Wrong day, wrong lane, wrong driver.
Part 1 of 2 March 12, 2001, 3:15pm
In one of the largest cities in the USA, there is a post that is shorter than most. Fixing the area of the wreck, someone couldn’t read a ruler! That was the marker for me when the barricade was put back that had been run over, it was a reminder every time we drove by.
I never saw anything coming, but a 16 year old having fun during spring break, was driving 100 or so MPH. Witnesses tried their best to keep up, but they couldn’t, so the next took up the chase. They dreaded when and how it would end. I was first hit from behind, which is quite shocking since you are on a freeway moving about 60mph! I almost lost control, but easily gained it back. He oversteered, and BAM, another huge blow to the back passenger door. Time began to crawl, I wondered what I should do? I was out of control, but then, I got back in control again…. and then, there was his face at my passenger door as he hit me again – HARD – out of control. My passenger door…and thankfully, no one was sitting or with me. Sliding up, (screeeeeech) he popped my tire, and that was then end of being in any control. Actually, it was the end of being in control of anything…my life, decisions, doing what I wanted, cooking…well, we could be here all night. To my benefit, I never looked up. (no nightmares) I was going sideways across the heaviest traveled freeway.
Calmly I thought… “so this is how I will die”. I was fortunate, whoever would hit me would hit me at my door going a high speed, and I would never know it. No suffering. Just lights out. But then it changed and my constant steering to one side turned my car around and no I was going BACK across the freeway. But this time I knew I had the passenger door, seat AND them me. The odds weren’t as good, I could live, and yet not be alive. I kept imagining an 18 wheeler…. as I knew it would end any kind of suffering. Eternity from all these thoughts. No, my life didn’t flash before my eyes. Only a calmness of total acceptance came over me. SHOCK…I was in the grassy area of the freeway, between the freeway and the frontage road. I couldn’t believe I’d lived! How did THAT happen? I was stunned, and a burning sensation began from my skull down all sides of my neck to low back. My head had sharply went forward, then to the left, then upper left, the brain banging against the protective skull. EVERY area was jostled. Like the shaken baby syndrome. I knew I was hurt….but just a few chiropractors treatments, and all would be well. Silence on the Chiro’s part, because he knew somehow he would have to help me understand this was a VERY long haul. Queen of denial! He made the neuro’s appointment, and MRI. Laying flat in the MRI for 1.45 hours was excruciating painful.
I forgot things, who was I? Was I Cathy a daughter, or Cathy a wife? My mother and daddy, and sister had died during these years of recuperating, which sent me backwards a lot. My last sister doesn’t know me. So I call myself an Orphan, yet I have a few close cousins. We left our home where we raised our kids, a 4/2 on land, We opened our doors for furniture to be taken away by those who could use it. Now, we were in a 2/2 condo, just minutes from Charles work. And as I woke from deep sleep in the afternoon, I had to get oriented. So out came my notes by my bedside. “I’M CATHY CARLILE TURNER. MOTHER AND DADDY HAVE DIED, I AM CHARLES’ WIFE, HE IS AT WORK.” Quickly, I could get oriented.
Charles fixed early coffee, and I would get up to pour the coffee. Finally, I had to tell him to please turn the cup right-side up, as I had no clue what to do with the cup to make it right. I saved time by not spilling so much coffee. The kitchen I cooked in for 18 years was foreign. And it was exhausting to cover up that fact. I was pretty clueless, but a friend would cover for me and make it appear I was okay. My husband helped also. Was that bad? Yes. Because everyone thought I was fine, they had no idea of the struggles I fought just to get ready to go somewhere or to fix a simple instructions. I wore my mask, and it fit well. But inside that mask, was someone who was afraid, but couldn’t say those words. “Disabled” In fact, my neuro made me sit until I could say that word with confidence as he needed acceptance so we could move on to improving. He new my personality, and what works for one, might not for another. There was much to do, and little time for fear.
Slowly, the large Sunday dinners were handled by two young men, Vic and Paul, who were cheerful and kept our families spirits up, along with our friend. The erosion of who I was and my duties in the family became none, and it was hard for the family to cope and under