Monday, May 14, 2007

Hand of God

Today was another wonderful Spring day. I was invited to attend church with my friend Mitch. I haven't been in a couple months, so I met him there. It's one of the local mega-churches, it meets in a converted shopping mall. Enormous. It was a good time, great music and a Mary-oriented Mother's Day sermon. It was nice to see some friends there. After that, I went to my apartment and had leftovers for lunch, read a book, and decided to repeat this week's bike trip. It was gorgeous outside, and thoroughly enjoyed the ride. Returning home, I called my friend Neil to see what he was up to. He was just closing up his roadside stand for the afternoon, and invited me over to his place for some brews. We chatted and enjoyed a couple IPA's in the back yard. Eventually, his wife called out that she was ready to go for their annual Mother's Day dinner. I hopped in the car and waved goodbye. On the way home, I started to feel nauseous. It came in waves; for a moment I thought it had passed, but then I would mentally locate the Lysol and scrub brushes in the event I couldn't pull over in time. I crossed a bridge and considered pulling into a driveway, but there was a pedestrian in the way so I stayed on the road. Scott Simon was reading the news on NPR, and it became too much noise. I turned off the radio. At a stop light, the world began to spin a little and I broke out in a cold sweat. Through the intersection, I figured I could make it the 1/2 mile to the apartment, but a hundred yards later I was looking for a place to pull over. Then I woke up. Things didn't look right. They didn't sound right, either. I felt disoriented. Some of the stuff that was in my car was lying by my face. I realized (surprisingly quickly) that I was hanging upside down from my seatbelt. The engine was making weird noises, so I turned it off as I released the seat belt and came to rest on my head. Outside the broken windshield I saw a lush green tree. Very close up. I saw the blue stripes on the flaccid airbags. I knew vaguely through ringing ears that this was not good. I fished my legs out the driver's side window and found myself on a grassy hillside. I sat up just as a man came around the car to see if anyone was hurt. He had the expression of one who was expecting to find something very nasty indeed. His relief was audible. Not sure whether I should move, I hazarded a glance at the car. It was flat on its back like a tortoise, new tires helplessly skyward. The fender near me was folded in half. I lay down on the grass, feeling clammy and woozy, while more motorists gathered around. The first responders were wonderful, doing everything right and asking thoughtful questions. Moments later sirens arrived, one by one, until 5 agencies had gathered. A state cop came and held my head still until the paramedics arrived. A sheriff breathalyzed me and found that I did indeed have only 2 beers (BAC .02). I was strapped to a backboard, neck braced, and hoisted into an ambulance. The friendly sheriff handed the paramedic my ticket. I asked if they could locate my cell phone, but it wasn't found before the ambulance sped off to the hospital. I got stuck with a variety of needles and sticky electrodes, while the paramedic kept me talking and signing release forms. At the hospital, I was parked in the hallway while blood was drawn, spine was checked, guts palpated, and joints wiggled. Nothing but a headache to report. After 2 hours in the hallway, I was taken in for my first head CT scan. It was over quickly, but something smelled funny. I hope they didn't cook my brains (freakin' radiology zombies). Another half hour in the hallway, and the phone and water I requested in the first hour arrived. Mrs. Spiffy arrived just as they were discharging me. We stopped by the impound yard on the way to the apartment - I needed my keys and phone, and snapped these photos. The driver's side fender Poor Marlon came to rest on the roof, breaking the windshield in 2 places Contents of the glove box spilled out when the airbags deployed I don't remember a moment of the accident. I remember looking to pull over, then nothing. The doctor said it was probably a vaso-vagal nerve reaction; something upset my stomach, causing me to faint. Not a scratch or bruise on me. The car is totaled. I looked at the crash scene. I crossed 3 lanes of a curving road, jumping the opposite curb. The car flipped, plowing nose-uphill into a clump of small trees. I missed a telephone pole by 5 yards. The other side of the road featured mature trees and a deep ravine which carries a creek. I'm choosing to give God credit for the outcome. And hugging my kids tonight.


Sparky Duck said...

Good Gravy, its good news that you are ok. Cars have that good thing about them, you know, being replacable

kenju said...

Oh. My. God. It's a good thing you went to church that morning, as someone surely was looking out for you. I can't believe you didn't get badly hurt, but I am happy and grateful to know you didn't.

Kingfisher said...

Holy Crud, Spiff.

Thanks everything that you, or anyone else, wasn't seriously hurt.

Hope your continue to be fine.

Hug your children, indeed.