Monday, July 9, 2007, at approximately 5:30 pm.
All I saw was a flash of blue before the airbag hit me in the face, stunning me and cutting my lip open. The car I was driving, a 1998 Chrysler Intrepid, seemed to glide to a stop just before a ten foot drop into Bay St. George.
When I came to, I couldn't breathe, I was smothering, I had no idea that the airbag I was batting at had probably saved me from something worse. I was disoriented, I was panicking, and I smelled gas. It's going to blow up! I tried to get the key out of the ignition but it would not budge. I tried to open the door, but it wouldn't open. The side window was smashed and blood oozed into my left eye. I tried to move, but there was something wrong with my legs, and when I looked down at them my lower legs were missing. All I saw was metal, and, and the tire? Yes, the tire. How did the tire get into the car? I 'm stuck. I'm stuck in a car with a revving engine and gas. I'm going to blow up!
Then there was a man at the passenger side door. I could see that his lips were moving, but I couldn't hear what he was saying. I saw people running toward the car, other cars were stopping behind me, and all I heard was the ringing in my ears. Everything was moving in slow motion, the people, the cars, the grass blowing around on the hill on the left, and the waves crashing against the shore on the right. I was mesmerized.
I felt a pull at my arm. I looked up and saw the man and I could feel myself being pulled out of the vortex that I was spinning into and back into reality.
"Can you get out?" I heard him say.
"My legs are stuck." I replied.
"Can you move them?"
"Yeah...I think so."
The sight of the man was comforting; it put me at ease for the moment. I couldn't move my legs, not because they were broken, but because the tire and metal had pushed them toward the console and they were pinned there. I wiggled my feet out of my shoes and managed to pull out one leg at a time. One foot had been stuck between the gas and the brake pedal which was why the car was revving. I then crawled out the passenger side door and fell to the ground.
"I couldn't get the key out." I said to the man.
He went back in and a minute later the engine finally stopped.
I got up off the ground and stumbled around to the driver's side. I looked at my car and immediately remembered what had happened. I was entering the turn and a man driving toward me in a blue car wasn't looking at the road, he was looking over his shoulder at a driveway. I had tried to drive out of the way, but there was a steep embankment and there was no where to go. He drove over the yellow line and right in my lane, hitting my car directly in the driver's side wheel. My disorientation suddenly turned to rage. To make matters worse, the man who hit me, was coming over to me saying, "I didn't see you, I didn't see you."
I don't remember exactly what I said, but it went something like this: "Look what you did to my car you stupid, lousy, bastard!" There was a whole lotta cursing going on and a lot of pulling on my hair, apparently. (So I was told later.) The man mosied on back to his car. I was shocked at the damage that had been done to the car. The whole left side of the car, from the front door to the headlights, had been smashed in. I stood, bare-footed, in disbelief at what had just happened.
Quite a few people had come to see what the commotion was all about. The man who had helped me out of the car spoke with his wife and she took me to her house. She gave me some ice to put on my legs, which were now swelling to the size of elephant legs. My left ankle, the one that was stuck between the gas and brake pedal was severely sprained. I have no idea who mentioned police, but they were called and it was about a half hour before they showed up. My cousin was also called and she waited with us for the police to come before driving me to the hospital.
I was sick to my stomach about my car. It was only three years old and the car before that had been stolen. I was more disgusted about the car than I was about my legs. I was so angry, but then the pain started, and by the time the police showed up I could barely walk. I was helped to my cousin's car and we drove to the scene. There were still a few people looking at the damage. I heard one guy say that I was lucky I didn't lose my legs. And another guy said that the man who had hit me had hit others. I gave the police my statement, and then my cousin drove me to the hospital. By that time I felt like I had been just run over by a truck and it looked like my left leg was fractured; it has swollen to twice its size. The pain was intense, my emotions got the best of me, and I couldn't hold back the tears any longer.
Six hours later, I was sent home with non-narcotic pain killers and anti-inflammatory medication. One x-ray of my left leg only, it was the worse, was done and nothing else. The cut in my head, the burn on my legs, and the pain in my neck and back were of no concern to the doctor on call. I could have had internal bleeding in my body or my brain, but the negligence at that hospital is subject matter for another time. When I got home, my mother and cousin helped me out of the car and to the bed, and my mother wrapped my ankle with tension bandage to help stop the swelling, all the while cussing about how the entire Stephenville Hospital should be investigated for malpractice.
The next day, I had to crawl to the bathroom. Everything hurt, even my teeth, believe it or not. Both legs and feet were purple, I couldn't move my neck and my spine felt like a rod of steel, there was no flexibility in my back whatsoever. I was a mess. And for six weeks I was stuck in bed, unable to care for my son and unable to care for myself. The only time I went out was to the doctor for refills.
It was funny. It was funny because my six year old son, our dog, and I had driven from Brampton, Ontario, to Journois, Newfoundland, without any problems. We stopped at spooky rest stops to sleep, we ate in greasy dives, we urinated in woods with poison ivy, we went through hours of construction while driving through Quebec, we were eight hours on the ferry, the road trip was completely uneventful. And three days into my vacation on the island I drive up the two-lane road from the local convenience store on a beautiful summer day and get pummeled by a local. What are the odds? My entire trip was ruined, my car was a total write-off, and I was injured to the point where I couldn't even wash my own hair. My partner's parents took care of my son while my mother took care of me, and while I lay in bed most of the time contemplating why such a thing would happen to me, he was having a good time at the beach and just enjoying his time with family. I was thankful he wasn't in the car at the time.
Two months later, we were back on a plane heading back to Brampton, and little did I know that I was about to take a journey into the Twilight Zone, or something close to it.
July 2007-September 2007