On July 21st 2016, everything seemed pretty normal, little did I know one moment would be all that it took for my life to change.
Driving home from work, I remembered that my prescriptions were due, and I spent the entire ride from work debating with myself on whether or not I should pick them up that night, or find another time to make the stop off to grab them. I had this horrible feeling that I shouldn’t, but chalked it up to my usual tendency to procrastinate. Everything inside of me screamed GO HOME!, but then this little voice told me that I needed to grow the eff up and do the adult thing and grab the damned pills because I had plans the next night and coming back into town over the weekend would have been a pain when I was already driving by the Walmart my pills were at. Stop stalling Shannon just get the damn pills and knock one more thing off of your “To Do” list…
Still I didn’t want to, it felt wrong, I just needed to go home.. No clue why, maybe it was something metaphysical trying to reach out and tell me to wait… So, to add to the stupidity, I said out loud (yes out loud) in my car, that if the light turns red, I’ll make the turn to get to the intersection needed to go to Walmart and grab my pills… if it stays green, I’ll go home.
I prayed for the light to turn green… but it didn’t. The bastard turned red, so taking a deep breathe I ignored the screaming inside of me telling me to go straight, go home, Mike is there and pillow mountain is there, and those episodes of The Mindy Project won’t watch themselves.. just go home.
I didn’t. I turned right…
Looking back, it was idiotic because I could have gotten to the damned Wal-Mart pharmacy by staying straight and making a right hand turn, except I always forget that way is an option. 🙁 So I turned right, and sat at the intersection waiting for my turn to turn left into the parking lot.
For the record I HATE that intersection… you have to cross 2 lanes of oncoming traffic, in the middle of rush hour… with no advanced green. I sat through 2 lights before seeing a break in the traffic. The lane closest to me had no one coming, and the lane furthest from me had a 60 ft articulated OC transpo bus further back. I waited still, and saw him indicate he was pulling over… I watched as people stood up.. I swear he was stopped, again further back than where I was.. It was my chance, my only chance.. This damned intersection of hell.. but I had a chance, he was stopped and no one else was coming.
So I made the turn…. well tried to.
Mid way through I saw the bus driving towards me. I don’t know when he pulled away from the curb, my memory is fuzzy around this point so I can’t remember it all.. I get bits and pieces, but mostly it’s blank. At some point the bus was driving, and when I was nearly through the intersection it T-boned my passenger side (Thankfully I was alone in the car).
In my flashbacks I still see it coming for me, this giant wall of red metal higher than my car, blocking my view of everything, rushing straight for me. In that moment I was sure that I was going to die. This is it Shannon, lights out… Hope you made your peace because it’s curtains kid. He never even braked. The bus drove through my car spinning me around and around, I think I pinballed into another car, but I have no idea, I don’t remember hitting anything else, I don’t remember anything but the impact and the world spinning, and the pure confusion when all of a sudden everything stopped and everything hurt, and there was a crowd of strangers around me asking me questions. Telling me not to move… saying I may have broken my neck or back. Don’t move, just wiggle your toes.. Can you feel everything?
Are you hurt? Did you hit your head? The reality of what had just happened did not register right away… I remember the first thing I did after the crash was to feel this immediate need to have Mike with me. I knew that I would be OK if only he could hold my hand… except I couldn’t find my phone.. It had flown out of the open window mid crash… that’s how violently the bus hit me, my phone, which was in the holder and had been plugged into the mp3 jack, flew up, and out of the open window, and slid across the intersection. One of the bystanders found it and brought it to me. At this point no one would let me move yet or try to get out. I was answering the 911 operators questions via everyone who had called, but while I did this, now that I had my phone, I called Mike. A phone call no one ever wants to receive…
“Hi honey… I’ve been in an accident.. can you come, I need you”
Time doesn’t make sense after the crash for quite awhile… It felt like seconds, but suddenly the ambulance was there, and the police, and everyone was asking me questions and I didn’t know how to answer anything because I could barely remember anything.. What I wrote above is more details than I had at the time, it’s only after the fact through flashbacks that I remember as much as I have.. in the moment all I remembered was waiting to turn, the bus had stopped so I made the turn… and then I was in the ambulance.
At some point I texted my coworker Lyne to tell her that I wouldn’t be in the next day because I was just in a crash… and then I sent a text to my boss saying nothing was broken so I would probably be back in a day or so… (I’m heading into my 3rd week off now so that goes to show how much in shock I was).
