We returned from the “Trip of a Lifetime” on Saturday night — nearly three weeks traveling through the incredibly scenic Pacific Northwest. (See my recent posts below. More to come.)
Monday noon I was driving to my weekly bridge game at the Iona Senior Center. A block away, I approached an intersection with a small truck ahead of me at the STOP sign. I applied the brake and the car accelerated . Shocked, I hit the brake harder, and the car accelerated more.
My car hit the truck. The airbag deployed and the seat belt worked. (Thank God for both.) People quickly arrived anxious to help. Both front doors were jammed. I finally reached back and was able to open one of the rear doors. Several people urged me not to move until helped arrived.
Someone had called 911 and the DC Fire Department rescue squad showed up seemingly within minutes. I was extricated on a board and then transferred to a stretcher in the ambulance.
Within minutes I was in the George Washington Hospital’s emergency room and quickly transferred to the trauma unit. After a series of tests, it was determined that I had (quoting the hospital’s report) “a head laceration, sternal fracture and some spinal widening — all stable injuries. “
That was Monday. I think I could have been discharged from the hospital Tuesday evening, but due to the concern about the “spinal widening” (and an excess of caution hospitals have these tort-suit days) I spent a second night in the hospital and arrived home this (Wednesday) morning.
I’ll be wearing a neck brace for the next week. And I have five staples for the head laceration. (|I wish the medical profession could come up with a different term. I didn’t appreciate being told that my head wound was going to be stapled.)
I’m not sure if the car — a 2011 Honda Fit that I bought two months ago to replace my beloved 1996 Honda — was totaled. My insurance company will appraise it when they tow it from the lot where it was taken. They also have a special investigative unit on sudden car acceleration that may be able to determine whether the crash was due to malfunctioning by the car or the driver.
I’m lucky. It could have been a lot worse.
What stands out most from this experience is how impressive everyone I dealt with was in their kindness and determination to help: the bystanders who rushed to my aid at the crash scene, the Fire Department rescue squad, and the nurses, doctors and other staffers at GW Hospital.
Words fail me in expressing my gratitude for the loving support I got from my daughter, son and housemate.