Caitlin Beadles: "The Person I Most Remember Visiting Me Was Someone I Was Mad At, Someone I Hurt, Someone Who Hurt Me"
You may already know Caitlin Beadles as Justin Bieber's ex-girlfriend and best friend. Now it's time to meet the real Caitlin -- a courageous 16-year-old Georgia girl who survived a tragic boating accident. After receiving 6,000 stitches in one leg, undergoing countless surgeries and over a year of grueling physical therapy, Caitlin's telling her inspiring story for the first time to JSYK. Check back every afternoon this week to read about Caitlin's painful experience and find out what she's learned about life and strength in her own words. Click here to read Caitlin's story from the beginning.
If it wasn't for my "angel" -- an emergency medical worker in the life flight helicopter with a child my age -- I wouldn't be here now telling my story. I flatlined in the helicopter because I bled to death after slicing my femoral artery during the accident. The man working on me almost stopped, but this mother got emotional and begged him not to give up. She risked her job to save me, and thankfully she was successful.
They took me to the University of Alabama Birmingham, a critical trauma and burn hospital. They immediately rushed me into surgery, and I woke up during the operation because I flatlined once again. They couldn't give me any more anesthesia because there was a 99 percent chance that I wouldn't wake up.
I was awake and alert for the whole surgery. I couldn't move, couldn't blink, couldn't talk. I tried to scream, but I was given medicine to paralyze me. I could hear them saying, 'We're going to have to take her leg. Okay, we are going to amputate it.' Imagine how badly I was freaking out at this point. They would amputate my leg and I was awake! Heck no! I was begging them not to take my leg, but it was no use because they couldn't hear me. It was like having an outer body experience.
I could hear them say there was no possible way I would ever walk again, or live a normal life with or without a leg. My parents were waiting outside and freaking out because they didn't know if I'd come out of surgery alive. The doctors told them that they were doing the best they could, but it didn't look good. They drove two hours after getting a call that I was hurt. They had no clue how extreme my injuries were and now they faced never seeing their girl again.
I remember waking up a few days after surgery, and I was alone in a room with white walls. I couldn't talk or move an inch. I had a breathing tube, and they cut open my ribs and inserted two chest tubes. I had a line in my chest pumping blood back into me. I had over 6,000 stitches in one leg and a rod in the other leg that goes from my hip to my knee. I had multiple blood transfusions and required over 20 units of blood.
Still, my surgeon was amazing and able to repair my nerves, muscle, and piece my leg back together. None of the nerves in my left leg are completely repaired, and when I walk too much it swells really big. It's easy for me to get blood clots, as my lung, stomach, and liver had collapsed.
Days went by, which felt like months. I was scared. Scared of pain. Scared of what the future of my life would be. It felt like I barely saw my parents while I was in the Intensive Care Unit. When people came in my room, I usually kept my eyes closed. They thought I was asleep, but I was really listening to all of the bad news. I only remember a few people seeing me in the ICU, although a ton of people came. My best friend wouldn't leave my side, and seeing her tears made my heart break, because I had never seen her cry before. My friend's dad, who stopped the boat and dove into the water, also visited me. I couldn't talk but I mouthed "hero" to him for saving my life.
It was so hard not being able to talk. They had a tube down my throat that was basically breathing for me. I couldn't communicate at all. The person who I most remember visiting me was someone really special to me. Someone I was mad at, someone I hurt, someone who hurt me. Our last words were very hateful, and just seeing their face made me realize something -- anyone can go away at any second.
Click here to continue reading Caitlin's story. Follow the writer of this story on Twitter.
Read the rest of Caitlin's series on JSYK: