I never thought it would happen to me. It was another typical summer night. My two best friends and I went out to the bar and drove home. We didn’t even think twice about it since we’ve always drove home after a long night of binge drinking. Our motto: “Drink. Drive. Stay alive.”
It was 2:04 a.m. when 911 received the phone call. I woke up lying on my side in the trunk of Rob’s Trail Blazer. Josh was passed out in the driver’s seat where Rob was supposed to be, but where was Rob? Lying in the middle of Patapsco Avenue, lifeless. Apparently he had rolled out of an open window during one of the several flips the truck experienced. None of us wore seatbelts.
The paramedics rushed the three of us to R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center. I was released that day with just a few burns, stiff body, and an emergency room bill.
Josh walked out later that night wearing a neck brace for the next ten weeks. However, Shock Trauma was Rob’s home for the following three weeks. He lay there unconscious for the first week while a large needle drained fluid out of his brain. By the second week, the doctors switched their focus to his lungs. His left one had collapsed, and they had to remove the infection in the right lung before the other could start rebuilding itself. During his third week, he started breathing on his own but there were still “minor” complications: infection in his left eye, nerve damage, a fractured skull, and a limp wrist.
I sat in the waiting room every day with the rest of his family and friends. So many thoughts ran through my head during those waits:
Why did I let him drive that night? We should have just stayed in. What if he doesn’t wake up as the same person? What if he’ll never speak again? Who was I going to go to with all my boy problems? Will he even remember who I am?
Shock Trauma finally released him to Kernan Orthopedics and Rehabilitation Hospital, where he endured physical therapy for a week and a half. He started walking and talking again. And to my relief, he was still the same person. He moved back in with his mom when he left Kernan’s because he still couldn’t see or feed himself.
“I feel like a little kid again,” he told me. “My mom has to do everything for me. Feed me. Bathe me. Make my drinks. Even take me to the bathroom.”
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Rob and I aren’t the only victims: “Every day, 36 people in the United States die, and approximately 700 more are injured in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol impaired driver.”
Every time I visit Rob now, he leaves me with, “Be safe sweetheart. Please don’t drink and drive. Look at me, it’s not worth it.”
Dangers of DUI
· Jail time up to one year
· Fines of up to $1,000
· Addition of up to 12 points to license
· Ignition interlock device
· License suspension
· Insurance may drop coverage or increase rates
· Hospital bills
· Physical injuries, long-term and/or short-term
· Misdemeanor on permanent record