On July 3, 2009, my fiancée and I were in a horrible car accident in Carteret, New Jersey. We had spent a wonderful afternoon together, first getting a bite to eat at one of my favorite New Jersey diners. We then headed back to my home town of Perth Amboy and I showed her around some of the sites and the places that had significance to me for one reason or another.
As we drove around we stopped at a nice little ice cream place on the waterfront, where my mom had once known the owner, and we each had a banana split as we sat and talked. We then went across the street and walked out on the pier enjoying time together. After a while we decided to turn around and head back to the car and drive around a little more. We wound our way around the back roads as I pointed out a few places of interest to her. Slowly we made our way to Carteret and into the residential area as we made our way back to my dad’s house to shower and change for a weekend long Fourth of July celebration. It was on one of the back roads that disaster struck.
We reached the intersection of Jackson and Chestnut streets and stopped at the stop sign before proceeding through the intersection. Once we were, about two-thirds of the way through the intersection an SUV came barreling down on us. My fiancée caught it out of the corner of her eye and yelled out to me. I cut hard to the left to try to avoid being hit or at least only get hit in the rear end.
Unfortunately that was not to happen, instead the SUV slammed into our car hard with the full impact directly on her door. The impact was so strong that it sent the car slamming into a telephone pole on my side of the car. The passenger side, driver side and rear windows all shattered completely, sending glass flying all over the place, some of the glass ending two hundred feet away on to a woman’s lawn. It was such a bad impact that we both thought the car had rolled twice; thankfully, it did not roll at all.
Once the car came to a stop, I looked over to see how she was doing, to my terror she was more than just shaken up by the accident. She was laying flat on her back, the front seat having fallen all the way back into the back seat, covered in glass and her eyes rolling back into her head barely conscious. I screamed for someone to call 911 and told her not to close her eyes and to keep talking to me, terrified that she was about to die right in front of me. She asked me to get her cell phone and call her parents so she could talk to them and let them know what happened and put the cell phone on her chest and on speakerphone.
In the time it took for the EMTs, ambulances, fire trucks and police to get there, I think I lived through a million hells. As the EMTs got there, one of them told me I was bleeding and to get out of the car so they could patch me up, but I wanted to stay next to her until they got her taken care of and I knew she was safe. I remember the last thing I said to her before I got out of the car was “I love you.” After they patched me up, all I could do was pace and watch, the EMTs becoming adamant that I sit instead of stand despite the fact that I was not in the way.
They eventually got me over to sit on the bumper of the ambulance while they tended to me further to make sure I was indeed OK. I sat there in horror as I watched them cutting her out of the car, each heartbeat lasting a lifetime. After a while, I heard them call in a helicopter to evacuate her over the ambulance radio. When I heard this, my terror was sent to a completely new level.
Eventually they took me to the hospital while they finished extracting her from what was left of my Chevy Cavalier. All I could worry about was if she would live or die. Once they got me there, they verified that I had a three-inch laceration and that I would need stitches. They sent me through something called ‘fast track,’ which supposedly got you through the process faster. I couldn’t wait though, signed myself out Against Medical Advice (AMA), and went to look for her and find out what happened to her. They directed me to the trauma waiting room and told me as soon as she was back from her X-Rays and CT scans they would let me know.
A lifetime later, I was finally able to come n and see her. When I finally got into see her, she had a huge pin through her knee and was in traction. The doctor told me, that her acetabulum was shattered and the pin was needed to relieve pressure on the knee and hip and that she would need major surgery to repair it. The acetabulum is a concave surface of the pelvis. The head of the femur meets with the pelvis at the acetabulum, forming the hip joint.
A few days later, they took her for what would turn out to be the first of two surgeries. The first surgery lasted eight long hours and put in plastic screws to relieve the pain some and stabilize her. A few days later they took her in for a second operation that would last six hours and replaced the plastic with metal. She has been in the hospital for two weeks now, I have slept by her side in a chair every night and have only left the hospital three times for about a total of 15 hours at most, and is going to need months of rehab to learn to walk all over again.
As for me, I wound up with a three inch laceration that needed fifteen stitches to close. As bad as the accident was, we are damn lucky to still be alive, especially her. Someone was watching over us that day.