debby-linsey-williamson-picFor The Record- Debby Schamber
 A wreck Sept. 22 has left Linsey Williamson trying to rebuild what is left of her life. Her vehicle struck a tractor-trailer and left her clinging to life. She remains in a Beaumont hospital.
Recovery has proven to be an uphill battle
Surviving a wreck is only the beginning
On Sept. 22, mistakes are made and life as Linsey Williamson. 28, of Bridge City, knew it,  changed forever.
Williamson was headed home about 7:30 p.m. in a 2006 Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck when she was involved in a wreck with a tractor trailer on Highway 62 near Highway 105. According to reports, Williamson was driving south on Highway 62 while the tractor-trailer was going north. The driver of the tractor trailer saw her vehicle crossing the center line and he attempted to avoid a head-on collision. However, Williamson’s vehicle struck the tractor-trailer and spun clockwise until coming to rest in the center lane. Charges are pending against Williamson.
Like most people involved in serious wrecks, Williamson has no recollection of the incident.
Emergency personnel worked to free her from the crumpled wreckage for about an hour. Finally, she was removed and placed into an awaiting helicopter. Barely hanging onto life, she was life-flighted to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont.
Williamson was rushed into surgery where doctors worked for about 10 hours to put her body back together. She was given nearly 20 units of blood because of her injuries and blood loss from the crash. Doctors reported if she had arrived minutes later she would not have survived.
Everyone held their breath as they waited to see if she had suffered brain damage. In this instance, their prayers were answered and there was not any brain damage, but there were many other obstacles that lay ahead.
Williamson suffered a large gash and shattered bones in her left leg, broken ribs and damage to her left arm and wrist.
Jamie Baker, Linsey’s mother, tried to call her daughter several times to see where she was and didn’t get an answer. Finally, persistence paid off and the Texas Department of Public Safety trooper at the scene answered and informed her there had been a wreck.
Baker rushed to the hospital to see her daughter. However, when she arrived there was some confusion as to her daughter’s identity and the hospital listed her as Astro Doe. Baker was able to identify her which was only the beginning of the emotional roller coaster. Following surgery Williamson was moved to the Intensive Care Unit where she remained for 16 days.
The first few days in ICU were extremely difficult. She experienced “crazy” hallucinations from the medications. Later she would tell her mother during this time she saw her grandmother who had passed away some time ago.
Williamson first memory after waking up is her excessive hunger and thirst. But, she was not allowed to eat or drink and received nutrition through IVs.
In ICU, Williamson tried pull out the IVs so her uninjured leg and arm were tied to the bed. This only added to her frustration.
“I remember hearing my mom’s voice and I screamed at her to take me home,” Williamson said.
Eventually, Williamson was moved to a room and then to rehab where she remains. Since the initial surgery, she has undergone 16 more surgeries. Doctors tried to save her leg. They repaired the severely damaged leg the best they could and did surgeries where they went inside to clean it thoroughly. But, infections in the knee area were a constant threat.
In the end, Williamson was left with a decision to make. They could let her keep her leg and it would forever be a hindrance and a nuisance for the rest of her life in addition to the possibility of infections which could ultimately cause her death. Plus, the hospital would release her to a nursing home. For Williamson, this left the difficult choice of amputation above her knee or to keep her leg.  The days leading up to the huge decision were wracked with problems.
“I didn’t even want to talk of amputation,” Williamson said.
But, in the end, she knew what she had to do and that was amputate her leg. But, that would only lead to a new set of problems. In addition to the amputation, she has undergone skin grafting.
Replaced by the pain of her once heavily damaged leg were now “phantom pains”which are pains where the ailing limb used to be located. Sometimes, Williamson moves her good leg to the empty spot on the bed where her leg was.
“I try to let my brain know it’s not really there anymore,” she said. “It’s really bad.”
Williamson has also had surgery on her arm and wrist. She currently cannot use her left wrist and hand. When she uses the other hand to lift the damaged hand and lets go of it, the hand lifelessly drops. Doctors are hopeful she will regain the use of her arm, wrist and hand through therapy. For Williamson this cannot happen too soon. Before the wreck, she enjoyed baking and crafting. She sold some of her baked goods and preserves at local convenience stores. In addition, she worked at a dog grooming shop giving dogs a bath.
Although, not related to the wreck, Williamson recently underwent gallbladder surgery after she developed problems associated with gallstones.
Just days ago, for the first time since the wreck she got out of bed and stood up. With assistance and use of a walker, she proudly stood for more than three minutes. It will take time and therapy to make her muscles strong again.
For her mother, to see her daughter smile and laugh again after such a long ordeal was in itself a big accomplishment.
“I’ll be glad to see her smile and lead a normal life,” Baker said.
When Williamson is released from the hospital she will have to go live with her parents. They will have to modify their home to make it handicap accessible.
In addition to her best friend from childhood, Marissa Myers, and numerous family members, is a very special best friend who comes to visit. It is her dog Arhelia. The small dog is a chiweenie and snuggles up on Williamson’s bed. The dog has been certified as a therapy dog. When Baker gets ready to bring the dog to the hospital for a visit, she straps a small, black vest onto the dog. This is the cue for the dog to get excited and she is eager to go.
There are many hurdles ahead for Williamson. She would like to have a prosthetic leg someday. Plus, she will need additional therapy. But, without insurance, these goals are unattainable. Therefore, a bank account has been set up for people to make donations. It is at Bridge City Bank and the account number is 18850006. Donations would be greatly appreciated.
During this difficult time, the chaplain at the hospital has frequently visited with her. Together they have prayed for strength and healing. But, this uphill battle has proven to be quite overwhelming at times. Williamson spent her 28th birthday in the hospital and now with impending holidays, depression looms. Cards and letters with words of encouragement would help to put more smiles in her life and fewer tears. The address is; Linsey Williamson, Room 6119, c/o St. Elizabeth Hospital, 2830 Calder, Beaumont, Tx. 77702.