I thought I would continue where I had left off in my story of the accident. I figured I would tell you all about how the paramedics pulled me out of the wrecked van, put a precautionary neck brace on me, strapped me to a stretcher, and loaded me into the ambulance. I wanted to tell you how the semi driver was also in the same ambulance, but positioned behind me, so I could not see him. I wanted so badly to blurt out an apology to him, but I was having a panic attack and could barely breathe, much less get any words out. So I just stayed silent, thinking it repeatedly (“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry”), feeling endless tears slip out of my eyes and fall onto the stretcher.
Then I thought I would tell you all about how the ER doctor seemed to think I was exaggerating my pain levels, and that it was all just due to seat belt friction. But the tests had showed blood in my urine, so they had to investigate further with a CAT scan. They found I had internal bleeding around my liver and kidney, and a fractured first lumbar vertebra in my back. I figured I would go on to describe how incredibly crippling the pain has been, and how I sometimes feel as though being in pain is simply my new state of existence.
Except really, I don’t want to talk about any of that.
I would much rather tell you about this walk I took with my boys yesterday.
It was the first day since the crash that I felt like I might be able to go for a short walk. I had some items to pick up from a local seller – Minecraft shirts for Lennon, which he was excited about. According to my iphone GPS (which I would be completely lost without…have I mentioned that I am directionally impaired?!), she lived very nearby. I decided to try walking – SLOWLY – over there, pushing Roland in a stroller.
Unfortunately, once we started walking, we realized it was way farther away than we had anticipated. My back and hips were hurting a bit, but I wanted to try pushing on. It was a lovely day, and I was really enjoying just being outside with my two boys.
We walked at a leisurely pace. We spotted several birds and one squirrel. We picked up these long green pine cones, and felt how sticky their sap was against our fingers. I noticed a tree that had these interesting configurations of tiny leaves. There was a tree just like this in our yard when I was growing up. I used to stim by picking the little leaves off the branches one by one, always in the same exact way each time. I told Lennon about this, and he decided we should take some of these leaves home, so I could play with them again. As we walked, the leaves flew off the top of the stroller, where I had set them. Lennon ran after them, yelling “Mom, your childhood is getting away! We have to save your childhood!”
Lennon found a perfect walking stick. Then we came up to a huge water tower. Lennon said he had always wanted to get up close to one. I took a photo of him standing by it, and he was pleased.
We picked up the shirts. I had Lennon go up to the door and pay the woman, and was very proud to see how politely he handled that social interaction. We headed back toward home, and stopped at the park so Roland could get out of the stroller to run around and play for a bit. He and I put our toes in the sand together. As we continued on our way, we walked past some of Lennon’s neighborhood friends who had found a frog. Roland was quite intrigued by this creature.
Basically, it was a perfectly ordinary summer day. With one big difference.
I was there to see it.
My life didn’t end when those 80,000 pounds slammed into my van. It most certainly could have. But it did not.
I don’t want to talk about the pain anymore. It hasn’t left my life yet, and won’t for quite some time. In fact, today I am physically paying the price for that long walk yesterday. But I don’t regret doing it for one second. Because that perfectly ordinary summer adventure that I had with my boys was beautiful.