Coming into another leap year, I cannot help but think of the events that played out on February 29, 2008. I was working as a merchandiser with Procter & Gamble at the time, which involved a lot of highway driving. It was a clear but cold sunny winter's day. Finishing at my last store in town, I was heading to Westville to set up the new Lawton's drug store with their Covergirl fixtures. Today was also the last day of the two-for-one steak sale at Mother Webb's so I called Pierre's mom and told her not to cook supper tonight that we were going for steak. It was nearing lunchtime, so I disconnected the call and started making my way West.
As I neared Sutherland's River, there is a point on the highway, as there are many between New Glasgow and Cape Breton, that have turning in arrows where people sit and wait like ducks to turn across the oncoming traffic to access side roads. As I approached this particular section of the highway, I had noticed a small red car stopped waiting until I passed to cross the highway. Just as I got up to the car, BOOM!!!!!!!! They cut directly in front of me. With only seconds to respond, I slammed both feet on the brakes and prepared for the impact. I had no choice but to hit them. The sound was sickening. When I came to, I couldn't breathe as there was smoke in the car. My left thumb was dislocated and I was trying to get the driver's door open to get air. I was choking vehemently, the air burning my lungs with every breath. Just then the door was flung open and I gasped a huge breath of fresh air. Someone was standing beside me telling me not to move. I was trying to get out as I thought the car was on fire as there was smoke. They calmly assured me that I was in no danger and the smoke I was seeing and inhaling was the powder from the air bag. I could not move my neck or back, but remember how cold I was and shaking uncontrollably. I looked out the front window and saw someone running ahead of the car to their own to get a blanket from the back seat to cover me with. They instructed me not to move until help arrived. My head was racing. Where was the other car I was sure I had hit? My eyes darted around furiously, looking for it. The person beside me assured me that people in the other vehicle were fine, when we collided, their car had spun off to one side of the road.
Minutes later, I heard the ambulance arriving. They put a brace on my neck and extricated me (with no great feat, I tell you being almost 250 lbs.) from the car with a backboard as they were unsure of the extent of my injuries. How could this happen? It was such a beautiful sunny winter day? Life was going good. We were going for steak tonight. Honestly, a million thoughts went through my mind.
Upon arriving at the hospital, I was examined, scanned, x-rayed, and evaluated for hours. I am sure they did about 50 x-rays alone on my neck and back. If any of you have ever been on a backboard for any amount of time, it is one of the most uncomfortable things ever. I would have gladly traded it for Chinese water torture. Six hours I remained on the backboard. I kept squirming to try and find comfort and I had to urinate so bad, I was delirious. The nurse came and inserted a catheter. The pain was immense but the nurses were hesitant to give me anything for the pain. I begged and pleaded and they finally came with a shot of Morphine which instantly made me sick. I remained in hospital overnight and the next morning was advised by the Dr. that I had a compression fracture of my T11 vertebrae and sustained injury to my right shoulder and arm.
That was almost 4 years ago. I still do not have full sensation in my right arm. I may never. Physiotherapy and massage alleviate the symptomatic pain somewhat, but I can't live in a Phyiotherapist's office for the rest of my life. I found alternative employment where I didn't have to do heavy lifting, but I am still plagued with issues. Mentally, I freeze driving on the highway. And driving with someone else is near impossible. There are very few people I feel safe traveling with.
So you see, now not only medical issues impede my weight loss, I also suffer from physical limitations as well. But by God, I am determined that I will find the strength from within and from all of you who are reading this. We'll just have to say that I am Living on a Prayer.