I have often said that I am the luckiest woman in the world. I’m not lucky because of the good things that happen to me, but because of the REALLY bad things that don’t happen to me. I don’t know why I am still alive. That Wednesday should have been my last day…
It was a normal work day. I worked hard and was ready for a well-deserved night out.
As I walked to the car, I texted Mercy, “Blueman @ 7:30, Yea!!!!!!!”
I put the phone away and got in the car for my 15 minute commute. Little did I know, that it would take over three hours before I walked back in the door.
The last couple of days I had been taking a different route home. My office was going to be moving a mile away and I was testing out a different route on the freeway that would be a tiny bit more convenient from the new location. I have argued with Mercy for years that the freeway route versus the through town route took about the same amount of time. I hated the freeway route because it was an area that has many accidents every year and is just a pain in the ass for traffic and crazy drivers. If only I would’ve stuck to my guns. I am not one to be defeated by my fears, so I told myself to get over it and see if I could get home quicker. I KNEW that if I was cautious and stayed a defensive driver I would be safe.
I put on my favorite playlist on my ipod and pulled out of the parking lot. I headed north on the freeway. As I approached the stickiest part of the route, an overpass with two off-ramps and two on-ramps connecting to another freeway, I started to slow down. I could see that traffic was stopping, so I slowed to a stop. There weren’t many cars ahead of me before my exit, less than 6? At a glance, I also noticed that the other freeway was stopped but merging was happening albeit slowly. I was at a complete stop for 1 – 3 seconds. I’m not sure for how long I was stopped.
I then looked in the rear view mirror, only to see what I thought was a red newer Mustang heading toward me at full speed. I KNEW I was dead. My car, the Silver Bullet, is a Toyota Yaris. That is no match for a muscle car going 55 mph. The details at this point are fuzzy. Your brain has a marvelous sense of self-preservation. I don’t remember the sound of the impact, thankfully. I know that I screamed and kept screaming F***! over and over and over again as I hiccup cried. I was aware that my car spun. When everything stopped I was facing SSW and couldn’t see the car that had hit me.
I had enough sense to realize that the car needed to be turned off. I knew that would be the last time that I turned that key to the on position again. I couldn’t get the key out, so I just left it. My back hurt bad. I didn’t know how severely I was hurt, but I didn’t think that anything was broken. How was I not impaled or crushed?
A woman came up to my right window, “Are you okay?”
“No,” I whimpered. I surprised myself by answering truthfully that I was not okay. I am the type of person who says that I am good or fine ANYTIME anyone asks me how I am. I am a strong independent woman who takes charge in these situations to a fault. Generally my adrenaline is pumping so hard that I don’t even notice that I am hurt until everyone else is taken care of.
She came to my drivers side and opened my door. Something was off. I was shaking. My brain wasn’t processing normally. So I just sat there. “I’ve called 9-1-1.”
“Thank you.” I pieced together that this woman had been in the car in front of me. Thank God she is walking around and can handle the emergency. How did she not get hurt? What is that dinging noise? Oh, right the key. It still won’t come out. Oh well, someone else can deal with that. Did she just say she is pregnant? Someone should help her. She just said that she was fine, but she would go to the hospital on her own to be checked out for sure. Where are my glasses? I am so blind. Can someone help me find my glasses? No one is by my door anymore. Cars are slowing inching past me to take the exit that I am now partway blocking.
“Are you okay? Has anyone called for help?” a man was standing next to me asking questions. ‘I work for the police and was passing by.”
“No, I hurt. Yes, that woman called 9-1-1”
Ding. Ding. Ding.
Sirens. Firetrucks. Firemen.
I need to call Mercy, she can’t find out from someone else.
I somehow found my smartphone at my feet. I knew that I shouldn’t move, but I didn’t care. I brought the phone to within an inch of my face so I can see the screen. I call Mercy, but I know that she won’t answer. I knew she was probably still sleeping. She’s been sleeping a lot since her dad died. I don’t leave a message…her phone won’t notify her of voice mails. I call my dad…it goes straight to message. I call my sister. Thank God I get through. She is an hour away, but I know she will get the troupes rallied.
There’s a firetruck and firemen. One of the firemen is in my doorway. “My name is…” I wish I could remember his name. I’ll call him Warren. He stayed next to me for the rest of the time in that car. He held my hand and kept reminding me to breathe. He put the neck collar on me. The phone rings it’s my dad. “I hurt, but I don’t think that I’m seriously injured. but they are going to transport me to the hospital. Get Mercy” “Which hospital?” I keep repeating it to dad, because he can’t hear me. I know he’s got that ridiculous huge headset with boom mike on that never gives a good connection. Warren takes my phone away and talks to my dad, then gives me back my phone. I slide it in my purse which is miraculously still sitting next to me.
“Ding. Ding. Ding”
Warren asks me if the car is off and if I can pull out the key. “It’s off but it won’t come out.” He somehow reaches around me and puts the car into park .
I know you’ve been yelling that at your screen as you read each ding…Put the car in park!