Then I was in the ambulance, I kept trying to tell everyone that I was OK, just a few bruises, can I go home? I just want to go home. I asked everyone if they’d seen Mike.. and when they hadn’t I called, turns out he showed up just as the ambulance was leaving. He’d also called our friend Drew because he didn’t think he could drive safely anymore, especially after seeing my car… which at that point I hadn’t even seen yet… and since I couldn’t remember the crash, I didn’t realize how bad it was.
The police and OC transpo say one thing, my memory says another… At this point either my meds were causing side effects I wasn’t aware of, or the police and OC transpo lied to cover their asses. I’m trying really hard to keep faith in them and think they wouldn’t lie to cover up their own fuck up… but why were there no brake marks, and why did the driver not have sunglasses on, and why didn’t he stop? Apparently the law is written that OC transpo buses do not have to be aware of cars, and that I needed to be aware of him. How this knowledge would have translated into my being able to get out of his way when we were about to crash I have no idea… but I got a ticket because apparently turning left when I have a green light and there’s no traffic and the bus is stopped is unsafe.
Again, I don’t remember a lot of that time frame… but I know me, and unless my pills were causing a side effect that no one had noticed / brought to my attention, there is no way I would risk my life, especially 2 months before my wedding, or the car I loved, to drive in front of a moving object. Especially a giant wall of metal that could destroy my body in an instant… I’m not an idiot, or suicidal… but there it is, I can’t remember enough to ever be certain of the facts, and the bus driving says he didn’t have his blinker on, and he wasn’t pulled over, and he doesn’t know why I turned… so it’s my bad.
Mike and Drew met up with me at the Civic Hospital, the extent of my injuries still unknown, I just sat in the ER and cried. They waited until I was mostly OK, and then Drew drove Mike back to his car so that we weren’t keeping Drew for hours. He is a mofo champ and I owe him more than I will ever know how to repay because he brought Mike to me.
When Mike came back the waiting really began. At this point Mike had been awake for over 24 hours, and I was in shock. Neither of us were really 100% there… One thing you learn quickly, is even if you’re not one of the people who shouldn’t be at the ER (i.e people go to to the ER because they have a fever or have a slight sprain)… you are treated no differently. Everyone I saw told me I couldn’t go home because they were scared I had internal bleeding or a ruptured bowel or could have any number of serious issues that can come from seat belt injuries, especially in how violet of an impact I just lived through… and yet still we were there for 7+ hours in various hallways. My body went into shock, I was freezing while everyone around me was sweating, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t think straight, we straight up begged for a blanket or sweater or something at one point and it was like I didn’t matter, any request I made was ignored. They would call us to a room for testing, only to show up and see they’d given the room to someone else, so I was to go back to a random hallway and continue waiting. I was hungry, cold, tired, an in a ridiculous amount of pain. The X-Ray tech told me I needed to take my bra off…. but didn’t listen when I told him I couldn’t move my arms to do so because of my shoulder injury. He also led me to a room that needed me to walk to get to, even though I was in a wheelchair. Thankfully (again) Mike was there and he helped me to unhook and remove my bra. In doing so, I discovered more injuries no one had yet to find because not one person had examined me (this was around hour 5!!!!) There were burns and scraps on my ribs from the seatbelt, and removing my bra, took away the support which revealed the injury to my breast. 3/4 of my breast was swollen and felt like a rock, the skin was fairly numb, but the colour of an eggplant. They then had me stand for the XRay, even though I could barely stand, and grip rings above my head, even though in doing so tears streamed down my face from the pain ripping through me. Fun stuff 🙁
Then came the ECG, which I had forgotten meant electrodes on my boobs… had I not been in shock I would have remembered, because I needed to have one prior to going on Optifast… but in the momement I forgot, so shock number 1000 when this gruff nurse comes up and rips up my shirt to expose my now naked breasts. Thank God mike was my fiance and not some random friend or good Samaritan FFS. So here I am, tits out, electrodes everywhere, pain ripping through me from the shaking I couldn’t control, and she tells me to relax. ARGH!
