Hit And Run - I Learned The Hard Way

Everyone probably remembers exactly where they were on September 11, 2001, but where were you on September 11, 2004?  At home with your family, or perhaps out with friends? Where was I?  I was waking up on the pavement in a pool of my own blood.  I was completely dazed and remember seeing flashes of light everywhere.  Someone in the distance yelled, "we need to get this cleaned up, there's blood everywhere!" I could barely see straight, what had happened?! 

Let's rewind a few weeks.  I was an average girl, just graduated from high school and off to my first semester of college.  My parents helped their first born daughter move into the dorms and get settled in.  Mom had tears in her eyes as she said goodbye to her "still my baby girl" and my dad lovingly told me how proud he was of me.  It was a strange feeling being on my own, but after a sad goodbye, I set out onto a new chapter.  It was my first few weeks of college life and I was eager to make friends, determined to make college the best experience ever. 

I was young and just set free, but I was responsible and remembered the values my parents had taught me.  After being convinced to stay in town for the weekend by my new group of girlfriends, we settled on going out for the night.  The girls and I headed out for a well known night club that students frequented in hopes of some kind of "bonding experience".  We danced, had drinks (not me, I was only 18!), and laughed all night.  It was the perfect night until the accident. 

When I finally opened my eyes, there were strangers looking at me.  My arm was numb.   Why do I only have one shoe on?  Where am I?  These were the random thoughts that ran through my head.  A strange man asked me if I knew what happened and what my phone number was.  I kept staring blankly at him until my girlfriend rushed to my side to tell me that I had just been hit by a car. 

WHAT?? Tears fell uncontrollably as the reality slammed into me.  That's when the pain crept in. My arm was numb but the rest of my body felt like I had been,well, hit by a car!  An officer called my parents at 1:30 am to inform them that their "baby girl" had been involved in a hit and run accident by a drunk driver, that she was on her way to the hospital, and that they anticipated it was not fatal.  My poor parents.  As a parent myself, getting this phone call would be my worst fear.  They had a two and a half hour drive to get to me praying the worst wouldn't happen. 

I was rushed to the hospital strapped to a back brace with multiple paramedics pricking me with multiple IV's.  Once there, I was checked in and immediately sent to have several CT Scans to check for internal bleeding.  Amazingly enough, nothing was broken, but there was a huge gash on the back of my head.  My parents finally arrived at the hospital and I could tell my mom had been crying most of the drive. 

Can you guess why I only had one shoe on?

It was taken off and used to help stop the bleeding on my head.  It was stuck to my wound and had to be peeled off. It took one large needle and 8 staples to close the back of my head.  My mom held my hand (and almost passed out) watching me scream as they did one staple after the next.  To this day, I still don't have any feeling on the affected area and a giant scar where the hair will not grow again. 

I was finally released from hospitalization and it took over 2 weeks to walk normally again.  I still had to go back after a week to have the staples removed, and it hurt almost as much to get them out.  Before we left, the doctor told me if I had been even an inch further into the street, the car would have actually run me over instead of hitting me out of the way.  He said I was incredibly lucky and he doesn't always see a happy ending where drunk driving is concerned. 

I eventually went back to school and finished my degree.

My parents got to see me get married and the birth of their first grandchild.

Unfortunately, some parents will never have that.

Life went back to normal for me, but some families will be forever be changed by the decision of a drunk driver.  Drunk driving is something that affects almost everyone these days.  I've spoken to many people that know someone, have a friend of a friend, or in more heartbreaking cases, their own loved ones affected by driving under the influence.  

God spared me, and I hope sharing my story will shed some light on the importance of road safety.  I'm blessed to have been able to walk away from that nightmare alive, and I hope all parents will stress the importance of safe driving (including texting!) with their loved ones.

Melissa Howard- Guest blogger

You can find me @melissagracebelcher!