“I broke a hundred and sixty-four bones.”
Barbara Esrig remembers the car accident that nearly took her life.
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Barbara Esrig: A car was trying to pass four or five other cars. And.. they wouldn't let them back in the lane. And suddenly things just slowed way down, and there was this huge white explosion. And, uh, and then there was silence. I had five cranial nerve paralyses. And I broke a hundred and sixty-four bones. Everything was broken except for my neck, my spine and my pelvis and my hips. So, all the important ones I didn't break, but everything else was kinda toast. The staff and the doctors, nobody really thought I was going to make it. But I knew that I would. And, uh, this one doctor came in. He was a student, and he was pretty freaked out. I had a patch on my eye; I was on a respirator. I had every tube you could imagine, could barely see my face. But I was definitely alive inside; I knew exactly where I was. He came in with my chart, and he had his head in the chart. And he goes, 'We don't know if you're ever going to talk again. And we don't know if your ever going to smell again. We don't know if you're ever going to taste again.' And I have these chopsticks; I have a board - I have an alphabet board. And I'm spelling by pointing with these chopsticks. And then I write on this board, I said, 'Life is not worth living is you can't eat cannolis.' And he looks at me, he sees my one little eye twinkling. And then I write down, and I say, 'Now, put down the chart and give me a hug.' And he did. Later on he told me, he said, 'You know, you reminded of why I wanted to be a doctor.' And from then on I called him Dr. Cannoli. He became this wonderful doctor, and we became friends. And it was really for me to have people show me that I was something other than a car accident, that I was something other than a diagnosis, that I was a whole human being.