Friday, January 11, 2019

25 Years

Well, if you've been around here long enough, you will have heard the tale of January 11th, 1994.  About noon, I ran a red light on my way to work and got t-boned.  Don't worry.  I was alone in the car and no one else got hurt. 

Not sure why I ran the red.  I don't remember anything between New Year's Eve 1993 and about January 28th of '94.  It was a route I took every day and I wasn't in any hurry.  No drinking.  No drugs.  It was so unlike me that for years after, my father insisted the witnesses were wrong about the light being red.  :shrug:  Months later, I went to the police station and read the reports.  It was red.  Might've been just barely red and the guy who hit me might've jumped the light.  It's neither here nor there.  Red is red.

The only thing I can figure is that I was distracted somehow.  And not by a cell phone.  It was 1994, people, and while there were cellphones, they were huge and I couldn't afford one.

I used to semi-joke that I'd love to find the bitch who caused that accident and beat the hell out of her for what she did to me.

The nitty-gritty of it is as follows: broken thigh, broken pelvis, broken collarbone, scars on my face and hands from the glass shards.  I have this really interesting semi-circle scar on my right wrist from where one of my long fingernails from the other hand impaled me.  I have another scar that I assume is from one of the carpet tacks my car's previous owner used to hold the ceiling cloth on.

They put pins and a plate into the thigh.  Everything else they left to heal on its own.  They thought they might have to drill a hole in my head, but the inter-cranial bleed stopped before they had to do it.

Oh, yeah, the brain injury.  Let's not forget the brain injury.  :cue laughter:  Out of all my injuries, it was the one I was least concerned about when I came back into my head and it's been the worst injury of all.  Broken shit and lacerations heal.  The brain doesn't heal.

The brain is an interesting thing.  Cells that die never grow back.  BUT... and it's a big but... the brain can find ways to work around an injury.  Takes a lot of time.  A LOT of time.   Over the years, I got a lot of the stuff back.  Still working on finding most of those childhood memories I lost, but hey, we can exist without those.  And every once in a while, I get glimpses of them out of the blue.  They're like little special surprises. 'Tada! You get to remember Halloween when you were four or five today!' Or 'Here's that time you and Middle Sis killed that garden snake with a lawn dart'.  It's kind of like a slot machine.  If all the wheels line up just right, you get a prize.

Today, most of the defects of both brain and body are negligible.  I don't think I forget stuff too much more than the average 48 year old woman.  It frustrates me more, maybe.  Forgetting anything irritates the crap out of me.  I don't limp.  Haven't used my cane in years.  Oh, sure, when the barometric pressure is just right, I can predict the weather using the various broken things.  And I never know which broken thing will act up at any given time.  (I really hate when the pelvis breaks decide it's their turn.  Feels like someone kicked me in the crotch.) 

Even though I don't remember the accident, I get a kind of PTSD reaction to seeing car accidents - in real life or depicted on TV.  Those Allstate commercials wreck me if I'm not expecting them.  A couple years after my accident, I rolled up on the aftermath of an accident in the same intersection.  I had to pull into a parking lot and wait for the storm to pass before I could get back on the road.  But that was a long time ago and I'm less shaky now.

I never got the 'afraid of driving', which some people asked me about afterwards.  I love driving.  Hell, I took a job in outside sales and it never bothered me.  Then again, I was bitten by a dog when I was small and never got a fear of dogs either.  :shrug:

I guess if you look at the sum total of the past 25 years, I did okay.  I'm about as normal as anyone.  I don't even really think about it that much anymore.  Except on this anniversary day.  Twenty-five years ago, my chances of surviving the day were less than 50/50.  And my chances of going on to live a normal life were almost nil.  Look at me now.  I've published 13 books - which kinda prove the ol' brain is okay*.  I walk, I throw logs, I clamber over rocks - which proves the body is okay. 

Took a lot of work to get here, but life is work.  And every day you wake up is a good one. ;o)

*For varying definitions of okay.  Some may doubt my sanity, but they can never doubt my thinking skills.  ;o)


  1. That is a terrifying story. So amazing that you were able to work hard and overcome all of those serious injuries and grim prognosis to be the great writer you are today.

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth. I was reminded yesterday that the worst of the terror fell on my mom. I was too out of my head and by the time my brain started working right, the terror was over.

  2. I'm glad you made it through so well! Thirteen highly entertaining books proves your brain is functioning on all cylinders.

    I forget things all the time. It's a side effect of having a busy brain. ;-)

    1. Thanks, Deb. LOL, I'm not sure about ALL cylinders. ;o)

  3. Sometimes, we never know what our path is, how we will find it, and what kind of journey we'll take once we do. I look back on some of the decisions I've made--the close calls (Death knocked a couple of times), the times I turned left instead of right... All the things that led me to where I am and, more importantly, who I am. You have a contented life with a "life mate," a beautiful daughter, a family who loves you. You get to take walks in the woods, chunk logs, plant/transplant irises, and write books that I adore. While I would never EVER wish the pain and suffering that went with your accident, I wonder if you would be the person I know and adore today. I'd like to think you would be because...pain and suffering...but if you weren't, I'd miss the you that is you.

    I'm not crying. I'm not... *HUGHUGHUG*

    1. I'm so glad that when Death came knocking for you, you didn't answer the door. To not have you around would totally suck.

      Yeah, life's pretty damned good. =o)

      Oh, I'm pretty certain I wouldn't be the person I am today without that damn accident. Adapt and overcome. :hugs:

      Still sorry I made you cry, though. :HUGS:

  4. re: PTSD
    My husband had a similar experience after his motorcycle accident. He does not tolerate people drifting into his lane.

    I don't know if you ever get over that.

    1. Ack. Sorry to hear about your husband's accident. It sucks to have to live with that stuff in the back of your head.

      The only thing that helps get over any traumatic event is time, but yeah, you never quite get over it.

  5. Huge hugs B.E. What you survived is amazing and a testament to your will. Brain injuries are the least predictable and hardest to overcome. Like Silver said, while we'd never wish this on you, the experience and struggles shaped the person we respect and admire today. Thank you for sharing the story! I knew you'd gone through a major accident related trauma when my youngest son was hurt, but I never knew the full extent.

    1. :hugs: Thanks, Jenn! And now you know the rest of the story. Yeah, it shaped who I am, but I've tried not to let it define me. Like I said to Silver, adapt and overcome. There's really no alternative worth considering. =o)

      And I was glad that when your son was hurt, it wasn't a brain thing, too. I'm totally jazzed that he's okay and doing well now. :hugs: