Wham, Bam, Thank You Ma’am

Howdy, dear readers! I knew it was going to be a busy few weeks when I last wrote, but I had no idea just how crazy my life would get. Since my last entry, I have moved myself, four cats, and frankly too many boxes across town. That was stressful enough, but to make things more interesting, I managed to get into a rather alarming car accident two weekends ago, just as we finished moving the last of the furniture.

I was driving alone on the freeway, on my way to pick up my boyfriend from the U-Haul facility where he was dropping off the truck we’d rented. It was around 3:00 pm on a Saturday, and although there were plenty of cars on the road, traffic was moving quickly. I sped up and moved into the left-hand lane to pass a semi-truck. I was in the middle of calculating how much was left to do at the old apartment when I heard a loud pop – somewhere between a balloon exploding and a gunshot. Time seemed to slow down as I fought for control of my car as it began to fishtail. At first I thought I might be able to coast to a stop on the shoulder, but almost immediately realized that I was quickly losing control of the situation. I remember trying to pump the breaks and steer into the skid and simultaneously thinking, “If I collide with this semi-truck, I am going to kill a lot of people.” Within moments, I had lost any sort of control of the car, and gripping my absolutely ineffective steering wheel, I braced myself for the inevitable crash. My car veered sharply to the left (thank God, Goddess, Universe, luck, and Luigi), and my front left tire hit the concrete median, vaulting my car up onto the passenger side. I slid back across the freeway on my side, and on hitting the grassy shoulder, my car completed the roll across the top and other side, and settled back onto its wheels in the grass, where it stopped just short of an exit ramp.

With shaking hands, I turned off the car and forced my door open, swinging my legs out of the car. I tried to take a quick inventory of my body: I remembered hitting my head hard on something, and my fingers hurt from gripping the wheel, but beyond that, I felt numb. Shock, of course. Almost immediately, several people ran up to my car and asked me if I was alright. One of them, a nurse, told me to stay seated and sip on some water. They alerted me to the fact that I’d blown a tire – one driver said her car was almost hit by the flying debris. They also pointed out to me that I’d bit my tongue and it was bleeding pretty badly. I remember feeling embarrassed more than anything, sitting sideways in the drivers seat of my totaled car, trying to fix my hair and cover my mouth at the same time so I wouldn’t gross anyone out with my bloody tongue. I was shaking all over, trying not to cry as everyone marveled at the fact that I was still alive. I refused to call anyone, not wanting to alarm my boyfriend and risk him getting into an accident trying to get to me quickly. Finally, the police arrived and the onlookers dispersed. One of the policemen stayed at the accident site while the other drove me home. He kept me talking on the drive home, and I was able to stay relatively calm.

Once I got home, I collapsed on my couch and cried and my whole body shook. I held my cats as I waited for friends to pick my boyfriend up and bring him home. I finally texted my parents, who of course called me. I talked to them until my boyfriend got home. My sweet friend who is trained as a masseuse gave me a gentle massage that night. Despite the massage, I woke up the next day in an enormous amount of pain.

My boyfriend took that Monday off to take me to an urgent care clinic. The doctor checked me over thoroughly, assured me it was likely muscle strain (whiplash) and possibly a mild concussion, and prescribed me mild muscle relaxers. My mom flew in Tuesday and stayed through Saturday to help Boyfriend take care of me and get the new house unpacked, since I was pretty useless. Boyfriend’s parents brought over an enormous amount of food so we could feed ourselves without too much effort. It was definitely a group effort that got us through that week.

I’m feeling much better now, although I’m still a bit stiff. It still makes me nervous to ride in a car, much less drive one, and the crash pops up in nightmares, and even occasionally in my thoughts during the day. Boyfriend has mentioned the possibility of my having mild PTSD.

I try to focus on how fortunate I am, and how grateful I am to be alive and whole and conscious. The cats help a lot, snuggling and playing and making me laugh. I do get anxious sometimes when I’m home alone during the day. I feel a great responsibility to earn my life now – like I’ve been given a second chance, and I don’t know why exactly that should be true. I think what’s most important now is trying to return to a sense of normalcy and routine.

As ever, life is a work in progress.

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