Monday, October 20, 2008

Part II

Now that you know the woman in Part I was me (is me), I'm going to give you the rest of the story. I said that I wasn't going to do it today, but I'm on a roll and mentally this is therapy; it hurts but it helps me rid myself of it.

So, here we go:

I could feel myself fading. I could sort of hear the dispatcher and was somewhat aware of some banging on my driver's side window, but it felt like the Dakota grey sky had fallen and was enveloping me.

"...NinjaMedic! NINJAMEDIC!!! Stay on the line with me!! I have rescue on the way, stay on the line with me. Talk to me, NM. Talk to me. What hurts? What's hurting you, NM? Don't quit on me, you stay with me, now......"

"'am? ma'am? you ok, hon? *thudthudthud* miss? MISS?!! We're getting help, miss."


I didn't want to close my eyes; I was scared that if I closed them I'd never open them again, but they were so heavy..... I remember putting my fingers up to my face and physically propping my lids open like I did when I was a kid and swore that this year I'd see the New Year in, that I wouldn't fall asleep. The action of moving and making a physical effort helped clear a little of the fog I'd found myself in, and I hung up with the dispatcher and speed-dialed Urbaner in Greenland. I could hear sirens in the background...

"Thule AB, Sgt Urbaner, can I help you?"
"I wrecked the truck. I'm hurt".
"WHAT????? WTF????? Are you ok? How bad is it? Are you hurt?"
"It's bad. Totalled. I hit a semi. Call the school...the kids...I'm hurt......"*CREEAAAKKKKK* as my door was yanked open.

"Ma'am, I'm John with xxx rescue squad, can you tell me what happened?"
"I'm hurt. Semi hit me.....hurt. My You tell him..."

An ambulance with 4 medics in it was passing by less than 5 mins after the impact, and they stopped to help. The bystanders had told them what had happened and they'd forced my door open. All I recall is the noise the door made when it came open and the guy's hands and voice telling Urbaner who he was, what had happened and that he was there to help.

Breathe in.....hurrrts....breathe out.....hurrrrrtssss....breathe.........just breathe.

The noise and activity made me even more determined to fight the fog, and I tried as hard as I could to tell the medic what happened as he put a c-collar on me and tried to keep me warm. I think I must've had a brief LOC because the next thing I recall was looking into the faces of firemen in bunkers and a State Trooper I'd worked with in the past. They had their hands on me, pulling me onto a backboard and suddenly I could see nothing but grey again and started panicking, thinking the fog had beat me.

My cell phone rang and I realized I wasn't in the fog, just horizontal and looking at the sky. John the medic said "it says Urbaner on the ID, hon. That your man?"

"yeah, my husband.....please, it hurts me. Please....tell him what happened and to call RCRH. Tell him I'm ok..."

"MZ NinjaMedics phone, is this Mr NinjaMedic? She's temporarily inconvienienced, sir. Can't really talk well right now. Had a little wreck wit......oh, you're an officer too, sir? Ok, well then I'll tell you: your wife has been involved in a head on collision with a semi at a decent rate of speed and we're taking her to RCRH. If I were you I'd head to the hospital, we'll meet you there. Oh, and she wants me to tell you she's ok. What?! Greenland?! Call the hospital, Sir. That's the best advice I can give you".

In the back of the ambulance on the way to the hospital they cut my clothes off. When we reached the trauma bay, I felt like I was descending into hell; being pawed at clawed and cut and snipped and shouted at by creatures in masks and gowns and goggles. I knew what was going down, I knew the routine, but when you're disoriented and hurt and scared it's a totally different ball of wax.

I hadn't torn my aorta. I had, however (and this is top to bottom, not in order of severity):a concussion, torn tendons in my neck, knocked my front teeth loose and fractured the roots, bloodied my nose, hairline fractures my scapula, broken too many ribs to count, broken my left clavicle, dislocated both shoulders, cracked my sternum, torn tissue in my left breast, broken my right knuckle, cardiac and pulmonary contusions (which were worse on the left than the right), herniated the disc between L4 and L5, damn near ruptured my bladder (that's why I pissed my pants) and lacerated my knees on the dash - and that's just what they found in the first hour of being there.

