It took a hydraulic system to lift the bus off of Carol Tyson. Her right leg and arm were stuck under the wheels. Her left leg was “twisted in the guts of the bus.”
She says a passerby squeezed under the bus and talked to her nonstop to keep her conscious. He accomplished his goal, but he became more annoying to her than the bus on top of her. “There’s only so much pain the mind can process,” she says.
She has undergone about 30 surgeries, mostly trying to fix her leg, which will never be back to what it was. When listing Tyson’s injuries, it helps to start at one end of the body and work your way up or down, so as not to get lost or forget anything. She fractured her knee, leg, and pelvis. She lost the skin on her right forearm, hand, and leg (an “awesome” tattoo was a casualty as well). They couldn’t save her crushed hand, and after several surgical attempts, they amputated it and grafted skin from her legs and stomach onto the stump. A “good chunk” of her leg has grafted skin as well.
Tyson’s skull was fractured, along with both eye sockets, but she credits her helmet (which was pulverized after smashing for 80 feet between the surface of the asphalt and the undercarriage of the bus) with saving her life. She just moved back to D.C. after living a few years in Australia and is doing the same kind of work as a union researcher that she was doing before her accident.