Darla's Story

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Darla's Direct Lightning Strike Story

June 16, 1998

First of all, it is wonderful to be alive!! If it wasn't for my husband, David, of 24 years, I would not be here to tell you my story of being Directly Struck by Lightning in my chest!

I was walking the property of the Apartment Complex I Managed with my District Manager when it started to rain a little then all of a sudden it started to pour down the rain, we headed to the office at that point. We made it to the top of the steps on the little steep hill, that is where I was struck in the chest by one mean lightning bolt! When the lightning bolt struck me it missed my heart by 1/4-1/2 inch. I was thrown down a steep small hill when struck, my head landed 1/2 inch beside the cement steps. The EMT's said that if my head had hit the steps that alone would have killed me. My boss was beside me and he was knocked down at that time. My husband, David, of 24 years, was standing in the window of our apartment and saw the whole thing happen. He immediately came to my aid, to do CPR to revive me. He had to try several times before he could get me to breath on my own. I wasn't breathing real good, but enough to keep me alive. I had burns from my chest down my torso and down both legs. The lightning came back up my body to exit through my stomach. He did CPR until I could breath on my own. When the EMT's arrive they checked me over to see where all the burns where, plus, I was in shock. They said that there was not even a pulse, but I was talking a little. Actually, the Fire Chief said "I looked up at them and said "Hell-o there boys"! I was admitted into the hospital for two days. My feet and legs were black in color and I could not feel them or walk on them for several days. I had a lot of pain . The lightning had to travel at least 10+ miles for me to have survive. I had to learn to walk, talk and eat all over again. I had to learn my ABC's, count numbers, and it has taken a long time to teach me new words again. Do you know how frustrated it is to not know who you are or who you were before the strike? I walked with a walker for about 2 years. I thought I was getting to where I could walk with a cane when I experienced severe pain in the muscle in both my legs. When I would get up to walk I would fall down. I went to the doctor, who sent me to the ER, the ER Doctor said that the central nervous system and my brain some how was sending miss signals to my legs, that caused me not to have use of my legs for about 6 months to about 1 year. It was very hard to have learn how to walk again, but to all of a sudden have the use of both my legs taken away from me again. It took a lot of work again for my husband and me to get me back to walking again. I couldn't have done it without my husband. The mood swings were down right horrible. I had a physiologist that tried to help me with the mood swings, suicidal thoughts, major depression and not sleeping at all. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw my self being struck all over again. I would try to go outside and in the sunshine I would see myself being struck again! I would have nightmares of being stuck, it was horrible for me. This injury has changed my life completely. I have a "New" personality, I am not the same person I was before I was struck. I lost all my friends because I changed so much. I did not remember any part of my life before that lightning bolt from the sky came down. My husband and family have told me a lot about my life before, but it was still hard to put the pieces together.

One day, I decided that I needed something to do to help me with my tremors I was experiencing with my left and right hands and arms. So I started painting little ornaments to get my hands to try to stay calm if they could. It was a miracle in its self that it helped. It took a lot of patience, but it worked. I still to this day paint things and giving them away as gifts!

I still suffer from a lot of pain in both my arms, feet, legs, back and neck. I have migraines still. I sleep in short periods, never more than 2-4 hours at one time. My husband puts up with a lot with my short and long term memory loss. I ask the same question over and over again all the time, plus I repeated myself all the time. I forget a lot! Why can't I remember like I use too? I can not concentrate on more than one thing at a time and most of the time that is too much. The easiest way to explain it that you have a puzzle without all the pieces to put it together. That is me, I have missing pieces in my brain!!

I have been diagnosed with the following since I have directly struck by lightning:

3rd Degree Abdomen Burn

Severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Periphal Neuorpathy both legs, arms, torso


Mysfacial Pain Syndrome


Major Depression Disorder

Severe Chronic Pain Disorder

Diabetes, Type 2


Sleep Apnea


I know I have missed a few. But this will have to do for now. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask me. I will do my best to answer them.