Visual narrative draft #3


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Visual narrative draft #3

  1. 1. Kristen M. Sell<br />David DiSarro<br />ENG 103<br />September 22, 2010<br />The First Link<br /> June 7th, 2007; this was the day of my highly anticipated high school graduation. Sitting in that over-crowded gymnasium in my bright red cap and gown waiting for my name to be called, I had my entire future mapped out. At the end of the summer, I would attend Bethel College and study Christian Ministry so that I would someday become a missionary and visit Africa and change people’s lives. I would, presumably, marry my on-again-off-again high school sweetheart and my happy little fairy tale would be just wonderful. Sound familiar? That’s because, details aside, almost every freshly graduated high school senior seems to possess his or her own strategically (or not so strategically) organized plan as to how perfect his or her life will someday be. You might guess that, like most of those other seniors, my plan did not exactly pan out. <br />I somewhat reluctantly decided to go on one last camping trip with the family before college. No big deal, right? At least that’s what I thought. Everything started out like all the other family trips; rushing around to get everything packed, plenty of arguing, and, of course, not leaving by the time we had planned. (Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of love in my family, we are just a bunch of procrastinators). We finally got on the road. My immediate family, as well as two of my uncle’s families and plenty of horses to go around, were all heading south to O’Bannon State Park for, what was supposed to be, a long weekend of riding horses. Like I said, it all started out normal. We unloaded the horses then unhitched the trailers. We unpacked all of the cooking supplies along with all the other various outdoor equipment. The men and my outdoor-loving-sister raised the canopies and the tents. All of this set-up was accompanied, as usual, by the sound of bored, heavy breathing horses and country music. Once camp was set up, most of us went on a short trail ride before dark that first day. Once we were back, we headed to our sleeping bags early (why we do not own an air mattress is beyond me) so we could be sure to wake up for breakfast and head out for the first full day of riding.<br />After breakfast on the second day, each of us saddled our respective horses and set out for our first long ride of the trip in the hills of southern Indiana. This was the first time I had ever ridden these specific trails. I remember being surprised by how the trails seemed to be made up of rocks. This is not characteristic of the parks I was used to. Other than the rocks, it was a usual ride; the eye-catching scenery, no cell phone reception (ah, the freedom of no annoying ring tones), the pleasant chatter between family members and bickering among siblings, and having to reign in the horses every time they were distracted or spooked by seemingly every little thing. <br />My older brother’s horse must have been more distracted than the rest. We stopped in a clearing, for the convenience of the level ground, about five miles into the trail so my brother could more easily handle his skittish horse. The group of us was clustered there waiting patiently for my brother to deal with his current situation. My cousin’s horse that was in front of me, however, was not so patient. I was sitting on top of one of this horse’s barn mates. Maybe we were standing too close behind him or maybe these two had some long standing equine-dispute of which I was not aware. Either way, my cousin’s horse decided to urge my horse to move away. He kicked back at my horse with both of his monstrous shod (he had horse shoes) hooves. My right leg just happened to be in his way. Excuse me, Mr. Horse. His hoof met, quite painfully, with my tibia. I flew from the saddle and must have landed on my right wrist some six feet below. Somehow, I must have scurried away with what I later learned was a wrist full of badly stretched ligaments and a shattered tibia (the larger bone in the bottom of my leg that supports me when I walk). I still cringe when I remember the sound and feeling of my crushed bone rubbing against itself. There are two things here I have to point out for which I am especially thankful. First, that I have no head injury. This spot on the trail was void of the rocks that covered the other areas which would have surely caused a great deal more pain for me. Second, I was somehow able to scurry away. My horse was scared and had immediately turned to run in my direction, almost trampling me. <br />So here I was lying in the grass at least five miles away from the closest medical attention. Luckily, my aunt had cell reception in this clearing. She called 911 and then everyone but my dad headed back to camp to notify my mom, who had stayed behind, of my misfortune. Mind you, they had to ride down the rest of the trail, so this took