Guest Post By Lisa Jorgensen www.makinglifeblissful.com
March 6th is a weird day for me . . . at least it has been since 2007. It was the beginning of a process for me. A process of change and how I looked at life. 10 years ago, while my husband was in his second year of medical school, I was hit by an intoxicated driver while I was walking on the sidewalk with my little 3 year old son. We happened to be walking on a sidewalk that is on a bridge which crosses over a large cement ditch. The force of the van hitting my back threw me over the edge of that bridge and down into the ditch below. I fell about 9-10 feet. Oh, and I was 6 1/2 months pregnant at the time.
My heart beats just a little faster as I talk about this. I still hold some fears, but I also have overcome many. It was a day of miracles for me, but it also changed my perception of things. I was in a hard time of life (or so I thought) and this accident and miracle, taught me the goodness of life. I believe we all have things happen to us at one point or another that changes us forever. Turning points, so to speak. We have a chance to learn from these experiences and let them help us move forward, or we can let these experiences slow us down.
March 6, 2007
I still remember the taste of the homemade pasta salad that I had for lunch around noon on March 6, 2007. I have not made that recipe since. I also remember the chocolate chip cookie I had. I’m sure it was a pregnancy must-have, as I was about 6 months along with my baby girl.
It’s funny the things we remember sometimes.
At 1:00 p.m. I took a little nap while 3 year old son, rested quietly in his room. It was a very good nap because I overslept by 5 or 10 minutes. When I woke it was past 2:00 p.m.and it was time to go get my oldest daughter from Kindergarten. Because I was a little behind schedule, I rushed my little son out the door. I later thought what would have happened if I had left at my usual time . . . but I try not to think that way. It’s useless and doesn’t change anything.
March 6, was a BEAUTIFUL spring day in Little Rock, Arkansas! No jacket was needed. The sun was out, birds were chirping. I decided to leave our car at the Otter Creek Park that was just down the street from my daughter’s school (Otter Creek Elementary). Since it was a nice day, I knew the kids would enjoy a little walk and some time at the park. I had just enough time to get there before the school bell rang.
As usual, I clasped my son’s small hand with my right hand. I always wanted him to be on the side that was furthest from the busy street—I’m kind of a safety freak. We strolled peacefully on the sidewalk together talking about 3 year old things, like Buzz Lightyear and race cars. As we approached the bridge that crossed over the big Otter Creek ditch, I noticed a small butterfly fluttering in the clump of trees next to the bridge.
“Look, a butterfly. The bugs are starting to come out,” I said pointing to the trees.
That moment is that last thing I remembered . . .
The park where we had planned to play
The sidewalk I was walking on and the bridge. I made it about halfway.
I felt like I had fallen asleep.
“Ma’m! Ma’m, can you hear me?”
I could feel someone shaking me, but I was so sleepy. Why couldn’t they just let me sleep?
I opened my eyes. Immediately confused, I searched my surroundings for any familiar information. I felt a sense of urgency. I could hear someone crying. I was supposed to be somewhere . . . but where? Something was horribly wrong.
I looked around me. I was laying in 1 or 2 inches of cold water. The cement was hard beneath me. I was uncomfortable. So many parts of my body hurt and I couldn’t tell which ones hurt the most. A large black man stood near me. In a worried voice he said, “You’ve been hit by a van! Are you okay?”
The urgency surged through my entire body. I said the first thing that came to my mind, “I’m pregnant!” and I tried to get up.
The man groaned, but remained calm. “Don’t get up! We’re going to get you some help.” He pulled out his cell phone and called 911.
“Oh.” That was literally all I could say. What he just told me was hard to process, especially since I had just been awakened from my unconsciousness. I actually felt kind of embarrassed. I wondered why I didn’t know anything about this getting-hit-by-a-van thing. I had a thousand questions, but couldn’t verbalize them.
And that was when my never-ending silent prayer began. Suddenly, I was overcome with worry for my unborn baby. Over and over and over again in my mind I asked God to save my baby girl. Please let me keep her. I don’t know what’s happened, but please let her live. Please let her be okay.
I looked up above me at the bridge that I should have crossed already. I saw the source of the distant crying–it was my little boy. Looking over the railing of the bridge was my 3 year old. He was crying and watching me. I wanted to tell him that his mommy was okay. My heart hurt. How did this happen? I thought. And I began to shiver uncontrollably. The shock was setting in.
The big, nice man finished calling 911 and as if reading my thoughts, he began telling me what happened. “Do you know what happened?” I shook my head. He continued, “You were walking on that sidewalk that crosses over this ditch and that van came up from behind and hit you. I saw you go up in the air and come straight down into this ditch. Me and two other guys were working right there by the school. One of them is up there with your boy. Somehow he didn’t get hurt.”
My mind eased a little as I replayed his words in my mind. Somehow he didn’t get hurt. Thankfulness entered my heart for a moment. I added that to my continued prayer. Heavenly Father, thank you for keeping my son safe. Thank you, thank you, thank you . . .
The man asked me if he should call someone else. “My husband,” I replied and blurted out his cell phone number.
