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Caitlin Beadles: "The Person I Most Remember Visiting Me Was Someone I Was Mad At, Someone I Hurt, Someone Who Hurt Me"

If it wasn't for my "angel" -- an emergency medical worker in the life flight helicopter with a child my age -- I wouldn't be here now telling my story. I flatlined in the helicopter because I bled to death after slicing my femoral artery during the accident. The man working on me almost stopped, but this mother got emotional and begged him not to give up. She risked her job to save me, and thankfully she was successful. 

They took me to the University of Alabama Birmingham, a critical trauma and burn hospital. They immediately rushed me into surgery, and I woke up during the operation because I flatlined once again. They couldn't give me any more anesthesia because there was a 99 percent chance that I wouldn't wake up.

I was awake and alert for the whole surgery. I couldn't move, couldn't blink, couldn't talk. I tried to scream, but I was given medicine to paralyze me. I could hear them saying, 'We're going to have to take her leg. Okay, we are going to amputate it.' Imagine how badly I was freaking out at this point. They would amputate my leg and I was awake! Heck no! I was begging them not to take my leg, but it was no use because they couldn't hear me. It was like having an outer body experience. 

I could hear them say there was no possible way I would ever walk again, or live a normal life with or without a leg. My parents were waiting outside and freaking out because they didn't know if I'd come out of surgery alive. The doctors told them that they were doing the best they could, but it didn't look good. They drove two hours after getting a call that I was hurt. They had no clue how extreme my injuries were and now they faced never seeing their girl again. 

I remember waking up a few days after surgery, and I was alone in a room with white walls. I couldn't talk or move an inch. I had a breathing tube, and they cut open my ribs and inserted two chest tubes. I had a line in my chest pumping blood back into me. I had over 6,000 stitches in one leg and a rod in the other leg that goes from my hip to my knee. I had multiple blood transfusions and required over 20 units of blood. 

Still, my surgeon was amazing and able to repair my nerves, muscle, and piece my leg back together. None of the nerves in my left leg are completely repaired, and when I walk too much it swells really big. It's easy for me to get blood clots, as my lung, stomach, and liver had collapsed. 

Days went by, which felt like months. I was scared. Scared of pain. Scared of what the future of my life would be. It felt like I barely saw my parents while I was in the Intensive Care Unit. When people came in my room, I usually kept my eyes closed. They thought I was asleep, but I was really listening to all of the bad news. I only remember a few people seeing me in the ICU, although a ton of people came. My best friend wouldn't leave my side, and seeing her tears made my heart break, because I had never seen her cry before. My friend's dad, who stopped the boat and dove into the water, also visited me. I couldn't talk but I mouthed "hero" to him for saving my life. 

It was so hard not being able to talk. They had a tube down my throat that was basically breathing for me. I couldn't communicate at all. The person who I most remember visiting me was someone really special to me. Someone I was mad at, someone I hurt, someone who hurt me. Our last words were very hateful, and just seeing their face made me realize something -- anyone can go away at any second.


I began writing simple words since I couldn't talk. The pain felt like it was just getting worse. Weeks went by and they moved me to a different floor. People could visit me any time now, but I still couldn't move so I spent all day in bed.

I cried most days because I wanted to get out of there. I wanted something for the pain. I was tired of being their human pin cushion. Every night they would draw blood, and every three days I had to get a new IV without being numbed. I was beginning to get bed sores. 

I was going crazy, but day by day I started to become more like myself. A few of the girls from the lake came and saw me, so I decided to play a little joke on them since I'm such a prankster!

I was in bed, unable to move, and you could barely hear my voice. Everyone was just standing there looking at me with tears in their eyes. I hated everyone being so sad. My mom asked me, 'Caitlin, do you know who these people are?' Yes. 'Do you know their names?' she asked, and I stuttered, 'Maarrgaret, Nancy, Katiee.' Those weren't my friends' names, and after everyone looked at my mom like they were about to cry, I said, 'I'm messing with ya'll!' I just wanted to see them smile!

