Saturday, June 4, 2016

What I Learned When I Got Hit By a Truck

You know when people say they feel like they got hit by a Mack truck?

Now I know what they mean.

Okay so technically,  I did not get hit by a Mack truck, but I did get hit by a big old Dodge with a trailer behind it. 

I really did. I got up early this morning and headed out on a nice long walk with Piper. I was crossing the street ( in a crosswalk, with the signal, just minding my own business and obeying all the traffic laws by the way), and a guy in a big white truck was turning left and didn't see me.  Lucky lucky lucky me, (and him) he was not going fast, and he slammed on his brakes just as he hit me. I reached out with my hands, because I guess I thought I was going to stop the truck with my brute strength or something, and the force of the truck hit my arms and knocked me backward on my butt, then on to my back and head. In the moments that I saw him coming, my exact thought process was: "Oh shit. This is going to hurt. And then I'm going to die" So when I found myself lying on my back in the road and feeling relatively unscathed, I was unbelievably relieved. I laid there for a moment, and I remember thinking, "I'm okay. Nothing hurts. I'm not dead." The driver jumped out and came running as I was getting up. He was making all kinds of excuses which was really annoying me, but I couldn't hear him very well. It took me a few moments to realize that I couldn't hear him because my head phones were in. So I pulled one out, but not the other one. I really just wanted to jump up and be fine and continue on with my walk. I was mad, because my plan was to start running as soon as I got across the cross walk, and now my leg was hurting and I was pretty sure that I was not going to be able to run anymore. And I really just wanted to finish my walk, because dang it, this was the first time in FOREVER that I had worked up the gumption to haul myself out of bed and go exercise. 

A few people stopped to see if they could help. Somebody handed me my hat which flew off when I fell. I really was feeling okay at this point. I now realize that I was dazed and confused, and the poor driver was dazed and confused as well. He asked if I wanted to call the police, but I really didn't see the point. I took his name and phone number, and he said he lived just a few doors down. Then I realized my stupid dog has slipped off her leash and was running down the road. I didn't want there to be another accident victim in the family, so I chased her down, sat at the side of the road for a moment and decided to continue to my walk.

Then I started to bawl. All the way down the road to the bird refuge, I fought back tears and thought about what had just happened.  All sorts of terrible outcomes flashed through my head. My leg was hurting a little, but I really thought I was going to be okay, and I kept trying to figure out how I wasn't more badly injured. How do you hit the pavement hard enough that your head bounces, but come up without a bruise, scratch or ache anywhere?  I hit on my rear end, my back, and I distinctly remember bracing myself for my head to hit the road and feeling it bounce off the pavement and hit twice. Yet I felt fine in all those areas. Adrenaline? Guardian angels?  Those recently acquired extra layers of fat on my body? Perhaps a combination of all three.

Anyhow, I finished my walk, and by the time I got home, my leg was hurting more, not less. I called the guy back and told him I was going to go to the Instacare and get checked out, just to be sure. Good old Dr. Scharf checked me over good, took a couple x rays and diagnosed me with a pulled hamstring, and maybe some other tendon damage. I'm gonna be sore for a few weeks, and I'm supposed to stay off of my leg as much as possible for the next couple days.

So now I'm hopping around on crutches to try and keep the weight off my foot. I'm also planning on milking this for all it's worth with my family over the next few days. " You know, I'd cook dinner, but I got hit by a truck, or "Oh, the toilet needs scrubbing, but I got hit by a truck." Olivia is a great little nurse and wants to do everything for me and get me things. The other members of my family require a little more cajoling/threatening, which I'm pretty good at and actually enjoy, so it should work out quite well for me.

And after mulling this whole thing over in my head for a day, here is what I have learned. Get ready. This is going to be brilliant:

#1 When you see an accident, STOP! Go see what you can do to help, and hang around even if everything seems fine. A few people pulled over and got out to help, but when they saw me up and moving, I think they figured everything was okay. And everything was okay, except that I was pretty shaken up and not thinking clearly. And I didn't even realize that I wasn't thinking clearly.  I really could have used a neutral third party there to say, "hey, we really should call the cops". I was lucky. The driver that hit me was a good guy, and he came through later when I decided I needed some medical attention, but what if I hadn't been that lucky?

I am the worst at getting involved in things like this and hanging around in these situations.  I always feel like I am making a nuisance of myself and sticking my nose in other people's business. And anything that looks like it might involve blood, guts or loss of consciousness sends me running.  But even minor accidents can be traumatic for the people involved, and you never know what you will be able to do. And after today, you can bet  I am going to try a little harder to be a little more helpful.

#2 In the words of the great Mad Eye Moody, CONSTANT VIGILANCE!!! I saw the truck before the light turned green. I didn't realize he was turning left. And I didn't realize he did not see me until he was knocking me down. So pay attention to where the cars around you are headed. And for heaven's sake, this goes triple for drivers.  It's easy to be ticked off at the driver for hitting me, but in all reality, I can understand exactly how this happened. How often have I been on auto pilot in the driver's seat and not really seeing what was around me?  How many close calls have we all narrowly avoided? Pay attention out there people!

#3 Life changes in an instant. I got lucky today, but I know there was someone else who wasn't so lucky. When I walked back in the door this morning right after all this had happened, Olivia came running up to me and gave me a hug, the way she normally does when I get home. She didn't know anything had happened yet, but for me, that hug lasted a little longer and was a little sweeter because I realized how close I came to not being there to hug her back. We don't get to know what the next moment holds, so we better appreciate the one we have right now.

The doctor said I'll probably feel worse tomorrow than I do today, so that's great. But, I did get hit by a truck. I think I've earned a day off.

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