Next the bloodwork… which because by now I was badly dehydrated, starving, and my body was pretty much at the end of it’s limit, meant I got to get stuck multiple times. (I am phobic of needles… so this just added some extra “fun” to the day)
Maybe the bloodword was before the ECG.. or Xrays…no I think Xrays was first… Ugh.. most of that night is just scenes that are jumbled and I can’t peg down an actual timeline. I do remember there was a group of us that all got to the ER around the same time, one lady, who’s name I don’t know if I ever got, brought me Kleenex while I sat alone in the ER crying when Mike and Drew left to grab Mike’s car. She was nice, I wish I knew her name so I could thank her.
People would cheer when we got called to the next phase closer to release… yeah it was that bad. People going and coming back, rooms being given to the wrong person, it was a shit show in the ER that night. Who knows if it is always that bad, but it was terrible, chaotic, and to prove that point at one point the Resident who was supposed to get me a warming blanket, found me an hour later in a random hallway and said OH! You’re here now.. OK cool, so here’s what’s up, and continued to give me part of my diagnosis in a hallway in front of a bunch of strangers.. I smiled and nodded because it felt like what I was supposed to do, but all I could think of while I shivered and shook, was “WHERE IS MY BLANKET WHY CANT YOU SEE I AM NOT DOING OK!!?!?!?!”
At some point it was ultrasound time, where the Dr came in and they decided to train the resident on my body. They dug that damned ultrasound wand so hard trying to find whatever it was they were looking for that I almost blacked out a few times. Tits out again, no time for modesty in the ER.. Who knows who saw my boobs that night, people were coming in and out of the ECG room, I don’t think anyone came in during the ultrasound, but again, memory is fuzzy… I was more focused on trying to breathe and not scream.
The worst was when they did the pelvic exam with the ultrasound wand trying to see if there was a perforation of my bowel…. they placed the wand directly onto, and into, the cut my seatbelt had made across my waist. High-5’s to the seatbelt for saving my life.. but mother of SHIT it tried to cut me in half!!
Anyway, I can attest to the fact that ultrasound jelly, plus lots and lots of pressure = intense and immediate pain.
They never asked for my permission to train someone, but at least they thanked me after the fact that I let them do it… All I could think was, did I have a choice? All I want to do is go home, and y’all are just playing with my insides right now.
Anyway, the final verdict was severe bruising and swelling from the seatbelt, plus a sprained shoulder, and a possible bowel perforation that I need to watch for symptoms of.. and just for fun, if I have a micro tear, I may not have symptoms for years, so I might just wake up randomly one day and be back in the hospital. 🙁 The seatbelt and steering wheel slammed into my body. Something cut my hand which looks like it will leave a scar unless I somehow get lucky and it fades. Right now it looks like a cigarette burn on my hand. Lovely.
3 weeks later, and my body still feels like it has golfballs under the skin. This is the swelling, and it was bad enough that at my last check up my doc is now worried that my muscles may have been so damaged that they will die. I’m almost out of the danger zone for that *knock wood*, but am now on the lookout for those symptoms.. and thanks to the pain I am still in, my sick leave was extended until Aug 17th. Every day I feel a little better, I can walk a bit further, sit a little easier, wear clothes without crying LOL… I’m determined to be back to normal before the 17th, so keeps all the things crossed for me.
Part of my physio “homework” is to walk as much as I can each day, along with a bunch of stretches and heat packs, and my doc through in meds too.. ANYWAY all that to say today Mike and I went on a nature walk. We hit Bate Island, Dechaines Rapids, and Andrew Hayden Park….. Insert huge caveat… We drove to each location, and I basically walked from the car to a bench or pique-nique table. Bate Island and Dechaines Rapids involved barely any walking, but we played Pokemon Go and caught a bunch of guys and farmed stops. Mostly I was stationary during these, but I was sitting down normally, which still hurts but no where near as bad as it did so WOOT #progress. I did force myself to walk a bit at each location, even if just a few feet.
Andrew Hayden we parked and walked as far as I could go. Our intention was to walk to another park nearby, but my legs and hips gave out well before we reached that goal. Still I’m happy with what I was able to accomplish today 😀 I’m paying for it now LOL, but that’s the only way I can heal is if I push myself and do everything I can to force my muscles not to get to stiff. You aren’t dying on my watch man!!!
