Uncomfortably Numb

For me, writing is therapy. I write when I’m angry, when I’m sad, when the thoughts in my head overwhelm every other part of me. Writing gives me clarity. It forces me to organize my thoughts into something tangible. And sometimes, for this very reason, writing is scary.

Last week, my friend and I got hit by a speeding motorcycle while crossing the street. The motorcycle hit me first, knocking me to the ground . The driver’s helmet flew off of his head and hit my friend on her face. Or so I’m told. I don’t remember the accident at all. What I remember is a sunny day and a clear street and then all of a sudden, I was on the sidewalk watching my friend scream in pain as our other friend, who had crossed the street before us, rushed over. I remember a pounding in my head and a soreness throughout my body. I remember feeling like I should be crying.

I’ve tried to avoid writing about it but I sit here now drained and unsettled, having exhausted every other form of therapy. I have a bump on my head, various cuts and bruises on my body and a possible hemorrhage in my sinus cavity. My friend has five fractured bones on her face. I am uncomfortably numb, a result of both the pain medication I’m on and my increasing anxiety over the fact that I can’t remember anything from the accident. The doctors have told me that I need to stay in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda and the location of the Peace Corps Uganda Headquarters, for two weeks under observation. My friend was medically evacuated to South Africa for surgery. This is the longest that she and I will be apart since we met in November in an airport shuttle in Philadelphia on our way to staging.

The doctors in South Africa told her that if she hadn’t heard me scream and turned her head, the helmet would have hit the side of her head, fracturing her skull and she could have died.

I am sad that I can’t be there for her.
I am sad that after hitting us with his motorcycle, the driver picked up his bike and fled.
I am sad that this is common; that no cops were called.
I am sad when I think of my friend who crossed the street before us; how she turned around and found her two friends laying on the street.
I am sad that once we got to the nearest hospital the Ugandan doctor told my friend that according to the x-ray, nothing was fractured.
I am sad that when this happens to a local, they go home thinking that everything is fine when in reality, they are far from okay.

I get anxious crossing the street. The sound of motorcycles on the road make me apprehensive but it triggers nothing in my memory. I am scared that one day I will remember being hit and I won’t be able to deal with the pain. I catch myself tearing up out of nowhere, overwhelmed by a sadness I can’t place.

I want to be okay.

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One thought on “Uncomfortably Numb

  1. This makes me incredibly sad. I can’t believe the initial diagnosis you both got turned out to be worse. So sad and devastating to hear that your friend had to go in for surgery. I’m glad that you’re feeling well enough to write but it’s sad to think of you by yourself, too, and I wish I could do something to make this all better for you. You’re a very strong person – don’t ever forget that. Keep your chin up and don’t lose hope. Is there free counseling through the Peace Corps to help deal with the traumatic experiences and how to deal with the situation if/when your memory comes back? I hope you feel okay and better soon. Stay safe and keep us updated on the status of your health.

    Liked by 1 person

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