Accident occurred 11 几年前, but the scars – physical and mental – still linger
When Patrick Labossiere was 25, he was hit by a subway train.
While the Metropolitan Transit Authority in 纽约 records hundreds of collisions between trains and riders each year, many of those are relatively minor. A train strikes a person’s arm, or leg, or shoulder.
Mr Labossiere’s impact was different. He was on the tracks and hit directly by the train. Immediately after impact, the train passed over his unconscious body. Somehow, he survived.
He recalled his incident and discussed its impact on his life in a story written for HuffPost.
当时, Mr Labossiere had just graduated and was working as a paralegal in New York City. He was still trying to determine what he wanted to do with his life, and was considering going to law school.
He does not remember how he ended up on the tracks. No security cameras captured footage of the event, but the subway operator later told him that he “had a look of shock on my face as [the driver] tried to engage the emergency brake before the train collided into me.”
Rescue workers found that he survived the impact and rushed him to a hospital, where he was put into a medically induced coma. When he awoke 15 几天后, he had no idea what happened to him.
The collision left him with numerous fractures in his face, a shattered elbow, breaks in his left arm that forced doctors to remove nearly the entirety of his triceps and a part of his bicep, and a collapsed lung. His pelvis was fractured, but his legs were left undamaged.
“Perhaps the worst injury, 尽管, was the wound that couldn’t be seen: a traumatic brain injury that prevented me from remembering the accident and affected and continues to affect so many parts of my life,” 他说.
He spent 70 days in the hospital, sometimes restrained to his bed because he frequently attempted to stand up and wander around. He was subjected to numerous cognitive and physical tests, and was unable to walk down stairs unassisted as a fall would have left him once again bound to a hospital bed.
“Relying on other people for nearly everything meant I had to let go of who I was prior to the accident and redefine who I was now,” 他说.
He recalled having all of his decisions questioned, and living under constant supervision, as he needed help with the most basic of tasks, including bathing.
As his condition improved, he was afforded more agency. He began carrying a portable urinal, since traveling to the bathroom was still a risky endeavour. Food was kept in a bedside cooler so he could at least feed himself. While he was regaining some of his former faculties, he was still deeply restless.
He recalls looking in a mirror and finally seeing his face for the first time since the accident.
“When I first looked in a mirror ― after I finally graduated from a bedpan and was allowed to use the bathroom ― I saw ‘my’ 脸. It was missing eight teeth. My nose was askew. There was a scar forming on my broken right eye socket,” 他写了. “Close friends and family tell me that, almost 11 多年后, I look ‘normal,’ which probably means ‘you don’t look like you were hit by a train.”
For Mr Labossiere, it was difficult to focus on the good fortune he had in surviving the accident. 反而, his mind was filled with memories of surgeries, fake teeth, and the looming weight of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that he initially insisted he did not have.
Five years after his accident, Mr Labossiere began therapy sessions to deal with the anxiety he felt stemming from the attack. Though he was hesitant to admit it to himself, the accident left him with PTSD. He recalled his therapist asking if he did not “lose who you were and what you were able to do,” which helped him come to grips with his condition.
Though his physical agency returned after the accident, his ability to retain information was left permanently damaged. Two months before his accident, Mr Labossiere took the LSAT and was considering attending law school. 然而, his condition forced him to a painful realisation; he would likely not be able to complete the rigorous mental work required by law programmes.
“Because of my brain injury, I experienced memory deficits and, while it’s just one more obstacle I have to overcome and I continue to show improvements, a faulty memory does not play well with closed-book exams in law school,” 他写了.
自那时候起, Mr Labossiere has completed a Master of Arts programme with a 3.8 GPA, and – 11 years later – he has regained most of his independence.
He noted that he has had to come to grips with watching friends buy houses and start families and realizing that his life, for now, has taken a different course.
“The mission now is just to keep moving forward,” 他说.
His life has returned to a state that could be described as normal. He goes out with friends and has developed a sense of humour about his condition. He leaves self-deprecating post-it notes to remind himself not to forget things, and often tells people who ask about his scarred and damaged arm that he was attacked by a shark.
“几乎 11 years after being hit by a subway, I’m sharing this story as part of my ongoing rehabilitation progression. I don’t know what the future holds for me or how I will feel ― physically, mentally or emotionally ― a year or five years or 25 years from today, but for now, I’m grateful for how far I’ve come and where I am,” 他写了.
“Life may have given me the gift of a second chance, but I also recognize the gift isn’t the second chance itself, it’s recognizing this opportunity and then acting on it.”