from inside the wreck

The car isn’t moving anymore. I wonder why. I push on the gas pedal, but the car won’t move. My head hurts. I hear voices, someone yelling, someone off to my left is crying/screaming.

A woman is at my window, telling me to stay still, that 911 has been called and I will be ok. My head hurts. I put my hand back there and it comes back bloody. I don’t understand. What happened? I need to get out of this car. That seems suddenly very important to me. I pull the handle and push. Nothing. That door will never open again, from the curious looks of it. How did it get like that? Maybe I can crawl out the other side. Because I need to get out of this car. The lady at my window stops me, tells me I have to stay still. She grabbed a towel from my back seat and is now holding it against the back of my head. I need to call my husband. He will come and get me. I look down and, oddly, my phone is laying on the passenger seat. The nice lady offers to call him for me and I hear her telling him “your wife has been in an accident, you need to get here”.

Sirens. Voices. Blood. Crying off to my left. I am shaking now, uncontrollably. My head hurts.

Bits and pieces of a conversation taking place somewhere outside of my car float into my brain. “I didn’t see it, some guy just ran into the shop and told me I needed to get out here because people were hurt.” “Has 911 been called? Yes?”.

A policeman opens my passenger door and starts going through my purse. Tells me to stay still. Takes my license and disappears. I try to be still, because that’s what everyone keeps telling me. Must be important.

A different lady leans in my passenger window, holding a pair of glasses. Wants to know if they are mine. Yes. “I found them out on the road”. Thank you. She smiled and was gone. My glasses weren’t even scratched.

Through my passenger window I see the back of an ambulance. A man on a stretcher being put in the back. I start crying. Now there’s a man at my driver’s window, replacing the nice lady with the towel. A fireman. And another one…fireman? paramedic?…sitting in my passenger seat holding the towel against my head. The fireman in my window tells me to be still and not to worry, that they need to cut me out of the car and it will be loud but I’ll be ok. Then he put a blanket over my window. My head hurts. But I’m being still.

And then my husband’s face through a window, telling me I’m going to be ok. I wanted him to take me home now. Just get me out of here and let’s go home, ok? I don’t need to go in the ambulance. I don’t need a doctor. The bleeding will stop soon and I will be fine. I just wanna go home now.

They let him sit in the front seat next to me while they cut metal from metal. So loud. The car is rocking as they attempt to remove the curiously smashed door. He is calm, but I know. I saw it in that glimpse of his face. He is calmly scared. And relieved. Because I am moving and bleeding and breathing. Not dead. I felt bad that he had been scared, that he had wondered if his wife was alive as he took the phone call. Wondering still, as he came upon the scene of mangled metal, flashing lights, fire trucks and ambulances. But he was calm for me. He’s good like that.

Finally, the blanket came off and the jack-hammering noise stopped. Finally, I will get to leave this car. A strange contraption goes around my neck and now men are turning me, moving me, out, down, onto a board. Because of the contraption, I can only see straight up. The face of my son and my daughter-in-law come into view, with that same calmly scared look.  And then a stranger’s face looking down at me saying “You’re going to be fine. We are praying for you.”. And then he was gone. Just a man who drove up on the crash. And began praying.

Into the ambulance. Lots of talking. Medical speak…letters and number I couldn’t understand. And questions. Medications? None. Allergies? I can’t have the dye for cat scans. Make sure they don’t give me that, ok?

Blood pressure cuff. Way too tight, it hurts my arm. Then, “blood pressure is 187 over 112. Ma’am do you have a history of high blood pressure?” “Sort of, yes.” Flurry of motion and this man wins a medal for quickest IV insertion EVER. One, two, done, taped down and everything. I was impressed. But my head hurt so I didn’t tell him. I think I should have told him.

Hospital. Scans, x-rays, pokes and prods. Head still hurts. My son, daughter-in-law and husband all in the room. Husband and son cracking jokes, making me laugh. Because that’s how we roll. We roll through most things laughing all the way. Daughter had not yet been reached at work. (She came to sit with me later that night at home, bearing grocery bags of food and treats and her runs-in-the-family sense of humor that made my head hurt less.)

I asked about the people in the other car. “No one has any life threatening injuries”. Small comfort, but comfort nonetheless and I am grateful for it.

Blood pressure down. Scans and x-rays, pokes and prods all show minimal damage. A two and a half inch gash in the back of my head. Nothing a staple gun can’t fix. Bam, bam…six staples just like that, after being assured by the carpenter/doctor that numbing it would hurt as much as the staples, so we may as well just get to stapling. Bruises, abrasions, soreness, a concussion and quite the headache. But I’m not dead, something that seemed surprising, at least to those who had seen my car.

The accident happened last Saturday, October 6, 2012. I still don’t know what happened, other than my car was broadsided by another car that, if going only the speed the limit, was travelling at least 45 miles an hour. I had gotten gas, and was waiting for traffic to clear so I could pull out and head home. I needed to cross two lanes of northbound traffic, and a center turn lane, so that I could go left (south). Two cars were coming from my left. They passed. I pulled out, crossed over the northbound lanes into the center turn lane.

And then a lady was at my window telling me to stay still, that 911 had been called.

And now I don’t want to drive a car again. Or ride in a car. Or leave my house. But I will. I will do all of those things, because I know God.

I know He will remind me that life is worth the risk of living it out in the open. Where I am  in control of nothing. Where bad things can happen, but good things too.

He will remind me that because He is with me, Love is always there, even when I am bleeding and don’t know why.

Love will be there, holding a towel to my head, saying, “be still, you’ll be ok”.

Love will be there, getting out of their car to pray for the strangers in the twisted metal.

Love will be there, sitting in the front seat with me, holding my hand, calmly scared but telling me I will be ok.

He will remind me that I am His and He is in control and life is fragile so live it with care.

This experience will matter. It will change something. Because I know God.

He uses everything, and wastes nothing.

6 thoughts on “from inside the wreck

  1. Sometimes I’m surprised at the times I forget to pray, but then find later that others took care of it for me. In 1991 my wife got meningitis. For four days she didn’t move, or speak. She was in an isolation room in the hospital. I honestly thought she would die, or be brain damaged if she survived. All I could think about was how would I ever be able to bring up our three boys on my own.

    My Dad was in Singapore at a Christian conference. When he got up to speak he paused and asked all the delegates to stop and pray for his daughter-in-law sick in hospital in England. The next time I went into the hospital to visit my wife was sitting up in bed and talking. It took a few months for her to recover fully but she did recover. Not because I prayed because I didn’t. I still don’t know why. But God answered prayers from the other side of the world.

    Thank you for sharing Karla. So glad that you are OK.

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  2. This car wreck, your head injury could not/would not hinder you from remembering the love of our God … holding you and telling you “You will be ok!” Karla, I read and re-read this. As one who has had my share of “IV” issues, I am glad the IV angel was at your side! You are so very loved across-the-miles. Rest in Him as you recover & mend. He is our Shield, our Lord, our Friend!

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  3. How can I keep from crying at the sight of that car and reading again everything that was going through your head as you sat in that car? How Tim must have felt, reliving the fatal car crash that took his niece and brother in law…and not knowing and then knowing but still scared that you would be ok. I have prayed every time I have passed a car accident for as long as I can remember. I am so glad there was one who stopped to let you know he was praying. I am so glad that God heard his prayer. I am also glad that you are able to share this so soon. I am glad you are my sister. I am glad I wasn’t in the passenger seat when it happened. It would have been a classic “I told you so” moment and it would have been moms voice coming out of my mouth and that would have only made you laugh and that might have hurt. I love you so much. Don’t leave now, you are not done yet with your mission.

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