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A Piece of My Mind
November 21, 2012

No More Apologies

Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Senior Editor.

Author Affiliations: University Hospital and Rusk Rehabilitation Center, University of Missouri, Columbia (meca8f@mizzou.edu).

JAMA. 2012;308(19):1983-1984. doi:10.1001/2012.jama.10596

“I’m sorry.” I didn't know how long I had been lying in that hospital bed, but the doctors had finally turned off my ventilator and removed the endotracheal tube. At that point it was all that I could do to choke out the two words that had been swimming in my head since I had started to realize what was happening: “I’m sorry.”

My memories following the crash are sketchy at best. I knew I had been in a motor vehicle collision. I remembered that it had just started to rain as I set off to meet my friend for dinner and that when a deer jumped out of the trees onto the road, my reaction was to swerve. Things get fuzzy after that, and all I have are seconds of time to mark the days: The first sound of shattering glass as the firefighters broke out my windshield. Going through the sliding door and under the fluorescent lights as we entered the emergency department. Waking up to all the tubes and lines in place. Gathering courage as I lay there trying to wiggle my toes, and saying a prayer of thanks when they moved. Confusion. Pain.