Danny Carmen, Las Vegas and Halley Gaby discussed on AFTERMATH
I don't know if she's alive. She said. It took some round Robin style checking, but eventually Danny hood from Halley sister that she was okay and Danny called Carmen. She was finally able to calm down. As Danny drove the four hours from his home in California to Las Vegas. He listened to the news coverage about what had happened. The death count was rising with every update, twenty confirmed dead. Then thirty then forty. He desperately wanted to see his sister's face to know she was really going to be okay. Remember getting to the hospital and there was a lot of people. I remember there's been a lot of people trying to find the room number. And all I heard was Danny and I stopped and I turned and I saw hilly, and she was kind of. Through their sling on and I, I gave her a big hug and I think I squeezed her too hard and I go, oh my God. I'm sorry, I forgot about your arm. She goes, it's okay. Yeah. When I saw my sister, we were really happy. He shifts as he speaks and shoots satiric glance at Carmen on the couch next to him real happy. Emotional garment. Yeah, we were. We're all happy. When Carmen and Halley reunited the two embraced and sobbed Carmen got surgery on her knee before she was allowed to leave Las Vegas Heli was discharged earlier and told to follow up with her primary care physician at home. It turns out that probably wasn't the right choice for Halley, at least based on what doctors told her since the bullet that hit her shoulder basically caused her scapula to explode. Heli shoulder wasn't near gated straightaway and the shrapnel wasn't removed via surgery. So she has countless bits of metal embedded in her joint. Then in the time between discharge in arriving home to California, her wound got infected delaying treatment further. She can't lift her right arm very high or Bendit behind her back. She's told she will likely get full mobility back, but because of the nerve damage, it'll take a good two years before she knows for sure. She's quick to say she doesn't fault the hospital workers who treated her. No, the hospitals to everybody. They were great. They did what they could do for the people that were there while he could because they were so overwhelmed. You know, people were bleeding out there in in there wasn't anything really. They could do because they're number one, short staff there as they were calling people and people were coming in. But you know, by the time they got a lot of people died. So I mean, it was just because they have their nights shut their night nightshift on. We have other time people got there, and that's what a lot of people that passed away at the venue. They blow it out trying to get out of there. But still she's angry at the situation and at the gunman. Once the women came home, they began tackling nor aftercare together. They figured they did everything together. So why not this too? Right. They scheduled the physical therapy at the same time. They went to the same orthopedic surgeon. They've and went to their first counseling session together. It was tricky because they had to rely on family members for help as neither was cleared to drive and they missed each other in the downtime. Bad grown so used to seeing each other whenever they wanted. And now they were forty year old women having to beg for rides, like teenagers. Again, just to hang out. When strangers learn that the friends were shot at the route ninety. One festival their reactions are a strange mix of humbling and surreal. The friends don't like telling people who ask how they were injured, but sometimes people prod and they don't wanna lie. They say they were shot in Vegas. Sometimes people react is though they're meeting a celebrity. We were in Vegas who got shot. And then people they would ask to take pictures with us. They're like, oh my God. I never thought I would meet someone who who was like, I saw it on the news, but do you mind if we take a picture with you? Like is it okay? There was a an army. He was retired, but yeah, he was a veteran who was just like, wow, I can't. You know, still can't believe, is it okay if I take a picture with you guys just like, you know, kind of weird, stuff like that. And that's the thing with him. Tuesday, q. girls are the real heroes. I'm like, no, we're not. We weren't in there. We saved each other, but we were the ones that weren't back in and kept pulling people out. Number one we couldn't, but those are the heroes and and I don't think being shot makes you a hero. It makes you a circumstance of a situation and very unfortunate situation and cannot willfully take that title. And I will not because there are true heroes, like Shane late, the kid that drove us to a hospital like the nurse that helped us might just all the doctors, the firemen, everybody that was there that. Did what they would normally do in their job. Even though they were off duty and the people that actually went back that weren't even public servants, but they just helped bills are the heroes Jimmy. Slowly is the scars have been easier to hide from strangers. Life has calmed down. Carmen was about to go back to work for the first time when we interviewed her, she's still a social worker. Heli manages one of the family restaurants, cabbies, grill and cafe where I stopped for fish tacos while driving from Oakland to LA reporting for this project. Things are calmer, but that's not to say life is back to normal. Danny Carmen's brother notice changes in his little sister right away. I think in the beginning I could tell that she was really scared about stuff. Loud noises it's being around a lot of people. I could see it and people would come and visit like a lot of her friends and other people that could see I could tell just looking at her face, she's a little nervous anxious. Does a breathing a little bit harder, Shannon, nervous, smile. I mean, she's my sister. You know both the friends are still jumpy. Loud noises are specially upsetting when one relatives set off fireworks to scare a friend who had fallen asleep in his car Heli ran for cover. She didn't know it was a joke and the last time she heard what she thought were fireworks turned out to be a semiautomatic rifle. Carmen says every time I get up and take the step. I remember Las Vegas because I get that pain in my leg, you know, and the other night in class it was walking with some of my, my classmates in one just like, took off way ahead of us and she turned, oh my gosh, carbon. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to to just leave. You was like, I just, I forgot, you know, and it's just we can't forget. I can't walk as fast as I used to like, can't run like I used to. She can't, you know, hopefully eventually, you know, that's the goal. But like as of right now, it's just this constant reminder. You know her every time she tries to lift your arm. I mean, it's just it's with this that we can't. It's always going to be this. Earlier, I mentioned how things don't happen in a vacuum for Carmen and Halley Gaby's death marked the beginning of a whole string of traumas. Gabby died with her unborn, baby four months before bagels. A few months after Vegas Carman's ten year old nephew. Danny son had a health scare that required sudden heart surgery. Then just a week before interview, Carmen and Halley were in a car together. One of the first times Carmen had been able to drive them anywhere, and they got slammed by a truck in an accident that reinjured Carman's knee and gave them both whiplash. At first, they didn't even tell their families about the crash because they didn't want to retraumatize everyone. But after a few days they came clean, the car was totaled, but they're physically ok, I asked if they were starting to feel cursed. No, they said on the contrary in the aftermath, they feel blessed. They keep surviving. They're women of faith, they believe in God, and they believe both God and Gabby had been watching over them even if they're not yet sure why I do believe because we were questioned and we believe strongly in that God will protect you and times like this, why he didn't while you took some people and not others. That's still a question that has plagued me since my sister. So. But. I do believe that. I mean, we, there was divine intervention there at least for us because of how we came out. Like basically, unscathed. You know, I mean, yes, there's damage. Yes, but we're alive and we're functioning. Yeah, they're small scars, but the you will eventually fade the trauma, maybe take a little longer, but you know, I really do believe that my sister. Somehow. An aunt, Michael hurt my guardian angel because like I told my told my other sister that she thinks she put her wonder, woman comes on, just walked all those bullets from putting as because they were raining down all around us and we didn't get hit again at hall. And that's the thing that shocks me because we were some of the last ones out of there. We were easy targets, easy. He could have easily killed us, but none of the mid us again. Next time on aftermath, not even send me in a hurt like bull, pow. So I'm like, wait a minute. The sun was coming from now way, which I knew that Michael went down the street that way. Now I'm up here calling. Are you shop because of my mind was telling me, no, he not shy. He can't be shy. He had blood on his show. He had some black, Nike shores. I remembered in a white t shirt has blood all over it, and I'm like, that can't be his blood. Are you just don't have the money to jump up in move into better area, better schools and all kinds of stuff. I mean, you live in the city, you have to roll with it, whatever it is.