Archive for the ‘Accident’ Tag

MY CRASH AND I   Leave a comment

People have asked me to write about my crash (April 15, 2015). Be careful what you ask for. It has come to some 17 pages. Right now it’s posted on forgivenessoptions.com for those who would like to see the whole thing.To give you a sense of what you’re in for if you go there, I’m posting the first few paragraphs here.

To get to it, click on my web site and choose the tab that says “Crash.” If you read the whole thing, or just scroll to the end, you’ll find a place where you can add a comment. Or I’d be happy to see a comment here.

Here, then, are the first few paragraphs.

MY CRASH AND I: WHAT I LEARNED FROM TOSSING MY ACURA IN THE AIR
In five minutes my Acura RSX would be spinning and bouncing more than eight feet in the air with me in the driver’s seat. How to describe the noise? Imagine being inside a huge tin can filled with pebbles bouncing down a bumpy road. Bang, clatter, crash, rattle, even crackle! The noise!

But I didn’t know it as I waited for the left-turn signal to turn green. Just a short ride south on Audubon Road, a right turn onto Engler Boulevard, left on Chestnut Street and I’d be within sight of home. A nice quick nap and then two wonderful unscheduled days ahead to work on my writing projects. It was a good day, April 15, 2015, I’d just had lunch with women friends followed by a painless visit to the periodontist. Maybe this was a slower route home, but more peaceful than route 41. Looking back, maybe “peaceful” wasn’t such a good choice, but I’d have plenty of time later for “What ifs.”

So far, you can rely on the relative accuracy of my report. From here on in, remember that memory is not a manila folder in an internal file cabinet, but a constantly modified creation. I do have the reports of a couple of eye witnesses, enough so I know that what I recall doesn’t meet with what I see when I drive past the spot now. It’s enough to know I couldn’t have been airborne more than three seconds if it’s true that’s how long air bags remain deployed. It’s enough to know there weren’t as many trees to avoid as my memory conjures.

It was as if a heavy dark comforter suddenly fell away from my eyes and I saw the last of a line of cars directly in front of me. Unspoken words travel in milliseconds through the brain. “I did it. I fell asleep. I can’t hit those cars.” I swerved off the road to the right, taking a piece of the bumper from the car in front of me. I only know that’s true, because the insurance company paid him some $200 for the damage. “Was he mad? I asked later on in my recovery. The answer was “no.” I can’t imagine what it must have been like for him, not only suddenly to be hit ever-so-mildly from behind, but to be on the sidelines to witness my flight. I do know it was traumatic for the witnesses I met later. I remember steering like crazy to avoid trees, saying to myself “I’ve got to get my foot to the brake, but I have to keep steering.” Then I was flying and rotating in the air, saying “Oh My God!” No, I wasn’t praying. I was curious. What an amazing thing was happening. No, I wasn’t in fear of dying. The noise was even louder as I seemed to bounce, and then suddenly it was over. I was sitting right side up in the driver’s seat of my Acura which, as I saw in the photos later, looked like a tin can ready for recycling.
I think my first thought was “OK. Just relax and let them take care of you.” Or maybe it was “There’s black smoke. I’ve got to get out. It’s going to burst into flames.” I do know my thoughts were interrupted by a kind man whose name I later learned was Frank. He reached in through what was left of the passenger side window and took my hand. “Just stay still. 911 has been called. Help will be here in seconds.” It must have been very uncomfortable for him leaning through that broken remnant of a window and – as he later reported – holding my hand that was gritty with shattered glass. “Did I hurt anyone else?” I asked. Hearing his answer “no,” I relaxed easily into total relief and dependence on my potential caretakers.

“I deliberately kept asking you questions,” he reported. I remember some of what he asked, like “Where do you live?” I know he asked me, “Are you married?” because he later confirmed my answer, “No, I’ve been happily divorced since 1976.” He didn’t appreciate my humor when I said, “I think I’ve totaled my car.” One can’t blame him for thinking my brains were scrambled, given the surprise of seeing a “little lady” alive in the driver’s seat when he feared finding a bloody dead body. (He says he saw a “little lady” in the driver’s seat. What a gentleman, he didn’t say “little old lady.”)Then the wonderful first responders arrived.

(To see the rest of this, head on over to forgivenessoptions.com)

I’ll be back in a day or so with more rules to save you the cost of psychotherapy.

Posted March 24, 2016 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

APRIL 15, 2015, THE SHORT VERSION   32 comments

I was on my way home via Audubon Road in Chaska, Minnesota, a short distance from where I would take a right turn onto Engler Boulevard. Not far from the safety of my own garage.

I knew I was sleepy, so I was fighting it, when suddenly there it was, the last car in a line of cars that I was bearing down on. There wasn’t really time to say words to myself, but I thought, “I did it!” (fell asleep, that is), Not wanting to injure anyone else, I turned off into the grassy area on the side of the road. From there I rely on the report of an eyewitness who saw the whole thing. In fact, he called 911 before my car had even hit the ground for the third time. “Send everything,” he told them.

I just barely clipped the bumper of the car in front of me, and apparently accelerated to turn off into the grassy area. There ensued a wild ride, steering desperately to avoid trees and poles, knowing I wanted to get my foot to the brake, but too busy steering. The eyewitness tells me any other choice I might have made would have been disastrous for lots of people.

Then my car hit something that propelled me about 8 feet over the street sign, taking out a street light as I landed for the first time. Two more rollovers ensued before my car came to a stop right side up. All I could do was repeat “Oh my God!” Several times as I listened to the loud metallic noises of my 2002 Acura RSX in flight. Not like a prayer. More like astonished observation.

By the time I landed, the eyewitness had left his car behind and was there to lean in the hole that once was the passenger side window. I saw black smoke and thought “I’d better get out of here. The car is about to burst into flames.” That’s when he reached in and touched my hand, telling me he’d called 911 and help was on the way. “What’s your name?” he asked, and I told him. “Where do you live?” he asked, and I told him. “Are you married?” he asked. “Divorced since 1976” I said.

“I expected to see a bloody dead body,” he reports, “and instead I found you tucked away in your little cocoon.”

Help was there in two minutes, and what wonderful help it was. Such kind people who went well beyond the call of duty.

I have more details to report, but I’m running out of energy. For the short version – every part of my car was smashed except the part I was in. I have three broken ribs, lots of bruising, and a fractured?/crushed? vertebra, L1, I think. It’s the one at the base of the spine.

I’m doing great. Ever so grateful I didn’t hurt anyone else, Amazed I’m alive. More than that, I’m joyful.

I’m even blessed by the fact there was a place for me in a rehab location just 5 minutes from my home where some of my friends volunteer.

Already the ribs are less painful. My logistical problem is the brace that must be worn for three months (predicted) whenever I am upright – even in the shower, for example. We’re now down to the point where two of us can get it on and off, an experienced aide and me. I won’t go into the problems of living alone with it, and I assume I’ll solve it at some point. Right now, though, please don’t ask me when I’ll be going home.

I did go out this past Tuesday, though, to participate as a presenter in a forum on forgiveness.

I’ll try to attach photos of my car.

Anyway, that’s why I haven’t been around the blogosphere much lately.

Crushed Car #2jpeg Crushed Car #1

%d bloggers like this: