That's what I am going to call it - The Incident. Because calling it anything else like the accident, or the car crash or my 32nd birthday makes me want to punch something or somebody or bawl my eyes out.
I'll warn you, there will be details because I never want to forget what happened that day. I'd like to think I got really lucky but I would not wish to forget any aspect of tat day in case I start taking life and my well being for granted. So, if you are a queesy sort of person, don't read past the 1st 2 paras.
June 25, 2009. The day started out fine. It was a Thursday, exactly 2 weeks after my hernia surgery and only 1 day since my last drain and staples had come out. 2 days before my husband and I were to fly to CA for a family reunion. So, I had some to-dos in my mind as I am driving home. Stop by Indian store to pick up snacks for plane. Check. On my way to the library to pick up books for the plane and then to Rite Aid for some gauze just so I have it in case the dressings need changing still. Get to the library turn, yellow light, look down and see car way down the road, take the left. Look to my right, that car that was way down the road? Not so ar down the road anymore. No, it's actually hitting my passenger side.
At that moment, it was all slow motion, now when I remember it, it happened within milliseconds. My windshield got spiderwebby, the airbags deployed, my face felt punched, the car slid, then toppled over on to my side, then slid across the road, then stopped. I smelled something funny. I tried to catch my breath. I was very scared and very pissed off. I didn't want to pass out. I screamed as loud as I could to ensure I was alive. I screamed a number of times, I think.
I was on my left side, stuck in my seat belt, looking out of my windshield. I could see one guy calling 911, while others milled around looking in. I have no idea what goes through the onlookers minds. I have never myself been on an accident site as it happened. They were all talking to each other and I heard somebody say something about being able to see me and not knowing if I was ok. I gave him a thumbs up sign, and then heard him say she seems fine. I yelled if somebody had a knife or scissors because I couldn't undo my seat belt.
This one guy, older black gentleman, my savior, I'll call him, climbed on to the passenger side, opened the door and opened my seat belt. He kept talking to me, I have no idea what he said but I think it kept me sane. I wiggled my les and arms, found nothign hurting. He helped me stand up onto the drivers side door from the inside. The EMTs were there by now, talking to me. I had my phone in my hand. Somebody had taken my purse and put it ouside the car.
Now my vision started blurrying. The colors disappeared and everyone looked like I had cellophane wrapped around my eyes. This is when I got terrified. I was terrified of passing out, I was terrified of losing consciousness. I managed to call my sister and tell her I'd been in an acident and where it was. It was mere blocks from my house. She drove over. The paramedics had cut through the windshield and led me out. There was some bleeding on my left side thigh so they had me lie down to check it out. Till now, things were moving at normal speed.
As soon as the EMT unbuttoned my pants and looked at the site of bleeding, it was like they punched the accelerator. In seconds, I was strapped down, my head was immobilized, I had a neck brace, IV, the whole 9 yards. Apparently, twhat I thought was some bleeding from the previous surgery site was what they called a laceration. From what I could hear it was 8-0 inches long and gaping open into the abdominal cavity. I saw the edges of it before they pushed me down to a complete prone position. They took my vitals. They called the University of MD Shock and Trauma, explained my condition and were told to bring me in. My sister rode in the front of the ambulance. Now, before they completely immobilized me, I was able to call Jeff and my boss Kathi and explain what had happened and where I was going. I also called my surgeon who did all my previous surgeries and left him a message. Then, they took my phone away.
We got to Shock and Trauma and was wheeled into the first area at 5:25 p.m. where they asked me all sorts of questions. Everyone wishd me happy birthday. They did a CT scan and took numerous x-rays, which all came back negative. They gave me some pain meds; I wasn't feeling any pain but tey said I would soon. After everything came back negative, I was wheeled to another area where I stayed till I was taken to the Operating /room at 12:45 a.m. From what the doc told me later, the wound was completely clean and they had asolutely no trouble putting it back together. No injuries to any organs.
I think I woke up around 4 a.m.ish when they were moving me to me recovery room. Then, I was out till 8 a.m. Then, I was bored. No phone, no tv (I had to buy it and I waited till later to do tat), no computer. I had a nerve blocker they'd given me during the operation inside the stomach and no other pain meds. I was still not feeling anything major except my left foot was swollen. They gave me antibiotics through the IV, breakfast which included an eg bake, bagel and cream cheese, orange juice. It was actually yummy. The doctor came to see me and told me I could probably go home that day, told me I was doing well. I would just have the drain for another few days. Eventually, they took the catheter out too and I walked to the bathroom. Now, I was scared of walking on my left foot, so they sent the physical therapist in. She poked and prodded it and was worried that maybe the big toe was broken so more x-rays.
Lunch was eggroll, beef fried rice, baked egg custard, a small salad and iced tea. Another good meal. My parents, sister and Jeff came over around 2ish. After the foot x-rays, they told me nothing was broken but it was sprained. they gave me a hard soled boot and a cane to wlak in and I was able to walk around with the family. Eventually, my marching orders arrived and around 6 p.m. maybe, I was able to go home.
So, this morning was the first time I felt anything. I woke up at 6:30 and was achy all over. 2 tylenols took care of that. So, an inventory of injuries:
- left big toe swollen and slightly torn skin on it's right side
- left knee scraped on the inside
- seat belt burn on left shoulder blade
- ribs slightly bruised
and that's it!
Photos of the incident at: