The hallway was long and unfriendly. It was unfamilar and different. Railings stood at both sides, padding the walls. My legs kept walking for what seemed like eternity. I remember my cold, clammy, nervous hand resting in my dad's hot, sweaty, stressed hand. We had almost reached the room where my sister was starting her long strenuous journey of recovery therapy. When we finally reached the door, I heard my dad whisper to me, "Don't worry, she's getting better."
"Come on Andrea, you can do it." "Right foot and then the left." My eyes were filled with sympathy to see my 17-year-old sister grasping on to the doctors with every ounce in her body so she could learn to walk again. "Almost there honey," my dad called to her from where we were standing. Though injured and braced, Andrea turned her head and and saw us cheering her on. She smiled at us as she continued to use every ounce of energy she had to make those last couple steps. "Nice job Andrea, we will continue this tomorrow," one of the female doctors said as she came over with her clipboard to talk to my dad. I ran over to Andrea and gave her a gentle hug. That was all her frail weak body could handle. "I love you Lindsey," she said with her breath huffing through the oxygen tubes.
|Lindsey with her hero Andrea
It was late Wednesday night when the dreaded phone call reached our home. I remember laying in my bed trying to fall asleep when I heard the phone ring. Interested in who would be calling so late I sat up, so I could hear the phone call better. To my surprise I heard my mom burst into tears. "Get the car Dean! Andrea has been in a car accident." Those words will forever send chills down my spine.
Along with my older sister Stacy, I was thrown into the car. We ran every stop sign on the way to the hospital and our tires screeched around every corner. My dad jumped out of the car and ran full speed into the emergency room doors. I knew something was terribly wrong, but nothing in the world could have prepared me for what the doctors told us that warm July night.
"Is my daughter alive?" my dad repeated to the doctor over and over again. I was sitting on my dad's lap, his knees were shaking and trembling with nervousness. "Yes sir, your daughter Andrea is alive, however, she is in extremely critical condition. We're preparing a helicopter right now to life flight her to primary children's." "I want to see her!" my mom demanded. The doctor looked at her with a concerned look. "I'm sorry Mrs. Nickels," he said, "there is no time, her heart has already stopped three times on the way here. We have to take her immediately."
That night Stacy and I slept at the neighbor's house, although neither of us got much sleep. We sat up all night worrying about our loving older sister. We laid in bed hugging each other. I could feel her tears drip on my face. I had never felt so scared in my whole life.
We left early that morning to go up and see Andrea. I expected to see her smiling face greeting me, but boy was I wrong. I walked slowly through the ICU confused by all the beeping and unfamiliar sounds of all machines. Before we entered, we all had to wear masks to keep the germs out. "Now girls, Andrea is very sick." I'll never forget the staples that held her eyes shut. There was so much blood and needles. My mom was sitting in a chair by her, holding her injured hand. I couldn't believe that was my sister laying there. It looked nothing like her. The Andrea I knew was always so happy, lively and loving. It had to be a mistake.
Well, the least I can say is that everything was injured in her body. She broke her pelvis in four places and she had a very serious leg surgery. Her nose was broken and so was the whole left side of her face. She lost all of her memories from when she was a little girl. Ugly painful scars and road rash was located all over her body. She didn't know how to walk, eat, or go to the bathroom. It was a fatal accident. To this day no one knows exactly what happened, the car just rolled. The two boys that were in the car were killed, and Andrea was ejected from the car.
Everyday was a blessing in our family. It meant that the odds of Andrea living continued to increase. Over the next two months, I lived more at the hospital than I did at my house. I watched as Andrea worked so hard to gain back everyday motor skills. She never once complained or pitied herself, her determined spirit was shining through. Her positive outlook on life got her through many hard and frustrating days of physical therapy. After two weeks in the ICU and two months of the regular hospital treatment, Andrea was able to come home.
The trials did not stop once she was home. She continued physical therapy, and had other surgeries to fix many of the broken bones. She missed several months of school, so it was hard for her to catch up. Andrea had many tasks to accomplish, and no matter how hard it was, she stuck with them until the job was done. Though busy with dealing with pain and therapy, she always found time to love and play with me.
I'll never forget the impact that this incident made on my life. I watched Andrea cling to life with the the odds stacked against her, and watched her come back with a fight. Andrea is such an example to me for all the trials she had to go through. I admire her strong-willed personality and her determined spirit. Through her example, she has touched not only my family, but many other people who have heard about her miracle.
Today she is perfectly normal, despite the scars and the pins holding her leg in place. She continued on to college where she met her husband. When she turned 21, she left for Italy to serve on an LDS mission. Her main goal now is to be a good mother to her little boys, who she loves dearly. I couldn't ask for a better sister, hero, or best friend.
Page created on 2/28/2006 10:00:08 AM
Last edited 3/30/2019 9:04:23 PM