Updated: Mar 24, 2022
911: What's Your Emergency? The Worthington Fire and Rescue was holding a county-wide meeting at their station when the 911 call came in identifying an accident location less than a tenth of a mile away.
Minutes later, an army of qualified, trained, and seasoned emergency medical technicians reached the scene and worked to free me from my car and save my life. When I bled out twice in the ambulance, they hung another bag of blood and raced to the level-one trauma center at University of Louisville Hospital. Stuck on my shirt, a visitor's pass from Norton Elementary School read only Angie. Logan was now in kindergarten and Audrey was in fifth grade and Norton Elementary had been my point of departure that morning. My purse containing my identification had been tossed to the rear of my car upon impact, so I was admitted to the ER as Angie Doe.
Personnel assessed my heart rate, pulse, and other vital signs, then cut off my blood-soaked jeans and wedding rings. My heart beat, and lungs filled with air because of a ventilator. My brain revealed activity and there were no signs of swelling. But, I lay unconscious, in a coma.
The Glasgow Coma Scale, a scoring system used by many medical staff, allows for a quick assessment of levels of consciousness upon a patient’s admission to an emergency room. Predetermined levels from 3 to15 tell doctors instantly the patient’s condition. On an episode of Law and Order, a doctor explained the Glasgow coma scale to a family member of a patient with a score of 4. “Is that good or bad?” asked the family member. “You see that lamp?” the doctor said, pointing to a lamp on the table, “It would be a 3.” My score was a 3: no eye opening, no verbal response, no motor response. I remained in a coma for over two weeks. But unlike the lamp, I was alive.
Initially, admitted to the University of Louisville Trauma Center as a 3 on the Glasgow coma scale, I was transferred, two weeks later, to the renowned Frasier Neuro-Rehabilitation Center--by then a 6 on the Glasgow scale. Apparently, much activity occurred in both my neuro-intensive care room at U of L and my rehabilitation room at Frasier.
Those charged with strengthening my physical body--doctors, nurses, therapists--numbered 10 to 20 at any given time. Those charged with strengthening my soul--family, friends, co- workers--were limited to 1 or 2 at a time, but occasionally groups of 6 or 8 were allowed to offer prayers for me and encouragement to my family. While my body lay still, my spirit was busy. Neither dead nor conscious, what was I? Abiding.
ABIDE- original acrylic on cardboard