Friday, February 17, 2006

Good thing I wore clean underwear ...

I never made it to Toronto.

In fact, I never made it past Valleyfield, QC. The kind ambulance attendants drove me to Valleyfield Hospital.

I wasn't driving quickly though I was in the passing lane. We were all going well under the speed limit and I remember even just a bit earlier while driving in the middle lane looking at my speedometer and seeing 60km/hr. Though the weather was horrible, the road up to that point had been alright, a little snow build-up between the lanes, but that was all, so what happened next took me totally by surprise. It is incredible what can happen in a split second.

My car veered suddenly to the right. "Oh my God, I'm going to have an accident!" Biggest problem with the sudden loss of traction was the 18-wheeler that was right beside me. I turned my steering wheel a little to the left to try to bring my car back to the centre of the lane but there was nothing I could do as I was on ice. "Oh my God, I'm going to hit the truck!"

My car ricocheted off the truck and then went off the highway and across the field. But it did not stop there. My car continued and I saw the divider come up quickly and all the traffic on the other side of the highway. "Oh my God, I'm going to crash through the guard rail!" My kids, my mother, and the fragility of life popped into my mind.

I felt the impact and everything went black. I don't remember the air bags going off and don't know if I ended up blacking out, but I remember feeling movement. The next thing I remember was lifting my head a up a bit and seeing the deflated airbags. My car had come to a stop. A man who had seen the accident from the other side of the road ran over to me and opened the door. He asked me if I was alright; he asked me what my name was. I was in shock and totally disoriented. He called in the accident right away. Other men came over and asked me things too and how I was feeling, if I was hurt anywhere. I could hear them but I could not answer. My face was burning and I wanted to move my body but I felt paralyzed. I didn't feel too good.

Then it hit me that I had just had a really bad accident and I was still alive, and I started to cry really hard. There was a strong burning odour and I could see the smoke/fumes coming up from my hood and wondered if I should get out of my car - was I in danger of an explosion? I turned the motor off. I could hear myself finally responding to some of the questions but I could not stop crying and I could not get out of the car. I tried moving my legs eventually and was happy that I could. The truck driver had parked a little ways ahead and had come over to see me. I was impressed that he had done so ... I could see his truck in the distance and it meant that he would have had to cross the highway on foot to see me. He was happy to see that I was fine. Everyone was happy to see that I was fine.

I was crying so hard. My face, neck and shoulders hurt, but all I could think about was that I wasn't going to be able to see my mother that weekend and I rememeber trying to tell everyone that. She had just had her chemo treatment in the hospital and needed help and company at home. I thought about my kids and how sad it would be if they lost me ... I wondered what injuries I had and if this accident would impede my training and day-to-day activities ... I thought about how in the heck would I pay for another car on top of my other debts.

Most of all, I thought about how life is so precarious and how we all hang by a thread. I tried to say this to the men who were there at the scene but I didn't have the words in French. I just cried and cried and cried. I heard many times "Elle a très peur." (She's very afraid.) The SQ (provincial police) came; the ambulance came; the tow truck came. I didn't have a clue how many motorists stopped to see if they could help, but I know there were a few of them including the first one who was there within seconds of my accident. I never got his name and wish I could have thanked him for calling in the accident and getting me help.

François, the ambulance attendant worked hard to calm me down. Thank you for your smile and your gentleness and for putting up with my crying. The nurse, Eric, at the hospital reassured me that it was normal to feel so emotional after an accident, as he had been involved in one recently as well. Léopold, an elderly patient in the emergency ward with brilliant blue eyes, was very kind and told me that the sweet Jesus and God were watching over me. He tried to make me laugh and told me about how mischievous he can be. The hospital took x-rays soon after my arrival. No broken neck, just a little sprain, whiplash. No internal injuries either. Thank goodness.

My friend Janet came to pick me up and drive me home - I am thankful that I was able to reach her as she was just about to leave when I called ... When I got home, I had some tea, and called my mom. I hadn't told her that I was arriving that night since I had planned to surprise her and call her on the way when I knew moreso what time I would arrive. She could hear something in my voice. I told her that I wasn't feeling well and that I wouldn't be able to go visit her that weekend. I told her that I had a problem with my car and I would have to get another one. There was no need to worry her - she has gone through enough recently. I'll tell her when I get it all settled. I tried to relax by watching some television but with all the drugs in my body to fight the pain and inflammation in my neck, back and shoulders, I fell into a deep sleep that lasted 12 hours. I was exhausted.

It's a day later now and I'm feeling a little better, not as much in shock and less emotional. I'm still sore and still really shaken up emotionally though. It's one thing hitting a truck, another thing hitting both a truck and a guard rail and spinning out. And I walked out of my car. I am alive. I cannot believe I am alive. I have to say this again ... I cannot believe I am alive. My car could have gone under the truck but was stopped by what I think was the spare tire hanging off the side. My car could have smashed through the guard rail to be T-boned by a passing car. I only have minor injuries and hope they go away soon. I'll have to ease up next week on the training, no running, probably no cycling, just some swimming once I start to feel better. I am happy that no other motorists were involved; no one else got hurt. And I am especially happy that my children were not in the car with me.

A = starting point

B = impact point into truck

C = impact point into barrier

D = final position

I have no idea what happened between C and D ... spin out? My hood was all bent out of shape. My front windshield was cracked. I didn't get a chance to see the damage to the front or right side of my car, but I am sure it was not pretty. I looked at my car before I got into the ambulance. The back windshield had completely shattered.

Even though my neck, shoulders and back are sore, and my face is a little swollen, scratched and bruised ...



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank goodness your OK. That sure sounds like you had one scary experience. Rest and take care of yourself. We will organize a night at Hurleys when your feeling better so we can all give you big hug.


7:23 p.m.  
Anonymous Mars said...


I'm so sorry to hear about your accident. But I'm delighted that you are walking away from that experience relatively in good shape.

Ya know, if you needed a break in your IM training, you could have just taken the week off!!! No need to come up with a car accident as an excuse!!!


In any case, take it easy for a few days, and I wish you a strong recovery.

I'll be thinking about you. Take care.


8:58 p.m.  
Anonymous grommit said...

Take care, rest, try not to worry.... things will work themselves out


9:52 p.m.  
Anonymous Sheri said...



I'm so glad that you are ok. The Shepherd just showed me your blog and told me about what happened. Please please, PLEASE feel better soon. Cars are replaceable, you aren't. Oh and while you are waiting to feel better...

Make yourself some of my world's healthiest cookies

Many positive vibes and much love to you,

(a.k.a.) Mrs. Mars

10:35 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi sweetheart,hope you are feeling a wee bit better this morning. Tkae care, take it slow and knowng how strong you are, you'll be okay. Sending you a biiiggg hug..xo

7:11 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bonnie dearest. I cannot believe what happened. Thank goodness you are OK. Like you, I'm still in shock. Take the best of care of yourself and don't hesitate to call for help....

11:20 p.m.  

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