Day 11’s challenge is to draw a ‘turning point in your life’. There have been countless turning points in my life, both good and bad, where the direction my life was headed was sometimes only slightly deflected, and other times was flipped around and shoved in the other direction.
Among the good, there is the birth of my son, my marriage to my wife, and Dry Bones (who helped me get off the streets). Among the bad there’s becoming homeless, arrests, and my marriage to my first wife. There are, of course, many, many more than that.
The one I chose to draw however is one of the negative ones:
Why did I draw a semi-truck as a ‘turning point’ in my life?
I’ll do my best to give you the abridged version. Just after Hurricane Katrina, I went to New Orleans with a bunch of guys to do repairs and make money, although we were actually in Mississippi, avoiding Hurricane Rita.
I had just turned 21.
One night, we were driving back from a site and it was dark. There was a gas station that exited directly onto the rural 4-lane highway, and we had to cross two lanes of oncoming traffic to get to the far side and travel left (a legal maneuver). There was a kid driving our car who would later reveal he has trouble seeing at night.
There was a semi truck coming fast from the left. The kid drove when he should have stayed. There was a collision, the front of the semi and the side of the pickup. There was noise and confusion, blood and broken glass, rolling and tumbling about.
They airlifted two of us to the hospital (my first ride in a helicopter! Woot!). The other two were driven there.
Physically, I had a severed nerve in my right arm that meant I couldn’t feel part of my hand and a couple of fingers. It was later repaired with a nerve from my leg (but not before some of the muscles in my hand died off) – now I can sort of feel my hand, and I can’t feel my ankle.
Psychologically, the damage was much worse. For more than two years afterwards, I had nightmares and flashbacks. I had difficulty riding in cars and not ‘freaking out’. The sight and/or sound of a semi-truck was pretty upsetting. There were some other problems that surfaced in other aspects of my life too.
Since then, I believe I’ve recovered as much as I’m going to, both physically and psychologically, and I’ve got a wicked set of scars. Mercifully, none of the emotional and mental problems seem to remain, and it’s all just a bad memory.
That is why a semi-truck represents a ‘turning point’ in my life.
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