Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Near-Tragedy

Don't sleep and drive.

My cousin on my mom's side, Elizabeth, who is twenty-three, fell asleep at the wheel of her car on a country road in Nebraska very early this morning and rolled her vehicle. Fortunately there was no other traffic, and the area was clear of trees, and she didn't hit any telephone or power poles.  She basically walked away with only a bloody nose from the air bag and her nose wasn't even broken. A concussion hasn't been ruled out, but she's basically fine -- walking around as though nothing happened.

The accident occurred in the middle of nowhere, but her car has (or had; the car is history) OnStar, so emergency vehicles were  on the scene fairly soon, and the dispatcher called her boyfriend's house, so her boyfriend  and his brother and father were there before the  emergency vehicles were. They couldn't find her purse that night, but her boyfriend's dad found it about forty feet early the next morning. Her cell phone and all her crdit cards were in it, and there was no indication anyone had gotten to the purse before her boyfriend's dad did, so her credit and information is probably safe. She had about two hundred dollars in cash, which was still in her purse. Any thief who ws after her ID probably wouldn't have taken the time to write down her driver's license number and her credit card info but left the two hundred dollars.

She's probably fine.  Her boyfriend's dad insisted she go to the hospital in the ambulance because she wasn't totally making sense afterward. Alcohol and drugs were ruled out. She ws just shaken up.

She was driving from her boyfriend's family's farm to  back her apartment. The accident happened at about 1:30. The car had some feature that was supposed to try to wake her up if she swerved as though she were falling asleep, but it she over-corrected when the alarm or beep or whatever  sounded, and it caused her to roll. She had her seatbelt on.

She's an RN. Because of the possible head injury which could interfere with her thought processes and because she's sore and and a nurse has to lift, she'll be off for a week. My uncle, who is a pilot, has a little comp time,  so he drove the hundred miles or so from the family's home to her apartment. In a few days, once the insurance company has done its thing, he'll help her to find another car.  She should probably get one similar to the one she had. It did everything it could possibly do for her except keep her awake.

Everyone should be mindful of the dangers of driving when overly tired. Elizabeth had worked eighteen hours straight because she worked her own twelve-hour shift and covered half of someone else's. Then she drove twenty miles to her boyfriend's family's house, watched a movie, and headed home. She should have had a clue that she might be too tired to drive. All's well that ends basically OK, but this accident could easily have had a very different outcome.

P.S.  I put in two extra hours toward my intership today. I got to see what  sickle cells look like for real through a microscope.  They really are shaped like sickles.

This isn't the slide I saw (mine was stained more bluish -purple) but it's the same idea.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, how scary! I'm glad your cousin managed to walk away from that. She's lucky to have people around willing to help her.

    Interesting slide. Wish I were better at science. You make it sound fascinating. I enjoy reading about epidemiology and actually worked for the bureau of epidemiology in South Carolina in an assistantship. I was there for my writing skills, though, not because I'm good at mapping diseases! Most of the people who worked there were not native English speakers, so I was there to translate their findings into something laypeople could understand.