I wake up to see bright lights above me. I can’t move. Not due to paralysis but to the straps across my body and blocks of foam on either side of my head. I’m confused.
“I don’t feel good,” I tell the nurse as she comes by the check on me.
“What did you have for dinner,” she asks.
“Nothing,” I say. A few minutes later I regurgitate the fish that I had eaten for dinner before leaving the house.
A sweet co-worker, Jenny, invited me to a house party. Normally I would jump at the chance to go to a party but this one was different. Jenny was heavily involved in a Protestant home-church movement. I liked Jenny but the home-church thing made me uneasy. I had always come up with excuses to not go to her events but I couldn’t find an excuse this time. I agreed to go to the party but I was going to bring a friend along for support. I was not strong in my faith but I somehow knew that I shouldn’t be dabbling with this group.
The plan was to meet my friend Patty J. at her apartment then proceed to the house together. I was running late so I decided to ride my bike rather than walk the three blocks to her house. I took my little “bar purse” and threw it over my shoulder but the cord pulled out of the leather. So I wrapped the strap around my wrist and let it dangle from the handlebar.
Since it was still rush hour and the Saturday evening party-goers were out in force, I put on the helmet that my parents bought for me. I rarely wore it because it was so dorky looking. I rode to the end of my street and waited to turn left onto Lane Avenue. And that’s all I remember. My purse got caught between my bike’s fork and front wheel, catapulting me over the handlebars.
I stopped traffic in both directions. In one of the cars not far from me was an ex-boyfriend, Andy, that I wasn’t on speaking terms with and his best friend, Lou, who was a fourth-year medical student at the time. In another car was a neighbor who lived across the street from me. He recognized me and alerted my housemates.
I was briefly unconscious but came to at the scene. Lou thought I had dislocated my shoulder. I wanted to get up but he tried to keep me still until the ambulance arrived.
The next day in my hospital I room I remember that I am scheduled to work. Somehow in my grogginess I manage to dial the phone and I call in sick. Patty J., Andy and Lou (and many other people) visit me in the hospital. Andy seems ready to drop his bitterness and treat me civilly.
Many people are praying for me. My mom played organ for the 8 am mass at her church near Cleveland then she and my dad came straight to Columbus and the hospital. The pastor announced that there would be no music for the later masses because of my accident and asked for prayers.
I take several days off work since I can’t concentrate and I tire easily. I skip my Monday lecture but I can’t easily skip my chem lab on Tuesday. The right side of my face is still puffy, and is covered with road rash, I have a gash under my eye and my eye is half red due to a popped capillary. I explain to my TA and my fellow students what happened. I’m still in a bit of a fog but I manage to complete the assignment. The next day and for the rest of the quarter the TA comes into the lab with a helmet under his arm.
When I go back to work and see Jenny she tells me she was sad when I didn’t show up for the party but she felt bad when she found out the reason I missed it. She never invited me to another event.
Was God trying to protect me from this Protestant group when I was weak in my faith? Perhaps. I won’t know until I am finished with my time on earth. I do know my guardian angel was looking out for me, trying to protect my from harm, both spiritual and physical.
Angel of God,
My guardian dear,
To whom His love
Commits me here;
Ever this day
Be at my side
To light and guard,
To rule and guide.