Yes, most of you have heard of, or seen, thanks to Facebook, the incredibly violent and sudden turn of events that happened on August 21st. After my shift in the kitchen of Maggiano’s in Hollywood, I journeyed to the USC campus to pick up my girlfriend, Camille. It took me nearly three hours to find the campus, partly because of my phone’s failed GPS, and partly because of my own failed internal GPS. At any rate, I picked up my beautiful girlfriend at around 9 pm, and I drove us off to the apartment at which I live in Marina del Rey.
While taking an off-ramp towards our destination, we were hit head on by a drunk driver who was going the wrong way on the freeway, and using our off-ramp as her on-ramp.
I remember three things about the head on collision. First, I remember seeing the headlights as we rounded the sharp, blind turn, and thinking: “Headlights?” Second, I remember holding Camille’s thigh in the wreckage; she was crying, and blood was pouring from my face and head. I felt no pain. Third, I remember the door to my car being ripped open, and I thought “Good. Help is here.”
I do not remember anything about the ambulance, or even being put on the stretcher. I awoke in a room in UCLA’s medical center. The surgeons had removed my spleen, and had repaired my liver, which had suffered extreme lacerations. I had 28 staples in my stomach. I had to have a blood transfusion; I had lost a great amount of blood. I talked to cops and surgeons. I asked about Camille. They said she was fine, only a fractured collar bone. The paramedics and Camille would later tell me that I positioned myself in front of Camille prior to the collision, shielding her from further harm. I don’t remember that, but alright. In any case, I definitely took the brunt of the accident.
My kneecap was broken in various places, as was my left arm. The surgeons would operate, putting wires in my kneecap, and a steel rod in my left forearm. My face was filled with broken glass, and my left eye socket was fractured. I had stitches in three places on my face: my chin, under my left eyebrow, and under my left eye. My head was soaked with blood, and my face was a mess. A renowned plastic surgeon operated on my face.
My cousin Drew, who lives in Pasadena, was the first to see me after the accident. My mother called him, and he immediately came to UCLA. When I opened my eyes, he was the first person I saw. I remember making jokes, talking to Drew and the surgeons, telling them all I remembered. I had my voice still. I could talk. I had my teeth. Surgeons touched my hands, and I could feel their touch. I could move my fingers. Upon discovering those things, I knew that I would be fine. I thought to myself: “I have my voice and I have my hands. I don’t care if I ever walk again. I am fine.” Every time I would open my eyes, Drew would be right there beside me.
My mother, brother, and my youngest sister flew in from Colorado on Monday, only hours after I had called from the hospital. My mother is who saved my life. Her and I have the strongest relationship in the world. As soon as she entered the room, I knew that I would be getting out of UCLA as soon as humanly possible.
The next eight days were the most intense days of my life.
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