22 June 2011

Car accident

You know how a new car is new until it gets its first ding in it?  Well, Gracie, my lovely VW Jetta, went from new to not-new this past Saturday night.

I was on my way home from seeing the NVTA one-acts and stopped when I got hit from behind.  And it's actually kind of lucky that I was there because I was the buffer between the BMW that hit me and the Subaru in front of me.  In the Subaru was a married couple with their one-year-old child.  So by "lucky," I don't mean "lucky for Leta" but "lucky for the folks in the Subaru."

They didn't seem to see it that way at the time, of course.  The mother of the one-year-old had enough adrenaline looking for an outlet that it didn't much matter what I was going to say ("Ma'am, I wasn't moving.  That guy hit me!") because she wasn't going to process it.  So she yelled at me for a while about how hitting their car with her child in it WAS NOT ACCEPTABLE.  (I, of course, agree.  Given a choice, I would not have been pushed into their car.  I also understand that scaring a mother about her child will immediately bring out the protective instinct.)

So I'm kinda listening to her and kinda trying to explain that I didn't initiate this event and kinda thinking about how I hit my head on the steering wheel and now my head hurts.  And about how a friend of mine was in a low-speed impact that left her with herniated disks in her neck. And then the guy who hit me starts asking if he can just give me his information which I didn't understand at the time but now assume to mean could he give me his insurance information and then leave.  And I am certainly the sort of accommodating idiot who might have agreed to that except that Subaru Mom then started screaming about how she was going to call the police.  So, actually, I was lucky that she was there, too, I guess.

The nice policeman arrived promptly and started collecting information.  He asked if anyone was hurt and I said that I hit my head and that it hurt.  Clearly, I was lucid* and not bleeding but he called for the EMTs.  Looking back, I wish that I had taken the time while the Subaru Mom was on the phone with the police to put back into my purse everything that fell out of it when it fell off of the seat when the BMW Guy hit me.   Not because my purse was filled with contraband but because I wouldn't get a good look at it again for another 3 hours or so and spent that time worrying about things like my iPod.

The EMT guys put a neck collar on me and strapped me to a back board and loaded me into the ambulance.  There are patches of the whole event that I don't remember very clearly so I don't remember if the police officer or I decided that a trip in the ambulance would be a better option than me driving myself to the hospital.  Obviously, if I had, say, passed out while driving myself to the hospital** we all would have regretted not having me be driven there by the nice EMTs, so whoever suggested the ambulance trip, the other probably agreed pretty promptly.  I did think to ask for my purse and my magazine.  I've been to hospitals.  There's always plenty of time to read ...

I always wondered what it was like to ride in an ambulance and the answer is ... kinda boring.***  I was strapped to the back board and one of the EMT's spent a pretty decent chunk of time making sure that I was really, really strapped to it, which include taping my head down across my forehead so that my head wouldn't jiggle.  They said that I dealt with it better than many other people have. How did I deal with it?  By chatting with the EMTs, of course.  If I can chat through things, I can get through things.  Anyway, I spent the trip looking at the ceiling.

At the hospital I had nice, clear line of priorities.  As each one was dealt with the next one moved into higher prominence.  They were:

1.  I wanted my phone because I had left a message for David and didn't want to not answer if he woke up, got the message, and called. Scaring one's nice boyfriend unnecessarily is bad karma. I called him again later and actually talked to him.  Hmmm.  Did I do that before or after I got to the hospital?  Don't remember.

2.  I wanted to be released from the back board. My scoliosis makes lying on my back uncomfortable after not too long a period of time.  I was released from the back board within a couple of hours.****  It's also hard to read while strapped to a back board, so I read intermittently and filled the rest of the time worrying.

3.  I wanted to use the bathroom.  I wanted this with more and more urgency as time went on but they couldn't let me get up until the neck collar had been removed and they couldn't remove the neck collar until after the X-rays had been read.  I don't know how long it took and I was only in the hospital, really, from about 12:30 AM to about 4:15 AM, so it couldn't have been the two days it felt like, but boy, oh, boy, was I ever glad to be released from the neck collar when it finally happened.

