A few moments after the accident happened, I lost my grip on reality and to be honest that was not a very good experience. After I regain my consciousness, I thought of two major things. First, thank God for my life. God has really blessed me and continues to be there for me. Second, now I am going to be hospitalized for a long time because I thought that I punctured my lungs or so I thought my ribs are broken or broke my right arm because I could not move my right hand and it hurts a lot to even try it.
We’ve just had an accident in our hired bus which was seriously damaged and according to bystanders who saw us say the bus flipped thrice before it landed upside down. I was in shock, blacked out twice, could not breathe properly and every part of my body hurting with blood all over my jeans. I was in shock all the things I had learned about shock and amnesia is so true, I could not even remember my name, what I was doing there, what had happened to me and to my friends. All memory lost, it was like the accident formatted the hard drive in my brain. Now, let me tell you the story of this major accident.
It’s November 2nd, Saturday the second day since Kaziranga National Park (UNESCO World Heritage site) was open to tourist and this bunch of 18 people are so thrilled and excited to spend Diwali holiday in a way they have never experienced and also be among the first group of tourists to visit Kaziranga. 18 people meaning: 5 Medical Students, 3 Engineering Students, 1 Rural Medical Practitioner, 1 Homeopathic student, 1 Senior Geophysicist and his Anesthesiologist wife and their son, District in charge of Jorhat district Intelligence Bureau (IB) and his wife. Amongst us we have family who joined us to cook for our lunch while we all are going to see the wildlife.
We set out early 6:30 AM because the girls have a deadline to enter their hostels and to be honest we are so excited we can’t wait for it any longer. Everything went as planned, we reached Kaziranga around 9:30-10:00 we went for the safari to at least see it for ourselves what is in there to see what attracts so many tourists from different parts of India and abroad to come over to see each year. It was indeed fabulous! I could not find in my limited vocabulary words to describe how beautiful and breathtaking it was to be there to see it for myself. One thing how different it was than the normal zoo is it does contain different birds, reptiles and animals in groups which we usually don’t see in zoo. I am not a big fan of animals, but let me tell that right now that Kagiranga National Park is the shit! It changes my whole perspective towards wildlife because it is informative and educative too.
After we had lunch, which was awesome and another round of photo shoot we set out for Jorhat, which is exactly 111.9 kilometers from Kaziranga. For some time during the early ride on the bus all I could think of was what pictures to select from the hundreds of pictures taken that day to upload on Facebook. I could even imagine how many Facebook Likes and comments I could get, who will COMMENT and who will not; who will LIKE the pictures and who will not.
The whole day while we were enjoying the wildlife and everything there was to enjoy and amused ourselves with. Our bus driver and his crew also had their share of enjoyment without us knowing which was drinking. Our driver drank so much that day, I had never been inside and seen a motor driven so fast. We yelled at the driver for more than three times to slow down the bus after which he did and we would continue singing, making some silly jokes, laughing and enjoying every moment of it. Even though the bus gained speed I never once thought that we might meet with an accident. I don’t know why I never thought about an accident, I just don’t, maybe it is because as I am always an optimistic person who doesn’t want to think of something to go bad. Right before the accident it seems every part of the engine are working in their maximum full capacity. Our bus driver could not negotiate the turns on the road because the bus was in full throttle and I saw it from the last seat from where I sat with four other friends our bus tilted toward the right. It was fearful enough to haunt me till today the thing that happened to me seconds before the accident: I knew as the bus tilted to the right towards the ground will full speed I knew for sure this is it, this is the end. I am going to die and I could see the rails on the edge of the road which we are supposed to hit. Since it is impossible to jump out of the bus all I could do that time was to brace myself for the impact – whether I did it or not I don’t know. That’s when I lost my senses.
All that I could remember seconds before the accident were “Squealing tires”… “Screeching brakes”… “Shattering glass”… “Crunching metal”…. “The smell of gasoline”… “The screams of my friends”… “Feelings of helplessness”… “Being out of control”…. “Fearful of death”..
Everything seems to happen so quickly. I didn’t know how long I blacked out and I just laid there inside the bus, when I regained my consciousness I remembered I crawled and tried to get out of the bus and I can’t as I could not breathe, so my friend pushed me out from the bus which was about 2 feet from the ground. I sat on the ground and couldn’t breathe, that’s when my medical training kicked in, I crossed my hands I placed my right hand on my left shoulder and my left hand on my right shoulder and bend my knees. I did this because by doing so it increases the air capacity of the lungs because it pushes the diaphragm to its lowest position and let more air to enter if in case the lungs are punctured. I repeatedly hit my knees by my head so as to increase space for air in my lungs. It hurts a lot when I breathe so I stayed like there for sometimes, many things crossed my mind: broken ribs, punctured lung pneumothorax, edema of the lungs.. I was no longer optimistic. I remembered somebody poured water on my head. I was let into an ambulance that’s when I saw what I thought was one of my friends: Khomlalsang lying on the road in a pool of blood not moving and his head flat like the road below. I thought I lost a very good friend of mind that day. It saddens me.
