May 6, 2019

A Rough Day

So this happened last week. The whole thing was so surreal. I'm still  trying to process it all. Here's the story:

I was coming back from the grocery store. I ran there to pick up a few things between the time I came home from work and the kids getting home from school. As I was out, the weather took a turn for the worse and it started snowing. However, that wasn't a factor in the accident.

I was only 2 or 3 miles from home. I was going straight through a green light. When I was in the middle of the intersection, the other driver turned left, from the on-coming side, directly into my driver's side. I saw the suv out of my peripheral vision less than a second before she hit me.

The sound of impact plays on repeat inside my head 24/7. It is a sickening sound. I remember thinking: Oh no! This is how it's going to happen as I spun around in circles. Once the car came to a stop and I became cognizant, I realized I was still alive. I was shocked. I didn't notice the side airbag had deployed. I didn't realize I didn't have a seat back to lean on. I didn't know where I was.

I'm still not sure exactly what happened as we have not received the official police report yet. But there are a few details I remember. After taking inventory of my body and realizing nothing was broken, I immediately turned off the podcast I was listening to (I didn't want to loose my place). Next, I immediately called Chuck and told him, "Someone hit me" and hung up. Then I knew I should probably call for help but wasn't sure who or how. 

As I was trying to process that, I heard a man's voice outside my door. I heard him say, "...alert female, t-boned, driver's side...". He told me not to open the door but asked if I could unlock the other side. I did. He came to the passenger's side and was still talking on the phone and asking me questions: What is your birthdate, how old are you, who is the president? I answered him correctly on all counts. 

I realize now that I was in complete shock, but at the time I was super calm. I even remember thinking embrace this moment, Cori, this is what is happening right now. It was almost as if I didn't want anyone to panic and get upset so I was speaking very quietly and calmly and slowly. It was very hard to find my words, but they eventually came out. It was hard to think.

Another lady stopped to ask if I was ok. She said she was a nurse. I thanked her for stopping by. It was then that I remembered that I wore glasses and that they weren't on my face. They happened to be on the passenger's side and she picked them up and handed them to me. Although, I didn't do anything with them. Then she disappeared.

It was at this time I realized I didn't have a back to my seat. I just wanted to lean back but couldn't cuz my seat back wasn't there. It was so hard to sit up and I started shaking uncontrollably. At some point the police showed up and then the firemen/paramedics. I answered their questions calmly as well. I kept asking about the other driver and was told she was ok, but shaken up. I had no anger toward the other driver, shockingly.

After assessing my neck and determining it wasn't damaged they tried to get me out, but my door was too damaged, so they had to cut it off.  I kept offering to climb out the passenger side, but they wouldn't let me. That's when Chuck showed up. He couldn't find me at first, so he called me again (thinking it was a fender-bender). When I told him I was in the ditch over the embankment on the side of the road, he started running. Relief flooded me when I saw him.

Once they got the door off and cut away the airbag (which is when the picture above was taken), the fireman covered me with a blanket and sat there talking with me until the police sorted everything out. The paramedics asked if I wanted to go to the hospital with them and I declined because I could walk. They made me promise to go to Urgent Care or the ER.

They walked me up to the street level to where Chuck's car was waiting. We drove home and met Bennett there then up to the High School to pick up Chloe. We all drove to the Urgent Care facility together. After assessing me they said that I needed to go to the ER instead. So we drove over there.
I was given a CAT scan which confirmed that I had no broken bones or internal bleeding. I was sent home with a diagnosis of whiplash and concussion.

Everything was so ethereal. It could have been so much worse.There are so many things I'm thankful for: 1) that only two cars were involved   2) that I didn't hit another vehicle as I was spinning out of control or any other objects  3) that I had no broken bones or internal bleeding  4) the kindness of strangers  5) that where my car ended up was free of trees and rocks  6) that Chuck works from home and could come immediately to help me  7) that my glasses didn't break  8) the invention of side airbags and that my head didn't hit the glass  9) the engineers who designed my car to withstand this type of impact  10) co-workers who stepped up to help cover my classes at work  11) students who texted and called and showered me with love and concern.

I spent the next 5 days and today resting and sleeping. I was incredibly sore, bruised, tired, slow, nauseous, and dizzy. Today is the first day I feel like a normal person again. The concussion was brutal and kicked my butt. But it also taught me alot. It’s a humbling experience being limited by your body and realizing the false idea we think we have of control. This too is good. I’m choosing to see the good and learn in this time of (forced) stillness b/c God knows that doesn’t come natural or easy to me.

There is still all kinds of insurance stuff to deal with and I really miss my car. But all is well with my soul. And that's all that really matters.


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