Heather Keith Freeman (jnanacandra) wrote,
Heather Keith Freeman

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brush with death.....

Last night I left work a little before 11. I was in a pretty good mood, thinking happily about birthday and vacation plans as I merged onto route 3. About two seconds later, a construction vehicle going less than half my speed pulled into my lane about three car lengths in front of me. I swerved to avoid him, seeing him swerve at the same time, and as I fought to keep the car from going into a tailspin it tipped over and began rolling. And kept rolling. And kept rolling. And came to a stop a few million years later on its roof, with me somehow fundamentally unhurt, with my legs out the driver's window and my hair caught under the roof.

(I'd somehow had the presence of mind to protect my ears through the whole thing and in the end I had my hearing aids clenched in my hands, and still working when I put them back in.)

I could see the crowd gathering outside, but few of them seemed to be paying any attention to me. After a few minutes of me yelling for help, someone finally noticed me and told me to stop moving, since there was glass everywhere (at which point I noticed the wetness all over my hand and legs, but I couldn't see it clearly enough to tell if it was blood). One woman told me the paramedics were on their way and offered to call someone for me. I gave her Tom's name and number and she called him and told him what was going on.

The paramedics arrived. My high point of humor for the night was when one of them asked me how I was doing and my reply was "as well as can be expected."

At this point I was starting to take stock of myself. Bruises and scrapes all over - my neck was cramping from the uncomfortable position it was held in thanks to my hair being trapped (think about halfway through a somersault that's overbalanced to the side). But nothing major was wrong, I had no trouble breathing, and the only thing that really had me upset was being trapped by my hair.

Eventually there were grinding noises as they used the jaws of life to cut off the passenger door. One of them climbed in, turned off the radio (which had been driving me nuts since I couldn't reach it) checked me out quickly, and then let me use his shears to cut off the hair that had me pinned. They slid me onto a board, strapped me into a stretcher, and got me into the ambulance. I got one of them to grab my purse, keys, and laptop, though I was already anticipating that my laptop would be a lost cause.

They started IVs in both arms, which hurt worse than anything else had so far (especially when you consider my phobia of getting stuck in that particular spot), and were off to the hospital. The lead paramedic was a trip. He told me to look on the bright side, I had ten men out there fighting over me :). And at one point when he asked me what was hurting the most and I told him "the IVs", he laughed and said, "you roll your car and the worst part is the IVs and those damn paramedics!"

They ended up taking me to Saints Memorial, which was supposedly in Lowell but I had no idea where as I'd never heard of it before. Between long periods of waiting (duh, as soon as they make sure you're not in immediate danger of dying you're ignorable) they cleaned me up a bit, checked out everything, took my blood pressure about nine million times (never went higher than 134/82). One of them gave me a phone and I called Tom to let him know where I was.

Another high point of witticism for me: the nurse asked me how old I was, and my response was "Is it after midnight yet?"

I got to the bathroom at one point and was pretty freaked out by my appearance in the mirror. Face was red and tear-streaked, of course - but my hair was a complete rats nest, blood clotted through a good portion of it. I had a nasty scrape on my scalp and another cut and goose egg on my forehead. It looked like I might have torn out a chunk of my hair where the scrape was (doesn't look like that now, though). Cuts all over my legs, glass bits everywhere. A cut on my finger that ended up being just shy of needing stitches.

A police officer showed up at one point and asked me about what happened. I told him about the construction truck pulling in front of me and estimated my speed at the time at about 50mph, since I had just merged. He was pretty adamant that I had to have been going faster than that, since cars don't roll that much and go that far unless you're going pretty fast. So I don't know what speed I was going, though I honestly can't see how I would have had time to get any higher than 60 or 65 at most.

Another thing that came out in this was that everyone assumed that I hadn't been wearing my seatbelt because of the position I was in when they found me. I had been wearing it, I always do - but apparently it came off at some point during the crash. The police officer mentioned that if I hadn't been wearing it, I almost certainly would have been dead. I estimated that the car rolled three times - he said that eyewitnesses claimed seven or eight. Amazingly enough, no other cars were involved. I have no idea what happened to that construction truck.

The car is, of course, totaled. Supposedly two of the wheels completely snapped off - the top was crushed, all the glass in front gone, and as I mentioned earlier they had to cut one of the doors off to get at me. What's left is at a towing yard in Billerica.

I'm hoping that I can manage to get out of the lease somehow rather than getting the car replaced. I *thought* that compact SUVs were less prone to rolling - I'm not exactly holding to that belief anymore. Between that and the seatbelt coming undone, I never want to get in an SUV again. It was bad enough being in Tom's Acura and having flashbacks of seeing the world start to spin in front of me.

Tom showed up and kept me company while they finished me up; giving me a tetanus shot since I couldn't remember when the last one I had was, taking out the IVs, bandaging my finger. And then at around 1:30am, we went home. I showered the rest of the blood off me, ate a nectarine, and went to sleep.

I'm not supposed to do much today, which is already driving me nuts since I had a million things to do today *before* I had to add filling out an accident report and calling my insurance to the list. I'm going to call my mom soon and see if she wants to drive down a little early to help me out. (If anyone else feels like showing up, feel free as well :)

Inventory of self ten hours later: very sore neck; bruises on legs, back, shoulders, head, cuts on left hand and both legs. Scrape and cut on head. Obscenely tangled hair that will need a fairly drastic trim. It's a miracle I'm alive. Happy 25th birthday.
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