On May 19, 2018 Natalie Martinez’s life would change drastically, over the next few months she would go through difficulties. There was a road to redemption ahead for Natalie, one unexpected but one that would not go unnoticed.
Natalie is always willing to go out her way to work long hours, stay up late, help a friend with homework and give friends advice when needed. So, it was no surprise that when faced with the option of commuting from Stockbridge to Carrollton to get to work she chose to make the sacrifice every day and go. May 19, 2018 around 5 a.m. Natalie made her way from Stockbridge headed to work to make it there by 8 a.m. Somewhere in Carrollton, Natalie’s truck careened off the road striking a fence, a tree and then finally coming to a stop. The accident involved only herself, but an ambulance had to be called because she suffered numerous injuries.
“I’m not sure why they took me to a hospital in Atlanta when they could have taken me to a hospital in Carrollton,” said Martinez. “I finally realized something had happened once I took a trip to the bathroom and looked in the mirror and saw the scars on my face. With me on the medication, I wasn’t responding how I normally do, that was ‘loopy’ Natalie. I was confused after having mouth surgery. I felt as though no time had passed, it still felt like May 19.”
The ambulance took Natalie to a hospital in Atlanta where she would spend the next six days recovering. Natalie suffered numerous injuries including a broken pelvis, two jaw fractures, mild concussion, and scars from the broken glass on the left side of her body. She received stitches over her eye while being in the hospital. The reality that something awful had occurred only hit Natalie once she went to the restroom and saw her face with scratches and stitches.
After six days in the hospital, Natalie was sent home, heavily medicated so that she would have some relief from the pain. While at home, Natalie experienced a split personality effect. So medicated Natalie found herself sending random text messages, cursing more, and not responding to basic text messages from friends. After returning home, she eventually had to have mouth surgery for her fractured jaw which afterward required heavy medication.
“After my accident, I felt as though I was at my lowest state mentally, but not depressed, ” said Natalie. “What hurts the most has nothing to do with me, it has to do with my family and friends. All my memory is gone. I had more anger than sadness, and I still do. I am angry that my brain won’t allow me to remember.”
The jaw injury Natalie had was the worst that occurred. This is because the healing process is still ongoing to this day. The accident occurred during May. Spilling into the summer months, Natalie was not able to fully enjoy her summer. She had signed up for summer class but ended up having to drop them because of her recovery process. Even after the accident, Natalie has no negative or positive feelings about driving now.
Coming back to school for the fall semester of 2018 proved a new beginning for Natalie. With suffering the mild concussion she had to submit papers noting that she needed more time on assignments and tests. Natalie is a biology student aspiring to become a Veterinarian. With her major consisting of mainly a science-based curriculum that would mean long hours of studying numerous amounts of material. There was only a minor issue with trying to retain the information and juggle learning new information. While she was working on getting back into the swing of school Natalie also was determined to head back to work. The managers at Walmart were kind enough to hold Natalie’s job for her until she was ready to come back. So along with taking 12 credit hours in school with a science-based curriculum Natalie also beginning working at Walmart again part-time.
“It was hard to accept,” said Natalie.”I still struggle with accepting it. I am reminded of it every day, every time I look in the mirror. At first I would be brought to tears every time I saw my face and arm. It’s hard to look at yourself and not recognize who you are.”
After this whole experience, Natalie lost, gained, and changed throughout this process. From the accident, Natalie was left with scars on her face and arms so it is understandable why she feels this way. Being in an accident that you can barely recall what happened is a hard thing to cope with. The experience left Natalie having to pick up the pieces and move forward. Overall this experience has made Natalie a stronger person all around, she had a mild tragedy and had to learn to grow from it.
“With the change, I feel like I lost my confidence, I am not as confident as I was before,” said Natalie. “I lost some happiness, I felt anger as well as sadness. I gained more strength, more pride. I didn’t let it send me into a depressive state. I also wouldn’t let it prevent me from finishing college. It did change my perspective on life. I know for sure that I have got a bigger purpose. God gave me a second chance at life and I won’t take that for granted.”