nothing to do with luck
This is a late [quite beefy] post, but I felt it was a pretty big deal and that it should be documented regardless.
On March 23, 2011 I was in a car accident in Michigan.
Here's the long version...
Some of you may recall our recent "it's a jeep thing..." post from a couple weeks ago in which I introduced our new 2005 Jeep Liberty. I ended the post with "Let the new motor chapter begin..." Well—it was a very short chapter to say the least.
Eleven days after we bought it, I headed to my hometown Jackson, MI with a pile of framed art for an art gallery event that I was being featured in. After a long day of driving and set-up at the gallery location, I followed my Dad back to his house just after 9:00pm. It had been freezing raining for about four hours and we all knew it was very slippery—people were slipping on the sidewalks just trying to walk. Sometimes it really doesn't matter how cautious you are though...
Around 9:30pm about a mile from my Dad's house, one of my tires caught a nasty patch of ice and sent me into a spin. I struggled through two complete donuts and finally came to a stop facing the same direction I was originally headed with the left front corner of my Liberty slightly angled over the center line. Thank goodness there was no on-coming traffic, but as I was trying to drive away, I blacked out for a second, soon realizing I had been struck [hard] from behind by an F-150.
It is still so surreal...I can remember trying to process what was happening and seeing the man's seated silhouette in his crunched, steaming truck. He had spun out after hitting me and we both slid so our driver-side doors were facing each other. My head began throbbing and I realized I had hit it on the seatbelt casing by my door.
The sheriff arrived quickly and began assisting us. You couldn't even walk on the road around us without stepping on broken pieces of cars. The scene was all eerily lit by the red & blue police car lights rotating around and reeked of burning engine parts.
Shortly after the sheriff arrived, even the responding fire truck had trouble on the ice, sliding broadside down the road toward the entire crash scene. My Dad, the sheriff, David (my step-brother) and I all had only a few seconds to get out from between the vehicles and out of the way. We all ran to the opposite side of the road, but I'm still cracking up, because my reaction was actually to run and DIVE into the ditch. I knew David was still coming behind me and would need room to move as well, but it's funny to learn the instinctive decisions you make without reaction/process time. It was a little bit like a movie—I know it sounds dramatic, but it really WAS dramatic. Haha! The fire truck pulled its back end out just in time, ending up in the ditch we had run from—still not sure how it missed the crashed cars (and people).
Everyone on the scene had a hard time standing/walking/running in the street because it was so slippery. My Dad called it a "circus act", which I thought was quite fitting. A fireman helped us transfer all my art from the back of the Liberty (only one piece was broken!) to my Dad's truck.
Both vehicles involved were clearly totaled, but miraculously, the other driver and I were able to walk away. He did get taken away on a stretcher as a precaution. They took my vitals in the ambulance and after watching everything get towed away from the scene, I later spent most of the night (and early morning) in the ER with my Dad and sisters to get a CT scan. Results came back clear—I only ended up with a concussion, a very large lump/bruising on my head (about a quarter of my skull), bruised shoulder, swollen tongue (from biting it really hard!), and bloody, ripped jeans with a scraped knee from diving.
I'd like to thank the countless people who have showered me with encouragements, well wishes, hugs and prayers. You are each VERY special to me. Praise the Lord for life!! If any detail had been different in that accident (ending differently in my initial spins, on-coming traffic, fire truck, etc.), I wouldn't be here to tell the story. Many would say I'm "lucky". I know that God was looking out for me and that it had absolutely nothing to do with luck. He's not done with me yet......I'll definitely be making efforts to step up to the plate he has obviously set before me. Keep me accountable to that!
Now, 15 days post-concussion, I am feeling MUCH better. It took a few days to bring the swelling on my head down (thanks frozen veggie bags!) and for the body stiffness to go away. Took a couple weeks to get back to regular sleeping patterns, putting weight on the back of my head (ie: pillow at night) and leaning over (throbbing feeling), but I finally have my normal energy back.
Annnnnd, definitely have fresh perspective on life. Little bothers me right now and I'm thankful for each moment I get to witness and share with those around me. The whole concept of the brevity of life is extremely sobering. Oh, and I've also turned into a bit of a sap since the accident. Great.