My daughter Erin is 24 years old, she decided not to go to college after high school, she was going to work and hopefully find the career of her dreams. Finally, she had found her niche working for a local veterinarian, she decided to go back to school and become a veterinary technician, and classes were starting May 27, 2014. She was so excited and we were so proud of how far she had come!
I woke up Saturday May 24, 2014, Memorial Day Weekend, sleeping next to Erin, my brother and I had flown in earlier in the week, to attend the funeral of my grandmother in Sandusky, Ohio – my flight back to Florida was leaving later that morning and Erin had to get up for work – as she was walking out of her apartment I gave her a BIG hug and told her that I loved her, she mumbled back to me that she loved me too and off we went in our separate directions. Back in Florida after a whirlwind trip at approximately 9:00 p.m. I received the phone call of every parent’s nightmare, it was the ICU nurse at Grant Hospital a Level 1 trauma hospital – Erin had been in a serious automobile accident – it wasn’t good – I needed to get there as soon as I could; helpless I sat there – no more flights out until tomorrow. I started pacing around the house “please hang on Erin, till I can get to you” …..is all that kept running through my head. As I spoke with medical personnel, I was also told the accident wasn’t her fault; she had been hit by a drunk driver – BAM, another punch in the stomach. I returned to Columbus Sunday morning and went directly to the hospital, thankfully, she made it through the night. Her injuries were so extensive (compound femur fractures, fractured pelvis, broken ankle, broken arm, spinal injury, neck injury) she was so badly broken – I could feel the anger starting to creep in…how could this happen to my one and only.
The story of the accident was coming together, here is what we know. After attending a pub crawl, “Crawl for Cancer”, on Saturday afternoon, a nurse at a local hospital, decided to get behind the wheel of her SUV, several witnesses observed her swerving – one witness was in the process of calling the police to let them know of her erratic driving – that call ended up being the call reporting the accident. She had crossed the center line and hit Erin head on with such force it sent Erin’s car into the adjacent field, Erin was rushed to the hospital with life threatening injuries, the driver of the SUV had no injuries, her blood alcohol level was over 2 times the legal limit.
It has been a long road and after 4 medical facilities, intense physical, occupational and speech therapies to learn to walk, swallow and do basic daily activities, Erin has come a long way. This past Memorial Day weekend marked the 1 year anniversary, Erin continues to rehab and will for quite some time, her spirits are good, she will not let this accident define her. The havoc that drunk drivers wreak in people’s lives is unimaginable. So RUN MAD for Shirley and all of the others out there that are victims of such a senseless tragedy – we need to create awareness and preach responsibility!
We are with all of you in spirit!
Monica Duggan and Erin Lytal