To understand my pain, we have to go back to the beginning, when my life changed forever. On April 1, 2004 I was in a car accident causing me to break down in tears for countless days thanking someone up there for allowing me to live…definitely not my idea of an April Fool’s joke. Now, I’d tell you to close your eyes so you could visualize this, but then you wouldn’t be able to read my ramblings 😉
If you’ve ever been to San Antonio, Texas you know rush hour traffic can get pretty hectic. Maybe not as awful as Dallas or Houston, but I’ve sat on I-1o for a while with nothing to do but sing my heart out waiting for the car in front of me to start moving. That said, April 1st will forever be one of the most important days of my life. My kids, who were then 4 and 2, were waiting for me at the babysitter’s house while I was headed up the I-37 interstate leaving work for the day in my silver, four-door sedan (I can’t remember what kind of car I drove…memory issues…just remember it being a small car). At that time I worked as a government contractor in the technical field as a technical writer, proposal writer, and honestly…whatever else they needed me to do. I made great money for a 24-year-old woman with no college degree and I was moving up the ladder in my career, I was loving life!
While headed to pick up my rugrats after a long day at the office, I was in the furthest right lane near the exit lane, which in Texas would also be an entrance lane for oncoming traffic. Out of the corner of my eye, I remember a grey pickup truck with metallic paint enter the highway on my right, pretty close to my car at a higher than normal speed. As I’m driving, at about 60 mph, I feel a strong hit near the right, rear side of my car and I immediately brace myself on the steering wheel and my whole body goes tense. I am pretty sure I pressed even harder into the gas pedal out of fear and not really thinking clearly. My car is whipped to the left and heads straight into the lane to my left. I run head-on into a flat-bed trailer being pulled by a truck at full speed since I never took my foot off the gas pedal (why? I have no idea!). The impact causes my car to immediately spin at full speed to the right, heading straight towards to the guard railing that is found on overpasses. I was currently on an overpass near the Hemisphere Park. I vaguely remember seeing the Hemisphere structure while my car was spinning and then I see nothing but blue sky as I head straight to go over the guard rail and into the ground below. I remember that moment so clearly. With all of my heart I felt I was going to go over that bridge. I was going to die.
As I sit here writing this, the tears aren’t stopping. For me, this moment right here, way more than the actual accident itself, is where my life changed and has never been the same since. I know I sustained physical injuries that have given me a lifetime of pain, but this moment where I thought I’d never see my children nor my husband is the worst feeling in the world when you’re just not ready to say goodbye. Obviously, I didn’t die unless there’s WordPress in the sky! After I hit the guard railing at full-speed, my car once again spun in circles until finally stopping in the same direction I was heading. I remember sitting in my seat, my hands still braced on the steering wheel and my foot on the gas pedal, but the car was not moving. I relaxed my body, removed my feet from the pedal and just stared straight watching the passing traffic. I was surprised I didn’t hit any other cars after all the spinning I had just done. Not one witness stopped to give aid and neither did the person in the truck who hit me. When I finally got my bearings I called my husband, who worked as a cashier at Cash Express, a loan and check cashing company. I told him what was happening and he freaked out. After we hung up, I used the emergency call button on my phone, which dials 911 and locks up the phone. I couldn’t use my phone again for a while. I wouldn’t see him for hours, though. I later found out his boss didn’t believe him and wouldn’t let him leave. He was the only one working in the building that day. So without permission, he closes shop and leaves to find me.
After a few minutes a nice gentleman approached my door. I don’t really remember what he said, what I said, or how I even got out of the car. I just remember him telling me he was a retired Fire Marshall and didn’t feel right just leaving me there like that without anyone stopping to help. I’m assuming he helped me out of the car because I remember sitting up against the same guard rail that saved my life keeping my neck as straight as possible because I could feel my neck and shoulder muscles start to harden and hurt. What had to feel like minutes later a police officer showed up, an angry look on his face like I ruined his dinner time. He proceeded to speak to me with so much disdain because I didn’t move my car off the highway. He rudely asked me why I hadn’t moved my car. I was angry at that…@#$%&! Here I am, emotionally in pieces and physically in agony. I looked at him and with as much spite as I could dredge up, I told him that I couldn’t. It would not move. He looked at me, cocky and smirking, saying he would move it. He got into my car and tried to drive! Ha! I’m pretty sure I had a smirk on my face at that point, again…@#$%&!
He seemed irritated and I remember him getting into his patrol car and with the “gate” attached to the front bumper, he pushed my car out of the lane into the right side of the overpass. At this point I don’t remember much of what happened. I know I was in an ambulance strapped to a flat board and then onto the gurney. I remember the paramedics asking a bunch of questions on our way and being carted into a hallway of some hospital. As I’m being placed into the hallway (I’m assuming it was a busy day in the ER) I never realize how much time has passed without anyone even coming to speak to me. I remember laying there, unable to move my arms, my legs, nor my neck or head. Tears were falling freely and not once did a nurse or doctor approach. A woman, whom I’m assuming was in a room near where I was placed, slowly walked up to me because at this point I was full-on crying. She asked me how I was doing and if anyone had come to talk to me. I do not know how much time had passed at this point. I told her no one had seem me since I first went in. I think she might have talked to someone because soon after I was being taken to an area to have a back x-ray.
After the x-rays were completed, I was taken right back into the hallway. I never had a room, I was never hooked up to any monitoring machines, and I never really talked to anyone before being discharged. Again, I was out of it both emotionally and physically. I know I was well enough to walk out of the hospital, alone, because my husband couldn’t find me. He had no idea what hospital I was taken to. As I’m about to walk out of the doors he walks in. Craziest day of my life. The next day, he was fired. The week after the accident I hardly left my bed. I was put on bed rest because my back, shoulder, and neck were so stiff and spasming (is that a word??). I was in misery. I was later told I had sustained a pretty harsh whiplash injury.
There’s so much more to this story but I’ll save that for another day. If you’ve gotten this far, wow, thanks 😉