Local woman returns from near death accident
Published 6:07 am Monday, March 28, 2005
By By Lee Weyhrich
On Easter Sunday one area resident will celebrate her own resurrection.
Priscilla Wilder of Nokomis, a former Escambia County Middle School teacher, was severely injured in an accident last October.
"Doctors didn't give her a chance of living, much less of a full recovery and it has only been six months," brother and local radio personality Lou Vickery said.
After suffering severe internal injuries, Wilder is well on the road to recovery and is planning to return to her church, First United Methodist, for the first time Easter Sunday.
"On Oct. 9 last year, my oldest sister was backed over by a car," Vickery explained. "She and her family were at Auburn for a football game. Her son lived there and a Pathfinder (medium-size sport utility vehicle) was parked on an incline in the driveway of her son's home. The emergency brake was pulled up and she couldn't get it to push down so she got out of the car to get her son to help her release the emergency brake. He got in the car and unbeknownst to him the car was not in park, it was in reverse. He pushed the emergency brake down and the car backed over her chest cavity and because of the ballgame (Auburn's homecoming) there was difficulty for the emergency workers to get there."
According to Wilder the accident nearly killed her.
"We have season tickets at Auburn homecoming," she said. "I was going to go to the school, but I couldn't get my car to move. It rolled over me and the upper part of my body. My lungs were collapsed and my heart and liver were damaged. I wasn't expected to live.
"They (the hospital in Opelika) put me in a drug-induced coma for three weeks and then I spent 41 days in ICU," Wilder continued. "Post-Intensive Care, I stayed there four weeks. Right before thanksgiving I went to physical therapy."
Just as things were looking better for Wilder, they took a turn for the worse.
"I was sick more than I was able to do rehab," Wilder said. "I almost died on Christmas night, I wasn't able to breathe."
Two weeks later the doctors believed she was well enough to be sent home.
"I did six weeks of outpatient surgery," Wilder said. "I wasn't able to walk, but I can walk now without assistance. My shoulders are still locked up, but we're working hard to get them working. The (the doctors) did a remarkable job with my hand and my shoulders. I look like a Trojan when I walk though."
Vickery attributes a lot of his sister's improvement on her husband and her friends and family.
"He pushed her, it was a lot of tough love, but he made her do physical therapy and made her get better when she didn't want to," Vickery said. "To see her get up and walk after the trauma she was in, her body was two and a half times its normal size the day after the accident from swelling. It's a miracle."
Wilder agreed that she would not have survived without her family and friends.
"My husband has been wonderful," Wilder said. "I would have had to go to assisted living without him. My fingers and hands are still curled up, the muscles atrophied in my legs. I had to learn to walk all over again. When you have an experience like this you learn how important people are. The people at my church have been wonderful, Delta Kappa Gamma, a sorority for educators, they have been wonderful, and the City of Atmore. I taught at ECMS until the accident and those people have been wonderful for me; the children sent me letters. Over 50 people (fellow teachers) gave me days so I wouldn't lose my insurance. There are just wonderful people in Atmore and my family is wonderful. My mother stayed everyday for eight weeks before coming back home for Thanksgiving."
A large part of her survival, she believes, comes from the thoughts and prayers of the people who love her and she wants the people of her church to know that when they see her Sunday.
"We're really looking forward to that," Doug Newton, pastor of First United Methodist Church, said. "Priscilla is one of the finest people I know and we've truly had her in our hearts and in our prayers everyday and the fact she will be here to worship the living Christ on Sunday will be one of the finest examples of Him being alive, I know of. It will be nice to see her in our church and see the results of our prayers. She has a triumphant spirit and she will be the first to tell you that because she has seen the power of God at work in her life."
Newton said Wilder has been truly missed at the church since her accident.
"She's always been a special person to all of us that know her and she is truly an inspiration to be around and this helps all of us to know the presence of God working in her and it causes us all to rejoice," Newton said.
Going to church this Sunday will be Wilder's first major public appearance since the tragedy.
"This will be my first visit back to church and I sang in the choir," Wilder said. "I hope I don't have to be wheeled in. I hope I can walk in to show them what prayer has done.
I want this article to be all about all these people that have been so wonderful to me. This is a wonderful town."