after the accident. Her experience continued to be different from mine.
"Accepting my new disability never was a real issue for me. The issue was what needed to be done next."
My daughter's disability was entirely my fault.
All the things that a mom should do? I failed at the most important one, to keep my child safe. Beth was fourteen years old when I fell asleep at the wheel. She watched the car flip three times and land upside-down in a dark Ohio field.
Unable to move on a bed of glass, Beth reassured me, saying, "I'm okay. Everything will be okay."
And it was. Eventually. In time.
I wish I had known that at the beginning. Despite my life's work with disability, I could only see everything that she had lost. Because of me.
At first, I thought that Beth would be limited by her spinal cord injury. Today, I am happy to have been wrong.
This new blog will share an amazing journey. I hope you will come along!
A mom with a story