Monday, April 16, 2007

More Car Nonsense

Ok. Perhaps I shouldn't have jinxed myself. We all know how fickle the fates are. Granted, all I said was I wanted to wrap it up. I wasn't asking for St. Christopher to come down and lay hands on my car, making it new. I was just looking for closure. Which is why I shouldn't be surprised that I was rear-ended on my way to the dentist...
I was about fifth or sixth back in a column of cars. As each car in front of me stopped for the red light ahead of us, the gap between cars for stopping naturally shrank. I had just enough space to stop. The woman behind me, less so. WHAM! I bounced forward and then back. No airbag deployment. No shattered glass flying. Just your basic impact, lurch forward, and lurch back. However, the sudden throw did cause me some pain in my shoulders, neck, and lower back. And what are you not supposed to do if you think you have a back or neck injury? That's right. No moving allowed. So, I used my cell phone to dial 911. I didn't even get out to look at the damamge. The other motorist did not get out either. From what I could see in my rear view, she looked like a young woman in her twenties. She seemed unhurt, but upset.

I got through to 911 and was placed on hold. No operators available. I'm not kidding. All I could think was, good thing nobody is bleeding. I hung up and tried the local police department, since that was who I needed anyway. While I was in their menu system, a police car drove by. It didn't stop. It just drove by. I was unsuccessful in signalling them, so I went back to the phone tree. I couldn't get through the menu to a person. The automated message said to call 911. I called them back and this time got a person. He took all my info and said the fire department was on the way.

Huh? Not the police? Well, I was in no position to argue. Apparently the EMTs ride with the fire engines. So, the EMTs arrived in short order and did their assessment. The other woman was unhurt, but since I was complaining of back and neck pain, they decided to put a collar on me and strap me to a back board. Even though I wzas fairly certain I had no spinal damage, that is not something you want to take risks with. So, I was strapped down nice and tight and whisked away in an ambulance. (Special kudos to the fire fighters at Escondido Station No. 4 - They drove my car to the station so I didn't have to worry anbout towing or security or anything like that.)

The ride to the ER was nice and bumpy and made me more than a little motion sick. This is actually a more significant concern when you are strapped on your back and immobile. I told the EMT I'd try to hold it in so she didn't have to spray down the rig and she told me not to worry. She'd just roll the board on its side. Several bumps and a fortunate lack of vomit later, I was rolled into the ER and swapped to an ER bed. The nurse informed me that I couldn't come off the board until the doctor checked me and left.

Fortunately, there was a TV. Unfortunately, it was on Dr. Phil. And I was strapped to a board. Add some toothpicks to my eyes and we'd have Clockwork Orange. Dr. Phil was very sensitively ripping apart Anna Nicole's half-sister for trying to cash in on her sister's death. I was trying to gnaw through the back board restraints. The doctor came in and undid the collar for my first test. He poked at various spots along my upper spine and said "does this hurt?" It didn't, so he told me he'd check back again in 10 minutes and put the collar back on. As I lay there, Phil dissolved into Oprah, who wanted us all to take a test to determine how happy we were. I was pretty sure I was not happy to be in the ER and strapped to a board. No quiz needed.

The doctor came back and we repeated the test. Still no pain. So, he released me from the board and the collar. No X-Rays needed. Ahhhhhhh. Relief. Then he made sure I could move my extremities and had me lay still for a while again. He said that if I was still doing all right in a while, he'd let me go. It was at this time that She-Who-Occasionally-Shows-Sympathy arrived to take care of me. She fed me nacho chips and lemonade while we waited for me to be discharged. They told me that if I thought I felt bad now, I'd be worse tomorrow. Lovely. They offered me painkillers, but I'm not a fan of how that stuff makes me feel and I wasn't in THAT much pain. So, I passed. I was sore and miserable, but I could live with it. That plus the fact that SWOSS has a mini pharmacy of her own for joint and muscle pain.

The next morning, we went to get the car. At least, I thought, I would be able to get the damage fixed on someone else's nickel. When we got to the fire station, we saw the extent of the damage. I'd post the picture, but the zoom level I'd need to be at for you to see the scratch she left would be hard to achieve. That's right. My car can't handle rolling into a fire hydrant at 2 mph, but a read ending from another car? No sweat.

End result? Stupid car is still broken and not likely to get fixed, I missed a couple days work, and I have a stiff and sore back for a couple weeks. My weight loss was going pretty well, too. But now I have to take a break from basketball. Crap.