A swarm of medical-school students surrounded my gurney, lifting me onto a hospital bed inside the University of Mississippi Medical Center. My eyes drifted to where the wall to my right met the ceiling as I barely paid attention to the doctors cutting me out of my clothes and thoroughly patting me down, checking for injuries.
An hour earlier on Wednesday, Jan. 3, I had decided to use my afternoon break to change the oil of my partner’s car. I had done this before without issue. I had my oil pan in place and my wrench in hand as I jacked up the front of the vehicle and crawled underneath. The front passenger tire was off and leaning against the sidewalk, so I theoretically had extra space to operate.
Lying on my side, I loosened the bolt to my oil reserve. Just before I could twist again, though, and actually release the oil, I heard a scraping of metal and watched the tires roll forward. The jack had slipped. A second later, I was pinned to the ground, bracing the best I could with my left shoulder. Metal pressed into the side of my head behind my left ear. I could feel the blood trickling down my neck and puddling on the concrete below.
The car had fallen on top of me.
“Help!” I screamed, panicking as the pressure in my head rapidly built. “Help! I’m dying!”
‘I’m Going to Die at 27’
I don’t think I’ll ever forget the sound of my own voice saying those words. I hate sounding dramatic, but I had processed the situation and knew it to be true: Without intervention, death was coming for me. All the times I narrowly avoided vehicular accidents while driving, those moments I had called “near-misses,” they felt so hypothetical. This was different.
“Oh,” I thought, time slowing down as my mind raced. “I’m going to die. I’m going to die at 27. I have so much I want to do, so many people I don’t want to leave behind, but I’m dying anyway.”
“Hold on!” I
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