How My Wheelchair Saved My Life: Surviving a Hit-And-Run Accident!
What I learned from this pivotal moment in my life and how it fueled me to continue to #HonorMyPurpose
It is not often that you will hear me say, “thank God I am in a wheelchair!” not because I am ashamed, never that, but realistically who wants to praise the fact that they are in a wheelchair?! Well on March 15, 2019 I ate my words and was indeed praising the fact that I was in a wheelchair, because that same wheelchair saved my life.
It was an early Friday morning around 7:45am, I had just returned from my European vacation in Spain and I was headed to the bus to attend a panel in Los Angeles for the LA County Arts Commission when I was hit head-on by an SUV. I was casually crossing the street and as I was approaching the sidewalk ramp I look to the right and saw a large white SUV plunging toward me and before I knew it I was being plowed down full speed by this unknown driver.
As a "rolling pedestrian" I know the ways (and rules) of the road and I never thought in all my years that I would get hit by a car, especially with how cautious I am but life had other plans for me. The impact of the vehicle pushed me approximately 10 feet from the sidewalk, tilted my entire chair to the left side of the ground, forced my body to hit the pavement and lifted my entire body and wheelchair back up all in one motion. I do believe the driver didn’t even realize that they hit me because upon first impact the driver did not stop, the car kept running me over for a good 20 seconds. The longest 20 seconds of my life.
My wheelchair took the brunt of the impact. Had it not been in my wheelchair and wearing my seat-beat (which I hardly ever wear) I know for certain that I would not be alive to tell this incredible testimony.
After what seemed like an eternity, the driver finally stopped the vehicle and came to my side to “check” on me. According to the driver, an older female, the sun was in her eyes and she could not see me. I don’t buy this excuse, considering the driver behind her could see me and saw the entire accident occur; clearly, this woman was not paying attention.
She immediately asked if I was in pain and I quickly indicated my entire right side was hurting, including my back and neck. She then informed me she was going to text me her insurance information, once she did she left me on the side of the road, bent over in pain and searching for assistance. By the grace of God, I was able to call the police and move out of the street. The driver was long gone.
Rushed to the hospital, I was admitted and began a multitude of test, from CT Scans to X-Rays and thankfully nothing was broken, (thanks to my wheelchair) but my back and neck were extremely sore/bruised. Some may not know, but in 1999 I had a spinal fusion surgery to realign my spine from the severe curvature. The rods and metal wiring were put in place to keep my spine straight and this vehicular accident could have re-injured my spine. Thankfully, my wheelchair took the majority of the impact and my spine was not majorly affected.
After a few hours in the E.R. I was allowed to go home and begin my rehab, and also begin the process of suing this driver for hitting me and leaving me for dead in the street. My main priority has been getting my wheelchair replaced. Although I can still drive it, it is damaged and needs to be replaced. My wheelchair is custom and the damage to it would be very costly to repair. The MSRP for my chair is approximately $37,000 and there was no way I was going to let this woman get away without some accountability to her reckless actions. But my testimony is not through her, but in the fact that through this incident, I know now more than ever that I have a true purpose on this earth, and my journey can not be cut short.
I should have died the day that car plowed into me but instead, God gave grace and clarity for me to see that I am more than any situation that may come my way. My mission is to show a different look to what disability looks like and how we can improve the accessibility worldwide for all differently-abled people.
Surviving this accident proved to me that I must continue to honor my purpose. If I can live to tell this testimony, I was meant to live and see my goals manifested. We must always remember that even through the struggles of life and love, there is always meaning in the suffering we experience; howeve, when you can see the purpose of your struggle you are able to champion the pain. I chose to champion my pain and create a new meaning to being a surviver. I am more than a surviver, I am a thriver!
Until next time, this is my world... on wheelz!