I finally woke up one day and saw my parents. I asked them, “Mom, Dad, what happened, where am I?” They both looked at each other. They said I was at St. Luke’s Hospital in the Philippines and that I had been in a car accident a month ago. I couldn’t believe it. They showed me the newspaper from the day after. “No, that’s not my car,” as I shook my head in disbelief. I remember looking at that page over and over again, while repeating the phrase, “That’s not my car.”

Over the next few days I learned that the police called my parents and told them their son was in an accident and they needed to come to the hospital. At first, they thought it was my brother. At the time, my brother owned a 1993 300ZX twin turbo. Not the greatest car to have on an island where the max speed limit is 45 mph. He had been upgrading that car since the day he bought it and it…was…fast. My parents asked the police if it was Michael (my brother’s name) and they said it wasn’t. My parents thought the police had us mixed up.

My dad arrived at the hospital and said there was blood everywhere. The lead doctor told my dad it was very bad and kept shaking his head. The impact from the crash had collapsed both lungs, ruptured my spleen, damaged my legs below the knee, fractured my collar bone and left hip, and caused head trauma. Then slowly, all my organs started to shut down. My liver, kidneys, and gallbladder stopped working. I had to be placed on life support immediately. While I was on life support it was touch and go. I was told there were a few times where I flat-lined. My dad told me the doctors had to figure out how many calories I needed a day to survive and heal. That number came to around 2500 calories a day. That’s how many calories I consumed daily while running 30 miles a week! I was immobile in bed and needed that many calories? Wow. And yet, when I was woken from the coma I weighed a scant 76 lbs. The human body is amazing what it can go through.

But what about my legs? When I had just been woken from the coma I was in such a state of disbelief and awe that I didn’t really have time to think about it. I was told they were removed, but I guess with all the activity going on around me I didn’t have a chance to absorb that info. I mean, the doctors and nurses were still attending to me every 2 hours. I was still on a lot of pain killers. I learned later that I was on a powerful anti-psychotic for a short while. It was all happening so fast. My parents were amazing in holding it all together. (Maybe that’s why I didn’t really freak out.) This was their first-born child they almost lost. Their first-born child just had the thing he loved removed from him. They knew how much I ran and how much I loved running.

Interesting side note: I was actually woken from the coma before being transported to St. Luke’s Hospital. My parents told me I was interacting with everyone like normal. I was awake, but I wasn’t conscious is the best way I can describe it. I had been like that for 2 weeks in the Philippines before finally coming around. I guess my mind was on auto-pilot.