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14 February 2012

Almost road kill.... I got hit by a car tonight. There's no real damage done, but of course there is a story. And here it is.[More:]

I'd had to work over an hour late, and was walking home from the subway station. It was about 6:15, and not quite dark. I was just across the street from my house, and seeing a car heading west on the street that crosses mine, also began heading westward across my street.

But then the car that would have passed me harmlessly stopped, and another car headed eastbound the cross street turned north onto my street, and hit me. There was a kaleidoscopic stream of impressions of the car, lights, houses, and pavement, and I heard myself screaming with as much detachment as though it had been someone else — though I knew it was me, I wasn't conscious of doing the screaming. My only coherent thought was, "So this is how I meet my death."

It felt like I flew through the air, but I think I merely fell over, and even managed to brace myself so I didn't hit my head. Over the next few moments I gathered that I didn't seem to be seriously hurt, so I got up and staggered over to the driver's side of the car in a rage. He meanwhile had rolled down his window and was saying, "I'm sorry! I'm sorry! All you alright? I'm sorry!", but I screamed "YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE! WHY DID YOU DO THAT?"

Then, mindful of all the times I'd been outraged by some account of a hit and run and sworn that I'd never let a driver get away with that even if it meant I gasped out the license plate number with my dying breath to the ambulance attendants enroute to the hospital, I staggered back to the front of the car, whipped out a pen and the little memo notebook I always carry in my bag, and jotted down the license plate serial number — though guiltily aware of the fact that I was holding up traffic meanwhile and despite the fact that the driver was assuring me he just wanted to pull over.

Then I walked back over to the sidewalk on the side of the street opposite to my house. I felt okay at first. I took down the driver's name and number. The driver apologized again and again, and explained he was looking at that other car and not at where he was driving. He asked me was I hurt, did I need an ambulance. I said I didn't seem to be hurt, just bruised. Someone, possibly the owner of the little convenience store there, set out a milk crate for me to sit on. I sat on it.

And then I think I had a mild episode of shock, because I seemed to get increasingly worse. In a few minutes I was unable to get up and walk across the street to my house as I wanted very much to do. I began to feel nauseous. My head spun more and more. I could barely see. And then I was unable to sit up anymore, so I lay face down on the cold wet pavement. The driver kept urging me to get up, asking if I wanted water, asking me if he could help me across the street, asking if I wanted an ambulance. I kept saying, "Just give me a minute." A woman repeatedly asked me for my name, asked me if I was okay. I wished they would stop talking to me as it took so much effort for me to answer and I just wanted to rest.

The driver finally just called 911. But I started to recover, and in a few minutes I was able to stand up and remain standing, feeling quite normal.

The emergency crews came. A firetruck was first on the scene. Three firefighters approached me and asked me what happened. I said, lightly and matter-of-factly, "I got hit by a car." They blinked, and the one fireman said, "Not too many people can say that with a smile."

The ambulance was next on the scene. A paramedic approached me and introduced himself as Matt. He asked me to come sit in the ambulance for a minute. I did, and he took my pulse and blood pressure, and said they were fine. We agreed I did not need to be taken to the hospital, and I was asked to sign a disclaimer saying I had decided not to be taken to the hospital and the risks of not doing so had been explained to me. Matt handed me the little laptop this disclaimer was on so that I could read it, and I read it back to him, slipping in little fictional additions such as, "I agree not to blame Matt if I drop dead in half an hour's time" and "Matt did such a great job he deserves a 300% raise," which Matt seemed to find very entertaining and even a worthy addition to the form. Then I signed the thing on a Etch-a-Sketch type screen, comenting that I had to resist the urge to draw little hearts and flowers after my signature.

The police had arrived meanwhile, and one cop got into the ambulance and took my statement. Which was, "I was crossing the street and got hit by a car." She got the giggles and assured me it was the shortest statement she'd ever taken.

She said that the driver wouldn't be charged unless they could prove he'd not stopped at the stop sign, which she didn't think they could do. I said I thought he shouldn't be charged, and that the city should put in stop lights at that corner, which is quite busy.

And that was pretty much it. Once I clambered out of the ambulance, the driver again approached me and apologized and I told him not to worry, no harm done, it was just an accident.

I ate supper, cuddled and petted Trilby, who despite being outraged by the lateness of his supper was as game for hugs and petting as he always is, and hunted out another clean jacket (the one I was wearing got very dirty when I was lying facedown on the pavement) so I could walk to the library to return some DVDs.

I'm going to have some bad bruising and stiffness on my left hip and thigh and some mild bruising in a few other places, I have a scrape on one knee, and the pair of stockings I was wearing got a tear in that knee and are garbage. But that's nothing compared to how bad it could have been. My main feeling is one of relief that my family did not have another death to deal with, after my brother's death last November. And that I really must get my will written. This was a resolution made after Charlie's death, as he had no will and his affairs are in a mess. I was working on it just today and consulting with a lawyer at work, but I still don't have anything ready that would be considered a legal will.
Oh dear! Sorry to hear it. I am glad you are OK.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 14 February | 22:20
Happy to know you are OK. That would be damn scary.
posted by arse_hat 14 February | 22:28
You never know.
I know one guy who fell off a building and was perfectly fine, another fell over and is now paralyzed from the waist down.

