Friday, September 24, 2010

The View From Here



We'd had a lovely time at the party—met new people, had interesting conversations, laughed, enjoyed. The night had turned cool enough that I shivered, just a little bit, and pulled my shawl close as we walked to the car, commenting on how dark and quiet it was—so unlike our part of the world.

Of course the kid who hit us from behind was drunk, but we didn't know that for certain at the time. All we knew was that the car was damaged, that we'd sustained a shock. And my neck hurt, my back hurt, my fingers were tingling. When the dispatcher asked if we needed an ambulance, I said we did.

There's something odd about having a stranger holding your head stable from behind—faceless, bodiless (except for those hands with their firm grip), yet intimate. There's something odder about being strapped to a body board, head now stabilized by a neck brace and some sort of blocks; odder still, being able to only look straight ahead which means "up," into the faces of firefighters in full regalia.

This is the week when my capacity for remaining positive, for acceptance, for patience has been sorely tested. There's good news, of course. If marks were being given, I'm fairly certain I'd get a "C," at best.

But there's good news, right? We are both still here. No one died or lost a limb or use of a limb. So why do I feel as if some essential thing was lost? Why is looking up so hard now that the neck brace is gone, I'm no longer strapped in, that moment has passed?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's amazing that we all don't crash into each other more often, and not just with cars. When it happens, it's very startling and traumatic. The potential for this shattering-of-peace is always there, but we are protected by our masterful denial.A few years back, I was in a multiple car collision on the way to do my radio show at WPKN. No one was seriously injured, but I was taken by ambulance to the hospital. I am very claustrophobic, so when they tried to "insert" my body into the ambulance, I cried out, "No!" Then My little world became the EMT's eyes and hands, who was so very kind...

Elizabeth Hilts said...

Binnie,
It is a wonder we maintain our personal little spheres so well.
I have to admit that when the EMT said they were taking me to the hospital a voice I didn't recognize came out of my mouth: "Oh nonono..."

A.J. O'Connell said...

I think, when we become victims of anything - an accident, a break-in, an assault - we cease to recognize ourselves for a little while.

Then later, afterward, we don't recognize our world. It seems so dangerous after we've had an accident.

Elizabeth Hilts said...

Oh, A.J.
I wish I'd written that. So very true.

Gus said...

I hate when that happens. It ruins my illusion of control. It's the reality check I didn't want, didn't ask for.

When I was hit by a "ran the red light" Ford F-350 a few years ago, I had the exact same experience on the board, in the wagon, the whole thing. Just before the uniformed arrived, one of “the crowd" asked if anyone was a doctor. A man came forward. He looked down at me, not so doctor-like, so I asked him what kind of MD he was. "A gynecologist" he replied, and in my excruciating mind numbing pain I kindly asked him to step back. Some things just aren't necessary in certain situations.

Wishing you a speedy recovery.

Elizabeth Hilts said...

Gus, that shows remarkable perspicacity in an awful situation on your part.

Thanks.