Monday, December 10, 2012

Did I tell you the one about how I was hit by a bus once?

I was crossing a street a week ago when all of a sudden my body became tense. The lights started flashing, the cars kept on waiting, I was in the middle of the second lane and I couldn't move. Desperately trying to push forward, my arms kept making small random movements and my hands were sliding off my wheels. It's not that I simply froze or that I felt like a deer in the headlines, I just couldn't snap out of it and get out of the crossing fast enough. As much as I wanted to go, my body was slowing me down and I couldn't compose myself. I was in the street, at night, cars waiting left and right and the memories of being hit by a bus came to me. Amazingly, it's been eight years, and still I think about it. It's not that I relive that moment. But the feeling of being powerless, of the impending doom grabs a hold of me sometimes. Mostly I manage through it, fighting the resistance of my own body. I guess I usually get myself so worked up crossing University Avenue, one of Gainesville's busiest street, knowing how dangerous it can be and how quickly I need to cross it. Get into the street and get off it. That messes with my head. Yes, it's been many years, but sometimes I have moments of panic. People get hit here every few months, granted sometimes they cross in random places, but earlier this year I've seen two people picked up by ambulances as I was walking by. Eight years ago I was hit by a bus. It took off from a bus stop and I guess the driver didn't see that I was still in the road. It was in the middle of the night, he was an older man. Luckily for me he was going slowly. Ended up knocking me out of my chair, as I ended up under. He thankfully was able to hear screams in time and stopped. I've had road rash on my arms, my knees and my back under my arm was bleeding. I was shaking in street as I lost my shoe and I thought I'd be fine with a little bit of sleep. Then I realized how severe the situation was as my wheelchair wheels were bent out of shape and the frame was smashed. I remember what movie I was watching earlier that night, it was Hero they were playing on campus. I've seen this one already, I could've stayed home! If only. As the ambulance was taking me to the ER I couldn't stop thinking how much  I have failed. I've failed myself, I've failed my family. It was my second month in America and I blew it. How will I tell my parents? They'll tell me to go home right away. In the days to come my friends advised me not to say anything, at least until I have a plan and get an attorney. For the next seven months my lawyer and the city were going back and forth trying to work out some kind of a solution. I was expected to go home the next Summer. My attorney knew that time worked to my disadvantage, so we couldn't press the city too much. They could've afford to wait, we couldn't. Perhaps if wee knew that eight years later I'd still be in America we would press further. Also, at first it felt I wasn't very affected. I was alive, nothing broken. I was sent home with  little packets of antibiotic and a huge bill for a very expensive ride. My attorney was not comfortable fighting for too much if my injuries did not seem permanent or extensive. It wasn't until later that I've noticed that some of the wounds would not heal well and scar badly. But most of it was psychological. For weeks to come I'd have people push me through crosswalks because I was too paniced to do it myself. I've had a hard time sleeping. And I was going into my first set of finals having experienced the biggest trauma of my life. But I am alive. I was lucky. If he was going a bit faster I wouldn't be around to talk about it. And I felt bad for him. Apparently, a few months later he had a heard attack and left the transit service. I didn't get a big payout. Just a new (expensive) chair and a few thousand dollars. My attorney wasn't entirely happy with what we've got, so he waived his fee. But I was alive. And yes, not a week goes by that I don't think about it and how fragile and random life is. The scars, they itch sometimes. A lot of times I will not start crossing a street if I see a car coming. And every now and then I have a panic attack

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