Thursday, December 17, 2009

It Was a Very Black Friday

What I'm about to tell is bad. Very bad. But I'm not telling you this for sympathy. Of course, prayers and well wishes and such are appreciated, and in one place encouraged, but I just wanted you to know that I'm not posting this to further my pity party, but because I respect everyone that reads this blog, and I can't just ignore what happened despite my not wanting to have to think about it. The truth is, I've been avoiding posting this because I'm so very tired of retelling what happened, but I think it will cathartic to admit what happened to not just you guys, but to myself. To fully realize what I did, what the consequences are, and what I can do to get through this.

Let me take you back to Thanksgiving. Darling Dearest and I went to my family's annual Thanksgiving get-together, which is really more of a Christmas warm-up. Virtually the same food, but it's been a lot longer since we've seen each other all together. This is the one where all the latest news is revealed--big news doesn't really crop up much between November and December 25th.

Unfortunately, the evening didn't end well. We had plans on going out of town later in the evening to see one of our college friends and keep him company as he stood in line outside of Best Buy for a doorbuster. It was a computer, and he needed one--his crapped out--and we wanted to take advantage of the good deals anyway, so we decided we'd go. When the time came, the evening hadn't improved much, but we did the best we could to perk things up a bit, and then we left.

The line standing was uneventful, really, except that it was long--horrendously long, and in the freezing cold. The doors finally opened, and we were among the first 50 to get in, which means we had access the best deals the earliest. We grabbed a lot of movies--admittedly, most were for ourselves, but I was also there to get some late (for me, anyway) Christmas shopping done. Then, we checked out. We went and got breakfast, and then, at like 7 AM, we went home.

This next part is the part that's the hardest to write. Bear with me.

I was fine for an hour. Not bothered at all. Then, I started getting sleepy. That was when I started falling back on the thing that usually keeps me awake -- singing. I sing loudly (and more than likely out of key) when I'm in the car alone. Darling Dearest is one of the few to hear me sing totally unbridled like that. She loves it, and I'm flattered, even if for the life of me I don't know why she loves it, but I digress.

The second hour was much harder than the first, and even singing wasn't keeping me alert and awake. I started looking for a place to pull over. I wanted us to be save, and the towns between the city with the Best Buy and my hometown are very Deliverance-ish. So, I wanted to look for a place where we'd be out of the way, but safe from getting raped by hillbillies before we woke back up. This is the most horrific and ironic part -- I was looking for a safe place to pull over. Some place where we would be safe and I could catch a few Z's to recharge. I'm sure you know what happened next, but please, I'm trying not to jump the gun.

The last thing I remember thinking was, "I need to find a place to pull over before I fall asleep. I don't want to crash." The next thing I new, I heard the sound of the rumble strip and the sound of my car in the grass. I couldn't get the car to get back onto the road--it wouldn't hop the curb-like edge of the highway. Finally, I cut the wheel, but when the other tire gripped the road, it sent the car flying across the road faster than I could correct--the road was only a two lane, it wasn't very wide. I slammed on the breaks to slow it down and give me time to correct it, but it wasn't enough, instead the wheels locked and I was sent into a fishtail. The last thing heard was Darling Dearest scream, "Baby!" An almost separate memory was of the impact. It was more of a single frame and a sensation of the world flinging onto it's side.

The next thing I can remember, I was sitting in the passenger's seat. Darling Dearest was lying on the ground just outside of the door, which was open.

I know what happened, thanks to police reports and what my family has told me. When my car started to fishtail, another car--an SUV--came flying over a tiny hill. They saw me, but when they tried to avoid me, they wound up turning into me instead. This next part may sound like me trying to shirk blame, but that is not it at all. It's merely a hypothesis and a guess for why things turned out like they did. They must have been going very fast--well above the speed limit--because when my car was hit it split into two halves, the front half looking fairly untouched, and the back half sent sprawling into a fence as a massive ball of twisted metal. The police report stated that my car split, but really it was more like my car was gutted from the back half. This image is sort of helped by the fact that everything from the door frame on teh passenger side back is gone, safe for the back door on the driver's side, and a tiny, thin strip of metal that used to be a part of the trunk. Apparently the front part of the car was sent airborne, because there were no tire track marks leading to where we stopped.

I don't know how I got in the passenger seat. I was wearing my seat belt. As a matter of fact, I clearly remember making Darling Dearest put her's on before we left.

My mom says that I told her, when I was drugged up on pain killers and sedation medicine, that I saw Darling Dearest and I tried to get to her, but every time I would move my hip would hurt really bad. So apparently I crawled my way out of the driver's seat and over into the passenger's seat to get to my fiance before I passed out.

First of all, the easiest to post, were the injuries in the SUV. They were fine. Although the police report says that someone was transported, being on the scene, and having talked to one of the first responders, I know that no one has. Everyone was fine, although out a car, now, but then again, so am I.

I remember, at some point, talking to a man who I thought was a first responder, but who actually was a reporter for a local newspaper who drove up on the accident by chance, and who was sent over to make sure I was okay and to keep me calm and keep my mind off of my fiance. He said, "I know it'll sound stupid, but...how's your day going?" I believe my response was, "Pretty shitty."

