Personal

September 7, 2017

Ways My Car Accident Changed Me | Personal


This is going to be a doozy of a post. It’s been a year, and I’m finally okay with openly telling the whole story.

My cruise control was set at 60. I was 5 minutes outside of my destination happy as a clam. The music was playing, the sun was shining, and I had french fries in my center counsel. I was going around a curve and my tires got pulled into the shoulder. Being on a busy road, I decided to not over correct and just ride the situation out. This resulted in an end over end, semi side role. I so vividly can see my coke flying thru the car in front of my face, hitting my side window air bags, and exploding everywhere. I can still smell the exhaust from a car that didn’t shut off. I can still hear the police officer telling me the car might start on fire. I can still remember the suffocating feeling I had sitting in the ambulance signing a refusing medical attention waiver.

I will never forget the paramedics telling me they expected a transport to the hospital. That their exact words were, “you look like this (while pointing at me) after coming out of that (while pointing at my smoking vehicle)?” My adrenaline pumping and my pencil skirt slightly crooked. I walked away with a small scratch on my foot from crawling thru the brush. I also still giggle (& semi-roll my eyes) when I think of the passerby asking me if anyone else was in the car.. Like I would have left them in the ditch, in an upside down smoking car, as I stood up on the road and waited for the first responders. I’d like to think I’m a better human then that (I in fact, was alone). 

I will never forget that if my phone hadn’t been tied to an auxiliary cord, it would have been lost in the driving console. I squatted on my window airbags and gently tugged on it, like a leash, getting it to pop out.

I will never forget pushing the sunroof button to open, it opening 1/3 of the way & stopping. I eagerly pushed the button again and it opened fully allowing me to climb out onto a culvert. 

I will never forget my fingers shakily dialing 911. The dispatcher answering the call, her voice calm and sweet. I tried to match her calmness, slowing my breathing, and focusing on what needed to happen. I explained that I was a wedding photographer. That hanging out there wasn’t an option. I always wonder if she really was too, a photographer, or if it was a tactic to make me feel confident that she understood my concern. I do appreciate how everyone, down to the fire chief, knew that I had a wedding to get to. Knew that my job was my main priority and that I had to be there as soon as I possibly could (PS. The bride was wrapping up makeup when I walked into the suite).

I will never forget that the fire chief gave me ride. I didn’t even check in with the officer before I left. It was such a whirlwind that before I knew it I was climbing into his truck. We pulled up to the venue, he gave me a pack of tylenol, wished me luck, and pushed me on my way.

I will never forget my sweet, sweet bride. I will forever be grateful for her understanding and total confidence in me that day. I had explained what happened & she responded with, “I’m glad you’re okay. That’s all that matters. Get here when you get here”. Her demeanor instantly took my anxiety down a few pegs. But it wasn’t just the bride that day, it was the wedding coordinator, it was the mom of the bride, it was the guest that passed by the accident. Everyone was so unbelievably helpful and supportive. Although, all I wanted to do was focus on my job. 

I will never forget, that the reason that cop was telling me the car might start on fire, is because my gear was inside. Instincts forced me out of the car before I processed that I had 10K in equipment in the car with me. I was trying to convince him to let me crawl back in there while we waited for the tow truck to flip it. 

I will most definitely NEVER forget that none of my gear broke. A first responder was collecting the things out of my trunk. Yelling things like, “two lenses in this bag” & me responding with, “long fat one, short fat one, medium skinny one” – They wouldn’t let me near the car but I had TWO lenses escape out of an open bag (which is now always closed when traveling & in my front seat) & they didn’t break. I hugged my gear extra tight that day & thanked my lucky stars on that one.

I will never forget that all I wanted was a hug from my mom and dad.

……

I now subconsciously pull my seatbelt tighter while I’m driving. 

I went from a girl who never cried about anything to a girl who balls at a good commercial.

I don’t look forward to the day that I hit a gravel shoulder.

I will forever be grateful for a Jeep Compass that cocooned me.

I will now forever be a Jeep owner. 

My family, who does SO much for me, who STILL listens when I STILL struggle with it sometimes.

I’m not sure I will ever take that wedding off my all-time favorite list. What can I say, I work best under pressure.

Just a couple of weeks ago had a full blown anxiety attack outside of Milwaukee with a close call. 

The smell of car exhaust makes me fidgety. 

French fries are never worth it. They’re damn delish but not worth it.

This sounds so silly but my insurance (State Farm) blew me out of the water with their costumer service and help. They were so quick, caring, considerate. It made the world of difference to me.

I am so unbelievably thankful that it was only me. I can’t imagine my mental state had I hurt someone else. 

The shift of privacy happened then. I started retracting sharing really personal stuff.

This is something that I’ve wanted to type out for a year. Weighing the, “is it too much?” “is it too woe is me?” “is it too attention seeking?”. It all ties together with that last point up there.. But as I sit here and stare at the blog, my blog, my journal I figured I could most definitely share it. It’s not something that I want to monetize on or seem needy for attention. I guess I don’t really know what I am getting at here. I just didn’t expect a simple event like this, to shift my personality so much.