In the middle of the road, you see the darnedest things
Just in case there was any doubt about the shit’s ability to hit the fan-life presents me with another week of “You just can’t make this stuff up.” Well, it was really just a day- just a moment of “Did this really just happen?” A week ago on Thursday started like any other, except that today was the day of the farmer’s market- which the dogs and I love. For as long as I have lived at my current place- the farmer’s market has been going on immediately across the road every summer- Mona and Harriet quickly made friends, particularly at the kettle corn table where they cleaned underneath with much enthusiasm. The vendors saw me with long hair, no hair, and then short hair. They saw me with a husband and then with a roommate. And on June 14th- many of them saw me get hit by a car while I was crossing the street. The ones who didn’t see it, heard it, and then saw me on the ground with a bloody face and broken legs.
This is what I remember: getting some goodies with Roomie and the bitches, then sending Roomie off with the bitches while I went back to get some cookies and ravioli. I got a bag of the head-sized oatmeal chocolate chip cookies that I adore from the bakery guy. I walked over to the ravioli guy and bought some….I wish I could remember which kind- I seem to remember asparagus or artichokes being involved. Anyway, I next went and talked to the cheese guy while I ate cookies- I shared some cookies with him and then went on my way. With cookies and ravioli in hand, I stood on the curb and looked both ways. There’s a street at the end of the common that intersects with my street, maybe one or two telephone poles away from where I stood. I figured I’d have no problem crossing the street and the two cars stopped there would have no problem seeing me cross. The last thing I remember was stepping into the street.
The next memory was the sound of a helicopter. After that, I remember waking and seeing my dad sitting next to me and looking at me, I remember seeing him start to speak and then get choked up. I think I’ve seen my old man get choked up twice in my life- when he got the call that his father had died suddenly (I was 10) and when his bulldog Winston died unexpectedly. I should point out here that as much as I am known as a tough broad, (Roomie was quoted as saying this by the local paper) I am by far the most emotional person in my family. Again, that old Irish Catholic magic. Anyway, seeing my dad like that made me realize that I must be pretty messed up.
Thursday afternoon till bedtime on Sunday was essentially one day in my memory. The first day I was really with it enough to have any sequence of events was Monday. The accident and the days that followed were sketchy in my mind at best. Truthfully, I don’t remember the accident at all. I’m still putting together all the pieces of what happened, how my family and friends were notified, what happened to my body, what I said while on ketamine and dilaudid. Where to start?
So here’s what happened- I was halfway into the road when I was hit at full speed (which thankfully wasn’t that fast). The driver of the car was a man in his 80′s who was distracted by the farmer’s market. He didn’t even see me, so he didn’t hit the breaks. I feel so badly for the poor guy-he was driving along, distracted (which can happen to the best of us) and didn’t see me till I was on the hood of the car and then smashing his windshield. At that point, he hit the brakes and I hit the cement. And this is how lucky I am- I landed right in front of a blood pressure screening table- full of nurses.
That’s right, I just called myself lucky. Don’t get me wrong, if the universe hands me one more bag of shit- that’ll be just about enough. I mean, I can laugh really hard about a lot- but we need to stay realistic. We’re getting to the point where Job had nothing on me. (It just occurred to me that my middle name is Joy, and perhaps I should change that last letter.) But honestly, I’m alive- I have 5 fractures to my head and face with no permanent brain injury (we think.) I have multiple lacerations to my face, but I’ll have little permanent scars- I broke my eye socket but kept my vision. My brain bled, and then it stopped. Both of my legs are broken below the knee- but I still feel them, still wiggle my feet and toes. My legs now both have metal plates and screws in them- I’m like, the bionic woman. Can you imagine how it’ll feel if you pissed me off enough to get aassaulted by these bad boys? I’ve also got something like 20 staples in each leg-so badass! The universe saw me missing my punk rock port and gave me some punk rock staples. I’m lucky.
The nurses were on me in about two seconds monitoring my breathing. Cheese guy was tending to my bloody face. 911 was called- the ambulance came and took me to the State Police barracks, where I was then flown to one of the best hospitals in the country. Beth Israel got me out of the woods- though I spent a few days in the ICU. From there I was brought to a great rehab facility that has been keeping my pain in check, building my strength and teaching me to be more independent while my body heals. Soon I will go to long term rehab so that I can continue healing and eventually start walking again.
Meanwhile, the support I’ve gotten from friends, family, and even complete strangers has been amazing. Amazing. Some of my wonderful friends started a fundraising site for me. The money they brought in in just a couple of days is nothing short of miraculous. If the cancer and end of my marriage showed me just how strong I could be- the accident taught me just how loved I am and just how kind strangers can be.
And sure, it’s also shown me just one more thing that won’t get me down. It’s given me another brush with the end. My closest encounter by far, my most rockstar scars yet. Hopefully ever.