Apparently the cardiac and pulmonary contusions were bad enough to warrant the first 12 hours of my 4 day hospital stay in the ICU.

Coming home was an experience. I had 2 black eyes, my left arm was in a sling strapped to my ribs with an ACE wrap, my back hurt me to walk, lay, sit and stand, I was on narcs for pain, and I had 3 kids to chase after. There was one flight out of Thule a week, and it left at noon on Thursdays. I got hit at 1233. By the time the next Thursday rolled around, I was out of the hospital and home, Urbaner. I learned that trying to wash dishes by hand with one arm in a sling was difficult, that cereal really IS good for supper too, that if you try really hard you can hold puke in your mouth until you get to a receptacle so's you don't have to clean it out of the carpet or frighten your kids by yakking in front of them, that there is no good or comfortable way to sneeze when you have busted ribs, and that 8 year olds are good 'go to'-ers in a pinch.

I also learned that getting back on the horse is good therapy. I HAD to drive, see. Nobody else was going to drive me everywhere and I had babies to look after. So, I had to pull my big girl panties on and I had to do it.

I wish I could tell you how many times I got out of the car after a trip, told the kids that I was going to tidy something in the garage, and cried when they were out of sight. Just sobbed. Sat on the stoop and sobbed because I had been frightened, WAS frightened......scared, and lonely. I started smoking again, quit eating, and dropped another 30lbs that I couldn't afford and didn't need to lose. When Urbaner came home on mid-tour leave 2 months later, one of the first things he said to me when he saw me in the airport was "you need to eat". I was right at 100lbs. For me, that's tiny.

Oh, and my lovely neighbors at the time? Yeah, she called Urbaner in Greenland the 2nd day I was home from the hospital and told him I was fucking some guy in our bed and that she could hear it. Uh huh. I'm broken, physically, but I'm having orgies every night. Right.

I'm not writing about this because I want people to feel sorry for me. I'm writing because....well, because next week will be 5 years and because it's on my mind. I'm better now, I'm mentally better and physically I'm almost where I need and want to be. I follow through on things now and I'm appreciative of....well, of lots of things.

I'm ok. I survived, and I'm ok.


MedicThree said...

We must speak. I sent you an email!

RD said...

I applaud you. You have the courage to write about your accident. I have yet to write about mine. It's been seven years and it stills weighs on me each day.

Chris said...

Sounds like that might have hurt!

Glad you're still here to tell us!

Anonymous said...

Holy crap that's powerful stuff. Above all, I envy your strength in not killing your neighbors. Pain, kids, stress, anxiety, and fear are heavy burdens but stupid, vindictive people are way too much to deal with.

I hope writing about your experience brings you what you're looking for. Sure those experiences need to be turned out and dealt with, but that process can be lengthy and tremendously painful. Of course not dealing with them is worse in the long run.. a great deal of life is a fun catch 22 like that.

Do medics have the same bad reactions to narc pain meds that police officers do? (Pain meds tend to make them paranoid in an extreme (and dangerous) way.)

Ninja Medic said...

Medic3: you got a reply.

RD: Anytime you think you're ready, I'm ready too. As you can see, I know how it is.

Chris: Me too!

MB: You know, I'm allergic to Vicodin - gives me hives and makes me hurl - so I was on Percocet and it makes me cranky at best. I wasn't in any physical shape to do anything to anyone, but I used to lay in bed at night, in pain and mad as all hell, thinking of ways to get even with that bitch and her knuckle-dragging husband. I came up with ALL kinds of ways to mess with them, from putting cotton balls soaked with 'ShePee' in their car to calling 1-800 numbers and having incontinence supplies delivered to their house. Never did any of it, of course, but man, was it ever satisfying to lay there and think about it. Can you imagine the stink of concentrated deer urine in a very, very small space? I can....hehehehehehe.

I'm ok now. I have bad days, but I'm mostly good. Except for when my husband drives like a fucking lunatic and gets very, very, very close to other people at 70mph with me in the front seat. Then I try my best not to freak out, and I usually succeed.