If I were a believer in karma, I’d wonder what kind of shitty driving I’d done to deserve this. In nearly 20 years of driving, I never got into one accident; now, at the age of 37, I’ve been in two, and was at fault in neither.
Let me take a moment to unapologetically explain that this will be a long entry. My blog is entirely for me and anyone who cares enough about my life to read it. Sometimes, I just need to write about shit that happens to me, so I can a.) get it out of my head and b.) come back to it later and remember what happened to me and my state of mind at the time.
So, let’s begin.
The rain had been coming down all day Thursday, and was still at it when I left work. As I approached the I-475 split from downtown, I looked in my rearview and saw a white semi bearing down on me a lot faster than I thought he should. For that matter, I don’t usually see semi trucks taking the split, so I kind of assumed he’d gotten into the wrong lane. Mentally deemed him wrong, shrugged, and kept driving.
But he kept coming.
Then the traffic in front of me slowed to a crawl. I tapped my brakes to warn the semi, then hit my brakes in earnest.
I hoped it wouldn’t happen. But it did.
The car two spots in front of me came to a complete halt. The car directly in front of me also stopped. I managed to stop my own car maybe a couple feet from the black Toyota.
The semi kept advancing in my rearview. Bigger and bigger.
Actually, that happened while I was hitting my brakes in earnest. In reality, I didn’t even have a second to celebrate not having slid into the Toyota in front of me. The white semi slammed into my ass as soon as I came to a complete stop, and shoved me into the car in front of me.
I reacted to the initial impact with, “Jesus!” Then, “Jeeeesus!” as I hit the car in front of me. (“Flying Spaghetti Monster” just doesn’t roll off the tongue quite the same.)
It was just after 5pm, so I called Aaron to let him know what had happened, and that he’d need to go pick up Connor from daycare and take the night off of work, since there was no way I’d be home in time.
Then I hung up the phone and joined the requisite pow-wow of accident constituents, wherein everyone gives their version of “I’m so sorry! — but I’m not technically admitting fault — are you OK?” The gentleman in front of me explained that the white car in front of him had come to a complete stop on the highway because they were in the wrong lane, and needed to stay on I-75 instead of exiting with the rest of us. The man in front went back to his Toyota to call the cops, while the semi driver went back to his truck to call his boss. I just looked at my trunk and laughed, and took pictures, and got back into the car (on the passenger’s side, because I didn’t want to get smoked by traffic).
I spent the next half hour plugging my phone into the car to charge, texting Aaron, tweeting, and holding my aching neck. I had a massive headache and neckache, and I felt a little dizzy and queasy — not unexpected after a double impact.
Got in another traffic accident. Hooray! Glad I peed before I left work.
(3 Apr 2014 5:20pm)
The cops arrived just before 5:30 and got everyone’s info: license, registration, insurance, and each person’s version of what happened. Within another half-hour, the cops had cited the semi driver and gave us the OK to take off. Instead of exchanging insurance info at the scene, the police instructed us to have our insurance companies get the accident report from the TPD website.
(Note: Letting the officer talk me into that was a Very Bad Idea, as it takes about five days for the accident report to be posted online. That’s five days of not having the other guy’s insurance information.)
Next stop: Toledo Hospital.
It’s funny — I’d just been thinking recently that I’d never been to an ER. That all changed on Thursday.
It was a lot speedier than I’d thought, actually. I got checked in right away — the receptionist was insistent that I sit down immediately, once I explained why I was there — and was whisked off (via wheelchair) to an exam room. Having the scenery whiz past my head made me realize how dizzy and nauseated I really was. I hadn’t had time to focus on that, since I’d had to deal with talking to the police and driving myself to the hospital and figuring out where to go and where to park.
But now? Whoa.
From the stories I’d heard, I expected an ER trip to consist of waiting and waiting — but that wasn’t the case at all. People came into my room every few minutes to get info from me, take my vitals, have me explain the accident, escort me to get my CAT scan and back….
Yeah, CAT scan. Mad props for definitive proof that there was no major immediate damage.
(Another note: At the time, I thought the CAT scan was to rule out a concussion. But a CAT scan is basically a fancy x-ray. From what I’ve read in the past couple of days, the verdict seems to be up in the air whether it’s actually effective in detecting concussions.)
Quick timeline check: I got checked in at 6:10pm, and learned 20 minutes later that I would get a CAT scan. At that point, I finally made the hospital wi-fi work, and updated Aaron via iMessage. 🙂
It was funny, actually: As the tech was feeding me through the CAT scanner (a big, flat ring — much less claustrophobic than the MRI I had for my back last year), she suddenly remembered to ask, “Is there any chance you could be pregnant?”
I laughed and answered no. When she ran through the reasons why I wouldn’t be pregnant — when was my last period, do I have an IUD or a hysterectomy or whatever — I said, “My next period starts tomorrow, and my husband is fixed!”
She replied, “Good enough for me!” And the CAT scan commenced.
I forget exactly what they called the not-an-orderly who escorted me to and from the CAT scan room — Patient Navigation Assistant? Patient Escort? Something like that — but he seemed appropriately upbeat and possibly geeky. I did enjoy the few minutes I spent walking with him (He let me walk! I probably should have taken a wheelchair, in retrospect).
Once I returned to my exam room, they told me it would take 30 minutes for the CAT scan to come back and be reviewed.
Ugh. Another half hour of waiting? I texted Aaron an update, and sat down to take some selfies and update all my Tweeps on my condition.
I’m OK, guys! Just waiting for the results of my CAT scan to make sure my head’s still screwed on straight. (3 Apr 2014 6:56pm)
Almost exactly a half hour later (although it didn’t seem that long), the doctor returned to give me the news that I only had a neck strain, and the nurse gave me discharge instructions to take some pain meds and ice my neck and take it easy. Oh, and to follow up with the primary care physician that I told them I don’t have. (Yet.)
By the time I got home — thank goodness the car was still technically driveable — Aaron had Connor out of the bathtub and brushing his teeth. This was the routine for the next few days: Aaron doing all the bathroom parts of the nighttime routine, both of us getting Connor into his jammies, and me taking over for books and songs and good-nights.
I took Friday off of work as a sick day. Aaron ended up taking both Thursday and Friday off — partially due to our chiropractor’s suggestion that I “be a bum all weekend” after my visit with her Friday afternoon.
By Sunday, I felt much better overall.
But even now, nearly a week later, I still get headaches and nausea regularly. When I returned to work on Monday, I had to turn down the brightness on my monitors to keep from having eyestrain headaches.
I’ll feel better once the police report is filed online and we can get the claim going with the semi driver’s insurance company. The poor Forte is currently sitting in our garage, flaking paint and rust from the semi and looking generally pathetic.
This won’t be the last you hear about this accident and its aftermath, I’m sure. I have a lot of brain-dumping to do, mainly concerning my physical and mental health.
I’m going to try so hard not to be a big complainy complainer. But, like I mentioned before, this is my blog, where I vent my shit, and this is some pretty big shit.