As I sat inside the ambulance towards the nearest civil hospital in Bokakhat I could see my friends all around me who all looked like they just took a bath with blood. I could not remember anything (Amnesia) from my name to what just happened to us and what caused my jeans to soak in blood. I checked my head and there was blood everywhere and I checked myself there was blood, on my neck was a cut wound maybe by the shattered glass and in my elbows. I tried to move my legs, left leg doing fine, but my right leg is not moving and I couldn’t feel it too and it hurts like hell and all I could think of right that moment was the bones in my ankles are broken. What I realized later that evening was the reason I could not move my right leg inside the ambulance was due to the gout attack I had that day. Thank God it was only gout and no broken bones. My left arm was doing OK, my right arm and right side of my chest hurt so badly that every time I breathe it seemed like my chest was going to blow out blood.
I didn’t remember how long was the ride between the site of our accident to Bokakhat Civil Hospital, but by the time we reached the hospital the ambulance floor was scattered with bandages, blood and vomits. We were let into an emergency casualty ward where the most severely injured patients are taken care of first. Then, came a round of painkiller injection, then a chunk of hair was chopped off from my head to see the wound. I was lucky no stitch was needed. Soon, some our friends were referred to Jorhat for immediate medical attention. A sigh of relief, the sight of joy after the miserable accident was to see my friend Khomlalsang who I thought was dead, who I thought was his head smash against the pucca road, but in fact he was well and helping other friends. One thing I didn’t know was that two ambulances came for us minutes after the accident. Guess who called the ambulance? The people who watched us while we miserable crawled out from the bus? No, the call was made by one of our friends who regained his consciousness much earlier than all of us.
While we were in Bokakhat Civil Hospital I made a full recovery of my memories. I was happy at the same time had a hard time deciding whether or not to tell my parents who will be so shocked to hear the news. Anyway I did make the call, two of my elder sisters, my younger brother and a good friend of mine Ivan Sinate came right away from Gauhati to Jorhat to see me and to be with me. Our welfare president Kaprosang Joute arranged an SUV for us to go back to Jorhat which was about 81 kilometers and took us more than four hours to reach because we requested the driver to go slowly on us because any bumps was so painful. I made a call to my friends back in the college to arrange a medical response team and to inform our teachers. I knew some of the teachers will be mad at us because of what happened to us and I was not wrong.
By the time we reached our college hospital friends of the college, teachers and members of ‘UNAU Christian fellowship’ poured into our college hospital to be with us, comfort us and pray for us. After all the necessary things to be done medically are taken care of, from tetanus injection to CT-Scan we stayed for one night in the hospital for an observation. One funny thing, every day in clinic class it is a duty of a medical student to see through every patient condition and take a record of the progress of their health conditions, but that night they were surprised to see me sleeping in of the beds beside them and the nurses were awestruck to see me too. My sisters reached Jorhat by midnight and it was one joyous moment for me seeing them and for them to see me alive and far better than what they anticipated.
I slept well except for some occasional injection rounds by the nurses who would knock me awake which I hate as hell. The next day was Sunday so from early morning friends came to be with us in the hospital some brought fruits, sweets and prayed an endless words of blessings for us. Pieces of shattered glass were everywhere my body: In my hair, neck and elbow and it was never a good experience to have them taken out because on their way out they cut and bleed and it worsens the wound! If all those phone calls I received that day was a proposal for a date by a girl I might need to jump out of the hospital window, on the way down cut my throat open and shout, “This is living hell and I am done!” Because I could not even continue my conversation with my friends who are beside me let alone even rest my left ear for a second it was like my phone just turned into a busy telephone switchboard. Another round of test and I was discharged from the hospital the next day which made my first ever hospital stay 24 hours and some minutes.
I am undoubtedly thankful to God, many of my friends and teachers said it was a miracle, but I said it was an intervention of the Almighty. He wants us to be in His service and to serve Him while we could also have died like the three bystanders and our cook who died that day because of the accident. I am thankful to my college friends, batch mates and juniors for their help during our difficult time: arranging a medical team to take care of us, bring food, water and clothes for us. More than anything thanks for the prayers, love and moral support. Thanks for the ‘calls’ ‘text messages’, flowers and gifts. You’ve touched my life and thank you to all those who visited me in the hospital and after my hospital stay for taking the time out of your busy schedule. It is gestures like yours which helped give me the strength to recover, and I really enjoyed seeing your friendly face there. Thank you GOD, I am blessed!
Gauhati, 11th November, 2013