Tuesday, May 17, 2011

One split second

The other night I had a potent reminder that our lives have the potential to change in the blink of an eye.

I had picked the kids up from an evening activity and was driving them home. We were stopped at a stoplight on a highway not far from our house, chatting about their evening, when we felt the entire car jolt forwards. It took me a moment to process what had happened. We had been hit from behind, quite hard, and the impact had smacked our van into the car in front of us.

One of the kids, in a frightened voice, asked, "What happened?" I told them we'd been hit and they both started crying. I asked if they were okay and my six year-old son kept saying, "my head hurts," over and over. I felt my heart drop. My neck and back were extremely sore so I couldn't turn around to look at him. I immediately called 911 and talked calmly to the kids until help arrived.

Within minutes a firetruck pulled up, followed by an ambulance and two police cars. They triaged the scene (the man who hit us was fine, as were the woman and two children in the car in front of us), so they focused their attention on us. My daughter didn't have any pain, so a friend was called to come pick her up. My son and I were taken from the van on backboards, as a safety precaution, since we both had neck pain.

The young man who hit us was extremely apologetic. He was a bit undone at the site of my children crying and the fact that we were hurt. I felt bad for him. A little. Perhaps now he'll think twice before texting and driving.

I was so proud of my son. He was calm and patient and so brave. The emergency personnel (there seemed to be about twenty of them in and around the van!) were just fantastic. They should get a medal for knowing how to work with kids and put them at ease. My son was taken to the ambulance first and he told me later that while they were waiting for me to be brought, the man who was in there with him asked him "some important questions," like what was his favorite color (blue) and his favorite food (Ramen). Then he was shown how some of the equipment worked. Asked later if he was frightened, he told me no, but he thought the ambulance was cool.

At the hospital, we had to wait a couple of hours before they could get us in for x-rays (which turned out to show no serious injuries - yay). If you've never spent several hours being strapped to a backboard while wearing a neck brace, it's not something I can highly recommend. If you didn't have back pain to begin with, you surely will after this ordeal. Closing in on the second hour my poor son was whimpering from the pain (and so was I, inwardly). But I have to say, I'm so proud of how both my kids handled the whole thing. Dan especially, considering all he had to go through. What a little trooper.


I'm a trooper


Aside from residual soreness (very little on the part of the kids, very much on the part of me), we are all okay. The van, not so much. It was towed off to never-never land. 

Since he showed such grace under pressure and such admiration of emergency vehicles, my boy was greeted by this when he came home from school the next day.



True to his gender, he's developed the requisite obsession with Lego's. Anna was awarded a Barbie for her own bravery and helpfulness (she informed every single one of the emergency personnel of her full name and birthday, whether they asked or not).

Oh, and if you want to know what you look like when they untape the neck brace from your head, here you go. You're welcome.


Thanks for the codeine drip Doc, I'll just fly home.


 While the whole incident did not exactly score high on the fun meter, it did drive home a few points.

  • Always wear your seat belts. The kids were congratulated for being in appropriate car seats and having their safety harnesses/belts on (yay us).
  • If you're going to be hit, make sure it's by someone who's fully insured.
  • At the rental car company, bargain for the newest car on the lot. You will be consoled by that new car smell and the kids will be kept busy for several days pressing all the buttons.
  • And most importantly, know that whoever you are, wherever you are, life has the potential to change in one split second. So put all your energy into living and loving today.




55 comments:

  1. I saw the picture on FB and my heart just dropped into my stomach - I literally felt ill.

    I'm so glad you're all ok. I'm so glad the insurance will cover everything.

    If he was texting, I don't feel a bit sorry for him. I'm furious with him. Utterly, outrageously furious!

    So, so, so relieved that this post wasn't worse. That you're all safe at home.

    Love to you. Going to go wait for my heart to go back to normal. xxxxxxxxxx

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  2. It's hard to remember how fragile our sense of normalcy can be. Lord. So glad everyone is okay - hugs to you and the kiddos.

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  3. Oh Melissa, I'm sorry! You know how when you post a link to FB it always grabs the first image in a post? I didn't stop to think that if all someone see's is that image and the title of the post it looks pretty scary! I should add a disclaimer that all turned out okay! xx

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  4. Another glad you are okay. Are you seeing a physiotherapist for the back/neck pain? Even though there is no serious damage the impact will have caused things to go out of whack and this is when whiplash can develop. Mine happened a week after my blow to the head, thousands of micro tears all through the neck.

    As my physio said, if I had seen him straight after the impact the years of pain would be avoided.

    Please, if you are not, do. Both of you.

    xx
    MM

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  5. Glad it wasn't a serious accident and that you guys came out ok.

