Our Car after the Accident
Feeling a little groggy from the pain medications; at least I’m pain free for awhile. Two days ago, my wife and I were in a terrible car accident. Susan was driving us south on Highway 199 heading from Cave Junction to our volunteer job (the local thrift store for the animal shelter) in Grants Pass.
It was a gorgeous fall day in Oregon. As we approached a small country store on our right, all of a sudden a LTD turned left from the opposite lane, head-on into our Hyundai Sonata. We collided at 55 miles per hour, and all hell broke loose.
We were wearing our seat belts and the air bags popped open. The impact of the vehicles made a horrible smacking sound; felt like a thousand, carnival bumper-cars crashing in on us all at the same time. Our bodies were jolted back and forth, but the seat belts and bags held us in place. There was alarming smoke from the engine too.
I sensed a terrible pressure on my chest like I had been kicked in the chest by a horse. I couldn’t breathe. I freed myself from the belts and rolled out of the passenger door on to the street. Susan had gotten out safely from the driver’s side with major bruises and contusions. She was trying to attend to me, and kept shouting for the bystanders at the store to help or “do something!” Somebody said they called for an ambulance.
As I sat on the street propped up on one arm, I was able to relax my lungs enough to get some air; but I had the terrifying thought that I might die today. I was dazed and probably in partial shock.
I just couldn’t remember my prayers. So I silently said my numbers: one, two, three. One meant I believe that all of us are at-one with the presence of God, our creator. Two meant I believe that our souls are made perfect in the image and likeness of God. Three invites the grace of God, what I call the Love-Light, to heal and protect us with rainbow-colors of gold, pink, blue, purple, orange, and green.
I told Susan I loved her. She was holding my head and praying too. The EMTs arrived quickly on the scene. They very professionally strapped us on sliding, transfer boards with neck braces and all. Then they lifted us both on to gurneys which were rolled into the ambulance.
Susan and I held hands in the ambulance as the emergency medical technicians worked on us with IV’s, oxygen masks, and heart monitoring devices. Once in a while they squeezed our hands to reassure us. But nobody helped us cope with our fears.
I kept praying one, two, three, over and over. I stared up at the white lights in the ambulance ceiling. I thought about the power of God’s Light.
Soon we were in the emergency room at the local hospital called Three Rivers in Grants Pass. I remember there were pictures of butterflies on the ceiling; their colors of orange, yellow, white, and pink comforted me. Doctors and nurses were introducing themselves as they worked on us. Susan sounded like she was doing pretty well; she was joking with the medical staff.
I told her I loved her and I was praying. Still felt the strong pressure on my chest from one side to the other. Didn’t know what that meant; wondered again if I was going to die today. But, I thought I heard a still, confident voice say, “don’t worry, today isn’t your time.”
The emergency doctor said the X-rays and Cat Scans revealed I had three cracked ribs on the left side and one on the right. Susan sustained bruises on her chest, arms, and stomach. She would be able to return home today. I needed to stay in the hospital for at least one night of observation.
A police officer arrived at the emergency room and explained that our car had been totaled. He was amazed that we seemed in such good shape after that monstrous wreck. He did give a citation to the lady of the other vehicle who was 92. She had broken her wrist from the accident and never saw us coming.
My pain level was about an 8 on a 10 point scale. Soon the pain medicines brought it down to a one. I remember feeling grateful about that as the nurses’ aid wheeled me into my hospital room with a beautiful view of the mountains in Grants Pass. I watched the sunset for awhile with my favorite Love-Light colors. Our friends had taken Susan home; she called to say the insurance company would cover the cost of a rental car.
I’m home today, grateful to be alive. Still shaken and considerably stressed that we could have died from the wreck. The doctors explained that my ribs might take three months or more to heal. I’m still praying.
Sometimes my mind flashes back to the scene of the accident. I see the LTD and I feel the force of the crash again. Then, I pray with my one, two, three system.
I’m also worried about a lot of things: my wife’s recovery, my pain levels that are up down, getting our life back to normal. I’m still counting one, two, three. I’m grateful for all that I have and all that I will continue to receive in this life.
And I still recall that still, reassuring voice inside. I think it was my first actual contact with the Divine. Miracles do happen even in devastating care wrecks.
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