It was six years ago today that my life had changed. It seems like such a long time, yet that pain and feeling never goes away. It was just a normal day, so I thought. My brother Steve and I decided before I went back to New Mexico we would go out one more time. Little did I know California would be my home for one more year. It takes one mistake for your whole life to change a normal day to the worst day. It takes one person to have faith in you and hold your hand through it all.
It was late at night that we decided we were going to hit the Swap-Meet in Corona. Little kids running around, jumping in the party jumpers, buying candy and clothes from the little markets. It was eight-thirty at night that It was time to head back to my brothers place and pack to go back home in the morning. We gathered the things that we bought and headed back to the car; putting everything we bought in the back of the trunk after opening the doors, sitting in our seats, and buckling our seat belts. I remember thanking my brother telling him that I was going to miss him as soon as I left. Fifteen minutes… Fifteen minutes was all it took to change the rest of my life. The glare from the red light shining off my glasses, waiting as I watched the light turns green. Slowly putting his foot on the gas I turned to my brother to see at a glance headlights heading straight towards us. Flashing lights, the sound of the sirens coming from a distance, broken glass on the floor, and a car flipped. As the random man put his hand over my head and repeated “God bless this child, she is to young, and hasn’t seen the rest of her life yet. Lord don’t take her”. (beat, beat, beat) the sound of my heart as I can feel it slowing down. As the tears dropped down my face, and my brother started to blur. There I go.
“CLEAR!!! CLEAR!!! I’ve got a pulse.”
“Do you know where you are at? Can you tell me your name ? Everything will be okay.”
Something didn’t seem right, something was wrong and I couldn’t figure out what it was. Four doctors and three nurses entered the room, yet all I could think of was were my brother was and if he was okay. As I saw him standing by the edge of my door with a broken arm and tears on his face not saying a word, leaving the room, and never looking back. Three months laying in a bed paralyzed made me so angry I pushed everything and everyone away. Nothing mattered anymore, I didn’t matter anymore, I didn’t know why this happened to me or why I was hurt so bad. Maria Rodriguez, the woman who changed my life. I remember calling her into my room telling her I was ready to shower she looked at me and said “ Then go take one” I thought to myself, “What the hell did she just say??” She walked out the room came back in and sat down. We stared at each other for a while I repeated myself over and over “ If I could get my ass out this bed I wouldn’t even ask you or be here”. No matter what I could tell her she didn’t give in. She finally got up from the chair, came towards my bed and said “ I will help you, I’m not saying I will help you shower, but I will help you get there you just have to try.” I sat myself up on the bed using both my arms with very little strength I had looked at her and said “Forget it I will ask someone else” she laughed at me because she already told everyone else to leave my room alone. I didn’t know why this crazy ass lady just wouldn’t help me, but it was me that didn’t want to help myself. I’d given up.
I called her back into the room and asked her “ Can you please help me walk to the bathroom so I can shower”? She smiled and responded “Yes, you see mija I can’t make you walk, but what I can do is be patient and wait for you to understand you’re not alone anymore as long as you allow me to help you I won’t give up on you”. Seven months in the hospital, Doctor Rodriguez would stay with me even on her days off. The chances of me ever walking again was a fifteen percent chance, however this crazy ass lady didn’t see it that way. She held my hand and pushed me one day at a time, and by the eighth month I was already able to take a few steps. The pain of dropping to the floor was exhausting even though I kept telling myself to give up, she picked me up wiped my tears and said “Again”. Frustrated, angry, pain, and hurt: none of these words could describe how I felt all I knew was the longer I kept telling myself I couldn’t do it I was going to be there forever. I was done! Done complaining! Done giving up! Done feeling useless! I knew all I could do was push harder it was nobody’s choice but my own, and if I wanted to get out of this I had to want it for myself. Everyday I was pushed harder, that meant more steps, more falling, more tears, and more pain. Eleven months moving more than I had ever, two weeks after I was close to being home Dr. Rodriguez had to leave on a family emergency I was terrified, but I knew that if she found out that I had given up she would definitely be upset. Don’t worry I didn’t, I pushed even harder, because I wanted to make her proud she was the reason for getting me as far as I did. By the time Dr. Rodriguez had come back to the hospital she came in looking for me, not knowing that
I had my rooms switched. I watched her from a distance as she argued to see where I went, another nurse pushed me in a wheel-chair she had tears rushing down her face and thought something happened. I kept myself at a distance told her to stay where she was got up from the chair by myself and walked slowly towards her. She continued to cry as I walked to give her the biggest hug and thanked her. We walked to my room told me “Mija can I tell you something”? I responded to her telling her “ Of course” she held my hands sat there and began to tell me a story of her daughter passing away because she had given up. She didn’t have the strength to keep going that was why she didn’t want me to give up. She thanked me giving me the biggest hug, telling me, “ No matter where you are and no matter what happens, don’t give up remember I am always with you”.
We’re not supposed to know all the answers why these things happen to us. We’re not supposed to know why people come into our lives and change where we go from there. I was paralyzed on both legs, with a fifteen percent chance of ever walking again, lost all faith in myself, and I had no strength to push forward. But it takes one person to change your life, to believe in you and hold your hand even when you feel like there is nothing left in you. It takes one drunk driver to damage or hurt a person, but it takes two steps to move forward.