Coal River Road
“Was it a blue car or a green car? Because if it was a blue car, I’ll know this is a bad dream. If it’s a green car, then this-is-real-you-need-to-tell-me-now-and-tell-me-the-truth-please-was-it-green-or-was-it-blue?”
The paramedic wouldn’t speak, but the tears in his eyes confirmed the car was green.
I slip into a dream and watch the scene in third person. There’s a bent body of a small child, her mangled bicycle, a gift from her father, nearby. The green car sits at the end of a length of black skid marks. Its doors are closed, the driver, a man, grasps the wheel. The passenger, his wife, is frozen.
In the hospital, the room seems dark. I wake because I hear the adults say what’s about to happen and I am powerless to stop it.
The doctor leans over my elevated leg, his face toward mine. He has a piece of equipment in his hands and he positions it right below my knee. I beg him to stop. I fight to rise up but there are so many hands pressing me down. His face scrunches from the effort as he pushes with both hands, elbows out, a metal pin through my tibia. I black out mid scream.
I spent that summer in bed recovering from a traumatic head injury, a broken left clavicle, and a broken right femur. Attached to the pin in my leg are ropes slung through a pulley type device attached to the end of my bed. At the end of those ropes are free swinging, disc shaped weights—traction to allow the largest bone in my body room for proper healing.
When it was eventually time to transition from traction to a full body cast, they removed the pin. This time under full anesthesia. I do not know how I ended up with it, or with Mom’s visitor’s badge from the day of the collision.
A few years later, I dedicated a section in my scrapbook to this event, with those items taped to a page. There used to be a photo I can’t find right now, but I committed the scene to memory. It’s of me in the full body cast on a gurney, outside in the sunshine. I am propped up on my elbows and smiling because my friend Tammy is beside me. A friend who was there when I needed a friend most.