Instantaneous. Destroyed. Fearful. Grateful.
These are the words that come to mind as the car accident I was in, and the few days following, replays in my head. Instantaneous because I know what happened, but pieces of the story are a blur. The details faded, like a page in a book that has been ripped. I remember the sound. I remember seeing the airbag, but it was already deflated. I remember the pain in my left arm and pins and needles stabbing my left hand. The airbag must have hit it. But, why can’t I recall the airbag coming out? Did I black out? Why do I have this notion of “waking up” if I didn’t black out? I don’t think I’ll ever know. It is unattainable , unanswerable, instantaneous.
Destroyed because I could hear the sound of the fire truck and ambulance coming. What seems like seconds after I heard the sound, six paramedics swarmed around me to take my vitals and piece together what happened. Questions. A lot of them. My parents were there, and my sister, too. Between the questions I heard her say, “Oh my gosh! Look at your car!” More questions, and a statement, “Ma’am, please don’t look at your car. I’m taking your blood pressure.” I laughed and winced as a tear slid down my cheek, smearing my makeup. I already knew though. My car was crumpled, wrecked, destroyed.
Fearful because the feeling in my left hand was gone, my left arm was swelling and had a bump that made it look disfigured, and my head had slammed against my headrest. What if I can’t write anymore? Writing is my job. I don’t have a car. What if I lose my job? Oh, I have to call work. Why can’t I feel it? Please, please just feel something. Then came x-rays, tests, and exams. No bones broken. No ligaments torn. No nerves damaged. The swelling from my arm was causing my hand to go numb, and after three days, feeling came back, but was fleeting. On the fourth day after the accident, I had feeling back altogether. Fearfulness was not replaced, but subdued as soreness set in.
Finally, I was grateful. Not because “Hey, well you get to get a new car!”, which is how many of my acquaintances responded after seeing me, but because I was alive. My car, which I have written about previously, was sent to an impound lot on a wrecker. Once the feeling in my hand came back, my dad took me to the lot so I could get all of my belongings out of my car before it was taken by my insurance company to a salvage yard. It was late since I had to wait for my dad to get off work to take me. When we arrived, we discovered that only one of us could go back to my car. I said I’d go since I knew where to look for the things I wanted, and mainly all I wanted was my Buddy Holly C.D. and some sentimental things, like a place mat my niece had made for me for Thanksgiving. I sat on a golf cart with an impound attendant who drove me through aisles and aisles of mangled vehicles and motorcycles. My heart raced as my eyes fixated on cars and S.UV.s that looked like they had less damage than mine, but had blood splattered across the windshield and interior of the drivers’ seats.
We reached my car. I stared at it for a while and was overwhelmed by the fact that I was able to walk away from my accident. It was silent on the lot, and dark, with the exception of a few overhead lamps. Questions and statements again as I clicked my flashlight on and began scrounging through my car, but this time to myself. How did I live? Did the people in the other cars live? Why am I so fortunate? And then it hit me. Despite the circumstances, I had a family who helped me through everything and was still alive. I was fearful, yes. But I was also loved, lucky, grateful.
I didn’t sleep much the night after visiting the impound lot. My mind was busy with questions, thoughts, and emotions. When I did shut my eyes, I could see myself walking past the bloody cars in the dark impound lot. I had a few nights like that.
My birthday was that weekend and I had my boyfriend and my family by my side to celebrate. Celebrate my life. Celebrate me. I realized how lucky I am, how thankful I am, how fortunate I am and how much my family and friends who were, and are, by my side loved me. (I love all of you, too! 🙂 ) My wreck is a financial set back and not having a car can be hard to grasp. I have actually forgotten that I do not have one anymore once or twice. Nonetheless, I’m thankful. I’m not thankful that the accident happened, but thankful that it opened my eyes.
If your check engine light comes on, be grateful that you even have that light to come on in the first place. If you are in an emergency room, be appreciative that you have family and friends to visit you. And if you’re ever in a car accident and live to tell the tale, thank God for sparing your life.
Count your blessings and remember…
sometimes bad things happen to put better things in perspective.