Thursday, June 18, 2009

Not my first time at the rodeo

Sorry for the dismal lack of blogging lately. My only excuse is an equally dismal lack of activity in my life. I really have nothing to share other than how much this whole recovery process continues to suck and how glad I'll be when it's all over and behind me.

As I have a very low tolerance for whiny people it isn't exactly fair for me to make my blog a whine fest either. So there you have it.

How is the recovery? Going well. I've kind of come to the end of the process where I make leaps and bounds towards being healthy. The process from here is going to be slow and tedious. I'm not a slow and tedious kind of person, so I'm not looking forward to the next six to twelve months. When there are updates to give I'll give them.

I'm getting around much better and driving again so I'd like to put the whole mess behind me. As much as I can anyway. Largely I'm to the point where I can get on with living my life. There are only a few things holding me back right now and as I said it's going to be a while before everything is back to normal. There isn't anything that I can't work around so I'm making preparations to return to the land of every day ho-hum life.

I just wanted to tell you one more thing before I stop waxing poetic about this accident and how it has thrown me for a loop. Something that has been on my mind lately.

You know the saying, "misery loves company"? It's so very true. For the last two months I can't tell you how many stories I've heard about other people's car crash experiences. Whose fault it was. How scary it was. What injuries they sustained. How scary and painful it all was for them.

Perfect strangers have confided in me their most horrific experiences. I guess it's their way of saying they know how I feel and that it'll get better. I don't mind really. I actually kind of welcome their confidences. It's nice to have someone to commiserate with.

What strikes me about all of this is how many of those people didn't just tell me about one accident they had. A lot of them were involved in multiple accidents. It has brought to mind my own car crash experiences.

I had a couple of fender bender accidents in my Jeep, but two months ago was the first time my car sustained any real damage. As you know it was serious damage.

The only other accident I've been in was twenty years ago when I was seven.

It was the summer of 1989 shortly before I was supposed to start second grade.

There are some uncanny similarities between my two crashes. First, they were both head on collisions where another car was on my side of the road. Second, in both accidents I sustained the worst injuries out of everyone involved. Third, my face took the brunt of the injuries.

Of course I wasn't driving twenty years ago. My mother was. I was in the back seat and my brother was in the front with my mom. This was before all of the seat belt laws. Seat belts were more of a suggestion than a rule, so my mother and I were sans seat belts. My brother, goody-two-shoes that he was, never got into the car without strapping in. He was ahead of his time I guess.

Anyway, I was in the back eating a sugar daddy. I didn't really like sugar daddy's then and I haven't eaten one since. But I was chowing down on my sugar daddy and all I remember is hearing my mom scream and then I blacked out. The next thing I remember is my mom hovering over me piling tissues on my face. She spread a blanket on the ground and pulled me out of the car to sit with me on the blanket. Then she sent my brother to get help.

The accident happened on a dirt road that was really only driven by people like us who lived on it. This was also pre-cell phone invasion so the only thing to do was go to the nearest neighbor's house.

My mom's head had hit the windshield and cracked it, but she hadn't cut her head and since I was bleeding pretty badly she was more worried about me than herself. The best anyone could figure is that upon impact I flew up and hit the back of the driver's seat cutting my eyelid.

I remember that my grandparents came and took me to the hospital in their old Gran Torino. My grandfather couldn't be bothered with things like checking in at the front desk so he pulled right into the ambulance entrance and made them take me strait back into the emergency department. This always made me laugh because what if there had been a real emergency that day? I guess to my grandfather my uncontrollable bleeding was an emergency, so oh well.

The nurse checked my vision first and I remember her asking me how many fingers she was holding up. Then they got me ready to get stitched up. Have you ever had a needle poked into your eye? I don't recommend it. I screamed really loud and my grandmother had to put her head between her legs so she wouldn't pass out.

Once I was all numbed up though it really wasn't bad and I calmed down. The doctor talked to me through the whole thing and I told him about my pink ballet costume I had worn in my recital. He told me he was color blind and didn't know what pink looked like but he was sure it was very pretty. I didn't even know color blindness existed and that little piece of news pretty much shattered my world. As far as I was concerned, at seven years old, this poor man must have been a shambles not to be able to see pink.

As a whole my first car crash experience was pleasant compared to my most recent.

I remember felling ugly and concerned what the other students would think of me when I returned to school. I still have a scar that is unnoticeable to anyone but me. For me it's an annoyance mostly because it lies right in my eyelid crease and can make even eyeshadow application difficult.

I hope soon my new injuries are unnoticeable. I pray that in another year it will be like it never happened and I'll be able to look back on it all and laugh. Well, I don't know if I'll ever laugh about it, but at least it will be a cautionary tale I can tell my children and grandchildren. I can tell them how lucky they are that they're alive because I am lucky and blessed to be here. I can warn them to be aware when they're driving; to be courteous to other people on the road because their actions don't just affect them.

If, in another twenty years, I'm involved in another car crash it will be too soon.

My family learned a valuable lesson from that crash on a hot summer day in 1989: always wear your seat belt. My brother came out completely unscathed.

My lesson learned this time? Well, I'm not sure I'm done learning from this one yet, but patience, positive thinking, and forgiveness are at the top of my list.

I could say I've learned my lesson about air bags, and in a way I have. Andy has forbidden me to buy a car without air bags and I've agreed, on one condition. I have a love for old Jeeps, as you well know, and my dream car is a fully restored Grand Wagoner. Those don't come with air bags. So, I'm allowed to buy one eventually as long as it doesn't serve as my primary mode of transportation. I can live with that.


My dismal lack of activity is about to end. Out of the next eight Saturdays I only have two free. Prepare yourselves for a barage of cute kid pictures and family shenanigans.