By Natalie Griffith
My life forever changed Christmas night of 2009. My mind body and soul were different. I dropped my four girls off with their dad when my girls and I finished Christmas brunch with my parents. I said my good-byes to the girls, gave them kisses and left. I then drove 45 minutes to the birthday party of a co-worker.
I had a blast! I laughed and drank alcohol, then decided around 10:30 p.m. to go home. When I gave hugs to people at the party, and said my good-byes some of the party goers asked if I was okay to drive home safely. “Totally,” I said and assured them I was fine. While driving home, I became confused and lost, so I called a close friend for directions.
The friend I called could tell I was drunk. He told me to pull over and he would pick me up. I didn’t listen and while arguing with him, I rolled down an embankment onto the freeway below the freeway I was on! I hit sand barrels which stopped my car. Although I did not hit anyone during my descent, I was unconscious and trapped in my car. While knocked out, in a coma, I spoke to the Spirit of God; I felt incredible peace and love. He said He is going to take care of me, not to worry, just rest in Him. Sadly, people passed my crashed vehicle on the side of the road without stopping to check to see if I was okay or in need of help. Approximately 20 minutes after the accident occurred, someone stopped to try and help me out. When he couldn’t get me out of the car, he called 911 for emergency assistance.
The paramedics came within minutes and had to use the Jaws of Life to cut the car open and get me out. Not knowing where to take me, UCI or UCLA either by ambulance or helicopter, they decided to take me to UCI by ambulance. I wasn’t breathing well and broken in several places, including the shattering of my face and right arm. I was given the temporary name, “Ring Jane Doe” when taken to UCI because I was wearing a wedding ring but still needed to be identified. The Spirit of God was with me every moment.
After UCI assessed me, they concluded I suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The friend, with whom I was speaking when the accident occurred, called my apartment and several hospitals to see if he could find me because our conversation ended abruptly when the accident occurred. Once he called UCI, he was told a woman was brought in the previous night but they did not know who she was. To know with certainty, he would have to drive to the hospital and verify I was the person on my driver’s license.