Don't be too worried if you don't "just get over this." Traumatic. Give yourself a bit of a breather if you can.
After all, you don't know how elegant you are.
posted by ethylene 14 February | 22:39
I did not imagine ending today by reading something like this.
posted by Ardiril 14 February | 22:43
Ouch! Even without any apparent serious injury, take it easy, please? Sometimes you are hurting worse than you think at first.

Trilby, give your human a hug from us, could you please?
posted by dg 14 February | 22:46
EEE, orange swan! Please DO get checked out soon. *hugs*
posted by brujita 15 February | 00:23
Totally upset to read this though very grateful you are ok. Take.the best possible care of your special self.
posted by bearwife 15 February | 01:28
Oh my! Please take care - you might be feeling very sore tomorrow.
posted by gomichild 15 February | 01:59
Yes, take good care of yourself. There may be a delayed reaction after a day or two.

Good idea to see a lawyer. I sorted out my will a couple of years ago, and it's a relief to know that if I died suddenly my sister wouldn't get everything.

Please also think about a claim for injuries. You've been hurt. It wasn't your fault, it was someone else's fault. You're experiencing what we lawyers call "pain and suffering" (and probably you're calling it that too). You are entitled to be compensated for this by the other driver's insurers.
posted by Senyar 15 February | 02:54
Wow, Orange Swan, I am glad you are okay (as evidenced by your ability to provide us with a coherent and entertaining story on what was a bad experience). My takeaway: you seem to me to be a very gentle and mild person. I LOVE the fact you had the wherewithal to bounce up after getting hit and call the driver a FUCKING ASSHOLE. Orange Swan has got a potty mouth! I love it!
posted by msali 15 February | 05:57
Wow. Just wow. So glad you weren't seriously injured.
posted by JanetLand 15 February | 07:48
Holy crap! I hope you can rest over a few days. Even if it is just bruises and scrapes, the brain part can be a bit wonky in terms of working things out.
posted by sperose 15 February | 08:11
Some injuries take a little time to appear so you may feel worse yet, but at least you didn't hit your head! I was hit by a car last year who was pulling out of a parking space while I was bicycling in front of him and I cursed him out, like you did your guy (he was a limo driver.) Then I rode off but thought so little about it, I decided not to even post it to metachat! But I wished I'd made him pay something because I had to have my rear wheel trued up the next day.
posted by Obscure Reference 15 February | 08:43
Whoa. Hope you end up feeling better without anything worse developing.
posted by galadriel 15 February | 09:01
Agreeing with the above suggestions to get checked out by a doctor.

The time I was hit by a car was a bit different. 3 months in the hospital different.
posted by Splunge 15 February | 09:18
Whew! What a scary read, and I'm so amazed by the whole bizzare thing.
Big gentle hugs.
posted by mightshould 15 February | 12:01
I am glad that you are OK!
posted by danf 15 February | 12:08
Trilby, give your human a hug from us, could you please?

I'm on it. I like that this incident means more attention for me, me, me!
posted by Trilby 15 February | 14:08
Whoa, yikes, and phew! That's a horrible feeling --- it's great that you're feeling okay, if a bit bruised and battered.

I'm also going to urge you to pay close attention to your feelings, physical and emotional, in the next few days. Even if it feels like a narrow escape, a case of "it could have been so much worse," you're allowed to feel angry or scared or just plain annoyed if that's how you do feel.

After an accident very much like yours, I walked away with bruises and soreness and thought I'd bounce back after a few weeks. Instead, I have a permanent back injury that has changed many aspects of my life; for both medical and legal reasons, I'm glad that I sought treatment (and filed a police report) quickly.

Having said that, I hope that's completely useless long-term advice for you; I hope that it does pass just as uneventfully and easily as it can. Take good care of yourself!
posted by Elsa 15 February | 14:10
Take it from someone who falls off motorcycles with distressing regularity: you will almost certainly hurt worse a few days from now. Naproxen or ibuprofen will help some. Being a Canadian, you can buy Robax over the counter. It's a wonderful muscle relaxant, but schedule a nap after. Call in to work if you need to.

Apart from the physical bumps and bruises you had a HUGE adrenaline dump. It may take a few days before your body recovers its equilibrium from that. You may have some problems with recurring feelings of terror or a desire to avoid the location of the incident (tough, since it sounds like it was right outside your house.) Give yourself time to work through this.

I've been hit a couple of times (I was on a motorcycle for most of them.) Being terrified is no fun at all. Take good care of yourself.
posted by workerant 15 February | 17:43
Holy crow. I'm so glad you're okay, Orange Swan. Do take care of yourself, physically and emotionally. There could be more fall-out than you know.

I bet dollars to donuts that tomorrow you're gonna be hurting in places you don't know you have.
posted by deborah 16 February | 00:48
I'm definitely feeling less sore today than yesterday, so there's a good chance there's no permanent harm done and that the worst is over.
posted by Orange Swan 16 February | 08:06
I'm glad you're ok Orange Swan! And I'm glad Trilby is keeping an eye on you.
posted by chewatadistance 16 February | 18:36
Bachelor No. 837,653.3 || I'd heard the song before but had never seen the live video.