So far, 2011 is indeed turning out to be amazing, though not in quite the positive way which was what I meant when I said it.
Yesterday, I intended to take Oscar to the vet, to check out a few issues which had come to light after his New Year's Eve performance. I figured we'd be there an hour at most, and then go back to work for a few more hours and then go home. Or go up to the North Shore to finally get some books for this research paper I still have to write. (This thing is turning into a logistical bear.)
It was a bright and sunny day, and I was hoping that whatever was wrong with him wouldn't be too severe because . . . I love him, and also because I am broke. I was considering how nice it was that I had such a good car now, because now that the car repair bills have stopped with the offloading of the Corolla, I have dog repair bills on occasion.
About five minutes later, the truck in front of me stopped suddenly in the middle of an intersection with no warning, no blinker, and potentially (unless the sun somehow made them invisible) no brake lights. By the time I realised he was not moving, there was about a foot and a half between me and the truck's back bumper--not even enough time for my brakes to squeal as I slammed them, and then slammed into the truck itself. Next thing I knew, the airbag in front of me was deflating, black smoke was going up everywhere, and Oscar was sitting hunched over in his seat, mercifully alive because of his harness, and shaking with terror.
I thought wearily that I was supposed to get out and exchange information with the driver of the truck and then I remembered I had had such a good car and I had just destroyed it, and I didn't know how I could afford to pay more on my insurance, and all I had wanted to do was take Oscar to the vet and now he probably had more stuff wrong with him, and he was so scared and I couldn't unhitch him and hold him and comfort him because this stupid airbag was in the way and plus it felt like someone had thrown a rock at my chest.
The truck driver was very solicitous and told me just to stay where I was and wait until "they" got there. "They" turned out to be both the EMTs and the local police, and I was too disoriented to tell the difference, so when the EMT tried to ask me what was wrong with me, I started to give a description of what had happened to the car. They recommended I go to the hospital just to get checked out, and then they put a neck brace on me and had me lie down on a stretcher. They taped my head and the neck brace and my chest, and maybe my legs, to the thing, and all I could see was beautiful blue sky and clouds and occasionally one of their heads.
I kept asking about Oscar and I couldn't get in touch with anybody to pick him up at first, and the cop took him, trembling, out of the other side of the car and said he'd keep him at the station until someone could come get him, but as it turned out later he brought him to the local shelter instead. I was wheeled onto an ambulance, and the EMTs tried to take my coat off, but they should've thought of that before they taped me down, because it was impossible, and every time they tried, the neck brace felt more constricting. I noticed that the board was very flat, and that my spine was curving upward a little more than normal, and thought that perhaps these guys needed to work on their technique, because if they had had a person with actual back and neck injuries, this position couldn't be a good one. As for me, my worst problem was motion sickness. And worry about Oscar, but I managed to raise my arm up enough to text his Favourite Babysitters, and they picked him up forthwith. I was glad the EMTs hadn't been able to take my coat off, because that ambulance was cold!
After feeling sure I was going to vomit into my own larynx, I didn't and the ambulance stopped, and then they were wheeling me down some hallways, and it got a little warmer and I could see signs above the nurses' stations (even though I couldn't see the nurses' stations) that said things like "North Pod." It made me feel even more like I was in a Star Trek show, or maybe Dollhouse, going in for a "treatment." Except that the dolls usually walk in.
I was transferred to a "bed" and then propped up some, and spent most of the day waiting, updating Facebook from my phone, and then talking to one of the Favourite Babysitters after she showed up and my phone died. I learned that, if I had ever thought I wanted to work in an ER (which I never did think, I don't think), I really didn't at all now. I realised that, again, as in my cancer experience, I could've had this so much worse. I realised it even more when a guy around my age died while we were there.
Also, by the time I was allowed out, I had figured out for my own self that there was nothing more wrong with me than sore muscles and a bruised sternum. I didn't really need the doctor to tell me that. He was a sympathetic guy, though, who did the right thing by the crazy dog lady and wished me and my dog well as I left. Also, when he was examining my back, I got this 30-second massage, about which I was really tempted to say, "Actually, could you just keep doing that?" Why do doctors not prescribe professional massage? I'd be okay with putting that on my insurance.
Oscar's Favourite Babysitters fed me and then brought my doggie and me home. One of my friends offered to loan me a car, which was a tremendous Godsend, as my insurance doesn't cover rental fees. When I lay down in bed that night, I really didn't think I was going to be able to fall asleep, but I did, and slept quite well, actually. (Of course, it might have been jacked up Motrin.)
I'm not sure what God's trying to teach me, except I have a hunch it's what I said the other time: that sometimes bad stuff just happens. I can't say I didn't spend a whole lot of time wondering what the heck I was prevented from going to Minnesota for, because this might never have happened. Or why I didn't just leave work a few minutes earlier or later. But I also have to say I've seen God's face in my friends and family, near and far, who reached out to me with their concern and their help, and who have reached out to God for me in their prayers. I guess it's just as open to question why God spared me as to why He allowed the accident. I can't say I'm not still confused or worried or a little bit angry sometimes. But I also find that I'm a little bit grateful.