It’s a strange statement when I say “I’m glad my brother was hit by a car.” Let me tell you how it all went down and I think you will understand.
“Please be awake. Something bad happened”
I remember I glanced at the clock on my phone.
It was only 6:00am.
I had several missed calls and text messages from my older brother’s college friend. The messages had been sent a couple hours ago.
I texted him back, “what’s wrong?”.
A few seconds later, my phone lit up:
Brandon is in the hospital.
I need your parent’s phone number.
So I sent him my parent’s phone number. I laid back down on the bed thinking it was something dumb or something alcohol-related. I had no idea how serious it was. After about one minute of hesitation, I started to think about the worst-case scenario. I forced myself out of the bed, got dressed and headed to the hospital. To this day I still regret even questioning whether I should’ve gone to the hospital or not.
I walked into the hospital and I immediately recognized a few of my brother’s college friends in the waiting room. They let me into the Emergency Room where I was confused as to what had happened. These moments are still very fresh and vivid in my memory.
One of my brother’s friends was crying and telling me he was sorry.
Another friend couldn’t look at me.
I was very confused until the surgeon pulled me to the side and informed me what had happened. My brother and his friend were hit by a car while pushing down their broken down car on the freeway. I stood there in shock and I asked if my brother was okay…
Doctors can be jerks with the way that they break news to you. The doctor started to tell me slowly and it pissed me off because he was making implications and I had begun making assumptions. I thought the doctor was telling me that I had just lost my brother. I was too stunned to even cry.
Then the doctor told me that my brother is still alive.
Relieved, I asked if I could see him.
The doctor quickly assured me that I did not want to see my older brother because Brandon had just arrived to the hospital and they barely started to assist him. I basically begged the doctor to see my brother. I pleaded that I was 18 and that I was confident that I wanted to see him no matter what.
The doctor reluctantly escorted me into the operating room.
I will never forget the way that my brother looked.
It’s hard to go into detail of what he looked like. I will just say that he looked really messed up. They hadn’t even begun inserting the stitches in his head yet or anything. The only things going through my head were:
1). I’m glad you’re alive
2) I’m surprised you’re alive since you look like this.
My brother had received several lacerations, a broken jaw, nose, collarbone while his other friend broke his neck and spine…
My brother stayed in that hospital for about 2 or 3 months. I couldn’t bring myself to leave his side while he was in his coma. The only time I left was to go sleep at my girlfriend’s place late at night, where I would wake up super early just to go back to the hospital. This was my senior year of high school. I didn’t go to school for about 2 months and I fell behind. I went back to school when I realized I needed to pass my classes to graduate.
My brother woke up from his coma and got transferred to a hospital in San Diego when they deemed him stable enough to transfer. When he first woke up from the coma he was in shock and he couldn’t remember anything. He thought he was still in Thailand. He had backpacked Thailand the year before in October/November 2014. The accident was in April 2015.
His memory was really messed up. I realized it when I was talking to him and he was saying stuff that had already happened. For example, he kept saying how excited he was to see Porter Robinson on the Worlds tour, but that concert was the year before and I had bought his ticket. Fear struck into my heart as I thought about him ever being normal again.
A Fresh Start
I did whatever I could to cheer my brother up when he got released from the hospital. I couldn’t even imagine the amount of mental pain he was going through. When I saw that Porter Robinson was on the lineup for Hard Summer, I bought him a ticket and showed it to him while he was in the hospital. I told him that that was his motivation to learn how to walk again so he can go see Porter Robinson. He had something called gait instability that made him fall over whenever he tried to walk.
He learned how to walk again and he came out with my friends and me to Hard Summer. Then he met a girl and he was happy. As funny as it was, I was glad to see the old Brandon again instead of that broken doll that was in a hospital bed for 3 months. The accident gave him a new perspective on life. He doesn’t drink or smoke anymore. It also gave me a new perspective based on all the knowledge he dropped on me while he was in the hospital.
I realized that life is fragile. ANYTHING can happen and so it’s best to cherish the ones you love often. I wasn’t close to my brother until the accident and I regretted it as I watched him in his coma. We were really close growing up but our relationship changed and we stopped talking when he went to college. Watching him in the hospital bed made me regret not making the effort to stay close.
My brother sustained a pretty serious brain injury so his driver’s license got temporarily suspended. I had to drive him pretty much everywhere after and it was nice to finally get a chance to catch up.
Now, we hang out more than ever. Of course, we are both busy with our own lives but it is nice to keep talking.
Not only did the accident affect my life in that way, but it changed my parents too. My parents are a lot more strict (but only because I know that they care) and my dad would stay up till I get home (so like 3am) just to make sure I’m safe in my room.
So the accident traumatized my whole family in a bad way but also affected us all in a good way. I know that a lot of people see big accidents like this as a negative thing. Honestly, it was a negative thing for a while. But looking back on it, it’s given me a lot more than it’s taken.
I’m grateful that my brother is still here and that he is happier and healthier than he was before the accident. I’m even more than grateful that we are close now and that I can rely on him whenever I need him!
About the Author
Brandon Leuangpaseuth is a writer from San Diego, CA that helps various law firms such as McGilberry & Shirer LLP across the country with their public relations. You can connect with him on LinkedIn @ bleuangpaseuth