On Friday, December 11th, I was on my way to my new job of three months at the local high school cafeteria. I got in an accident 2 blocks from my house on a 30-mile/hour road! I was T-boned by 2 girls cutting school from the high school where I work. I was getting ready to go around the 90-degree curve in the road when she hit me low & fast. She was going so fast that she never had a chance to make the bend. I saw it coming, but I had no time to react. It was the loudest noise I ever heard, then everything else went in slow motion until my SUV came to a stop. Her little Dodge Neon made my Ford Explorer slide, go airborne, bounce on the driver's-side tires (which flattened them), go back up in the air, then land on the passenger's side. I didn't hit my head or lose consciousness. I heard a girl crying & saying over & over again, "Oh my God." I opened my sunroof & told her I was OK & asked if she was OK. She said yes, still crying. I called her over to me to get her out of the street. I took my right hand off of the steering wheel, & held her hand & tried to calm her down. She said, "You don't understand. I am in big trouble. My mom's gonna kill me!" I told her we were alive, & that's what's important, & that everything would be OK. Then I heard another voice. It was her passenger. She was also hysterical, & I called her over & held both of their hands. The passenger said she had to leave, but since I didn't know at that point who the driver was, I didn't want them to make the situation worse by fleeing the scene of an accident. So I told her, "No baby, you need to stay here with me. Stay here with me, Sweeties. Everything will be OK." I knew they were both in a sort of "fight or flight mode, so I just wanted them to stay & not run away. Then a lady with her cell phone open (she apparently called 911) came over to us & asked if I was OK. I said, "Yes, just hanging in there!" She asked if there was anyone she could call for me. I asked her to call my boss at the high school cafeteria to tell her I wouldn't be at work. That's when the girls backed off, apparently recognizing me as the new lady who fed them lunch every day! Then she called my parents to meet me at the hospital. I waited until I was at the hospital to call my husband because he was working in New York & we live in Maryland, & I knew he would leave work & rush home. But there was nothing he could do but sit there & watch me in the ER for 6 hours! He raced home anyway, driving a 4-hour drive in 3 1/2 & telling us he did 65 mph the whole way--lol!
The paramedics put a C-collar on me & had to wait for another firehouse to show up with the Jaws of Life to remove me through the roof. There was a very nice paramedic, Kevin, who stayed with me through the sunroof & comforted me. Since I was fine mentally/emotionally, he comforted me physically. The strain from being suspended sideways, held in by the restraints, was taking its toll on my lower, left back muscles. Kevin pushed up under me & relieved some of the gravity that was making me so uncomfortable. I was suspended for about 30 minutes in that position. Every muscle in my body was sore from this whole experience. I ended up having injuries of my left shoulder (from the restraints at impact), lower left leg (from the extrication), the back, right side of my neck, & my upper & lower back.
I have been having physical therapy for my injuries since the accident, which include electro-stimulation & chiropractic. I will be returning to work this Monday, January 4. The holiday break has allowed me to have more therapy, which will make me much stronger to resume my work responsibilities.
My 1999 Ford Explorer, which I had for 7 years, was totaled. I just couldn't believe that was the last time I got to drive it, & it was for only 2 blocks! I loved that truck! We went looking for another vehicle, & after much discussion of everyone's feelings (mine, my husband's & our just-turned-13-year-old daughter's) about the accident, we decided to get another Ford Explorer. My husband said, "Even though it flipped over, I feel like it saved your life. I don't want you in a little car." We had imagined & discussed what my injuries would have been if I were in a small car. We felt they would have been much more serious. The paramedics & nurses had all commented that they could not believe I had gotten out of that accident without a scratch! The nurses said I had an angel on my shoulder. I know that God had protected me from serious injury, & had given me the peace that surpasses all understanding to be able to not only stay calm, but to calm & comfort the two 17-year-old girls during that time.
With my husband's pay being cut by a third last spring, all our bills falling behind, & our credit being severely damaged, we didn't think we would get approved for a loan, but we didn't want to buy a car privately that would turn into a money pit. We decided to go back to where we got our Explorer--Carmax. They had actually made car-buying a pleasure 7 years earlier! We got a really nice, caring saleslady named Maria. She had thought that we'd get approved for the Explorer we had picked from the lot. We did get approved for only $1,000 down (we got $5,935 for our SUV) at 24% interest from a second chance lender! I know, that's really high, but I told my husband that's where we are, so we have to do what we have to do. We were waiting for an answer from a major bank, but the whole sales floor was waiting, as they were apparently really backed up. Maria was holding the SUV for us, with nothing down, for a week until I got the check & it cleared the bank. My husband had to go back to work at Fort Hamilton, NY, so we couldn't close the loan until the weekend. Maria said if another Eddie Bauer Edition came in between then & the weekend, she would hold it for us & call me. She said she wanted to put us back into what we had lost!
I went home & pulled up Carmax online & searched for Eddie Bauers within 250 miles. I found a really nice one in Woodbridge, VA! For only $1,000 more than the XLS model Maria was holding, this one was an Eddie Bauer, had 5,000 less miles, was a V8, was one year newer, had a third row seat, & had a DVD player! I called Maria, & she had it transferred to her location for free! Two days later on Monday, she called to say it was there, but we couldn't close until my husband got home from NY on New Year's Eve. She said she was going to run our application through the major bank again. She called me later & asked if I were sitting down. The bank had approved us with $3,000 down & gave us a rate of 11.74%! I was ecstatic! Having a background in finance, & knowing how bad our credit was, I knew this was nothing short of a miracle that our interest rate had been cut by more than half of the offer made by the second chance lender! Plus we would now have money left over from the check to pay off some bills!
Well, we closed our loan on New Year's Day & finally got to bring our new Explorer home. It's beautiful with it's white paint with gold trim--quite different from our old one in hunter green with tan trim. I think it's much more elegant-lol! We look back on this whole experience, & my husband, our daughter & I wonder why this all happened. We firmly believe that everything happens for a reason, & if God brings you to it, He will take you through it. It is quite apparent to us that God had His hand on me through this whole accident. We don't know why it happened. Maybe it was to show all of us just how much we take for granted, including each other. Maybe it was to teach us how to appreciate what we have. Maybe it was to teach us that we are not promised tomorrow. We are thankful for the mercies & blessings God has shown us. We are thankful for what God has done for us & continues to do in our lives. We are thankful for the peace that surpasses all understanding & learning not to live our lives in fear. We give all thanks to God! ~Patti~