Jeromy Wensley

© Copyright 2020 by Jeromy Wensley

Photo of a moos on the road.

My cell phone began ringing: “BBBRING---BBBRING---BBBRING.”

I snagged my cell-phone from the nearby kitchen table and said, "Hello."

A loud, electrified, slightly intoxicated Kyle responded, "Jeromy, I'm having a party at my place tonight; you should take a road trip home? It is going to be fun; besides that, it is only a few hours of driving.”

I replied, “Kyle; wasn't expecting a call from you,” as I let out a smile because of the excitement in Kyle's tone. "I'm with a girl right now, so as long as you’re okay with me bringing her to your party; I’ll come!"

"Yes, for sure she can come.” Kyle responded, “What does she look like?"

I gazed at the Young Woman, tucked the phone near to my mouth and quietly said, “Never mind; she is right beside me;” I smirked, then, turned my head to the side and said into the phone, “Just wait; I’ll ask her if she wants to come with me to your party.”

I U-turned my head towards the Young Woman and said, “Do you want to come to a party in my home town? It’s only a four-hour drive and my friends are always very good when it comes to a new person. Plus, it should be lots of fun!”

The Young Woman replied, "Absolutely, I’ll come to the party in your home-town with you, Jeromy!"

(It's a bit of a rarity to find a Young Woman who is willing to go on a trip with a man who she just met; to-boot, the trip wasn’t planned. One could even say that this woman had a certain sense of adventure that was similar to mine).

We departed the Young Woman’s house, destined for Kyle’s party in my home-town. I was behind the wheel driving, traveling at speeds that were well over the speed limit. (Close to 90-miles an hour, which is a far cry from the legal limit of 55-miles an hour).

Two hours into our trip; halfway to my home-town and Kyle’s party: the sun drifted down, and darkness fell upon the rural roads we were driving on. My visibility of the upcoming road saw: blackness, with a few etched out tree-tops shadowing in the distance, due to the moon giving off a slight bit of light. My visibility was not good; but in truth, it never is while driving in the nighttime hours of that old single-lane highway to my home town. (Many have said: “The drive has an eerie feeling.”) I began ascending a steep hill with a subtle left turn. I arrived at the peak; the road straightened as it descended. Unexpectedly, a large dark object appeared just 50-feet in front of me. I squinted my eyes, trying to establish a visual on what the large dark object was; then, a glimpse of a gigantic moose punched a jolt of terror into my heart.

(With virtually no time to react, I had one massive problem: The head of the moose was directly in front of my side of the vehicle and the moose’s ass was directly in front of the Young Woman's side of the vehicle. Therefore, my decision as the driver was a critical one: If I swerve to the left, my life would be insured, but the Young Woman would surely be mangled with the possibility of death. If I swerve to the right, the Young Woman’s life would be spared, and, as for me, quite possibly, I’d be in a pine box in the days to come.)

Swiftly, I boomeranged the vehicle to the right, and: ”SMASH,” the moose’s ass crashed into my side of the car; instantly, I went unconscious.

I slowly opened my eyelids, amid the Young Woman shaking my shoulders, panicking, screeching at me, "Jeromy, Jeromy; wake up. We hit a moose. I just flagged down a passing vehicle and we are taking you to the hospital!" The Young Woman’s voice echoed splitters of remorse.

I gazed around, not entirely knowing what had happened, where I was, or what was to come. My eyelids pressed down as if weights were connected; and suddenly, I went unconscious.

I awoke in a bed at the Atikokan hospital: The Young Woman sunk her head to my ear and whispered, "You saved my life, Jeromy. My shoulder is in a bit of pain from your head ricocheting from the moose’s ass to my shoulder, but other than that; I’m fine."

Seconds later, I faded unconscious.

The next morning, I came out of unconsciousness: I sat up in the hospital bed and, wow did I feel mangled. I set my feet on the floor, stood, and drifted myself to the washroom, dragging my feet; barely able to lift my head; my vision mangled. (The walk seemed endless). I reached the inside of the bathroom, halted, and gazed into the mirror to assess the damage: My one eye was closed shut; my face was riddled with cuts, bruises, and scars. On top of that, my nose had a golf ball size bulge in the middle of it, and, my two collar bones were no longer straight: They had concave hooks in them that looked like they were about one inch out of place. (Depression now steeped at an all-time low). Tears of sorrow drifted down my face, embedding wet marks on my hospital gown. My head sank; I turned and drug my feet back to my hospital bed, then laid down in the bed.

Ten minutes later, a Doctor pranced his way into my hospital room and halted: Little glasses sat at the tip of his nose, and a doctor’s chart lay dormant in his right hand. He lifted his doctor’s chart, gazed at it; paused for a moment, then, looked at me and said, "Last night’s nurse said you were fading in and out of consciousness;” the Doctor paused, then, “That moose gave you a good knock to your head, but, I’m sure you will be fine."

