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CHAPTER ONE: WHAT HAPPENED?

THE CRISIS BEGINS

It starts out as an average day. You are at home doing laundry, in the car running errands, or at work. The phone rings, you answer it, and the voice on the other end says something, but the words don’t register. You ask the person to repeat it.

“There has been an accident,” the voice says. “Are you the wife of Frank Smith?” You say yes. “Frank has been in a car accident and we need you to come to the hospital right away.”

This statement takes your breath away. Is this real? You go on autopilot and get in the car, driving in a daze the whole way. Thoughts race through your head, “Is he alive?” “What condition will he be in?” “How am I going to handle this?”

After what seems like an eternity, you arrive at the waiting area at the hospital emergency room. No one can tell you anything except that there was a bad accident and Frank is in emergency surgery. After a while, the surgeon approaches you and says that it doesn’t look good. “Frank has sustained a severe injury to the head. If he survives, he may not be able to speak or walk,” the doctor says.

Your mind repeats that sentence again and again, but the meaning doesn’t register.

WHAT YOU MAY BE FEELING

Perhaps at this point, you start to panic. You feel as if your whole world is collapsing around you. No one has prepared you for this! You have never been through something like this before and have no idea what to do. Your feelings go from panic to fear to anger to confusion and back again. The doctors are taking good care of Frank, but you feel so helpless. All you can do is wait and pray.

After a night of little sleep, you start to face reality. You begin thinking of the possibilities: Frank may not survive;

He survives but is in a coma;

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