“I’m sitting in my car and I hear a crumple and next thing ya know, I’m out.”
Produced by Welcome Project intern Noah Sobocinski.
Transcript for Terrible Things Happen
I get in my car, and I’m driving. I get on to the highway–it’s all fine. I’m driving and I’m getting onto the ramp for 65 when my car hits a patch of ice and I lose control of my car. I remember I was able to stop it from just spinning, but I couldn’t stop it from with the momentum, so I hit the wall at 40 mph, and then I bounced off that one and hit the other wall. And then my car was kinda done. So, I’m able to drive the car over, and I’m like: I need to call, I need to call someone to you know come and get me and figure this out. So, I call my, I call my, I believe I called my dad and he didn’t answer, and I’m like: okay, I’ll just call my brother Jimmy. So, I call him and I’m like, “Hey I need to ah, you guys need to come and pick me up, I, I slid on ice and I hit my car, or I you know hit a wall.”
And so, my brother and my dad show up after half an hour. And I’m just kinda sitting there waiting, we get into his car. My brother calls my mom on the phone, ‘cause she’s on vacation somewhere. And I’m talking to my mom on the phone while he’s calling a tow truck for my car. And while that happens, some guy hits us going 60 miles an hour. And then that’s the one where I got like the head injury from, is ‘cause, you know, I’m sitting in my car and I just hear a–I feel like an impact–I hear a crumple and next thing ya know, I’m out.
My brother…my brother and my dad told me that they had to eventually pull the car door open, and they had to physically pull me out of the car because where they had impacted my car and where I was sitting, it had thrown me over to knock me out, and the trunk of my brother’s car was sitting in the seat where I had been sitting. And, yeah, I was next to that, so… They told me that they pulled me out. Like I said, I remember the guy asking if everyone was okay. I remember there was like walking trying to get to the ambulance. After that, the cops ended up driving us home. I remember just because they had me sitting in the cop car for like an hour, just sitting there and waiting for everything to get finished up just enough so that they could leave. I remember that a little bit. But, they drive us back, um, at that point we then have to get in the car, and drive to the hospital to make sure that we’re not like, you know, internally injured or dying or something like that, like we aren’t just gonna fall dead in the car or something. So I’m like, okay. That happened. And then, I guess, like, I went back to work, and then I took the next semester off of school, ‘cause I couldn’t, I couldn’t remember anything well enough. I had no memory retention.
When I first got out of the accident there was always like, there was back pain, there was like a headache that if you were to rank on a 1-10 scale, it was probably like a 9 or a 10 that would constantly just be going for day in and day out. I was dizzy to the point where it was like you just get off like a merry–one of like a fast spinning ride–like a tilt-a-whirl, or like the tea cup rides, like you do those and you step off. It was like that, just constantly though. And so, there was that. There was a lot of short-term memory loss that would entail, like, I just wouldn’t remember that I done things, I wouldn’t remember where I put things. Names of places, they wouldn’t come to me, it would just be like, “Oh, well, I mean this place,” and my brother Jimmy would be like, “Oh, no, you were talking about Walmart,” and I’m like “Yeah, that’s the place.” I was excessively tired, and I think it could be from the fact that I was always dizzy and always had a headache, but like, I would get home from work and I would sleep for six hours, and then I’d get up and I’d be up for maybe another four, and then I’d have to go back to bed, and that continued to be a thing. So, that happened.
As time went on, the symptoms started getting less severe. There are still things that still affect me to this day, and so, a lot of the adapting I’ve had to my head injury relates, one, a lot to my family and to my friends, where they’ve been very understanding towards my life predicament. I don’t know if they did it on purpose, or they just kinda accepted that it was a thing. But either way it’s kinda helped. Like if I forget something, they’ll remind me. Or, like, lately in our house I asked my friend Noah to put up like a board, like things he wanted me to do around the house. He would come back from work and be like, “Hey, did this get done?” and I’d be like “What are you talking about, you didn’t ask be to do anything.” And then he’d be like, “No, I asked you, I asked you, like do the dishes.” And then I’m like, “I don’t remember that.” It doesn’t really work. So, I asked him, “Hey, I know it’s kind of a pain, but can you put a board up on the refrigerator, that way if I’m walking through the kitchen with like a bowl of cereal, I look over and see it and I go, ‘Oh, well, shit, I haven’t done the dishes yet,” and then I can do them.
A lot of things are like labeling. Like my friend Zak was like “You’re doing the dishes, Ian, but you’re not putting them back in the right places,” and I’m like, “Well that’s because I can’t remember where they go.” I can remember where things go, like, with my parent’s house, that’s not a problem. I know where those stuff go because I was living there for like 20 years. I know where that goes. But I’m living with my two friends Zak and Noah now, and I can’t remember where things go. So, eventually he’s just like, “I’m gonna take the time and I’m going to label every drawer where you could possibly put dishes, so you know when you are putting it in the wrong thing.” You’re probably being pretentious about it, but, I mean, it helps, so I’m like, “Well, thanks buddy, this is helpful to me.” So, labeling things, trying to put things where I remember.
Um, yeah, it does get to be a little bit too much sometimes, but like I said, I don’t have the time to really…like…if it’s getting too much, I don’t have the time to just lock myself in my room for three days and then just come out and I’m like: I’m better! I have to–I have to just continue to do things.
Um, it did change, it did change how I empathize with people in a few ways. A big way was, anxiety, like anxiety and depression. So, I have a lot of anxiety while I drive, which make me not want to drive. There’s times where like I’m driving on the highway and I have to pull off the highway ‘cause I start freaking out. I just…If anyone has had anxiety, it feels like you just can’t really do it, but at the same time it’s not like I can get out of my car and walk there –I have to drive. So, like, I can’t walk to my job in Merrillville when I live in Portage. So, I drive to my job. And I just…eventually just face the fact that I have to, regardless of what huge amount of discomfort it puts me to do so.
I try not to think about the huge intricacies of like, hey what’s different between now and then? because it brings up things like anxiety and depression, and because I have more of an innate understanding of that, I can empathize with people who are like that more. I have more of a hands on experience with people who are telling me about having panic attacks, they’re feeling so dejected they don’t wanna get up, things like that. It made it easier for me, gave me an understanding, and helped me be more empathetic towards people in general. I can help you make the best of your own situation. I had some life circumstance that kinda just blindsided me and taught me that you can do that, but that doesn’t mean that other people have had that experience, that they can understand that.
So, through my sense of empathy and sympathy that I’ve gotten from all of this, I can then use that, and try to show people the same thing. That they’re like “Oh no, my parents are being really terrible,” or “My parents are splitting up.” It’s like yeah, but you can make it better, or you can try to make things better for yourself. I think that that’s probably the way to go about everything without going crazy. You’re just looking at the negative things all the time, eventually you’re just like, “Well this is probably the end,” and it’s like, “No, you should probably look for the positive things.”
Hey, like, you kinda just have to deal with things. And as terrible as it kinda sounds, it made me realize that life sucks. Terrible things happen for no good reason whatsoever, not just my situation, but other people’s situation. There’s plenty of people who have it way worse than I do. But it made me realize that, like, even if I think my life sucks, I don’t have to be mopey about it. I can try to make the best of my situation, and I realized as a life outlook, that just because life is–you can view life as terrible as you want, but you still don’t have a reason to not make the best of what you can with it. So, I kinda function on that life philosophy, too.
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