My work space, once a high-tech newsroom with a Mac desktop computer, a rolling chair, and the support of my peers, is now a vintage recliner in my grandparents’ living room. Between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., you can find me here, under a cozy blanket, with my laptop in my lap and my cat Lucky keeping me company.
SARASOTA, Fla. – It was the morning of March 11, and my friends and I were reveling in our fifth day of spring break. I was sporting some nice tan lines and a touristy “Anna Maria Island” T-shirt. Then I heard some exciting, yet disconcerting, news from the University of South Carolina – our spring break would be extended due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.
I started brainstorming how I’d spend the extra week. The world was my oyster.
Then – BAM! – a beautiful 15-mile bike ride to Venice Beach with friends turned upside down. We made it to the beach, sipped piña coladas and walked the pier. On the return trip, I lost control of my electric bike and collided with rough asphalt going 20 mph.
I hit the ground and went unconscious. After about ten seconds, I woke up to see my two friends hovering over me. I looked down to assess my wounds – my left wrist looked contorted and my right arm, hand, leg and foot were covered in road burn and oozing blood.
I knew right away my wrist was broken and I needed to go to the hospital. I insisted we find another way there rather than an ambulance. My family would kill me if I racked up a huge bill from that. My friend’s mom, our host for the week, drove me to the hospital.
At Sarasota Memorial Hospital, my superficial wounds were bandaged and I was sedated so the doctors could perform a reduction – a non-invasive procedure to put my wrist bones back in place – and put me in a splint. A temporary fix.
I needed to see an orthopedic surgeon, one within my health insurance’s network. The next day I bought a $30 flight back to my hometown of Charlotte. My spring break was cut short.
Within a week I had surgery on my wrist where the surgeon used a plate and six pins to put all of the pieces of my radius and ulna back within their designated zip codes. My left arm was immobile. My right leg was so mauled, I couldn’t bend my knee. I could barely hobble around.
For almost two weeks now I’ve been inside my grandparents’ home, hobbling from room to room, only leaving for doctor’s appointments.
My former carefree, independent life – going to school on weekdays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., working out each evening, cooking healthy dinners with my roommate – has disappeared.
I’m naturally an introvert, but the only face-to-face contact I’ve had has been with two senior citizens.
Since the crossroad of my accident and the spread of the coronavirus, I spend my days in a recliner, dialing in to our newsroom’s virtual meetings, working on stories, and eating the meals my grandparents make me. I’m incredibly grateful for their support during this trying time
Oh, how I’d love to feel the freedom and excitement of cruising around Florida at 20 mph with my girlfriends and not a care in the world. Those days seem lightyears away now.
In five weeks I’m scheduled to graduate and move to Raleigh for a new job – an entirely new chapter of my post-college life. I was suppose to be using the coming weeks to prepare, but I’m using them to recover. Yet, I remain hopeful and excited.