Monday, August 1, 2011

Daddy, am I dead?

I was going through some boxes and stumbled across a notebook that I kept during my time in the nursing home. I was documenting my time there and writing down things that I remembered from the day of my wreck. This is something I found, it is about an experience I had the day of my accident.
  I thought I was on a roller coaster, which was odd, because I hate roller coasters. I dont ride them, you take the fact I have never trusted those wheels to stay on that track, coupled with my terrible fear of heights and well needless to say, it made me more of a scrambler or tea cup kind of guy. So I must be dreaming, I made myself wake up only to realize I was in a bad situation. The tree was no more than 30 feet  away and  I was closing fast. As I braced myself for impact, my life flashed before my eyes, now I have heard others say this but I experienced it. I tried to steer the car to the left and managed do so slightly, but at 72 m.p.h. (I know that to be the speed, because I glanced down at the digital speedometer) there wasnt much I could do. I remember thinking "man this is gonna hurt", the impact I made with the steering wheel knocked me out, but I was slammed back into my seat and it brought me right back to. As I sat there in that seat, I looked up through the T-tops and saw my drivers side wheel and tire with about 3 feet of my front axle just hanging in mid air probally 25 feet above the car, thinking to myself, "if that comes down, I'm done for". Fortunately for me it just took off, it was found some 300 plus feet away from the scene of the accident. I knew my leg was broken because the 2 pieces of bones that came through my skin, were sitting in the passenger seat like they were just along for the ride. I smelled smoke and tried to get out of  the car by pulling myself up through the t-tops, it was a no go because the steering wheel was in my stomach and the gear shifter was in my side, and the motor mounts had came through the firewall and my leg was pinned. An off duty Fort Payne fireman had been following me for about 3 miles and was on the scene instantly. he walked up to the car and in a panic "hey buddy, you ok?" he asked, I told him my leg was broke, he told me "just hold still, maybe its not" so I picked up the bones from the passenger seat and showed him, he turned ghostly white and said "yeah, maybe it is". It wasnt long before fire and rescue showed up and immediately recognized that this was gonna call for the jaws of life. I was in shock but didnt realize it at the time. I was being all cool and cracking jokes, in essence, I was trying to keep everyone calm because it was total chaos to say the least. As I sat there with the "jaws" inches away from me, I began to fade in and out. At one point, I went totally deaf and experienced the most peaceful feeling I have ever felt. A cloud came down from the sky and was literally in my face. I do believe I was dying at this point, I had a conversation with someone or something, and I remember telling them I didnt want to go because I needed to say goodbye to my family and friends, plus I had to make sure my wife was ok. The cloud lifted all of a sudden and I could hear all the comotion going on around me again, the firemean looked relieved and gave me the old "whew, I thought I lost you". It took about 30 to 40 minutes to free me and get me on an ambulance. I asked to go to Erlanger but was denied, appearantly the Cedar Bluff rescue squad never even thought to call for Lifeforce. So I was gonna be taken to Ft. Payne.(The 2 days I spent in Ft. Payne hospital is the reason I am in a wheelchair.) The ride to the hospital was crowded, 2 medics rode with me and worked on me until we got to the hospital. I was still fading in and out and to be honest, starting to get a little concerned. As they rolled me into the ER, I saw the most familiar face helping push the gurney, it was my dad. My dad had passed away 4 years earlier in the year 2000, so I was more than confused and thought if I was seeing him that only meant one thing and it prompted me to ask "Daddy, am I dead?" he looked ever so calmly at me and said "Billy, your gonna be ok, you gotta be tough and not go to sleep, try to stay awake."  I asked him  again if I was dead, he replied  "no, but dont go to sleep."  I know I was awake, because they were asking me questions and I was answering them, but I was the only one that could see my dad. I had to lay in wait for nearly 5 hours before they took me into an O.R. my guess is they were gonna let me lay there and die, but with all the Hell my family and friends raised, they wisely reconsidered. (I still credit Scott Williams, because he pretty much told the Dr. that he was about to whip his ass if they didnt do something) I would see my dad on several more occasions during this time. Every time I had a surgery, The old man was right there beside the gurney. After my last surgery, they were having trouble getting my Blood Pressure back up, I was losing a crazy amount of blood and it didnt look too promising, once again I found myself somewhere between this world and another, but whenever I would feel like I was slipping away, my dad would appear and I would ask him the same thing "Daddy, am I dead?" and everytime he would answer "You're gonna be ok". I made it through those tumultuous times and I feel like my dad sort of watched over me. As I have often thought back about those days, something keeps coming to mind. My dad wasnt a good dad at all when he was alive, not to me anyways. He and I didnt see eye to eye on much of anything, he had a love for the bottle more than he did me (Hell he even told me once he loved 2 of his nephews more than me) and just wasnt around much. I had hard feelings toward him because a few years after my mom died, he married a bitch of a no good piece of shit woman( and thats being nice) and totally reformed for her so it left the 2 of us at odds more times than not. I always felt like he wished I hadnt been born, but maybe it was the fact that we were just from two different era's. At times, we actually had good conversation and did some things together, but those were few and far in between. I did the best I could at being a son to him. When he was in the hospital, I onced stayed with him and didnt sleep for 60 hours because he was constantly needing something. The night he died, I was the one that got called first and was tasked with having to call my sisters, I also cleaned up the mess (he had a cancer tumor on his aorta, and when it ruptured, he bled out, it was a terrible mess, but I didnt want my sisters or brother to see that) I felt his presence in his bedroom that same night as I cleaned, I knew he was there ( I would later feel this same presence often when I was in the hospital.) I didnt like my dad very much, and I dont know if he liked me, but there was a love between us. He was a hard man who held his emotions in check and didnt convey his feelings, but deep down, I knew he loved me. My dad and I had a long talk 2 days before he died, he apologized for the way he treated my mom and for not being there for me as a kid. I'll never forget the words he spoke that night he said "Billy, when I get finished with all this mess ( he was taking chemo & radiation) we'll start doing more stuff." I never got the chance to do more stuff with my dad, but since the day of my accident, I have seen the old man quite a few times, its almost like he is making up for lost time and watching over me now. I wished that things would have been better and different, but just knowing that he is with me now, somehow makes it ok. Life made me wise... My Daddy made me tough.. and now whenever he pops in to check on me, ( he comes to me in dreams these days) we have a running joke I say "Daddy, am I dead" and he just grins that grin he had and says " No Billy, your gonna be ok" and he's right...after all this time, I know for a fact that I'm gonna be ok...Til next time...Peace...Love...and Happiness.

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