4.  I wanted to know where my glasses were.  Not in my purse.  Not with me.  Hopefully in the car.*****

5.  I wanted someone to be nice to me.  Not "nice to me" in the kind but professionally detached manner of hospital personnel but "nice to me" as in saying "you poor baby!" and expressing outrage on Gracie's behalf.*+5 *+6  So ... using my phone which has a dedicated button for Facebook, I posted a status update.  I knew that by saying that something bad had happened to me that I was possibly stirring up, well, several hundred people, but it was cold in the hospital and I was lonely.  I kept it reasonably low-key and posted this at 4:54 AM while waiting for a cab. Car accidents suck, hospitals are boring, and I'm glad I'm okay. Bruised and headachy but okay.   

Quite a few of my friends are early risers, so the first "you poor baby!" comments came in about 15 minutes later and continued through the next couple of days.  The actual wording of "you poor baby" was "glad you're okay."

On Sunday evening I posted a follow up:  In theory it's the Naprosin that makes me feel better but I know that it's the love and good wishes from so many lovely friends that's the real extra strength pain relief.  I am very lucky to have lots of people who are nice to me.

6.  I wanted the stupid [expletive] cab to show up.  I called the cab at 4:20 AM and got a text at 4:23 saying that it was 3 miles away.  I had to option to text "where" to find out how far away the cab was.

I went outside (where it was slightly less frigid) to wait for the cab.

At 5:02 I sent the "where" text because I was wondering how it could possibly take 40 minutes to cover 3 miles.  I got the reply that the cab was 4 miles away.

At 5:20 I sent the "where" text again and got the same answer.  I went back into hospital and called the cab company.  They sent another cab which arrived at 5:28.

If I hadn't been so tired and shook up, I think I would have started the process earlier.  I don't like Yellow Cab now.  I may never like them again.

7.  I wanted to collect Gracie, see if she was drive-able, go home, go to bed.  The impound lot she was towed to was only a quarter mile from the hospital, so this part was rather easy.  Except for the $343 tow bill.  On the plus side, the driver put my iPod into the glove compartment for me instead of stealing my car charger like the last time that I was towed.  A new iPod Touch would have cost me about ... $300.  Hmmm.

8.  After I got home, I wanted Pekoe not to respond to how stressed out I was by doing the things that he knows annoys the bejeebers out of me.  I was fresh out of bejeebers, so he got evicted from my bedroom until after I'd had some sleep.

Today I am bruised, much less headachy, and very, very grateful that it wasn't worse.

*Or as lucid as I ever appear to be.

** I didn't pass out at any time during the whole event.  Just sayin'.

*** Don't tell my father this.  He is the President of the Ambulance Authority Board in the county where he lives.

**** Or what seemed like a couple of hours.  Boy, time really slows down when you're staring at the ceiling worrying.

***** Yes.  In the car.

*+5 Gracie is the Jetta.

*+6 The rows of asterisks were getting too long.  The next step is exponential notation.


Maureen said...

Did anything happen to BMW Guy? At the very least, did Subaru Mom turn her wrath on him once she learned he had shoved Gracie into her car?

I hope you're completely better by now - no residual anything.

Javier Hoppes said...

That’s a pretty detailed story, Leta. Well, I’m happy to know that a.) You weren’t badly injured, and b.) You had a lot of support. And yeah, I’m also curious about what happened to the BMW guy and the Subaru lady. Settling this can be quite confusing since there are different parties involved. Anyway, I wish for your safety on the road.

Cindie Guevara said...

I can’t believe that you remember everything very clearly! In any accident, what matters most is that no one’s badly injured. Anyway, what happened to the case?

Amy Baron said...

It’s understandable how a mother would feel in this scenario. But, clearly, the accident wasn’t your fault. So, were you able to get in touch with the person responsible for the accident, and claimed your compensation for the damages he caused? Update us, and be safe!

Amy Baron