As I feel less overwhelmed, my fear softens and begins to subside. I feel a flicker of hope, then a rolling wave of fiery rage. My body continues to shake and tremble. It is alternately icy cold and feverishly hot. A burning red fury erupts from deep within my belly: How could that stupid kid hit me in a crosswalk? Wasn’t she paying attention? Damn her!A blast of shrill sirens and flashing red lights block out everything.My belly tightens, and my eyes again reach to find the woman’s kind gaze. We squeeze hands, and the knot in my gut loosens. I hear my shirt ripping. I am startled and again jump to the vantageof an observer hovering above my sprawling body. I watch uniformedstrangers methodically attach electrodes to my chest. The Good Samaritanparamedic reports to someone that my pulse was 170. I hear my shirt ripping even more. I see the emergency team slip a collar onto my neck and then cautiously slide me onto a board. While they strap me down, I hear some garbled radio communication. The paramedics arerequesting a full trauma team. Alarm jolts me. I ask to be taken to thenearest hospital only a mile away, but they tell me that my injuries mayrequire the major trauma center in La Jolla, some thirty miles farther.My heart sinks.
dislocation.”It’s as if I’m floating above my body, looking down on the unfoldingscene.I am snapped back when he roughly grabs my wrist and takes mypulse. He then shifts his position, directly above me. Awkwardly, hegrasps my head with both of his hands, trapping it and keeping it frommoving. His abrupt actions and the stinging ring of his command panicme; they immobilize me further. Dread seeps into my dazed, foggy consciousness:Maybe I have a broken neck, I think. I have a compellingimpulse to find someone else to focus on. Simply, I need to have someone’scomforting gaze, a lifeline to hold onto. But I’m too terrified tomove and feel helplessly frozen.