Warren puts my keys on the dash. He pulls the hood latch as I see more firemen in front of my car. They open the hood and do something.
Later the police report says something about fire….Was there a fire? Or did it just mean that firemen were on the scene?
“Can you see my glasses anywhere? They’re purple. I am blind without them.” Warren searches a little, but can’t see them.
A policeman comes up and starts asking me questions. Someone also hands me papers that have flown out of my car and are all over the highway. Two items are my registration and my insurance cards.
Later I realize that they are old copies, the newest versions are lost, but no one is worried about it since the information is correct just expired. I am current on everything I just don’t have physical proof right at that second.
“Can she take two steps out of the car, so we can put her on the stretcher?”
“Oh, right. The new protocol? Allexia? Do you think you can do that?”
“I can try, if you’ll help me.”
I want you to think about what it requires to get from sitting in the driver’s seat to getting you feet out of the car. It requires one major twist, that you never even think about unless you are injured or have back, neck, or hip problems.
Warren Supports my neck and hips and tries to get me through that twist. “Aaaaagghh!”
“Let’s not move her. Get the toy.”
Warren tells me they are going to cut me out of the car. “Your car is already totaled. We’re just going to total it a little more.”
They never say The Jaws of Life. I don’t know if that is too dramatic for them or if they think it would be too traumatic for me. They clearly think of it as a toy..I can’t blame them. Getting permission to use a major power tool to make a door behind the driver’s door would be so much fun if I wasn’t sitting in that car. Warren holds my hand and still manages to shield me from any debris with his coat, a sheet, and some plastic board. He prepares me for every cut and jarring motion. I feel pressure under my ass and tell Warren. I guess part of the machine is pushing against my seat. I don’t remember the sound of the saw. It had to be loud, right? I don’t remember any sound from them pulling back sections of the car..it made noise right?
“There now is a second door on this side of your car We can now slip a board under you and get you out.”
Slip is not the right word. I think the board slightly resembles a surfboard. It has got to be two inches thick. It is not easy to slide that between someones ass and the car seat. Somehow they get me slid onto it and up onto the gurney. It hurts. I scream when I need to.
“Look what I found here.” Warren puts my glasses in my hands and helps me slide them onto my face. “My keys!” My work and house keys are on that ring. He grabs my keys and my purse and puts them between my legs on the stretcher.
My anxiety lessens a fraction now that I can see. Of course, I am strapped to a back board, so my view is only of the sky. I never see my car or the other cars involved.
They whisk me away to the hospital. I feel every bump, especially the HUGE one that leads into the ambulance bay at the hospital. The ambulance guy says, “Sorry they didn’t consult us when they designed the ambulance approach.”
What moron designs the ambulance approach to a HOSPITAL with a huge bump. Obviously, someone who has never been strapped down and injured in the back of an ambulance.
The ER is packed. They may not have a room for me. They end up putting me in a room that hasn’t been cleaned and straightened up since the last occupant. I ask them if they can get my wife and family who are probably in the waiting room already. They say something about the condition of the room. I tell them I really couldn’t care less about the state of the room and neither would my family. They roll me off the backboard and onto the ER ‘bed’.
They bring Mercy and my dad back. Now I have to put on a good face because they are freaked out beyond belief. I am the strong one in the family and they don’t know what to do with me strapped down and injured. F*** that I am not putting any effort into protecting anyone’s feelings today.
It end up that Mercy takes over the role.
I talk to the doctor and the police again. Mercy finds my drivers license and insurance card for the cop and the hospital billing lady. Dad goes back into the waiting room and sends in my sister. The doctor clears my neck. I have no idea how my neck isn’t hurt.
Everyone asked me if i braced myself before the impact. Honestly, I knew I was dead so I went limp.
The x-ray tech comes in to wheel me to radiology so they can check my chest, back, and hips. He gingerly asked me if I’m wearing a bra. I’ll have to remove it before the x-ray. How the f*** can I remove my bra when I am laying on the hooks and it hurts to move. I grab the hand rails and try to pull myself up a little just using my arm strength. I get Mercy and my sister to somehow get hands under my back and lift me the tiniest bit and my sister tackles the clasp. Never have a straight girl try to undo a bra clasp quickly…it took FOREVER. LOL
In radiology, he starts to raise the bed up into a sitting position, but I am low in the bed. So as he raises the head, I am getting bent weird and my body won’t slide to get me in the right position. “Aagh!” He lowers the bed again and then he and I slide me up so I am high in the bed. Now as he lifts the head gravity helps me to slide into a sitting position. They get the chest x-rays, then he lowers the head again and asks me to roll onto my right side. I am in too much pain to roll but somehow I use my arms and the bed rails to get rolled over. I really need to build my upper body strength.
The doctor comes back in and there is nothing broken. I’ve just severely sprained.strained my back muscles.
For the next few weeks, everyone who hears the story and sees the pictures of my car cannot believe that I am alive. It’s approaching a month since the accident. I am in physical therapy and the panic attacks are infrequent.
I am the luckiest girl alive!