Wow, that sucked… or ‘How my car was totaled’

So Monday evening, my car was totaled and I ended up in the hospital.

I’d just left work, Monday being the one day a week that I go in to my brother-in-law’s computer consulting office, and was heading from the office towards the LIE. I had just turned at a light and was just accelerating, when some idiot in a Suburban decided at the last minute to try to turn in front of me to go into a mall parking lot. He started to turn, maybe TEN FEET away from me, and then he just stopped. Right in my path. I tried to break but he was so close and it happened so fast, there was no stopping, no swerving, I just slammed right into him.

The force of the airbag deploying hit me so hard, my glasses & my hat went flying right off my head, and I ricocheted around in the seatbelt. Next I know, I’m trying to breath around this crushing weight in my chest, pain is shooting up my back and my wrist and all I can see is smoke. Thank god, a woman who was pulling out of a nearby parking lot was an EMT and saw the accident. She came running to my side, told me not to move and called 911. Then she held my hand and tried to get me to calm down to breath. When I could speak, I asked her to call my sister, since the accident happened right by where they live, and she was very kind to do so.

Next thing I know, there are cops and firemen swarming all over the place. Someone asked me where it hurt and as soon as they found out I’d had spinal surgery and my back hurt, someone else climbed right into the back seat and held my head immobile with his hands while the rest of them worked to get my door opened and a spinal board under my butt. Then they physically rotated me in my seat without actually twisting my back at all – how they managed that in such a small space, I’ll never know, God bless them – and put a neck brace on me. Then they lowered me onto the board and taped me down to it so I couldn’t move, and carried me to the waiting ambulance.

My sister & my eldest niece came roaring up at that point and my sister made sure they were taking me to the better hospital nearby, before assuring me they’d get my belongings out of my car and follow the ambulance to the hospital. She or my niece must have called my brother-in-law at the office, because he came into the ER first just as the ambulance EMTs were rolling me in. He held my hand and stroked my forehead and kept calming me when breathing hurt because I couldn’t help crying a little from the shock of it all, while the ER staff was asking questions. Then they made him step out while they worked to disrobe me without moving me too much or taking the neck brace or spinal board off. They let him back in while they were putting in the IV and my sister & niece had arrived too by that point.

The doctor came in pretty quickly and after examining me, felt it was safe enough to remove the spinal board but not the neck brace. So what felt like a million nurses and the doctor (which surprised me, since they usually don’t help themselves, just have the nurses do that kind of thing) all braced me and rolled me so they could slide the board out, which was NOT fun. Then the doctor ordered a battery of EKGs, x-rays and CT scans, and had the nurse give me an elephant-sized dose of morphine followed by another dose 20 minutes later, which somehow only ended up dulling the pain a little, while I waited for the tests. The EKG and x-ray technicians both showed up at my bedside pretty quickly, but I had to wait a little longer until they rolled me to the CT scan room. After that, more big doses of morphine since I was still crying in little fits from all the jostling, and this second round of double-shots of morphine seemed to dull the pain a little more successfully. While we waited for the results, my niece took apart my smartphone (which had gotten drenched when the big gulp from 7-eleven that was in my beverage holder went flying) and individually dried each piece to get it working successfully again, thank god.

Results finally came back around 11 or so at night and the doctor said I was basically unbelievably lucky because I had no broken bones and the cage implant in my spine was still intact, I just had a lot of severe bruising from both the air bag exploding into my chest and being restrained by the seatbelt during impact, and a sprained wrist from jamming it into the steering wheel. He told me that the next several days would pretty much be absolute hell but that after a week or so, I should start feeling better. Once he was sure the pain was at a level that my oral morphine would at least make it bearable if not pleasant, he had me discharged. My brother-in-law and niece had since gone back home to get something ready as a dinner, and my sister helped me into her car and drove me back to her house. She set me up in her younger daughter’s bed (her being away at university) with lots of pillows and soft, stretchy t-shirt and sweatpants and made sure I was as comfortable as could manage to try to sleep the shock off.

Once I’d managed to get vertical again the next day, my sister drove me halfway down the LIE to meet up with my parents so they could take me home. Dad had been busy between the auto shop where they’d towed my car and the insurance – my car is absolutely totaled but at least insurance covers a rental car while we wait for them to finalize that and buy out the lease so I can get a new one. Stroke of luck and/or timing, the Enterprise in Riverhead actually had a car in and held it for us (rental cars are extremely rare on Long Island right now due to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy), so we were able to pick up a Dodge Journey on the way home – another stroke of luck, it’s a 2013 and we’re only the 2nd renters, so it’s in pretty much perfect shape.

Now, even 2 days later, I’m still experiencing lingering shock. Periodically, I keep finding myself thinking ‘But why did he turn? Why did he turn and then just *stop*? I was right there, he wasn’t going to make it. I was right *there*…’ And my entire body feels like it was trampled by a herd of renegade elephants. My back is a wreck, my wrist is stiff and hurts if I try to use it too much, and forget about my ribs and chest – I feel like I was kicked by a mule. A 40-ton mule. On top of the morphine for pain, I’ve been taking ibuprofen for the swelling/inflammation, but neither is helping very well. While I suspect it’s just a matter of time and waiting until things heal up a little, if anyone has tips or suggestions on how to make bruised ribs even a little easier to live with? I’d be really grateful.

And if anyone wants to suggest any new fanfic I’ve missed, I’d be grateful for that too – especially since I suspect the next few days are going to feature a lot of reading and not so much moving around. I’m going to sign off now, since this is really pushing my current limits, but I hope you’re all well and that those who celebrate have a wonderful Thanksgiving *hugs*

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