By Ted Land (email@example.com)
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10:40 PM EST, November 12, 2012
18-year-old Zion Carlstrom is getting stronger and steadier as she recovers from a hit-and-run accident that almost took her life.
“I know that God saved me,” she said recently during one of her intense physical therapy sessions, “because he has something greater planned for me.”
Carlstrom was riding her bicycle along a county road in Middlebury this past July, when a driver hit her from behind, and then left the scene.
“It was very touch and go and she was unconscious for 4 weeks, so we really didn't know if she would wake up,” said Tracy Carlstrom, Zion’s mom.
She did. Then she started talking, recognizing family and friends, moving her arms and legs.
Zion keeps getting better. She can walk on her own, though her breathing is still somewhat labored, the result of being on a ventilator for weeks. The tube caused scar tissue to build up, narrowing her windpipe.
Carlstrom goes back into surgery Tuesday to clear out the scar tissue. She’s scheduled to undergo three or four more of those procedures, while also continuing what will likely be several more months of physical therapy.
“I think I'm doing very well. My thought is a little bit different from my parents, but I think I'm doing a lot better than I thought I would be,” she said.
She's not quite there, as a few classmates pointed out when Zion returned to high school last week for the first time since her accident.
“Two of them laughed at me, I'm pretty sure they were talking about my hair,” said Carlstrom, “but whatever, it's ok , it's not their deal, so it's ok.”
She also doesn't spend all that much time thinking about the guy that caused her injuries in the first place, 26-year-old Pasquale Rulli, who admitted to police that he left the scene, but recently pleaded not guilty to a felony charge.
“I just kind of feel bad for everything that he's had to go through, too, because of his choice, so I forgive him for what he did,” said Carlstrom.
Doctors still cannot say what Zion will be like a year, or even six months from now, but at this point, she's not letting something she couldn't control slow her down.
Instead she's moving on.
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