The end is also the beginning.
By Pat West Turner

People said this to me as I was about to graduate high school, but they, nor I, fully understood how real that statement was. How could I have known that a few months before graduation, I would be in a car accident that changed my life forever? This was not a beginning I asked for and certainly not one I would wish on anyone else. But it is what it is! Accept it, learn to cope with it; deny it, or suffer because of it…the choice was up to me.

Two days before Christmas, returning home from Wenatchee, Washington, in a snowstorm, three friends and I encountered the backend of a snowplow. We all survived despite the lack of seatbelts. It was three months before I slept in my own bed again.

The injuries I sustained resulted from being tossed over the front seat and, in the process, my legs were trapped from my feet being under the seat. Before settling, curled up on the passenger floorboard, my left hip dislocated, and my right knee compound dislocated. Arriving at the hospital I was taken to surgery to reconnect the main artery in the back of my knee. Complications resulted from the hard cast that was applied the first night. Days later when the cast was taken off because of indescribable pain it was discovered because of swelling from the fresh injury as well as lack of circulation, the side of my calf had third-degree burns. More surgeries were required to remove the dying skin. During the thirteenth surgery, gangrene was discovered. The following morning my leg was amputated above the knee.

The time spent during endless days with no distractions like a TV or phone I could reach, or even being able to change the positioning of the head of my bed, I had hours to map out a new life. The first goal was to heal enough to get out of the hospital to receive my high school diploma.

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