Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Here's something that doesn't help....

We've been looking forward to the Fourth of July for weeks. We planned on taking my sister and her kids to Ouray, where we had such a great time last year. Nothing like blocking off Main Street USA, in a little mountain town, to carry on a decades-old tradition: fire hose water fights. Topped off with an excellent fireworks display. Add the fact that Drama Queen is not coming along to pull a repeat of her drama act, and you have a great holiday, indeed!

Excited? I was over the moon!

We loaded up in two cars. Six people in my dad's Suburban and four in mine. Ranger rode with me, with Daughter and my 11-year-old nephew in the back seat. It's about a two-hour drive to Ouray, which is south of where we live. It's a pleasant drive, skirting the Grand Mesa and going through some fun little towns. We had no plans to stop, but it's a nice drive.

Daughter had control of my iPod. She picked fun songs that we could sing along to. We laughed a lot. I'd picked up a drink and a can of Pringles in each person's favorite flavor. It was a festive mood indeed! I was even getting a break from the pain for the day. Woo hoo!

Ranger's birthday was July 2nd. Son had given him a book of GPS waypoints for things to see in Colorado. He was entering some of these sights into his GPS, so we could see some around Ouray.

We pulled into Montrose, and I asked Daughter to stop the music for awhile. With busier traffic for the holiday, I didn't want the distraction while we went through town. Dad had mentioned stopping there so my sister and Son could switch seats in his car. I thought about making a bathroom stop, but decided it wasn't necessary. Dad decided not to stop, either. On to Ouray!

Let me set the stage here. My Dad is well ahead of me, disappearing around a bend. A pickup truck is ahead of me and another is behind me, a few car lengths. The one ahead signals to turn right at the next cross street and starts slowing, so I move to left lane. A car was sitting at the cross street, at the stop sign. It was something like a Ford escort. I see her start to punch it to cross the highway. I start saying "don't do it...." and slow down a bit. I figure if she jumps out and stops when she sees me, I'll need to swerve around her a bit.

She didn't stop.

She never ever saw me. Her head was turned, looking for traffic from the other direction. She was accelerating and starting into the arch to turn left. We were going to t-bone her, right into her driver door.

I remember yelling something, as I slammed on the brakes, hit the horn, and swerved left. I didn't want to hit with us going head-on. I knew we would hit, but wanted the right-front to take more of the impact. I heard Ranger yell "Look out!" I think he meant it for her because I was already reacting, and she still wasn't looking at me.

My right-front collided hard with her left-front. She was already starting to turn left, so she hit more on her front, which just about peeled completely off. The momentum of the impact threw my car across the highway and into the close oncoming lane. Luckily, no one was coming.

We stopped. I started asking if everyone was okay. Ranger was trying to open his door, but it wouldn't budge. Daughter was repeating, "Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God." Ranger turned around and took her face in his hands.

"Are you all right?"

She looked at him, like breaking a trance. "Yes."

"Good," he said. "Then move over. I have to climb out your door." She scooted over to where my nephew was starting to cry, and she put her arms around him. Ranger leaned his seat all the way back and climbed out the back door, to go check on the other driver.

I turned the car off and opened my door. A man was running across the road to me, holding a cell phone. "Is anyone hurt?"

"No," I said. "We're all okay."

"I just called 9-1-1," he said. "I'm going to check on the other driver."

I nodded. A woman with an American flag on her t-shirt told me she was going to direct traffic, since I was in the oncoming lane just past a bend in the road.

I opened my nephew's door and saw my daughter cradling him. Tears were streaming down his face. "Are you okay?" I asked.

"Noooo," he said through tears.

I thought for a moment. "Is your body hurt?"

"No," he said. "I'm scared."

"I know, sweetheart," I said. "Your mom will be here in a moment."

I called my mom's cell phone. They were ahead of us, around the curve, and didn't see what happened.

"Helloooo?" she said, being funny.

"We've been in a bad accident," I said. "We're all okay, but you have to come back."

"What?" she said, as though in disbelief.

"Come back! We've had a bad accident."

"So, do we need to come back?"

"Yes! I have to go."

Apparently, she turned to my dad and repeated what I said, but left out the "we're all okay" part. He turned around and sped back to us.

In the meantime, Ranger came back to my car. "There's a nurse here, helping the other driver. she's in and out of consciousness. Bleeding a lot."

"Someone called 9-1-1, so an ambulance will be here," I said. I told my nephew his mom was on the way, kissed him on the head, then looked at the front of my car.

The wheel is about a foot behind where it should be. Looking inside, though, the compartment where Ranger's feet were isn't invaded at all. I love this car.

My dad arrived. I had Daughter escort my nephew to Dad's car, and to his mother.

Son was in my face immediately. "What can I do to help?" I stared at him for a moment. He looked worried, scared. It touched me for a moment, this little sign that he just might care. I set him to work, cleaning out the car of all of our possessions. The car had to be towed, so we had to vacate it.

An ambulance arrived and started loading up the other driver. Looked like about six paramedics milling around. My sister called to me that my nephew was complaining of pain in his chest. I snagged a paramedic to go look at him. He advised us to take him to the hospital to be checked.

A State Trooper approached me. "Are you okay?" I was starting to feel aches, which I told him. "You go get checked out," he said. I promised I would. He gave me paperwork to fill out for him.

He came back in a few minutes. The ambulance was gone. I gave him the clipboard, and he said, "Unfortunately, I'll have to cite you for driving on the wrong side of the road."

