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Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP

Essay Five

Kaylie Denise

Imagine waking up feeling scared, dazed, and confused. You wake up looking for answers, but an overpowering urge to cry consumes you. The air is getting harder and harder to breathe, and the door to your right is stuck. You are trapped, and you panic trying to force yourself out, but it is no use. Through the cloud of dust, you see people racing over to you, grabbing the door handle. You finally get pulled out, and the air clears. The answers you were looking for reveal themselves, and all you do is break down, shaking, crying, and barely breathing.

This was my reality; I was the passenger in a serious motor vehicle accident due to a drunk driver. The car was hit from behind, and then it propelled itself into a telephone pole at forty miles per hour. The car slammed into the pole, the windshield shattered on my side of the car, the back of the car was completely totaled, the front of the car was exposed, and the inside of the car was covered in dust from the airbag. It all happened within minutes. I blacked out during the first hit; not seeing the car go into the telephone pole. I was unresponsive, eyes closed, leaned up against the side of my chair, and my mouth wide open. I woke up to my boyfriend screaming my name because he thought I was dead. When I was able to understand what happened I started to panic. My heart was racing, my body was tingling, and there were tears pouring out of my eyes. Witnesses scrambled to call 911, as I sat there speechless, in a daze, I leaned back feeling an overpowering sense of tiredness. The paramedics checked both of us out, and I was then put into the ambulance due to dangerously high blood pressure. As they hooked me up to the machine it started blinking red, and making sounds. In a panic, the paramedics started giving me stuff, and sternly telling me to calm down. I was so scared, and had little control over my bodily functions. When I finally calmed down they quickly got a CT scan, MRI, and an X-Ray done. After multiple hours at the hospital, I was released with a severe concussion, whiplash, and burns.

For a long time, I was either at physical therapy, occupational therapy, or my doctors. My life was consumed by doctor appointments to the point where I did not get to go to many other places. I could not play for my travel soccer team, I could not go ice skating without a helmet, I could not go anywhere where I could potentially hit my head, and I could not go to the movie theater or too loud crowded places. I was living in a box, and it made me feel powerless and trapped.

The last thing I wanted to do was let the ignorant actions of someone else define me. When thoughts about the accident made me feel scared or alone or confused, I would woodburn how I felt. I then turned my art into a project to raise awareness about the effects of drunk driving. This project was for my junior year regular U.S history class. The point of the project was for the student to build awareness for something he or she believes in. I did mine on the effects of drunk driving. Many of my classmates remarked on how powerful my pieces were, and that was an accomplishment. I made a difference in my community. I used something that used to destroy me to think about, into a campaign against drunk driving.

Senior year came around and I was noticing some issues regarding my anxiety level. I went to my doctors, and I found out that I was having internal panic attacks. These anxiety attacks were affecting my grades, and that was a huge problem. He told me that it was probably because of my post-concussive syndrome. That hurt to hear because I thought I was getting better, I thought the end was near, but it was not.

Being a passenger in that accident was hard. I know the man that hit us was arrested for a DUI, but its hard not to think where he is now. My life was pulled out from under my feet, and his life just hit a bump in the road. His ignorance and carelessness almost killed me, but it has also made me stronger.

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