This past Monday was the 3rd-year anniversary of Sucking on Oranges. I had been planning on a celebratory post, but the party has been officially postponed. Last Friday, Melanie, Edison, and I were in a serious car accident. Thankfully, we are all well and alive. We’re not all quite in one piece, however. More specifically, my left foot is not in one piece. While I’m not 100% sure of how many pieces it now consists, I know there are at least two broken bones in my ankle area and, according to the physicians, my heel has been “shattered.” It’s not the most promising adjective, but I assure you I consider myself a very blessed fellow.
So here’s the long beginning of the story. Friday afternoon, Eddie very cutely brings me my socks and takes Melanie her hat and then begins pointing at the front door, letting us know he wants to get out of the house. We didn’t have anywhere in particular to go, but we decided to please the little guy. So we head out just to do something frivolous – we stop and buy some Mountain Dew fountain drinks, and then we go to Hollywood Video and rent a couple of movies to have on hand for the weekend. On our way back home to have lunch and start a movie, we are waiting to turn left onto the street where we live. The light turns yellow. There is a car coming pretty fast in the other direction. I think to myself that the car probably could and should stop, but I can tell that it is not going to do so. So I wait. The car speeds through the intersection. The next car is a bit farther away, so I do not think there is even a consideration of that car not stopping. I barely start to go. I can then tell that this car isn’t stopping either. (By this point, I assume the light must have gone, or at least be turning, red, but I can’t officially say that I noticed – this all happened a lot faster than I can write about it.) I’m pretty certain I stopped trying to turn, because I know I just watched him barreling toward us, and I know I even said to Melanie that we were going to get hit. There is the sound of screeching brakes, and then there is the impact of what is basically a head-on collision.
We spin around so that we’re essentially facing the wrong way in the same lane we were just in, but pushed a little bit further back. Our car rolls a little forward and slightly onto the wrong side of the road (although we’re facing the right way for it now). There is a bit of smoke and I wonder if we have to worry about an explosion. The smoke only lasts for a second, but it’s a yucky smell. I realize, almost as an afterthought, that both the driver-side and the passenger-side airbags have deployed. Eddie is crying. I’m fairly calm, all things considered. I don’t know how much self-assessment I did, or even how much assessment I did of Melanie before I looked back to check on
As Melanie jumps out of the car and immediately goes for
At some point, I think about the other driver—the one that hit us. Is he mad at us, I wonder? Does he think it’s our fault? I look back. I can’t see anybody. Melanie is worried about standing in the heat with Edison, who is still crying. A man who works at the Dent Wizard car repair shop across the street (no, that’s not a joke) tells her to go sit in the coolness of their store. She thinks it is a good idea. I think so too. She goes. At some unparticular time, firefighters are on the scene. So is a cop. They’re asking me what happened. They ask me about pain. I’m not really in much, but my foot is finally hurting enough to at least mention it. Oh, and my left arm is kind of sore now that I think about it. There are a couple of cuts on it; one looks deep enough to make me worry. What about your neck? Your back? No problems there, I say. Again, at some uncertain time I realize I’m not wearing my glasses. I look around for them, feel around my body for them. They’re not anywhere. Just magically disappeared I guess. Obliterated. Same with Melanie’s.
The cop takes my license and is gone for a while. When he comes back, he tells me it is my fault based on eyewitness reports. Bad eyewitness reports, I think to myself. But I sign my citation. I don’t argue about it. I don’t think this is the time to argue about it. I know I was turning left and I know I’m probably stuck being at fault pretty much no matter what. Just moments ago, a witness had come up to me and given me his business card, telling me he thought I was in the right. That guy is gone now. I won’t bring him up to the cop, though. I imagine those things get straightened out later. It’s not my concern right now. I ask about the other driver, turning the focus back to concern rather than blame. I’m told he was unconscious right after the crash, so he’s getting priority treatment. They take him away in an ambulance and ask if I want another ambulance sent for me or if I want to find my own way to the hospital. Sure, send me an ambulance, I say. I wonder if it’s silly of me to utilize an ambulance when I’m clearly not on my deathbed. But I don’t know who I would call to give me a ride to the hospital. So an ambulance it is.
Melanie comes back with
My foot is finally starting to get highly uncomfortable. I am still sitting in the driver’s seat, turned so my legs are dangling outside the door. I don’t put my left foot down on the pavement because it just seems like a bad idea. But I feel like it needs to be supported. I can’t twist or turn in a way that makes it feel okay. I try to cross my left foot barely over my right leg, to hold it up a little bit. Somehow, everything is uncomfortable and this isn’t satisfactory either. People keep asking me what exactly I cut it on—there is nothing obvious in that area of the car. I say I don’t know. An ambulance finally shows up for me, and they ask if I can try standing. They wonder if I can walk myself to the ambulance. I’m not thinking it’s going to work, but I stand up. I gingerly put my left foot down. It feels funny – sort of gelatinous-like – and very painful. It’s not going to work. I start to feel a swelling of nausea in my stomach. It’s intense. I recognize it as what it really is – I am going to pass out. I tell the firefighters this, and I sit back down in the car. I lean back and try to breathe very calmly. Gradually, the pseudo-nausea subsides and the threat of passing out is gone. They bring over a stretcher and work me onto it. They move me to the ambulance, which is air-conditioned inside. Being able to lay down, to be out of the heat, to just be wheeled around without any effort on my part—at this point it honestly feels quite luxurious.
And that is just enough to get us to the point where I go to the hospital. The hospital was quite an experience in itself. But I will save that for an upcoming post, which will hopefully appear soon. I’ll probably spend a lot of time just sitting around, so I might as well blog about things. Until then…