-by Howard Melamed
At the beginning of March this year, my daughter Jessica was involved in a serious car accident on the I-95 on the way to visit her brother at school in Orlando. It was an experience that every parent does not want to go through and an ordeal that left me proud of my daughter.
While Jessica was driving on the I-95 near PGA boulevard in Palm Beach County, 2 trucks got into an accident with one of them landing on its side across the expressway. My daughter’s car slid under the truck and had its top removed. While this was happening, her friend pulled her head down as they were going under and ultimately save her life. Her head hit the stick shift and steering wheel. Her jaw was broken in 2 places and she had a concussion and …… She was alive!
It took my wife and me 60 minutes to drive to the Good Samaritan-St. Mary’s hospital in Palm Beach County, where she was taken. It was a long 60 minutes. All this time we were trying to get in touch with the emergency nurse to find out the condition of our daughter. We were finally told that she was conscious and that we should take our time getting there…no need for us to get into an accident as well.
When we arrived at the hospital and ran into the emergency room, and trauma room, there was my daughter covered in blood with a space between her teeth where the jaw had broken,. She was awake but shaken, and she was also suffering from the effects of the concussion she received. Her short term memory was not functioning, and as a result she kept asking us the same questions…over and over again….Why am I hear? What happened? Was everyone ok? Is my Jaw Broken ? She was in a lot of pain.
The hospital staff at St. Mary’s were great and got Jessica their very best oral surgeon. He looked at her, got the x-rays and promptly indicated that she needed an operation to set the jaw bone in place. Not to worry he said, as it was a clean break. He advised us that the operation will be performed in the morning since they want some of the swelling to come down and monitor her for any greater affects of the concussion. Of course, having short term memory problem, we had to repeat this over and over to her all night long. My wife at her bedside made sure to talk to her and of course I did the pacing.
She had the operation as planned, and everything went well. However, in order for the break to heal properly, the doctor wired her jaw shut.
For the next several weeks, my daughter had to endure drinking through a straw and the pain associated with such a trauma. She did not complain, not even once. In fact she made light of the situation .
Day after day, her friends came over to keep her company and make sure she was comfortable. Jamba Juice on University drive gave her a free pass….She loves Jamba Juice! She was working at Incredible Ice before the accident, and the staff assured her that she will have a job when she was ready to return. All of the staff also came by and cheered her up.
Her jaw was wired for 6 weeks. I thought the time went by quickly, but I knew that for Jessica it was painfully long. She took the challenge and made sure her smile came through the wires holding her jaw together. She did not complain and made the best of a uncomfortable situation. She made it easy for us during the 6 weeks.
She endured the pain, and made us understand just how strong spirited she really is. In my eyes, my daughter is my hero. I love her.