Days went by, more surgeries happened, and I received a mix of good and bad news. I was able to transfer to the rehab floor of a hospital I spent time in before. I had a schedule, and each day I worked my bum off. I had to learn how to move my legs and walk all over again. They'd wake me up at 7 in the morning for weight lifting class. Although it got on my nerves how they'd barge in, turn the bright lights on, and pull the sheets off of me, I knew this was really important. I asked for five pound weights, but was told, 'Sweetie, that's too much for you. Let's go with the one pound weight.' I thought that was really funny. 

I had to get a shot in my stomach twice a day. It hurt worse than getting your blood drawn. I asked the doctor when that would end, and he said when I started to walk. I was determined to stop those shots, so each day I'd take a few steps with the walker, slowly improving. Weeks went by, and I started taking more and more steps.

Finally, I was able to go home after almost three months in the hospital. I'm still doing physical therapy three times a week, so I'll be able to walk 100 percent again and gain my strength and muscles back. I have lymphedema in my left leg, which causes swelling, so I have to wear this ugly hose. I have no feeling in my left leg because all of my nerves were cut. I can't walk for distances or my legs shut down. On top of all of that I have Crohn's disease, bad acid reflux, arthritis, and a few other things. Still, I continue to push through. 

This entire experience has made me a more spiritual person. A lot of you say, 'There is no possible way anyone could be so close to God.' Well when you have been through what I have, you become very close. I guarantee that if it wasn't for God and so many people praying for me, I'd be dead right now. Yeah, I get frustrated, and sometimes I get mad and ask, 'Why? Why is this happening?' I am still on the road to recovery, and there are days when I break down and just want to give up, but anything is possible with God on your side.

My life completely changed from this accident. I don't like people looking at me, and saying I'm different because I have ugly scars on my legs, or I use a wheelchair sometimes. I just want to feel good and not think about what I can't do anymore. I'm not a cheerleader, tennis player, horseback rider, and I'm not a straight-A student. I can't live out my old dreams, or enjoy things I used to love. Things don't come easily to me anymore -- I work hard just to get out of bed every morning. 

But I believe I went through this for a reason, and God will use me one day because of it. I hope my accident encourages many other young girls to persevere through whatever challenges they're facing. It makes me smile to think that my courage and strength will help so many others to be strong, too.

4 kommentarer


13.nov.2010 kl.15:03

Jeg kan aldri forestille meg hva hun har gått gjennom, jeg fikk en klump imagen når jeg leste dt... jeg klarte nesten ikke å lese det ...

Heldigvis går dt bra med henne nå :) Å det er jeg vannvittig glad får :)


13.nov.2010 kl.15:19

lydia sv; jaa.. det er helt forferdig !!


14.nov.2010 kl.00:16

hun er ikke helt frisk enda. Hun går på medisiner og smertestillende hver dag. Og intill hun tar medisinene har hun konstant smerter. Hun tar rundt 30 forskjellige medisiner hver dag. Og etter medisinene har gått ut så får hun til bake smertene, så hun er avhengi. Men du har rett. Hun har det sykt mye bedre nå og hun trenger at folk ber for hun, så ha henne i bønnene deres hver natt og tru på det dere ber om så kommer gud til å helbrede henne 100% :]

grunnen til at jeg vet alt dette er forde hun hadde formspring før. Og det var der hun la det ut :] den er sletta nå da for det var for mange som latet som at dei var hun.

du kan lese hele historien på norsk på bloggen min. Der har jeg lagt sammen historien i ett slik det er lettere og lese :] <3


14.nov.2010 kl.00:44

Sofie sv; åja, tusen takk <3 Hun er jo frisk da, men liskom hu må ta flere medisiner daglig osv. for å holde formen sin osv. ;D men takktakk!!

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