My Story…by Mia Harney
My traumatic story starts on Sunday, March, 15, 1987 when in response to a very late snow storm, Gerard, my father, & I went across the Delaware River to Montage ski resort in the Poconos. I had a snow day on Friday, March, 13. I had taken Bunny Slope ski lessons that winter, so my choice to ski on the expert trail was asking for something bad to happen.
As it was so late in the season, there were numerous flaws on that particular ski run. The snow fences did not reach all of the way to the new snow level, there were only mistakes to be made. I made a successful run on the slope earlier that day.
In my last ski run, I hit a patch of ice, which caused me to spin out of control and slide under a snow fence. As I was sliding down the mountain, the back of my left ski went into my right calf, requiring four stitches because I was very jumpy in my transport from Scranton to Delaware. My life was saves by the proximity of Scranton Community Medical Center to Montage.
I went right into surgery after the Life Flight helicopter brought me to the hospital. I was extremely lucky that my particular neurosurgeon was on duty at that time. My right lung was punctured, but an endotrachial tube was put down my throat right away in the preoperative area. My neurosurgery was lengthily, but I was in a coma so I didn’t know how many hours elapsed.
I was comatose when I was transported from Scranton to A. I. DuPont Hospital in Delaware for three months of rehabilitation. I came out of the comatose state very quickly at DuPont, so my course of therapy could begin. I was in everything from speech, school, Physical therapy, Occupational therapy, but I had to hold off on swimming until the stitches came out of my right leg. On my first weekend home, my pediatric nurse practitioner mother cut the metal stitches out of my leg. She had to explain the extraction of the stitches when she brought me back to Delaware on Sunday evening. I am glad that after all of these years that I did not have plastic surgery, because the scar has disappeared. I was attending school so prodigiously that I did not have to repeat the sixth grade upon our move to California. I was much in keeping up with my school, because I went to the Spring Formal and was discharged on the last day of school.
A little more than a week after my Friday, June 19, 1987 discharge my family and I moved to Rancho Santa Fe, CA just up the street from the riding club, which will be important in the next part of my story. The doctors at Dupont okayed my riding given my excellent recovery from the skiing accident.
My riding instructor soon suggested that I half-lease a horse from another of the members. I was soon paired with Kimee, who was owned by a girl who lived down the street from me. I advanced in my lessons to about to be taking lessons with another trainer at the club when another head injury befell me.
In early December of 1987,I was just back from a volleyball tournament in Burbank, where I was the statistician for the girls volleyball team at my school. I turned Kimee out before I groomed her, tacked her up and went on a trail ride with another of the club members. It was a stormy day.
We went on a trail ride down neighborhood barrancas, which was not the wisest of ideas. I had my horse running on the trail in the thought that this would help her work out any pent up energy. I should not have had her running, because I was thrown, injured my head and went into a month-long coma. My riding companion went back to the club, but did not tell anyone that I had been thrown. The club manager called the sheriff’s department, so there was a helicopter search for me.
I was flown to San Diego Children’s Hospital for surgery and the stay of my one month coma. I went into therapy at Children’s Hospital thereafter.
My parents took me home from Children’s Hospital for rehabilitation. I was left handed, but I developed an intention tremor in my left hand from this accident. I still have poor lefty handwriting of my youth.
I completed the seventh grade with the help of a neighbor as a tutor. I went into the eighth grade in the fall, but was only there in the morning for the core academic classes.
The next year, I went to high school, but needed to change schools because I could not fill out the scan Tron final exams. The following three years of high school went well, including the SAT.
I had to complete my associate’s degree at Palomar College, before transferring to the University of San Diego to complete my bachelor of arts in anthropology with cum laude honors. My Mother, who died of cancer in 2006, was very supportive throughout my college years. I spent the next year looking for a job. I was desperate enough to ask my attorney father for a job as a paralegal at Cozen O’Connor where I worked for ten years.
I had my third accident in August 2009 when I was riding my bike to the starting point of the San Dieguito Half-Marathon. I was hit by a car by a driver who may have been looking at her cell phone. She had limited insurance, but I was able to make a recovery thanks to an excellent lawyer in San Diego who was a friend of my father.
My father, who retired from Cozen O’Connor in 2012, is an active golfer. He can now play golf more frequently, so he can improve his handicap. He is sometimes away at his condominium on Maui between rentals. There is a lot of golf in Kapalua; as well as the ocean for snorkeling and the proximity to Molokai.
I moved to the Banner House in Ventura October 2010. I now have to make choices for what is next in my life, because I am actively pursuing advancing my anthropology degree. I can work for a professor on their archaeology site, just like I dug at the Presidio in San Diego for Dr. Williams. I want to concentrate my life on achieving goals that will make a great deal of difference in my future.