I froze. My car was sitting in the oncoming lane, but only because we got knocked there! I said, "WHAT?!"

The Trooper furrowed his brow and said, "Aren't you glad I'm kidding?"

I took a deep breath. "I was about to totally go off on you...."

"Hm," he said. "I guess it wasn't so funny."

He proceeded to tell me the other driver was getting a citation for failing to yield right-of-way. He advised me again to go get checked out, and added that I should expect to be really sore in a couple of days. He handed me a piece of paper with his information, the other driver's name and address, her insurance information, and the towing company's information. My dad came back to pick up Ranger and I, and we went to the hospital.

I got checked in, then hugged my nephew. I said I was sorry he was hurt. He said, "I'm feeling better. It's okay. Not your fault." He went back to doing a puzzle with Daughter. I hugged her, too. She was worried about me.

They took me back to triage. My nephew had already been assessed and determined to be non-critical. The nurse took my vitals. "You are calmer than your pulse says you are."

"Yeah, I'm surprised," I said. "I haven't had a freak out moment yet. I've been pretty clear through the whole thing." I told her my history and my medications. I told her what hurt. She put me in a neck brace and had me lay down in a room with a backboard on the bed. "Wait here for the doctor," she said. Like I had a choice.

I texted Ranger and told him what was happening. In a moment, he was at my bedside.

"Your mom told me to come back here," he said. "I read the text to everyone. Your sister is throwing a stink fit that you got back here before her son. I guess I looked worried, so your mom told me to go to you."

I smiled. "Good. It looks worse than it is. Really."

He looked like he was going to cry.

The doctor came in and checked me out. He took off the neck brace and said he'd order x-rays. "Want to watch TV while you wait?" He turned it on and started changing channels. "Tell me when."

Flip. Flip. Flip. And...ah-ha!

"Captain Andy!" I exclaimed.

"Her favorite show," Ranger said. July 4th "Deadliest Catch" Marathon. Gotta love it.

The x-ray technician showed up. "My finger is starting to hurt," I said. My left middle finger was turning purple.

"I'll have the doctor add that to the orders," she said. She crossed the hall and said to the doctor, "Her finger is hurting." She stood showed him which finger, which meant she was effectively flipping him off. She grinned.

"Seriously?" he said.

"Yep," she said. And flipped him off again. She seemed to enjoy it way too much.

In the end, we found out nothing was broken and pain medicine is a blessing. My neck is pretty well messed up, so I'm seeing a massage therapist and chiropractor for that. Other bruises have emerged. Most notably, across my breast where I slammed into the seat belt. Sexy, I tell ya.

Ranger asked about the other driver. She's fine. She was released before I was. The Trooper called me and asked a few questions.

"Were you planning any stops between Grand Junction and Ouray?"

"No. I thought about stopping to pee, but if I had, this never would have happened."

He laughed. "Were you planning on stopping at the Ute Indian Museum?"

"The what?"

"Nevermind, that answers my question," he said. "See, the other driver is saying you were stopped at the turn-off to the Museum with your blinker on, turning right, but you changed your mind and smashed into her."

"What? No, no, no...."

"I know," he said. "It's not even possible. But she got her bell run pretty good, so I don't believe what she's saying. But I had to ask."

Three days later, I'm in a lot of pain. We were going to bowl this afternoon. I think not.

The Trooper said the second or third day is the worst. It is. At least, until I see what tomorrow is like. I'm counting on it being better. It's my daughter's 14th birthday, after all!

Be prepared...I'm about to get sappy-sentimental.


Ronjazz said...

Honey, we're just happy that you have the OPPORTUNITY to be sentimental...:)

Blogget Jones said...

No kidding, Ron....every time I look at the accident pictures, I'm reminded of how fortunate we really are!

I'll take the pain....it's better than the alternative.

Thank you!

Angella Lister said...

OMG! Thank God you had presence of mind through the whole thing. If only you'd stopped to pee, but what's the use of thinking like that. Well, you have your daughter's birthday to look forward to. Be as sentimental as you want to be! So glad you're all okay.

Fishsticks and Fireflies said...

Oh, Blogget! I am SO glad that you and everyone in your car are okay! The Trooper is right - the 3rd and 4th days are definitely the worst. What a bummer that you had to miss the 4th of July celebration - I am sure you will make up for it on the 14th, and I can't wait to read about it - your daughter sounds like such a special young lady and I enjoy reading about her.

Lady in red said...

I am so sorry you didn't get to have the break you wanted. I do remember reading about the trip last year it did sound fun.

By the way thank you for your support over my news a few weeks ago I have been meaning to get back to you but have just not had the inclination to do any of my normal writing or even reading.

I know I have missed several of your posts and will catch up with them soon when I stop being so tired.

~ellen~ said...

I am so glad you are all okay (give or take a few bumps). Being in a car accident is such a stressful, horrifying thing, please take extra good care of yourself.

Blogget Jones said...

Thank you, thank you! I'm still hurting, big time, but so thankful we're all alive and not badly hurt.

And Lady -- don't worry about it! I understand the adjustments you're going through.

Everyone, take care! And thanks for the support. It means a lot!

:o) BJ

Walker said...

Always listen to your third eye, your bladder.
It has E S PEE
I'm glad no one was seriously hurt.

Blogget Jones said...


And too true. The one time I didn't stop....

And thanks :o)