Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Rotten Luck in the Form of a Wreck

I had an occurrence of extremely bad luck yesterday. My bad luck involved being in the wrong place at the wrong time, the bad luck of which was compounded by the wrong place being on US 101. Actually I was exiting US 101. Another driver wished to exit but was not in the right lane. The driver quickly cut across the right lane to reach the off ramp. The driver apparently realized another car was dangerously close, so she stepped on the gas to get across the lane. She accelerated right into the rear of my mom's car, which I was driving. I was already braking, so she hit me harder than I would otherwise have been hit. The impact sent my mom's car (and me) into oleander bushes and into a metal guardrail, where the car and I came to a stop.

The driver of the other car was a seventeen-year-old girl. She's fine, although she had to be transported to the hospital because she was in hysterics. Her car sustained  front-end damage. She wasn't driving under the influence of any mind- or consciousness-altering substance. She wasn't even texting. It was the case of  a very inexperienced driver who was driving without much caution. I'm glad she's not hurt. She did at least have insurance. 

I know what happened because a city police sergeant was right across the street from the off ramp when the accident happened and watched the whole event unfold from start to finish. He told me what happened afterward. I had no clue. One second I was minding my own business as I got off the freeway. The next second airbags were surrounding  me. I don't think I really knew the things in my face were airbags until the police sergeant and the off-duty paramedic more or less woke me from a fugue-like state.

I was wearing my seat belt, as I always do. Most of the damage to me was done by the airbags themselves. I'm smallish, so I have to drive with the seat relatively close to the dash. Also, I lack bulk in more or less all parts of my body, so the impact of airbags is greater to me than it would be to, say, at 200-pound athlete. Consequently the airbags roughed me up a bit. I ended up with a very bloody but not broken nose, a mild concussion, four broken ribs, a broken collarbone, a bruised pelvis and right hip, a  really ugly bruise and swelling on my  right thigh, a bruised left ankle from God knows what,  a neck injury that is probably whiplash, and  burn marks and bruises (not too severe) on my face. Everything that is wrong with me will heal with time. None of my fractures are the type that benefit from being casted, which is a great relief to me.  Two years ago i spent several months in a toe-to-hip cast. It's not an experience I desire to repeat anytime soon.

Even though the airbags inflicted their share of damage, the consensus is that the injuries most likely would have been worse without them. The car's safety features did what they were supposed to do. The OnStar or whatever it is did the immediate phone call thing,  though it was't really necessary since a police sergeant witnessed the entire accident and was there before the OnStar operator called.

I had my fourth ambulance ride, not counting the time I was air-lifted from one hospital to another. I wasn't far from home when the accident happened, so I was taken to the hospital where my dad works. Bad things usually happen to me when my parents are away, and this was no exception. Mom and Dad are in The Land Down Under. Fortunately, practically every other doctor in my family and pseudo-family happened to be in or near the hospital when I arrived, and I was coherent enough to give names to the paramedics, so people were waiting for me in the E.R. when I arrived. My Uncle Michael, who is staying at our house until his family joins him here in August, was there. My Uncle Steve, whose pediatric practice is located about thirty miles away, was at the hospital checking on a few patients. My Pseudo-Uncle Scott wasn't supposed to be working but had gone over to check on an old woman. i thought he was working anyway when I gave his name to the paramedics. My parents' Godson, Timmy, who is a medical school student,  is working as a P. A. this summer and was on duty in the E.R. when I was brought in by the ambulance. Pseudo-Uncle Scott called my Uncle Jerry, who is my dad's best friend, who is also a doctor. He arrived shortly after I did.
My psychiatrist, Dr. Jeff, heard about the accident and made it down to the floor. Pseudo-Uncle's brother, who is also the father of my friend who is not my boyfriend, was  there as well. (He removed my spleen late last fall when I had mono.) Olive, the chief nurse of the E.R., is a close family friend and was on duty.  I'm not sure there would have been room for my parents if they had been there.

Four of the doctors who were present carry signed permission to authorize medical treatment for me. Most of the doctors there with me have my blood type (A+), so they hung around in case I needed blood. I didn't.

Once  the extent of my injuries was known, Uncle Michael called my parents in Australia. It took about an hour to reach them. We were able to convince them that they don't have to come home.  I wish they were here, but there's seriously not much they can do for me that others aren't doing. Both parents asked me if I need them here, and said all I have to do is say so and they'll take the next flight home. I appreciate the offer, but I'll be OK. Other people will take care of me and be nice to me.

My mom's car is history. She's not mad at me. It's just a car.

I spent last night in the hospital, and I'm staying tonight. I'll probably be released tomorrow. I probably would already have been released, I suspect, except that I'm well insured between the other driver's insurance, my auto insurance, and my health insurance, and  everyone is paranoid  and being overly cautious with my parents not being here.

I don't even know where I'll go when I am released. I normally might go to Uncle Steve's house, but my cousin is already there in my comfortable bed, recovering from his colon resection.  I would prefer to stay at my own house, but only my brother is there during the day when my Uncle Michael is working. I can go to one of the other relative's houses -- it's not a big deal -- but my room is so comfortable and so wonderfully furnished that it's the ideal place to recover. Anyway, my parents will be home in a little over a week. Then I can rest in my own room.

This could have been a lot worse. Then again, I suppose it could have been a lot better, but it wasn't.  I'm in some pain but not too much thanks to powerful opiates. It's just something to get through. At least I now officially have an excuse for being lazy all summer.

Pseudo-Cousin Peter's ex, could you make some more of those Baskin Robbins clown cones and bring them to me, please?


  1. I'm so so sorry!! I hope you heal swiftly, and I'm so glad it wasn't worse.

  2. Alexis... I think we need to wrap you in bubble wrap. Seriously! I'm sorry you have such terrible luck, but I'm glad to hear that you're ok and that things didn't turn out any worse for you. You have a lot of people looking out for you and thinking about you, so rest up and feel better soon. :)

  3. Rotten luck! But at least you have many medical friends and family to look after you when things like this happen. I'm glad it wasn't worse!