Seconds later he said, “I can’t get through. Is there anyone else?” My husband Mark and I had cheap pay-as-you-go cell phones. Since my husband was in his 2nd year of medical school, he was mostly likely studying in the basement at the university and his phone didn’t work well down there. I then miraculously remembered our med-school friend Carl’s cell number. It was similar to his wife Griselda’s number who was a good friend of mine. Carl would know how to find my husband. The call went through just fine–the unreal explanation was given. Carl said he would find him.
As I laid there shaking and wet, I placed my hands on my protruding stomach and waited for any movement from the tiny life inside of me. But instead of noticing sweet baby movements, I only noticed the pain all over my body. My knees were burning, especially my right knee! My head throbbing in the front and the back. My hands hurt, my back hurt, my neck hurt, even my jaw and my tongue hurt (I bit it pretty hard). My feet even hurt. Strangely my shoes were missing. I could see my shoes scattered many feet away from me in the ditch. My socks were soaked, aggravating my scraped feet.
I began to hear sirens–many sirens. Police. Firefighters. Paramedics. It felt like a bad dream . . .
The next few minutes were a blur of people rushing down to help me.
Paramedics and firemen descended the slippery ditch to get to me. I waited patiently, though I was worried and shivering uncontrollably, as the paramedics checked me everywhere. I was told to try not to move, but it was so hard because of all my shivering.
One of the paramedics was a woman. She was the one who talked to me the most while the others worked. She had brown hair and a calm voice. She asked me many questions like if I knew what happened, where I hurt, and how I felt. She also asked me if I knew what day it was. I couldn’t tell her. I had no idea. The concussion I had was beginning to be realized.
I was able to tell her how I was trying to go get my daughter from school. I tried to tell her that my daughter was still there waiting for me–and by now really wondering where I was. The paramedic told me not to worry. But I still worried. I had always been there to meet my daughter in the lobby of the school. I hope she’s okay. Again, my unending prayer now had another part to it. Please help my daughter to be okay. Help her not to panic and to stay safe. And as I sat there, a strange man approached me. He was unshaven and shabby in appearance, but the actual features of his face are a blur to me now. I remember he was wearing a brown coat. He put his hand on my shoulder.
His words were awkward and distorted as he said to me, “I’m sorry. Uh, I guess my tire blew and I ran onto the sidewalk or somethin’.”
It took me a second to figure out who this man was . . . and then I realized that it was him. This is the man that hit me. He was trying to apologize and I was completely speechless. I couldn’t find a single word to say to him. Finally, the paramedic asked him to get out of the way.
I found out later from the police that this man who hit me did not pass the sobriety test and that the witnesses say his tire blew AFTER he hit me because he had run into the sidewalk and me. I also found out from the police that he was on methadone (a powerful drug to help heroin addicts). He was a heroin addict, trying to get off it by using methadone but he had mixed it with other drugs that day. He also smelled strongly like alcohol. He was taken down to the police station, but that is all I know. I never found out. Though often I have wondered since if he was ever able to straighten out his life. But back then, what mattered was my baby girl, my little boy, my kindergartener, and me.
Now remember, I’m a pretty boring person. I don’t live a life of glamour or adventure. I’m Mormon. I was born in Utah. I’m a stay-at-home mom. I’m also a pretty careful, non-sky-diving, seatbelt-wearing chick. Things like this do not happen to people like me. But it was happening, and when I think of it now, it actually goes through my mind in slow motion. I remember how they put a neck brace on me and strapped me to a stretcher. Then they carefully carried me up the slippery slopes of the ditch. A few of them slipped on the slopes and I panicked a little, but all was okay. All this time that unending prayer never left my thoughts or my heart. Please Heavenly Father. I want this more than anything I’ve ever wanted before . . . please save my little girl.
I felt hopeful.
When we got up to the street and they moved me into the open doors of the paramedic vehicle, I could now see all that had been going on above me. I saw the crowds of people, the children passing now that school was out, the traffic jam it caused . . . and I saw my little boy. My little blonde-headed boy was walking away from me holding the hand of the Principal of the school. She was leading him away from the scene and back to the school. My heart ached. Did he know I was okay? Who would take care of him? There is nothing worse than seeing your child in need, and not able to help him.
Just then, a familiar face appeared. It was the beginning of many small answers to prayers–the beginning of many small miracles. My neighbor Alison came into the vehicle and asked me what she could do. Alison was my good friend at church. She was the perfect person to appear at that moment. I could trust her and I knew my kids would be okay with her. I asked her to please help my children. She told me she would. I knew they would be fine. I felt a huge sense of relief now, and just in time, because the doors of the vehicle were closed and I was off to the hospital.
And be sure to check out our interview with Lisa on the Married to Doctors Podcast!
About the Author
Lisa Jorgensen is just a regular freckled-faced girl who is determined to find the good things in life. She believes life is meant to be blissful if you make it happen, and she tries to find the positive, even in hard times (and when there’s not enough chocolate in the house!) She was in an auto-pedestrian accident caused by an intoxicated driver during her last pregnancy and learned a lot about her own perspective in life. Lisa runs a family lifestyle blog called Making Life Blissful and fills it with realistic family activities, kid crafts, delicious recipes, and useful life lessons. She also runs a little Etsy Shop full of her crazy craft kits and printables. Outside of blogging, you’ll usually find her watching sunsets, taking long walks with her family, and doing laundry.