I responded, "I don't know, Doc. I feel totally exhausted right now. I’ve never felt like this before.”

An argument arose: The Doctor and I went back and forth for a minute or so. He was adamant with regards to his decision that I was fine, and, as for me, I felt I was seriously injured. I then asked, "Well, how come my eye won’t open, then, Doc?"

The Doctor answered, "I think you crashing into the moose last night caused some nerve damage, therefore, your eye is unable to open." He paused---looked down at his doctor’s chart---looked back at me and said, "Alright, I'm sending you home, Jeromy. You’re going to have to call somebody to pick you up." The doctor then U-turned his body and pranced his way out of my hospital room.

Not long after, the Doctor pranced his way back into my hospital room, this time, having a phone in the palm of his hand. He held the phone out and said, "Here."

I grasped the phone and began dialing my mom’s phone number. Mom answered; I explained to her that I had hit a moose; I was now in a hospital in a nearby town, and the Doctor just told me to find a ride home. Mom replied, "I'll be on the way, Jeromy. Just give me a few minutes to get ready and then I’ll leave. It's a two-hour ride, so if the weather and the roads are good, I should be there in just over two hours."

Mom and I said our goodbyes and I hung up the phone. Seconds later; my eyelids grew heavy and then, I remember nothing.

"Let’s go, Jeromy. I'm here."

My eyes shot open; I gazed at my mom for a brief second and with a subdued voice, I said, “You are here already, Mom. How did you get here so fast?”

It’s been almost three hours, Jeromy.” Mom replied. Mom gazed at me with this puzzled look: (I’m sure my mom pondered how I did not know it had been nearly three hours)

Minutes later, Mom and I began the drive to Fort Frances: I held a conversation with my mom for the first ten minutes of our ride. But, it was short-lived, as my eyelids quickly fell victim to tiredness.

Mom shook my shoulder and said, "Jeromy, we are home in Fort Frances."

I awoke; opened the car door and drug my feet into my mom's house. Thereafter, I went straight to the bedroom; laid my head down on the bed; seconds later, I was asleep.

A day and a half passed; my awake time was just one hour in total: In and out of conscience I went, having a hard time keeping my eyes open for more than five minutes at a time. Mom was nearby the majority of the hours; worry crept into her heart, prompting her to book me in to see a doctor. She felt that the first Doctor may have been wrong, and thought that I was in need of a second opinion. (An appointment was secured for me at the town’s clinic in two days).

Two days passed: My hours of awake time dwindled to virtually nothing. Mom basically had to drag me out of bed to get me to my doctor’s appointment.

Mom and I arrived at the Fort Frances clinic. We checked in and not long after, my name was called. The two of us walked into the doctor’s office and sat. The Doctor didn’t give much of an evaluation by the time he came to his conclusion: He said, "Jeromy, there is something drastically wrong with you. I'm going to have you flown to a city hospital as soon as I possibly can for an evaluation from a Neurosurgeon Doctor.”

I said, “Okay, doc.”

Just wait a moment, I will be right back,” the Doctor said.

The Doctor left the office and returned minutes later. “Okay, Jeromy; there is going to be an ambulance here shortly to pick you up and take you to the airport. There will be an air-ambulance airplane waiting for you at the airport.”

Not long after, an ambulance arrived and brought me to the airport. Furthermore, a nurse escorted me onto the air-ambulance airplane. An hour later, we landed at the city’s airport. And I was rushed to the hospital and given a hospital bedroom. 20-minutes later, a Neurosurgeon Doctor walked in the hospital bedroom: He was a short, East-Indian man; he wore glasses and was partially bald. The Neurosurgeon Doctor glanced at me and said, “Hi, Jeromy. I’ve been told that you were in a car crash with a moose and since then, you are spending a lot of time sleeping.”

Yes,” I answered, “I am having a hard time staying awake.”

All right,” the Neurosurgeon Doctor said, “I am ordering a CT scan to be done on you as soon as possible.”

Okay,” I replied.

Afterward,” the Neurosurgeon Doctor said, “I will make an assessment and notify you what I have gathered from the assessment.”

Okay, Doc,” I said.

Within two hours, I was taken to the CT scan room: A CT scan was performed on me. And, shortly after, I was escorted back to my hospital bedroom.

