On Monday September 21, as I was driving home from the chiropractor, I made a left turn at a stoplight to get to a gas station. Well, I made part of a left turn. In my peripheral vision I saw a huge white semi bearing down on me, blowing through the now red light. It hit the rear passenger door of my beloved Dodge Caliber.
I remember a thud and a loud noise of glass breaking. I remember a woman on a cell phone coming to my window asking if I was all right while she called 911. All I could say was, “I don’t know.” My left knee hurt a lot and so did my right breast where the seat belt was.
I’m 65 years old and I’ve had a few fender-benders in my life (4 single car, one caused by another driver), but no major accident like this, EVER. I started to cry. I kept saying, “He blew the red light. He blew the red light.” The woman said, “Yes, he did, I saw it all.” I think she had been behind me in the left turn lane.
A policeman came, and then paramedics. They all kept asking if I was okay, and I kept giving them the same answer.
They helped me out of the car to check me out in their ambulance. I could tell that my injuries weren’t serious. I hadn’t hit my head or jammed my neck or broken anything. My left knee had apparently hit the steering column or dashboard, but the pain wasn’t sharp enough to indicate a break, and I had been able to walk from car to ambulance (albeit hanging onto the paramedic and shaking horribly). I signed a release (initialing in 5 places as well) and got out of the ambulance again.
(I’ll admit that part of the reason I did this was that I knew which hospital was closest, and I’d been to their Emergency Room before. It was a very bad experience and one I didn’t want to go through again.)
Question 1: Why do ambulances have such deep steps when they have to be used by people who are shaky and/or are hurting?
Already the car was about to be pulled up onto a flatbed wrecker. Not even thinking about everything important that was in it, I begged to be able to get out my cigarettes. “They’re not good for you anyway,” said the cop. If I had been thinking straight, I would also have demanded to get out my (only) house key and my garage door opener. I never even got to see the damage on the car, because the driver’s side was facing me as it was hauled onto the trailer.
Question 2: Why don’t people who do towing services not think of things like this themselves? How did they think I was going to get into my house? As a matter of fact, I have a battery-powered lock on my front door, so was able to get inside, but if not for that, I’d still be sitting on the front lawn. (There’s also an outdoor panel for opening the garage, but the battery is dead.)
GOD but I wanted my cigarettes!
Semi photo: Daniel M. Reck/Flickr