It was a sunny afternoon.  Barely a cloud in the sky.  My panniers were packed with notebook, iPhone, a change of clothing, drinks, and shoes.


Time for an office meeting, the need to catch up.

The ride in was bliss, wind at my face… incredible breaths of sea air.. birds chirping.. My legs in complete rotations.. pedaling, pedaling.. to bring me joy, to bring one more car commuter off the road, to bring me to my destination.

Catch-up. A meeting with my supervisor.  Positivity, movement forward, looking up, re-grouping, re-organizing, and planning for another successful year.

Back in cycling clothes, giggling about my chain grease kiss that I didn’t even notice while in my meeting.. excited to ride home, do some housework, then head back out with a dear friend for a nice long ride in the cool October air.

Pumpkins, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin ale.. Cuddles, and sweaters, walks holding hands and the crunching leaves under feet.. I always loved fall.

10:50 am.  Clipping in.. 12 miles to go.. I will be home, Sedona will bark.. then she will wag her tail, we will hug and wrestle- then go for a walk.  Luna will jump off the bed, and approach me with purrs and meows.  Husband is at work, so Ill think about what to make for dinner before heading back out for another ride.

Breezes blowing and the sun is smiling.. I almost feel like Im in love all over again… The ride is a straight shot.. no turns until I get home.. I settle into the side lane.. Looking overly cautious.. clad in fluorescent yellow.

As I enter into Madison I see a large freight truck driving down the side street right towards me on the main road “Please stop, I tell myself… the stop sign is right intro…. oh.. God.. Oh God…..”…. The smell of exhaust permeates my nose.. the hot asphalt digs deeply into my flesh.. the scent of rubber and the weight of the world rolls over me, and then again… I hear my insides cracking, my legs feel like someone lit them on fire.. I hear the truck accelerate and begin to drive away…

“AAAAAAAAAAH, AAAAAAAAAAAAH, Dear God, HELP ME! PLEASE DONT LET ME DIE, PLEASE DONT LET ME DIE”.  Can I pick up my head? Yes. Oh.. God, my leg is ripped to shreds… my abdomen is opened up… Im bleeding out.. Im dying… Suddenly I can’t feel my back anymore… I scream more….and I don’t stop.

She appears, a woman with blonde hair.. she holds my head and tells me to hang in there.. I scream “I just found my husband, I can’t die now, we haven’t even met our child”.. She caresses my forehead and I hear cars screeching… “You will make it, you will be a mommy.. hold on”.

Then, she is gone.

Another man runs up to me.. bare handed, screaming and telling people what to do “YOU, STOP TRAFFIC.. YOU, HOLD HER HEAD STILL, YOU, COVER HER ABDOMEN WITH THIS.. Holy.. God.. Hang in there girl, hang in there.. He is covered in my blood…”.

Sirens.. everywhere.. People screaming…

“Stay with us Colleen”.  “Please don’t let me die”.

“You, hold her leg together.. You hold this on her abdomen”.. She needs 02 STAT..

My body is being rolled.. Just like I learned in emergency medicine when I went for my EMT.. I try screaming but I can’t anymore.  The back board hurts even worse.. I keep telling myself to stay awake.. I try to look at my abdomen, their is a hole in it.. what’s together looks like Im nine months pregnant.. I cry even harder.

They are slipping in my blood.. Dear God…

Into the ambulance, One paramedic holds my hand.. “Your ok now.. you don’t have to fight so hard..”… “No, I want to be a wife.. I want to be a mother.. I need morphine”.

They read off my stats.. taking my pulse by looking at my femoral artery then covering it back up again…

She holds my hand, another places her hands on my forehead.. another works without ceasing on my IV meds, my stats…

If I lose consciousness, I might not be here anymore.. I know this.. so I keep fighting.. and I keep praying.. “not yet God, please.. not yet”.

We arrive… the ambulance doors fly open.. people in blue gather around me.. the color fades to black.

My eyes open.. There are mom and dad.. and my sweet Sean.. holding my hand and smiling..  “How did they get here so fast?”.  Sean explains what happens with the voice of an angel.. tears flow from his eyes and he says.. “Do you remember? You were in a bad accident.. we almost lost you.. but your here.. its been almost 35 days…”

I look down at my body and try to scream, I can’t.. the tube that allowed my coma-induced body to get oxygen had bruised and weakened my vocal chords. tears run down my face as I notice my colostomy, my bandaged body.. and all the tubes coming out of me..”.  I try to say “I want to go home”.  Then mom and dad are at my side.. tenderly loving me. “God saved you, and he has plans for you..”.

Back asleep.

The wound changes were three times a week, I only remember the first one 37 days later… They had to fill me up with IV pain meds and I still cried.. Someone was always with me.. A family member or a close friend.. Never.. Never was I left alone..

Mid November I went to Gaylord.  Terrified.  Would I ever walk again? Would I ever sleep again? Would I ever stop smelling that rubber, pavement, exhaust, accelerating engine, screeching cars, screaming people? Would everyone just stop stuffing me with gauze?   Can I get these damn IVs out?  Why am I so weak? Why can’t anyone understand me when I talk?

Sean would hold my hand and sleep by my side every night.. and with every sunset he would recite the following: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”…

I clung to those words, his voice.. his hands..

Soon, I was taking my first painful steps.. one at a time.. Feeling angry, frustrated, embarrassed.   My body leaked everywhere.  I ached.. and I was so so weak held together with what looked like Deck screws, and fishing lures.

Weeks later, I was walking the halls.. hugging all of my nurses, and tolerating wound changes just a little better.. and understanding that I needed to be a good patient.. I needed to take my medication.. and it was ok.

Then, I came home for Christmas.. Scared again, but surrounded by the love of my family.   Christmas has an entirely new meaning.. Everything did.

My Home health and Home PT had their work cut out for them.. Not only was I sobbing 9 out of 10 times that they came to work with me, I was anxious.. and terrified of regression.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”- Sean continued to pray..

Now, I am 13 surgeries into this process.. countless behavioral therapy sessions in, and many many PT sessions… My heroes have been with me every step..

Now, I am beginning a new chapter.. My memories will always be with me, and thankfully the love and strength of all my heroes will be also.. Down to the very depths of my roots.



3 responses »

  1. Hello, sweet Colleen, I re-emerged at Law of Attraction today after having been in Rochester last week. I asked Amy how you were and she said, “she is up and about again.” So, I am here again thinking of you with your chickens, vegetables and perseverance. There is a person in our group today who has pain of a different nature, and I shared with him about an interview with a painter I had read in my favorite magazine, The Sun, this past week. Reading the interview moved my heart, so I would love to read it aloud with someone for reflection. Perhaps you. There is a force for creativity within all of us that resides as a form of release, and I thank you for your share that I received from Amy.

    I am free tomorrow until 2:30 for walking, reading something dear and/or marinating and grilling or weeding or . . . . as well as Thursday afternoon as well as Friday morning. Or a phone conversation. Or a look into our schedules next week. Or holding Sean’s prayer that you generously shared.

    Until our next encounter, I send you more energy to continue your gifts of writing — love, Carmen

  2. My mom met you yesterday at a blood drive in Westbrook and was very excited to tell me your story. When she was done, I couldn’t wait to look you up. I’ve never posted on anyone’s blog before but felt compelled to tell you how awesome I think you are for not only surviving but containing to fight to help save others while you fight to put yourself back together. Keep fighting the good fight, Colleen!!

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