The accident that changed everything

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The accident that changed everything

Brooke Barnes and her mom,

Brooke Barnes and her mom, "mama Barnes."

Brooke Barnes and her mom, "mama Barnes."

Brooke Barnes and her mom, "mama Barnes."

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For most kids in America, freshman year is one of the most scariest, nerve racking years. From the big seniors, to the long hallways, the transition can be truly overwhelming. For sophomore Brooke Barnes, freshman year was scariest of her life for a whole nother reason.

On December fifth of last year, Barnes was riding in the car to a doctor’s appointment with her mother, sister and nephew when all of a sudden her sister started screaming from the front seat.

“I looked to the left and there was a car coming directly at us,” Barnes said, “Next thing I knew, we were in a ditch.”

At this moment, she knew her life had forever changed.

“I took a step out of the car and looked up at the street and saw cars pulled over calling 911.”

 In just a matter of five or so minutes, Brooke went from worrying about finals and school work to worrying whether or not her unconcious mother in the front seat was going to make it.

After a couple minutes of Brooke and her older sister, Morgan, trying to comfort their young nephew, Landon, the authorities arrived.

“The first ambulance came and took my mom out on a stretcher. Then about five minutes later the second one came and took my sister and nephew,” Barnes said quietly.

She was left at the scene with the police waiting for the last ambulance. She was told that her mom was being sent to a different hospital than the rest of her family and in that moment Brooke had never felt more isolated in her entire life.

In less than fifteen minutes, Brooke’s seemingly normal life was completely turned upside down. After arriving at the hospital and having what felt like thousands of tests done, Morgan and Landon were cleared to go home that night. Brooke, on the other hand, had four broken ribs on her left side and a third degree laceration to her spleen.

“I was then transferred to Lutheran General for further treatment,” Brooke explained. “I stayed there for a week then was sent home for two days.”  

Barnes experienced  excruciating pain during the short period she was home and was soon transfered back to Good Shepherd Hospital.

“They found out I crushed the first part of my small intestine up against my spine and I was sent back to Lutheran General for the next three weeks.”

Throughout this long, painful process, the rest of Barnes’ family and friends were home enjoying the holidays. After Brooke left the hospital, she was put on a low fat diet for two months and there are still foods her body can’t digest.

Although everyone in the accident has made almost a full recovery, Brooke still struggles day to day with effects from the accident.

“I still can’t eat normally and I still have to see specialists,” Barnes said.

After the accident, Barnes was diagnosed with PTSD and now has trouble sleeping through the night. Although she will have these struggles following her for the rest of her life, she’s determined to live a normal life again.