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  6. How terrifying. There is that horrible moment in a car accident, just after the sickening crunch sound and the nasty jolt when you realise it did actually happen. And things will never be the same.

    I totally agree with Madmother, see a physio and I would also suggest a chiro. Vertebrae can be put out of place by the jolt and are so easily pushed back in.

    Love the positive attitude, well done all of you.

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  7. OMG! my heart dropped a beat reading that! Thank F**ck you are all ok...
    yes only takes a split 2nd i have been in so many car spats as to why i will never drive . As for texting and drive hate that even more.......
    hubs does it next time i will grab his phone and chuck it out tje window ggrrr!!!!

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  8. @Madmother and Eccentricess, I am going to see a chiropractor and also my primary doctor. I want to be proactive about this since I'm still having pain and it's almost a week later. I've had other people who have been in such accidents give me the same advice.

    I'm still watching the kids, too, but they seem to be okay. I swear, they are like little rubber bands.

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  9. Can we just have faeries and unicorns and rainbows for a while instead? I don't mean your writing. I mean in real life. Really. I think it's time!

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  10. My goodness! Your little ones are such troopers. It must have been excruciating as a mother to see him whimpering.

    So glad you are OK.

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  11. Thank goodness you are all okay. What a scary sight to see your little man on a backboard like that.

    What a reminder to live in the moment. xx
    Jenn

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  12. @ Celeste - YES! Please!

    @ Shelly & Jenn - It was very hard seeing him hurting (and my daughter scared) and not being able to comfort them except verbally. I'm so used to holding them when something goes wrong!

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  13. P.S. I don't know for *sure* that he was texting and driving. But I never heard his brakes, it was dark and we were at a complete stop, so it would be hard to miss bright red brake lights at night unless you were just completely looking away from the road. And when he jumped out of the car he was holding his cell phone. So I'm surmising.

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  14. Oh whew thought you'd all been hurt when I saw the picture! So pleased you're all ok though sorry that you had that shock. It's about time you get some good luck - seriously, this all may be good writing fodder but it can't be too good for your nerves! hugs and such Vxx

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  15. I am sure glad you are all okay. Your kids are troopers!

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  16. @ Vegemitevix - Agreed. I think I'm owed some seriously good karma!

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  17. One question - what did you buy yourself? Or is the new rental car enough?

    Glad I'd seen you on Twitter or I would have been terrified by that post title and photo. It is good karma that you are all ok and even more grateful for what you do have.

    (((Hugs)))

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  18. @ Dorothy - well, I bought myself flowers the day before the accident. Does that count?

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  19. I would have FREAKED OUT. No one wants to think their kid could be harmed. Isn't it amazing how resilient they are? As a mother, you worry so much more than they even need. Yay, codeine!

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  20. Like some of the other girls, I saw the pic and title on FB and my heart sank to my boots (don't apologise, it was only for a second and was nothing compared to the fright YOU had)
    You know, we fool ourselves into thinking we have control over our lives, but stuff can just sneak up and blindside you in a heartbeat. Your post is a reminder that we need to make the most of every day.
    Thank God you're all OK, my pretty. Hope that pain gets dealt with very soon. xx

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  21. I once got scraped by a young driver who decided he'd speed past behind me as I was reversing - no damage to our car, massive scrape up the side of his. None of us hurt, but I lost my shit at him. I was horrified at how UNCOOL I was! So I cannot imagine what I might be like in your case... I am so relieved for you both that you are ok. We were rear ended about 16 yrs ago and I have back trouble to this day. Young driver (again) not paying attention, more interested in his car full of young female passengers.

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  22. Oh crap. That sucks to have happened to you and the kids. But it's so good you are okay, and that the kids dealt well in the situation (says a lot for your parenting skills). I've been the Mum accompanying a child in a neck brace on a backboard via ambulance to the ER and that was scary enough, but if it had been me being taken as well I would have been freaking out.
    I am so glad it ended up okay (considering).
    You can be proud of yourself and your little family.
    Hope you all recover fast xo

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  23. I swear, my kids are made of rubber - sounds like yours are too!

    Thank God no one was very seriously injured. I think your next appointment should be with an attorney, just to be safe.

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  24. I'm so glad you're all OK! I saw the picture on my FB feed and I was so worried!
    Hope your neck and back feel better soon x

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  25. So glad you're all OK. Even relatively minor accidents are scary.

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  26. So glad that you are all okay. Texting and driving is so NOT cool. I hope that guy learned his lesson. There is a reason you should no do it and it should be ILLEGAL. Moving on... you couldn't be more right about living in the moment. Appreciating each day for what it has to offer. As you said, it can change in a blink.

