64: HollyDay Miracles

64: HollyDay Miracles

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries

HollyDay Miracles

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

~Albert Einstein

I’ve been called an overachiever since I was a very little girl, but it’s only in the last year or two that I have come to realize that the label may actually fit me. I have always believed that anything worth doing is worth doing well, and so I have always tried to do my best at all times no matter what the task at hand might be. Who knew that this ingrained philosophy would one day save my life?

I was a twenty-one-year-old college senior just beginning my student-teaching internship instructing high school students in vocal music. Eager to share my love of music with these young people, I was undaunted by the long drive home that day in a torrential downpour. The winding, hilly country road was flooding, but there I was feeling on top of the world and looking forward to writing my lesson plans for the next day’s classes. The next thing I knew, I awoke in a hospital three months later.

I was told that I’d been in a two-car collision but that I’d been the only one physically injured in the crash. I was also told that I owed my life to a series of miracles, the first one being the arrival of a nurse on the scene who proceeded to climb into my mangled car with me and hold me tight as we waited for the help to arrive that she had summoned. This angel-nurse then insisted that I be flown to the hospital via helicopter, even though the weather was so foul that it had been deemed unsafe for the chopper. Then, another miracle. There was only one helicopter returning to base that was still airborne. That chopper agreed to stop for me even though the pilot had been warned that it was not prudent to do so. My angel-nurse then helped to intubate me at the scene of the accident, as I was already unresponsive. That nurse was not scheduled to be on that road, at that hour, and yet she there she was and she saved my life.

Since that night, I have been surrounded and lifted up by more miracles than I can recount here. One is the fact that, although I suffered eleven broken bones from the accident (two femurs, one hip, one tibia, one humerus, one vertebra and five ribs) I never felt any pain at all because they all healed during the three months I lay unresponsive in a coma. I survived several bouts of infection in those limbs as well—perhaps another miracle! Maybe the greatest miracle of all is the continuous recovery I am still having after sustaining such a serious traumatic brain injury. Known as a diffuse axonal injury, it affected every area of my brain, yet I have confounded several doctors and therapists as I have continually healed above and beyond their expectations. My healing has been and continues to be a miracle.

They say that everything happens for a reason, so I have to wonder if my accident was a part of some great cosmic plan for my life! Maybe the reason I was always so driven to succeed through hard work was to prepare me for this—the greatest challenge of my life. Because I was always so driven in my studies, I had accumulated four years’ worth of college credits in just three years, enough to graduate with my class, on time, with honors, and just eight months after the accident. Now there’s a real miracle!

My family and I have been the recipients of so many acts of kindness since the accident that we could never repay: all of the family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances and total strangers who have guided us, supported us and just plain loved us as we made our way through the weeks and months of recovery. The circle of care surrounding us has been one of our best miracles. New friendships have been forged and our circle of love is still widening to this day. To me, it’s a miracle that I finally feel understood and appreciated, even a little vindicated in my early overachieving days!

I am twenty-three years old now and we will soon celebrate the second anniversary of my accident. I’ve named the day after myself. I call it “HollyDay.” It’s a celebration of the miracle of my continued existence on this planet. I am still healing and continue outpatient therapies three days per week. I also volunteer in my community and am about to take a college class in preparation for future graduate level work. I am considering a change in my career path, but this is still uncertain at this time. What is certain is that I have benefited from a long string of miracles—and I am grateful.

~Holly Daubenspeck

You are currently enjoying a preview of this book.

Sign up here to get a Chicken Soup for the Soul story emailed to you every day for free!

Please note: Our premium story access has been discontinued (see more info).

view counter

More stories from our partners