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melissariveraBIRTHDAY

 

Paralyzed from the neck down to the end of his toes, my father was unable to move. My mother was in tears when she was told he might not be able to walk or talk again. She sat by his side day and night praying for him, asking God to give him to strength to walk and talk again. She also prayed for his life because she wanted him to meet their second child who was in her womb, and that child was me. I came into this world one day after my father's operation, two floors below where he was recuperating.

I was about eight years old when my father's accident was first told to me. My mother was the one who told me. My father decided to celebrate Fourth of July by going out drinking. He picked up my uncle Eddie, my uncle Pete, and one of his closest friends Ignacio. My father was drinking and driving, but that is not what caused the accident. He was speeding down a hill on Eagle Highway when all of a sudden the tire on the driver's side popped. My dad's car got out of control. He was struggling with the wheel but it was no use. The car went down into the woods. The car kept spinning and hitting trees on every turn it made. Somehow the driver's door opened and my dad fell out. He fell into a stream with his face pushed in the mud. The car finally stopped, my uncles and my dad's friend got out with not even a scratch on them. They ran looking for my dad, yelling his name out. They found him lying helplessly. My two uncles ran up looking for help. Ignacio stayed with my dad. He lifted him up and laid him across his lap without knowing his neck was broken. Ignacio was slapping him across the face, moving his head side to side, trying to wake him up.

My parents and other family members were living just up the hill from where the accident happened. It wasn't far, but my uncles were so confused that they went up the wrong hill. So they turned around and ran up the other way. Finally, they got there, yelling and screaming for help. My mom ran out knowing that something had happened. They called the ambulance, and my mom and grandparents drove down to the scene with my uncles. When she saw him lying across Ignacio's lap she was crying and yelling, thinking she had lost him. She dropped to her knees, my grandmother trying to calm her down. Before the ambulance arrived, my father had been lying there for two hours!! They rushed him to Northport, but there was nothing the doctors could do for him there. So they took him to Munson Hospital.

My mom says the worst part was watching my dad suffer in the hospital bed. He had two screws on each side of his head with weights hanging down, holding his head still. When he was finally able to talk, he asked my mom who he was and who she was. He couldn't even remember what had happened.

The day of his operation they took a piece of his hip bone to piece it on the back of his neck. When I was born they took me up so my dad could see me, but he couldn't hold me because he still couldn't move any part of his body.

My mom was there when he first moved his fingers. A couple of day later he started moving his toes. He was at the rehabilitation center the last two weeks of September, where he got to walk and do exercises. The only injury he has left from his accident is his limping. He's worn braces on his right leg, but it did no use. When we go to a store, I notice people staring at my dad. It bothers me a lot to see people stare, but it doesn't bother him. Every time I see my dad walking, I just go back to what they told me about his accident. He still has pains on the back of his neck. But I'm glad I got to meet my father. I don't know what I would have done without a father.


More fine writing from Leland School students appears in the Winter Edition of the Beechnut Review.
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