awhile. I lay there for an hour in that grass, which turned out to be poison ivy, squeezing my dad’s hand and crying. My mom, being the outstanding mother she is, decided she could not wait for the paramedics to bring her to me. She started walking… up a five mile rock-covered trail in her sandals. That is still funny to me. Needless to say, she did not beat the paramedics. When they crossed paths, they allowed her to hitch a ride on the small all-terrain-vehicle that they slowly drove up to me. These guys were not playing games. They were like super paramedics or something. They immediately assessed that my leg was badly broken. Not hard to do, since you could see inside of it. One of them gave me a shot of hardly-helpful-morphine while another found a sturdy stick to make a splint for my leg. I rode back down the way that we had come up earlier on a stretcher on the back of the ATV while my mom and dad walked down beside me. (I really do have awesome parents). The ambulance was waiting when we got to the bottom. We “rushed” to the hospital. To me, it took forever. <br />I ended up in the University Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky dealing with poison ivy and morphine itch along with menstrual cramps on top of all the other pain, for the next five days. The surgeons inserted a titanium rod and four screws into my leg. Initially, they did not see anything wrong inside my wrist, although it was swollen to the size of my knee. The first morning we were back home, the doctors in Louisville called to tell us that they had found something wrong with my wrist, after all. What a surprise. I ended up having pins put in place along with a series of casts to make sure the healing of my ligaments went smoothly. This meant I spent that long, hot summer with a cast on my arm, sitting in a wheelchair and depending on my family to take care of my every need; every eighteen-year-old girl’s dream. <br />It was miserable for everyone involved. My very empathic mother had to helplessly watch while one of her children lay there in excruciating pain as her body reluctantly accepted the new metal parts. I think that was the hardest thing for her. Not the partial nights of sleep or worries that I would become addicted to my pain pills, not the days missed at work or even the dressing, feeding and bathing me, but her inability to “kiss it and make it feel better” broke her heart. She still cries about it today, three years later. By some means, my far-from-emotional dad turned into my counselor. He, better than anyone else, talked me through the deep depression and anxiety through which this unexpected transition was pushing me. He stopped being just the guy who puts the proverbial roof over my head and started being the dad who I can turn to whenever the world gets the best of me. Eventually, my parents did have to start working again, which left me in the “willing” hands of my two younger sisters. I assume you understand that few adolescent girls are actually willing to sacrifice their precious poolside, boy-chasing summer days to babysit their invalid older sister. My sisters were not of these few. There was plenty of arguing and complaining amongst us. My youngest sister went so far as to complain to a friend that she had to bring me my catheter. Ha! She had nothing to do with my catheter. I left that wretched thing in Kentucky and had been promoted to, wait for it… a bed pan. Yes, she did have to bring me my bed pan, but, trust me, that was better than any catheter. By the end of August, my family was likely just as ready as I was to for the doctor to give the okay for me to start physical therapy in order to begin walking again and soon after, have the last cast removed from my arm. <br />We were all finally nearing the end of my healing process. I was allowed to sleep in my own bed and in my own room, I could bathe myself and, much to the joy of my youngest sister, I could even use the restroom on my own! I know these things don’t seem like much but they meant that I had gained back my independence… that I was not handicapped anymore. That is not a privilege many people come across.<br />June 14th, 2007; this was seven days after my high school graduation. I lay on that trail, scared that somehow I wouldn’t make it. I’m writing this paper three years later, so I obviously did. I lay in that hospital with a crushed bone in my leg scared that I would never walk again. I’m a server and a college student, so I definitely walk. I lay there on my temporary downstairs bed crying and scared that nothing would ever be the same. I’m a ministry major turned culinary major turned psychology major. My high school sweetheart is married to someone else. I live on my own and I am far from depressed; so, no, not much is the same, but I am more than alright with my changed self. June 14th, 2007; exactly seven days after my high school graduation and the first link in an unending chain of days that would lend a hand in molding me into the adult I continue to become.<br />