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Eighteen Days Of Death
Eighteen days of death is how I refer to my eighteen days of being comatose in a hospital in Loma Linda, California, starting on the night of November 27, 1987. They are days and nights that I will always remember, and are hard for me to forget. This is about what caused my being comatose, and about my mental and physical traumas from being comatose.
On the night of November 27, 1987, I went to a friends birthday party, where there were a lot of drug and alcohol abuse all around, of which I was a part. While at the party I consumed, an equivalent to, one case of beer out of a keg, and one-fifth of tequila out of a gallon bottle. I also had smoked some marijuana. To say the least, I was well over the legal limit of alcohol consumption.
The party had gotten a little too loud and out-of-hand for the apartment where it was held so, we decided that it should be moved to a place in the desert, known by all the partygoers in Ridgecrest, California as Cherry Hill. Before leaving the apartment I had a feeling that I should not do anymore partying but, in a sense, was talked into going along. Before leaving the apartment parking-lot, everyone piled into cars and trucks. They decided for me to ride in the back of a friends truck, because the cab of the truck had already had four people in it. This was the same friend that called me "The Navigator", and always insisted that I sit in the cab of the truck. Maybe that was another sign to just go home and not party anymore.
On the way to Cherry Hill, the person driving the truck that I was in the back of, was equally intoxicated and driving like any drunken fool (fast and out of control). When it came to driving on dirt roads, it became even worse. We were traveling at a rate of sixty miles per hour, doing fishtails on a dirt road. It was a cold desert night. Temperatures were below freezing and being the drunken fool that I was, I stood up and started banging on the cab of the truck, telling him to slow down. I was then thrown from the truck from the force of the truck swerving back-and-forth.
As a result of being thrown from the truck I landed headlong onto the hard surface of the California desert, known as The Mojave Desert, that surrounds Ridgecrest, in the Indian Wells Valley. I landed on the top of my head and slid thirty to forty feet on my right side, scraping away most of the flesh on that side of my face and torso area. My right eye popped out of my head and was hanging from the eye stock (the part of your eye that connects your eye to the optic nerve). My right ear was also hanging by a thread of skin from the side of my head. I was subsequently unconscious, incapable of verbalizing, and deemed by my friends, that were gathering about, to be taking my last breaths.
It took over an hour for the ambulance driver to find the location I was at. When the ambulance finally arrived I was covered with a yellow blanket by the Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT's). EMT's and hospitals use a universal color code when using blankets on patients and accident victims. Yellow means they do not expect you to live. Nevertheless, I was rushed to the hospital.
Ridgecrest Community Hospital was not capable of treating the massive head trauma that I had, so UCLA was called which is approximately 300 miles south of Ridgecrest. They sent a helicopter to heliport me to Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda, California. Loma Linda University Medical Center is among the six highest ranking medical facilities in the world. Even with their high knowledge of medical procedure and skills, they had no expectations of me living through such trauma; they gave me a six percent chance of surviving.
Roughly seven hours after I had fallen out of the truck, my blood-alcohol was taken for the second time at Loma Linda; it registered at 0.46, 46% of the fluid flowing through my body was alcohol. The average adult is comatose at 0.40, and is clinically dead at 0.50. I had a subdural hematoma (blood clots between the layers of the brain), my brain was swollen out of its cavity.
I was given 1,000 milligrams of morphine, phenobarbital, and thorazine each every hour, inducing the coma that I was already in. To reduce and relieve some of the swelling of my brain, the surgeons drilled three holes in my head, approximately one half inch in diameter each. The morphine and phenobarbital were for pain, and the thorazine was to slow the activity of my brain.
For eighteen days I laid quiet, scared, and alone within myself. My only way of communicating was by squeezing the hands of people who asked me questions.
After I came out of the coma, the first thing that I remember, was a nurse saying to me, "Today we're going to teach you how to walk."
My first reaction was, "I know how to walk!" I stood up and fell to the floor. I knew a little less than I thought I did. I had to learn almost everything that my seventeen years of life had already taught. That was something that I refused to believe for a long time, but it was true. I had to learn how to walk, read and write, and because of the tubes that were stuck down my throat, I even had to learn how to talk.
The next thing I remember was seeing myself in the mirror and crying. At that time in my life, like any average seventeen-year-old, my hair was one of the most important things to me. When I looked in the mirror, I saw that my head was shaved. Before my accident, my hair was very long, past the middle of my back.
After leaving Loma Linda, among other things, I was told that I had been clinically dead more than eight times.
I had to have Speech Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Occupational Therapy for more than one year after leaving the hospital. I could not return to school without my doctors' permission, which I could not get for about one year.
A lot of people think that being comatose is not as bad as it is but, it is something that I would never want to go through again, or wish upon anyone. My eighteen days of death still effect the ways I think and feel to this day. I hope that someday more than my family and I will learn from my Eighteen Days of Death...
"And we know that all things work together for the good to them that love God,
and are called according to His purpose."
THE HOLY BIBLE,
THE NEW TESTAMENT OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST
Some Of My Writings
CLOWNS SUSPENDED IN AIR
People look without a thought
Seeing past what's there
Nailed down by fear of truth
Are clowns suspended in air
Problems caused by their plagues of lies
Twisted by their fate
What drives their minds and starving eyes
Actually drives them by hate
Disaster lies within their grasp
They've killed what wasn't there
Please tell me just what it is
That keeps them in the air
Bleeding hearts and crying eyes
Fall upon their youth
Is it lust destroying their minds
Or love of bending the truth
Selfish greed pollutes their thoughts
Along with lands we share
Can't you see because of this
We're all clowns suspended In air
Sometimes the days are numbered
For so many but so few
I wish my days were numbered
To the day that I meet you
My heart is o so blinded
By the presence of your love
Seeing only happiness
That was sent from Him above
My feelings are unique
For they're meant for only you
These feelings are so special
'cause I know you love me too
I can feel you in my thoughts
Growing stronger in my soul
You cross my mind with happiness
But, love's the only toll
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