After promising Evaline I would stay around, I reluctantly drove myself to work. Plodding through the countryside, I listened to comforting music and escaped my own turmoil for an hour. My entire day is lost to memory. Work is now a blur. I could have been completely stumbling around and muddling every moment. Detachment was finally the escape I had desperately searched for. I was blissful but did not think anything was wrong. Memories missing had not occurred to me and was not enough of a warning sign to stop my self-destruction. It’s quite astounding what your brain will do when it needs to protect itself from trauma. Memories turn into confetti of images and smells instead of full stories. When trying to catch one and process it, they all slip through your fingers and fall to the floor to be examined at a later date.
The next day at work went by in a blur. I was chatty and happy and a mess. My boss later told me that I kept asking him the same questions over and over, which is very much unlike me. Work comes easily to me and I take a lot of pride in what I do. I am generally very fast and efficient in completing the complex tasks required of me. We had recently hired a new team member and I was finally in the office to teach him about the very large system I had recently built. Spending months working on this database, I was the expert and best person to teach Hunter how to use the system. Going into the conference room, I felt confident and assured of my knowledge and skill set. While in the room, I completely blacked out. I cannot remember moving or speaking at all. The entire meeting could have been me staring into space for all I know. When I finally left the room, I went to my boss and told him that I could have been staring off into space the whole time, I had no idea what had just happened. I had lost all brainpower for that hour. Understandably worried about me, he sent me home immediately. Of course, he had no idea the amount of disassociation coursing through my synapses at the moment. Trying to grab the confetti of memory, I had no idea either.
Detachment when miserable can be blissful, but also terrifying and catastrophic. On my way home, I turned on my normal radio station and took my giddy self home. I knew I was tired, and I remember having to focus really hard keeping my eyes open enough to drive. About halfway home, I blacked out once more.
Opening my eyes let me in on a horrible scene. Smoke wafted around me with the smell of burnt rubber and fire. I could feel a tension on my collar bone but could not place where I was. Looking up, I noticed I was sideways. Why was I sideways? Awareness came crashing upon me and panic was all I felt. My car was on its side and smoking. The airbags were deflated all around me and I could not move. Then I saw a woman slamming something into my windshield. I started screaming and crying immediately, in utter panic. Why was my window not breaking? How was I going to get out? My seatbelt would not come undone and I just knew I was going to die in my car. Time stood still for a million heartbeats. Looking up in desperation, knowing my end was near, I saw a man with a door right outside my car. He was slamming the entire door on my windshield. He was saving me. After a few moments, the woman finally grabbed my hands and helped me from my car. I cannot remember a word she said to me, but I knew they were my saviors and I broke down. I was terrified but out of my car. Images of it on fire flooded my mind. I was out. She took me a few steps to her front porch and laid me down. Smoothing my hair back, she softly said, “honey, you’re okay. You’re safe. I have you now. Breathe. You’re okay.” No matter how many soothing words she used, I refused to relax.
Pain was the next thing that came to my attention. I couldn’t move without searing pain infecting my body. I wanted my husband. I cried out and begged the family of angels to tell my husband that I was dying. It was my end, I just knew it. A beautiful woman came out with a baby Bjorn attached to her, and guilt so intense shuddered through my body. I could have harmed an innocent baby. Every emotion hit me all at once and I once again started shivering and sobbing. Terrified of a million possibilities I focused on the one person close to me, still trying to soothe my wailing. “Breathe honey, it’s okay. Breathe with me,” is all I focused on until the paramedics came. I knew I would be okay at that point. They would know what to do.
A few strapping men attached me to the body board and took me into the ambulance where I was given my phone. At that point I had calmed down enough to realize I needed to alert my boss, mother, and close friends. I spent the entire ride to the hospital hoisting my phone high over my head so I could see what I was typing. Still out of it and not breathing well, I told as many people as I could think of about what had happened to me. My addled brain also decided that selfies were necessary, perhaps to prove that it was actually happening; I did not imagine this.
The hospital was a blur of blue, white, and sobbing. My mother came to the emergency room and I would thrust my hands through the railings of the bed so I could hold on to her. Pain was radiating throughout every part of me, and I could not focus on anything but holding onto someone I loved. Connor was a steady presence in the room, always standing by the bed and letting me know he was there when I could not see him. I could have been at the hospital for days or minutes. Nothing of the experience remains with me but pain, holding desperately to my mother’s hand and Connor’s unfaltering commitment to me.