When I was in 4th grade and we would play kickball in gym, there would inevitably be a play (are they safe or out!?!) that needed teacher intervention. My 4th grade gym teacher's name escapes me, but I do remember that she was NEVER able to help officiate our kickball games. She had just one intent in taking us outside for kickball - to improve her tan. With her arms stretched wide, eyes closed and her face to the sun, she never saw whatever controversial play needed officiating, so her standard response was always "Do over!"
As much as the dreaded "Do over!" bothered me in elementary school, I wish it were a real possibility as a grown up. Especially on a day like today. I want a do-over. I NEED a do-over.
I was driving home after some coaching, with plans in my head that I needed to get groceries and stop at the library. Chugging along at close to the 45 mph speed limit, a truck passed me in the left lane. It had the most adorably decorated skeleton posed in the truck-bed and it made me laugh. Then, I plowed into the back of a mini-van.
Let me repeat that: I PLOWED INTO THE BACK OF A MINI-VAN.
Seat belt grabbed me hard, airbag deployed, dust everywhere. There was a really-long-really-short moment when I realized what had happened. Then I remembered to breathe. Then I started freaking out when I realized there was smoke coming from my dashboard. And I couldn't get my door open.
Did you know that after an airbag deploys there is often smoking that occurs from the discharge and this will make you think your car is on fire? Huh - me neither!
After using some shoulder muscle, I was finally able to get the door open enough to squeeze myself and my purse out of the car. At this point, I realized that my car horn was blaring constantly. I walked up to the blue mini-van, and the man driving it said he was fine. The chain reaction I had started continued when he hit (so lightly I couldn't see any damage) the car in front of him. I pulled out my phone to call 911 and my phone started freaking out that it! was! shutting! down! because it was out of a charge. WTF.
The next series of events are a little hazy. I realized my chest hurt. Really, really hurt. And the rush of adrenalin was causing a rush of sound in my ears. The cop arrived and told me I'd have to turn off my car horn. Then he said something along the lines of "Ha ha - just joking." I was not amused. And the woozy, unsteady feeling was getting worse. Then, out of nowhere, Karen pulls up. My "contact in case of emergency" person just happened to see me standing beside my destroyed car and came to my aid! She was supposed to be picking up students to head to a tournament - but she stopped to make sure I was OK. Gosh, I love that woman.
Then things get even more hazy because I was getting woozy and dizzy and it felt like a stake had been driven into my chest. At some point I ended up on the ground, then I was in an ambulance and I was freaking out because my "contact in case of emergency" person wasn't with me. The EMT wanted to start an IV. I told him the last IV I had took 3 phlebotomists and 2 surgeons before it was set, but he was undaunted. Now, I tend to sing whenever I have to have a shot or an IV - it distracts me and I'm less likely to pass out. So I warned the EMT I was going to sing. Two verses and 2 choruses of Eminem's "Lose Yourself" later, the EMT gave up finding a vein and the entire ambulance crew gave me props for singing the last song they would have ever guessed. I think I passed out again after that.
At the hospital, I got a shot for pain (Yea!!) had an EKG and chest X-rays taken. The doc was a little concerned I had cracked my sternum, but the x-rays came back clear. Once they were sure my adrenalin rush (and cause of all the pass-out-i-ness) was under control I got to come home. Shout out to Caitlyn and Kyra who stayed w/ me in the ER and then brought me home.
I got an "Inattentive Driving" ticket, which I totally deserve and will cost me $187.50. This makes me want a do-over. My deductible is $500. This also makes me want a do-over. Whenever I shift my weight, stand up, sit down, or move my arms, the pain makes me want a do-over. The hike that my insurance is going to take makes me want a do-over. The insurance adjuster telling me my car is probably a total loss makes me want a do-over. The embarrassment I feel that I let a stupid Halloween decoration distract me makes me want a do-over. Seeing the bruise already forming from the seat belt makes me want a do-over. But do-overs are for kids and kickball games. I don't get one.
So as I write this blog in a haze of painkillers, I'm trying to find the Grace in it all. I'm so grateful that no-one was injured! I'm grateful for police officers and EMT's and ER docs/nurses/techs who were so kind and did their jobs so well. I'm so grateful for dear friends who came to my aid when I needed them. If I got a do-over, I wouldn't have this gratitude. Perhaps that is the Grace I'm meant to find?
One other thing. Remember the vomit incident I wrote about in January? As I use my defrost on chilly fall mornings, I've been trying to figure out how to get the last vestiges of that smell out of my car. Well . . . problem solved?