It was March 2007 in Gatlinburg Tennessee. My parents, brother, and I were all on our family vacation trip. The car ride there was pretty uncomfortable seeing as how we were all stuffed in our mini van with piles of suitcases for 11 hours. We arrived at the Bluegreen resort in the late afternoon. We checked in at the lobby and then drove to our cabin. It was two stories with a nice big hot tub upstairs. After we all unpacked our suitcases, my mom suggested that we drive to the smoky mountain national park to explore the wilderness. We thought we had gotten lost at first, but then after asking a hiker where the park was, we realized we had been driving through it for some time. The four of us got out and started making our way down the trail. My mom has always been big on photography so we were always stopping on the way to take pictures. There were a lot of little ponds and creeks throughout so I decided to wander off the trail to explore some more. I found a tiny island in the shape of a circle that was surrounded by a creek, and a little bit below ground level. My parents and brother were just a couple yards away but I couldn’t see them anymore because of the level of the island. My mom then called out to me, “Be careful!” I laughed and kept walking on. I came up to a tree that had fallen across the island over the creek to the other side of the ground. I decided to see if it was stable enough to walk across and if I could try to balance myself across to the other side. I started to notice that there was a lot of green moss covering the log that made it harder to balance. Once I was about half way, right over the creek, I began to lose my balance completely and had to decide quickly what to do. I grabbed for a little twig hanging above my head but that snapped off instantly. As I started falling into the creek, I saw a large rock to the right and farther in front of me so I aimed to land on that. The rock was too far away and slippery so I just fell right into the water. It was a fairly chilly day and the water was ten times colder than the air. But the water was only up to my waist so the current did not carry me away and I was able to crawl out onto the island. Once I got out of the water, I tried to walk to go get help but I realized that my legs were pretty numb and I couldn’t walk. I figured that it was just from the freezing water. I called out, “Mom! Dad! I need help!”
They rushed over and my dad said, “Oh dear, what happened to you?”
I said, “I was just trying to walk across the log and I fell in. I can’t move my right leg though.”
“Just shake it off and try to walk on it,” my dad said.
Right then is when my brother chimed in, “Look at her pants!” I looked down and began to roll my right sweat pant’s leg up. Once I saw that my shoes were slightly red on the top, I started freaking out. There was a flow of blood coming all the way down my leg and my pants were soaked, which at first I thought was just water. As soon as I rolled my pants up to my knee is when I fainted into my dad’s arms for a couple seconds. When I came to, my mom was panicking and my dad was trying to calm her and told her to go get some help to keep her occupied. I started to cry, realizing that I had a gash right below my knee cap that stretched across the width of my leg and I was able to see straight through to my actual bone. I was unable to walk so my brother had to carry me. There was a ranger station nearby but it was a Sunday and normally there were no rangers there on Sundays. We got lucky though because a ranger had just come to the station to pick a few things up and my mom caught him just in time. When my mom had told him that I had cut my knee, he thought that my mom was just exaggerating and that it would just be a little cut. When I sat down in the station and he looked at it he immediately suggested getting me to a hospital right away. My parents decided to call an ambulance to take me. They put me on a stretcher and took me to the hospital which was about 20 minutes away. When we got to the hospital, they took me to the emergency room and I was given a shot in my side to numb my leg and help the pain go away. While we were all waiting for the doctor to get everything ready, my brother was taking pictures of the gash because he thought it looked “sweet”. They had to put 8 stitches on the inside and 20 more on the outside.
This story was one of the scariest things that I’ve been through in my life. Since then, I have been somewhat afraid to go too close to any rivers or streams with rocks around them. Whenever my family and I go on a vacation now, they always make fun of me by making sure they know where the nearest hospital is. Even though I was in an extreme amount of pain for the rest of the vacation I still loved it. Tennessee has been one of my top best vacation areas ever since. I know that whenever anyone talks about Tennessee anymore, I will smile and think of the ridiculous ambulance ride to the hospital for my leg.
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