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  27. Phew good thing you guys are okay. Having been in one myself it is pretty scary. Ours was totalled and my dog almost flew out the window. I still went to work the next day cause I didn't know I wasnt supposed to!

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  28. Gosh, I'm so glad everything is ok.

    I read a book called Left Neglected by Lisa Genova recently. That story is about a women who picks up her phone whilst driving, crashes her car and ends up with a brain injury that sees her lose the left side of her world (which is a real medical condition).

    Every time I'm tempted to pick up the phone in traffic, I think of that book and resist. It's just not worth the risk.

    xxx

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  29. @ MummyK - Sounds scary. Hope you and your dog were okay. I stayed home the next day and kept the kids home in the morning. We didn't get home from the hospital until 2:00 a.m. and I also wanted to watch them a bit to make sure they weren't having any concerning symptoms.

    @ Bronnie - It is scary, but he didn't seem to be in a lot of pain so I wasn't freaking out too much. Though it did help to have something to focus on other than my own pain. He got a kick out of being able to watch TV in the hospital at 11:00 at night (Home Improvement)!

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  30. @ Jodie - Ooph, yeah, people act like answering the phone is a life or death issue. Seriously, we all managed to survive before cell phones. I think we'll get by if we let a call go to voicemail.

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  31. LOVE the comment under the picture of you without the brace. Hope the aches and pains go away soon.

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  32. @ middle child - and I LOVE your avi!

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  33. @ Toni - Huh. The Universe would never let anything happen to your future son-in-law. Or your daughter's future mother-in-law for that matter. ;)

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  34. oh my gosh, Kristin..so glad you are all ok, a split second like this just makes your stomach (and heart) lurch..Thank goodness, there are happy smiling photos at the end of this post

    Gill xo

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  35. Shit! I am SO glad you are all ok! How scary!

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  36. Glad you're all okay, and that you still have that wonderful trademark sense of humour!

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  37. Hear hear. Live for today; I hear you. So glad you're all OK. And as for the Lego - definite winner!

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  38. What an awful experience.
    But, you and the kids are OK-ish.
    The car not so.
    I too have been rear-ended totally by surprise...TWICE...waiting at a RED light.
    First time, whiplash did affect me a few days and months later...so take note about that...it can take time to 'come out'
    Second time, had my baby granddaughter in rear facing car seat...and not a problem AT ALL for her, just totally stressed out Grandma. The insurance company MADE me buy a new baby car seat, because under Australian law, if one of them has been involved in a crash, their safety cannot be guaranteed.
    Back to you, and the children.
    NOT the way you expected to finish that evening was it...I do hope that you and the kids are feeling better, despite the shock that sometimes sets in..and I love your 'blogger's reaction' no matter what...quick, photos now, thank you!!
    Thinking of you...as IF you need another thing in your life...XXX

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  39. Youch! Whiplash! I still have problems from the one I got way back in 1997 that seemed to be okay so went untreated.

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  40. Glad to hear everyone was fine!
    I hope you were sent home with a delicious cocktail of painkillers!
    x

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  41. oh sooo lucky. and glad he was insured. I'm naughty and drive/text/twitter :\ must stop....

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  42. My heart sank when I read what happened because a similar accident happened to me and I ended up with a spinal injury.

    SO glad to read you all ended up okay

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  43. OMG! Just caught up with my google reading, K. Hope you and Dan and of course Anna are feeling heaps better now?xxxx.

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  44. Oh, crap! Just catching up on my reading. So, so lucky xx

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  45. @ Denyse & River - I keep hearing that from people that have been in similar accidents...that the injuries can surface months later. One reason I'm going to a chiro now. Just heard from the insurance co of the man that hit me. They're accepting full liability and paying for everything. Phew! Everyone has been very pleasant and cordial, at least.

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  46. @ Kellie - I do have a painkiller cocktail, but can't take it at work or anytime I have to drive (to pick up kids, etc) so it hasn't done me a lot of good so far!

    @ Phonakins - STOP that! Naughty girl.

    @ Chelle - Ugh, that sounds awful. Hope it isn't too bad. x

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  47. UGH! So glad you are all OK. Very scary. Definately puts things in perspective! :)

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  48. That is so scary, I am so glad to hear that all three of you are ok! *HUGS*

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  49. My gosh, how scary. I'm so glad you're all okay.

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  50. Sorry sweetie, been taking a bit of a break from blogging and come back and find this - so glad you are all okay. Must have been some scary times for all of you. xxx

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  51. Like Kakka, just catching up on post, and had no idea this had happened. It's scary isn't it....the thought that life could have changed so suddenly. Thank God you were all alright.

    x

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