GLAD TO BE ALIVE: Clarence Valley student survives car crash
WHILE thousands of students learned their HSC fate last Thursday, Grafton High School student Tenille Petrie was just grateful to be alive.
Less than a week prior to the HSC results being released, the Year 12 student emerged from a five-day coma after hitting a tree along Ellis Rd, South Grafton.
"I was heading out toward Kangaroo Creek around 11.30am and was driving along a dirt road," Ms Petrie said. "I don't remember the accident itself, but I'm told I must have over-corrected the turn and that's when I ran into the tree."
Ms Petrie was taken to Newcastle Hospital in a critical condition.
"I had my spleen removed, two collapsed lungs, a clot in my lung, a few broken ribs, jaw, chin and a fractured skull," she said.
After five days in a coma, she woke up.
"My best friend Cassandra Page was the first person I remember seeing," she said. "It was really nice to see a familiar face because I had no idea what had happened."
Although Ms Petrie has a long road of recovery ahead, she still made it to the Grafton High School HSC barbecue on Thursday to celebrate her results.
"I'm quite proud of my marks," she said. "But having my spleen removed sort of changes my plans for next year."
Ms Petrie said she dreamed of studying medicine, but the removal of her spleen has meant her immune system is now compromised.
"It's a bit disappointing that I can't be around anyone who's sick," she said. "But when I think about the bigger picture, I'm just glad I'm still here."