Not long after, the Neurosurgeon Doctor walked into my hospital bedroom and informed me that he had assessed the CT scan: He determined that I had a blood clot the size of a coin in my head and, it was growing due to a blood flow blockage in my brain. Furthermore, he explained that I had hit a nerve just above my left eye; therefore, one of my eye muscles was unresponsive, which, he said: illustrated why I was barely able to open my left eye. The Neurosurgeon Doctor then informed me that both of my collar bones were in rough shape, but, were not broken. In addition, the Neurosurgeon Doctor touched base on the cuts and scars I received on my face from the windshield glass: He notified me that he would be stitching them up later on in the day. The Neurosurgeon Doctor then said, "But first and foremost, I have to perform a two-hour surgery on your head to relieve the pressure on your brain." The Neurosurgeon Doctor paused, then said, "If the surgery is successful, it will keep you from slipping into a full coma and likely death, afterward." The neurosurgeon doctor paused yet again, looked to the side, then back to me and said, "Okay, Jeromy; I have to ask you a question: Would you like me to do the surgery or not? My success rate is very good, but I will have to cut your already damaged nerve above your left eye, which will make your left eye close shut, and quite possibly it will take a very long time to heal back to normal."

"How long are we talking for my eye to heal, Doc?" I asked.

The Neurosurgeon Doctor replied, "A couple of years and more than likely it won’t heal back completely, but we can hope."

I thought about the surgery for a few moments, pondering: whether I should, or I shouldn't do the surgery, then responded, "Alright Doc; just do your best to not let me die during the surgery."

"I will and it's a minor surgery, so unless something drastic happens, you should be fine," the Neurosurgeon Doctor replied.

Later on that day, I was given some anesthetics and propofol; soon after, I fell asleep. A few hours later, I awoke: opened my eyes, (the surgery was successful), leaving me with just a recovery to account for.

Days later, as I was recovering in the hospital, a specialist of people crashing into moose in vehicle accidents ventured into my hospital room: He was short, wore a baseball cap, and looked a bit like Tom Cruise the movie star. I gazed at him, not knowing who he was, or what he was doing in my hospital room. The Specialist cleared his throat and said, “Are you, Jeromy?”

I replied, “Yes, who are you?”

The Specialist (the Tom Cruise look-alike) answered, “My name is…………………..and I have been doing research on people being in car accidents with moose for 20 years, now.”

I pondered for a brief moment, thinking: “Holy-man, they have a specialist for everything.” Then I said, “Okay.”

The Specialist said, “Jeromy, in my 20-years of doing this job, you are in better shape than anyone I have ever encountered in my life.”

Really; huh,” I replied, as I gave off a dis-satisfied smirk. (I did not feel I was so lucky)

The Specialist said, “Yes, here are the statistics I have gathered over the last 20 years: 50% of people died within days of the accident; 25% are paralyzed or seriously injured, and not able to conduct their lives without the help of a person at their side almost all the time. And, 25% of people are somewhat normal, and I say ‘somewhat normal’ because they too, even years after the accident, are still feeling the after-effects from crashing into the moose.” The Specialist halted his words for a second, then, “Jeromy, you are very lucky to be alive and even luckier to be functioning normally.”

The Specialist and I conversed for another hour before he said: “Goodbye, Jeromy,” then---wished me well on my recovery.

AN AFTERTHOUGHT: From time to time, I relay this chapter’s story to a friend, a relative or whoever it may be: I speak about me swerving the vehicle in the direction that forced me to crash into the moose; nearly died, but saved a Young Woman’s life in the process; the Young Woman was also a mother of a young one (a three-year-old boy). I ask that particular person which direction he or she would have swerved. It's always followed by a silence, then a: "I don't know." But every so often, there is a brave soul that says differently:

One time, I had a tennis ball in my hand, as I relayed this story to a crowd of friends, and, a Brave Friend spouted out the words: “I would have swerved in the direction to save the Young Woman’s life, and if I died in the process; so be it!”

Quickly, I tossed the tennis ball I was holding in my hand at the Brave Friend. (A girl stood directly behind him and he knew it). Swiftly, he adjusted his body; the tennis ball soared past the Brave Friend and struck the woman. The crowd of friends hushed: Sets of eyes beamed at the Brave Friend from every which direction. (Apparently not such a Brave Friend)

Seconds of silence passed and I said, "Are you sure you would have taken the blow from that moose?"

Instantly, the color red compelled the Brave Friend’s complexion; his head descended towards the ground. (He was caught in a lie and he knew it). I broke the silence and said, "There you go! It takes more courage than you think to do what I did."

TODAY’S THOUGHTS: Something deep down always tells me that my friends, family members, and even the Creator himself was proud of me for my actions on that particular day: I saw no fear in saving a Young Woman’s life, who, by the way, was a mother of a young one. My life was at risk; nearly died; found myself needing brain-surgery because of, but, sometimes a kind gesture will stand the test of time!!!!

I was born and raised in Northern, Ontario, Canada. (Very isolated; the winters are frigidly cold) I was a good athlete, excelled at nearly all sports. Health & Physical Education and Mathematics were my best subjects in School; English and Writing were my worst. (Actually failed grade 12 English).

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