All in all it was an amazing day, I was able to test out the camera on my new Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge (My poor phone was sorta OK after the crash… in that it would still make calls and text… but it kept dropping network connections, would not stay on wifi, and the camera was broken.. so it was time to get a new one) .. This phone takes AMAZING pictures and interact with other Pokemon Go players. It was the most normal day I’ve had since July 21st, and the pain I am in now was well worth it <3
So here’s where I’ve gotten to. The ticket is paid, I’m trying to navigate the world of insurance and physio and trying to find the balance between pushing myself, and not pushing too far to set back my progress. I have trouble sleeping at night when I’m home alone because the flashbacks won’t let me close my eyes. It’s getting better, less frequent… Talking about the crash tends to make them worse, which is part of why it has taken me so long to write this blog post. I wasn’t ready to share. Sometimes I have a hard time coping, it’s like Life has fun kicking me in the balls…. Abusive childhood, Rape as a teen, Stalker, Abusive relationships, being cheated on repeatedly by multiple people, eating disorders, depression, anxiety disorder… It’s like every time I get a handle on something and start to get better, something new happens to come and test me, try to push me down.
Well fuck that shit (pardon my french).
I went off of my meds after the crash, partially because I had no more pills to take due to the crash happening before I could renew my prescription… but also because if the OC transpo driver was right and I did misjudge the distance or have a slow reaction time, or just straight up have a memory of something that didn’t actually happen, I don’t trust those pills. So I’ve been med free for 3 weeks, I’ve gone from heavily medicated, to very much UN-medicated. So far I have not binged, nor have I wanted to.. I may be eating a bit too much right now because of PMS cravings, but that’s a normal girl thing LOL. Aside from this last week I have been eating normal sized meals, a normal amount of times a day… so Score 1 for team no meds on that front.
Anxiety wise, I’ve been pushing through. Yes sleep is impossible sometimes… but I think that right now, that is normal. When I talk about the crash, I can see the moment right before impact playing on a loop. I was so sure that it was the end…. Thank the Goddess it wasn’t… but it could have been, and somehow I lived. In the days after the crash I sometimes had a hard time believing that this was reality. I kept having this feeling like this world I am living in, could be some weird version of a coma dream or that I was dead and not wanting to believe it.. how could I have been hit so violently, and walked away with nothing broken, no concussion, no surgery required, just bed rest and time. How is that possible? How did I get so lucky? I am the furthest thing from a lucky person… but right now I feel like I just won the lottery.
Slowly I started to believe that I really did somehow seriously walk away from that unharmed… OK so not unharmed… but you know what I mean.. I mean for one, if this was a dream, I wouldn’t have had to go 2 weeks living off of pizza and take out because I was in too much pain to do groceries, and Mike was too tired from working and then taking care of me… If this was a dream, my house wouldn’t be messy.. I wouldn’t had had to wear the same nightgown outside any time I left the house because 99% of my clothing hurts to be worn… I wouldn’t be dealing with all the crap that comes with reality… If this was a dream, or heaven, I’d be fine, no pain, I’d probably look like a damn supermodel, have all my wedding prep done, and be ready for The Big Day… Nope this is def real life LOL.
Now I just have flashbacks…. man those are brutal. Thankfully they never come on so strong that I get lost in them (i.e don’t realize that I’m in my bedroom reliving the crash in my head, rather than getting pulled so far into them I don’t see my bedroom and am 100% back there), but they are still horrible. I still lose my breath every time it happens, my heart races, most of the time I cry…
If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to listen to my gut… I should have listened to the bad feeling I had and just gone home, maybe then I would have seen (and remembered) the right hand turn that is possible to make… OR I’d have gone back over the weekend, which would have me coming in at a different direction so no scary left hand turns needed. Had I just listened to my intuition I wouldn’t be here right now.
ANYWAY… that’s the scoop. It’s why I haven’t been crazy active on Social Media, why I’ve pretty much given up my #365days project (in the beginning I tried, but then days blurred and I kept forgetting, and I look so haggard.. I just stopped… I’m sure soon I’ll pick it back up, well maybe… it’s kinda pointless now if I miss 3 weeks LOL), I haven’t been going out much, and I haven’t been at work. Between the physical pain, and mental anguish, I’ve been pretty much trying to focus on recovery and spending some much needed quality time with Mike.
With any luck I will wake up tomorrow and be even better than I was today! Staying positive because negativity sucks balls… and not in the fun way either LOL.
If you read this far *High-5’s* This is the longest post I have written in months… and it is probably filled with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. It was hard enough to write, I am not going back to comb through and find all the mis-typed words or red-squiggly lines of DOOOOOM (aka spelling mistakes).
Big Hugs and much love