Saturday, December 9, 2006
Today's entry is about how I became paralyzed.
August, 1978, rural Wisconsin. I was a passenger in
my neighbor's Subaru station wagon. We were driving
home with our neighbors after an evening in town at
the tennis courts. My dad and the neighbor dad
were in the front seats. My mom and the neighbor
mom were in the seats behind them. My neighbor
friends, Debbie and Patti, as well as my sister and
I were riding in the back.
I have no memories of the event, but I've been told
that we were either slowing down for a stop sign, or
stopped for a stop sign. Traveling at a high speed
behind us was a drunk driver. He didn't slow down
for the stop sign. He crashed into the back of the car
I was riding in. Debbie, Patti and I were thrown out
of the car. Everyone was injured, except for the drunk
driver. Debbie and Patti died at the scene. They were
only 7 and 9 years old. I was conscious and walking
around at the scene and the only obvious injury I had
was a broken arm. A day later, my legs started to
feel funny. The next thing I knew, I was paralyzed
from the chest down. Unbeknownst to the doctors, I
had broken bones in my spine in the crash. The broken
bones caused swelling and the swelling crushed my
spinal cord, leaving me a T4/5 complete paraplegic.
I share with you a photograph of my sister and I with
Debbie and Patti. This photo was taken on my 8th
birthday, just a few months before the car accident.
Debbie is on the left, next is me, then Patti, and then
my sister and our dog. Debbie and Patti were great
kids. They came from a family who loved them very
much. Debbie was so smart and so kind. Patti was
outgoing and funny and she loved everyone and
everyone loved her. They are both missed tremendously.
Even today, more than 28 years later, I cry when I think
about their death. They made a positive impact in this
world during their brief lives, and I know they would have
grown to be respectable members of our society. RIP my