My traumatic experience occurred on Monday, February 4, 2002 at approximately 11:30am. I was a first semester senior at Allegheny College. That morning I had to make the 30 minute trek to Erie to pick up my oboe from the instrument repair shop for band that afternoon. It was a little snowy when I started my trek at about 10am, but nothing I couldn’t handle. I grew up in Buffalo after all!
At about 10:40, it took me a little longer to get to Erie because of the snow, I picked my oboe up from the music store. Upon my departure I commented to the manager behind the counter, “Be careful today. It’s a little slick out there today!” Those words have haunted me for they were a harbinger for what was to come.
Leaving Erie that morning I breathed a sigh of relief for the snow seemed to be letting up. It had been a worse drive up than I expected and my nerves were shot, but I was from Buffalo, the snow was letting up so I assumed I would make it back to Allegheny in time for my next class.
On my way down 79S, just past Edinboro, the snow got worse causing me (and many others on the road) to slow down to about 45 and put on the blinkers. Less than ten miles from Meadville and just after the Saegertown/Conneautville exit, it happened.
All I remember is seeing something gold. For the longest time I believed it to be a gold car, however there was no gold care in the accident report. After that, it’s fleeting memories of the hospital. Most of which I believe to come from those who were there.
From what the accident architect could deduce, I was hit by two 18-wheelers and ricocheted off a third. It began with two trucks behind me losing control and somehow pinning me between them. My car, Petunia a Nissan Altima, was then pushed into a truck that had pulled over on the side of the road due to the inclement weather. After bouncing off of that truck, my car spun around and slid under one truck which sheared the top of the car off (I finally had the convertible I’d always wanted). At which point the car stopped at which point the second 18 wheeler, a flat bed carrying industrial metal piping, tipped and dumped its load on my car.
A total of eight cars were involved in the accident. And fortunately, only one was injured. Me.
But, considering the rescue teams thought I was a goner, I was fortunate. I didn’t break any bones, but I did have a significant head injury. It took me years of intensive occupational, speech, physical and vison therapy to get me where I am today.
I also, at that time, lost the ability to shut out spirit. Suddenly, they were everywhere. The sorority sisters that visited me in the hospital have spoken of my somewhat incoherent blubbering about ghosts and spirits in the ER. That was only the beginning. That was also when the headaches began.