On a side note, I don't begrudge the man at all. As a matter of fact, I'm very very thankful to him. While he was there, he talked to me about Darling Dearest -- about how I proposed to her, what I wanted to do, what I actually did, and a ton of other memories. It was good, calming, and kept me from coming out of the shock and realizing what a horrible mess this actually was. I read his editorial later, where he kicked himself for not having anything better to say. He said he led with something stupid, and finished with something weak. "Well, I'll be praying for you guys, hard." In retrospect, he wanted to have said something better. Being a devout catholic, he wanted to have broken out the rosary beads, or said Psalm 23, or something. Instead, he kicked himself for "I'll be praying for you guys, hard." In my opinion, that was the exact, perfect thing to say.

That's what I wanted.

That's what I was doing.

When I wasn't answering questions, every fiber of my being was going into praying for the survival of the person I care for more than anything else in all of existence. More than my own injuries, more than my own life, the thing I wanted most was for her to be okay. I remember telling her as the first responders worked on her, that had to fight. She had to get better and make it through this, because we had a wedding to plan, we had a life to start, so she had to get better for me.

Out of the accident, my injuries were: a fractured pelvis...well, technically two fractures, but they're on the major and minor pubic bones. It won't require surgery to fix, just time to mend itself. I also had a minor contusion on my lung, which has since gone away, and a ruptured disc in my back.

Now, the next part will sound bad, but what I'm telling you is good news. It shows significant progress, which is why I'm glad I waited to post this.

Darling Dearest got: a broken leg, broken ribs, a punctured lung, trauma to the back of the head, a fractured pelvis, a broken clavicle, and a fractured neck. She also had internal bleeding. I was told later, much later, that they didn't expect her to live. She had to be air-evacuated with a chopper, and they didn't think she'd survive the helicopter ride. She did, but she was hooked up to a ventilator.

Now the good parts: the internal bleeding was only from her spleen, which has been removed. No other bleeding. A rod has been surgically placed in her left leg, and they said they're not gonna even cast it, because the rod is holding everything fine. Her chest tube has been taken out, which means her lung has been fixed. Her neck fracture was, apparently, very minor, and with no spinal injuries at all.

They kept her in a medically induced coma for a week, but now she's awake, her breathing is stable, and she's very lucid. The one downside is she has difficulty moving her left side--not just the broken leg, but her arm, which was not broken. She can move it a little, and she's gaining more movement everyday, but she's still going to need some rehab. She can't talk, but not because she's not actually able. They put a tracheal tube in because the breathing tube was causing her to gag. So, unfortunately, she can't talk. But she can write and do sign language (something I didn't even know she knew!) and that's enough for me, for now. I do, however, look forward to the day when they take the trache out so that she can start telling me everything that sucks. I don't care how much she complains, just to hear her voice will be such music that God and his choir of angels couldn't match it.

Anyway, I just wanted you to know that things have improved significantly. If you want to, I highly encourage prayers, good thoughts, good vibes, or whatever you happen to believe in and want to send our way--particularly her way. She needs it, because I want her well ASAP.

Please don't pity me or her, as the news is very good and getting better everyday. Also, please, if you're outraged by this event, and think that I should be strung up for being a terrible and neglectful driver, please don't comment. Believe me when I tell you I'm well aware of my mistakes, and I would go back and fix them in a heartbeat. I would spin the car the other way and take the full brunt of the blow. I'm sure none of you would put anything like that, but I thought I'd get it out there just in case. Everyone I know has been sympathetic, save one waitress who asked me why I was on crutches, and then proceeded to politely and sadly drive what little self-respect I'd managed to gather back together into the ground.

Anyway, I don't want this post to get pitiful, sappy, melodramatic, or anything like that. I've tried to keep to the facts, and I just wanted you to know. I know I'm not the most prolific of bloggers, but I thought I'd let you know, my presence on the blog might or might not be scarce. It could be that when I go back to college this semester, since Darling Dearest won't be able to be there, that I blog a lot with nothing to fill my spare time. Or it could be that I'll throw myself into school work or writing or something, or I may be busy with Darling Dearest, should they move her nearby or should I have the time to leave off to be with her during the week.

What I've taken away from this is, no matter what happens, you have to take your time to understand and adjust to the situation--grieve, laugh, whatever you have to do--and when the moment passes and you have clarity, you have to set your shoulders and keep pushing through until you make it out the other side. There is an "other side," and Darling Dearest and I will make it, and we will be all the stronger and closer for having gone through this. Maybe, though, with your prayers, we can make it just a little faster, though.

3 comments:

PJ Hoover said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear all this. But consider prayers being sent your way.
Take care.

beth said...

I'll be praying hard, too!

Jason said...

Thank you guys. I'm doing good. I've upgraded to a walker (fingers crossed on going to a cane soon!), and she's significantly improved. She was talking today (thanks to a cap on her trach), and they sat her up on the bed.

Thank you all for your prayers. Soon, we'll be through this.