Gamble sharing lesson learned the hard way
- Jeanelle Mandes | March 16, 2020
Beading and doing puzzles are some of the activities that keep April Gamble’s mind busy as she recovers in Saskatoon’s City Hospital after she survived a car accident.
On November 17th, 2019, Gamble was driving back home to Saskatoon from work in Prince Albert. She grabbed some take-out at a drive-thru restaurant and embarked on her ride home. She was five kilometres past the town of Hague when she remembered the burger. As she started to eat it, she kept a close eye on the vehicle in front of her. It took a split second for her to look down and then back up to realize the vehicle in front of her was no longer there but instead, she saw a semi truck on the right shoulder.
It was a split second that changed her life.
“I can remember waking up and thinking ‘stay calm and breath’. And that’s what I did, I stayed calm,” said Gamble, who comes from the Beardy’s and Okemasis Cree Nation.
Gamble had smashed right into the semi, totaling her SUV. She tried to pry the door open but it was jammed. She was finally pulled out of the vehicle by emergency responders.
“Once they’ve given me pain medication, the [paramedics] said, ‘We can either take you to Rosthern [hospital] or to Saskatoon.’ I told them, ‘I don’t want to die in Rosthern, just take me to Saskatoon. All my kids are at home’,” she said.
“I remember being in the trauma room and seeing lights and faces of my family talking over me. [My partner] Eddie was there and whispered in my ear ‘you scared me’.”
Gamble was in excruciating pain; she sustained a broken wrist, a shattered ankle, a dislocated knee, a fractured sternum and painful bruising from the seatbelt.
Now Gamble is learning how to walk again.
“My daughter is expecting in March and all I kept thinking ‘my baby is having a baby’ and I was so scared that I wouldn’t have been there for her,” she said. “My partner and I’s bond is stronger. He’s been with me almost everyday.”
Gamble has three children aged 23, 17 and 12. Her daughter Dayzha has taken on the role of her mother to look after the household and her little brother. It was a pivotal moment in her life that she realized she had to grow up fast.
“It was hard. I was so used to seeing my mom every morning and when she got home from work,” she said. “It was quiet during Christmas without her. I will never think of Christmas the same. [Before the accident] I wanted a pair of shoes for Christmas and when Christmas came around, the only gift I wanted was my mom to be home.”
That wish will soon come true as Gamble is set to return home within a month where she will forever cherish each day with her family.
“There’s an appreciation for life,” she said. “The fear of what could have been really leveled us and we know now that life is precious.”
A new law that targets distracted driving in Saskatchewan took effect on February 1. Fines start at $580.
Gamble said the new law is fair. She hopes others can learn from her ordeal and obey the new law.
“Pull over. Don’t try do things while you’re driving. It’s seconds that your life can be changed forever and my life has forever been changed, all because I wanted to eat and drive,” she said. “I should not have been eating. I should have taken that extra 10 minutes to sit in the restaurant and all of this wouldn’t have happened.”
Distracted driving includes texting, smoking and eating to name a few. In 2018, driver distraction or inattention was a factor in more than 6,000 collisions, resulting in 774 injuries and 22 deaths, according to SGI.