Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Ode to Family

Two years. Two long, crazy years. I can't believe it's been that long. Some days it seems so much longer, but everyday I am happy because my sister is still with us. Two years ago, almost to the hour, my sister was in an accident that changed our lives. Since then, my husband has cracked down on safety issues, and we have thought more about the consequences of all our actions, good or bad.

I remember I had just started a new job. I was at work, just doing what I was supposed too when my cell phone rang. I normally don't answer my phone, but we were slow and it was my mom. My mom knows not to call unless it's important, so I was highly curious. I stepped in the office to answer it. The MOD was in there, and just gave me a questioning look. "My mother" I mouthed before I said "Hello?" My mom replied with this: "I don't want you to panic, and I didn't want you to be pissed because I didn't call you, but your sister was in an accident and is being airlifted to MUSC." I almost had a panic attack myself. "ARE YOU SERIOUS!? HOW CAN YOU TEL ME NOT TO FREAK OUT!" "I am on my way with your dad to go see her, you can ride up later if you want." "LIKE HELL, I'M COMING NOW!" and hung up the phone.

The MOD looked at me, and I burst into tears, "My sister was in an accident, I don't know much but she is being airlifted to MUSC, so it must be bad." She just looked at me and said, "Go. Don't worry, I will cover for you, call me later about tomorrow."

I got in my car and sped the 15 miles home. My cousin had called me on the way home, and wanted to know if I could even remember where MUSC was, I couldn't remember, I was too freaked out, and hoping that my sister would just be okay. He said he would wait for me at home, and I could follow him.

I bust up in my house, yelling for Jeremy to get dressed. He had this habit of letting his phone battery die, so he had no idea what was going on. I threw a pair of pants at him, and changed in record time, while letting him know that Vanessa was in bad shape, and I was going to MUSC, whether he was going, come hell or high water. He said he would go. We took off.

Halfway to Charleston, about Mount Pleasant, I noticed we were almost out of gas. I called my cousin to tell him we needed to stop. Jeremy called to check out account balance, we only had $7 and some change. We agreed we would fill up and let the bank overdraft, getting to Ham was way more important. The gas pump, however disagreed. I ended up calling my friend Christina from California to send me money via Paypal, she is a gem. I love her so much for that. She literally saved us that day.

We get to the hospital, and wait, rather impatiently for more info from the doctors. While waiting, I learn more. My sister, and avid bike rider, was going down the road to the car service station to get air in her bike tire. She had stopped to cross the road, when she got hit by a truck. The driver told the EMS workers that she pulled in front of him. It doesn't make sense, we have been riding our bikes since we were children, playing in the roads, walking to grandma's house. We knew to look both ways 3 times before crossing, so why would she just go?

She was later moved to ICU, and there she stayed for 3 long, endless days. I got to see her that first night for about 5 minutes before Jeremy and I headed back to Georgetown. The nurse barely let me see her, and then watched me like a hawk, just because I asked if I could wake her for a minute to let her know I was there. He had just said she would go right back to sleep, but he still wouldn't leave. Jeremy later told me that the nurse reminded him of the nurses who watched newborns. That he acted like I was going to steal Vanessa away. As if! No offense, but Ham is not a tiny girl. I would have a little trouble trying to move her.

4 days later, she is back home. When she got back home, her boyfriend at the time got the idea to ask the businesses around that area if they had external cameras that might have caught footage of the accident. That was a bit humorous. He is a redneck country boy, in jeans a little too big, a wife beater and a hat. I could understand why they were a bit reluctant with the information. Once he explained, however, about Vanessa, most of them in the area knew her from her waitressing at the diner in the area, they were more than happy to help with the information. 3 businesses later, he found one with footage. A friend took her to Anglers, the gas station, to watch with the manager. They both agreed it was hard to watch. She had no recollection of the accident, which I still think is a blessing.

She was waiting to cross the road, when a car was turning into the car wash, where she was. They stopped and signaled for her to cross, she looked, then proceeded to cross. Out of nowhere, a truck appears and hits her. She flies approximately 12 foot in the air, then hit the pavement. Thinking about this now, still hurts my heart. Then, cars just keep coming. Finally, a good Samaritan stops his car, to stop traffic to keep her from being hit again. The guy in the truck comes back and talks to the EMS folks.

Vanessa later took that video to her lawyer, and it was determined that he was going 75-80 miles per hour, in a 40 MPH zone. He was in the wrong.

Vanessa had suffered some head trauma, that has affected her memory, eyesight and some of her hearing, but I thank my stars that she is still alive. We weren't a very affectionate family growing up, and we didn't say it often, but I love my sister. I wasn't ready for her to go then, anymore than I am ready for her to go now. I am glad she is still here, and that she is a fighter.

I love you, Hammykins. Thank you for not giving up.


  1. I remember this. I'm so glad your sister is okay and that you were able to get to where you needed to go that night. I'm so glad I was able to help. I love you so much! <3

    1. Thank you for being a great friend! You are always there for me when I need you! Thank you for being an adopted sister, you are family to us!