I think the title pretty much sums up todays post. It doesn’t always. Some of my titles can be a little cryptic. But today? Today the kid and I were involved in a four vehicle collision.
We had dropped off Damon at work after his lunch break, and proceeded to Lawson Heights Mall where we picked up part of his Yule gift and grabbed a couple eggnog booster juices. We hopped into the car with a couple more destinations we needed to hit so we’d be ready for our Yule celebrations tomorrow.
Driving down Warman/Wanuskewin road towards the turn off for Circle Drive East we noticed an accident blocking our turn. So I drove straight on, with the intention of turning onto Hazen where we’d be able to get turned around and still get our exit. Well, traffic was a little backed up – gotta love holiday traffic – so we ended up stopped part way between the turn we’d originally planned to use, and the turn onto Hazen Road. We were at the back end of the line of traffic, and sat stopped for a few seconds when IT hit the fan. Or rather, when the vehicle that came up behind us drove full force into the back of our car.
The airbags deployed, our car hit the one in front of us, and jumped the curb. The car in front of us hit the one in front of him… After being smacked in the face, hands, and arms with the airbag the cabin began to fill with what I thought was smoke (I learned later from one of the fire fighters that it’s actually a dust or powder that is packed in with the airbags to keep them pliable). Lily-Ann was screaming and crying, and I was in a panic. All I could think was that I had to get her out of the car. Serious adrenaline!
I jump out of the vehicle and run for her door, get there and realize that everything has locked. I run back to my door and try to take my keys out so I can hit the “unlock door” button on the remote. Can’t get them out. They are stuck in the lock. So I (completely panicked so not thinking clearly) struggle to find the right button on the door panel to unlock everything. I find it and rush back, pull her out, get us onto the meridian and start checking her over. She’s crying and scared, but besides a bump on the head, she’s unhurt.
After that, most of the hour or so we were out there is a blur. Kid was cold so I pulled her car blanket out and wrapped her up. I got her to stand next to a tree on the meridian so I could talk to the fire fighters and police officers. After a while one fire fighter said that she would be welcome to go hang out in the fire engine, and pointed us over to it. So I took her over and another gentleman got her up into it and settled in. I was able to leave her there, knowing she both FELT safe and WAS safe. They offered to let me sit in there too… but I was far too stressed, there’s no way I could have sat still. So I paced, and stopped repeatedly to explain what happened to police officer after police officer, fire fighter after fire fighter… At one point I pulled Damon’s present out of the vehicle and put it in the engine with Lily-Ann – who had been given a couple “junior fire fighter” stickers (in the shape of badges) and was enjoying the adventure and her visit with a couple of the firemen (they were talking about what she wants to be when she grows up). I’m glad I did, because it wasn’t long after that that our vehicle was towed away to who knows where, while I was talking with another police officer.
The woman who hit us is new to Canada, and so I spent a lot of time talking her through the process of an SGI claim, and how it all works. She was really stressed out, and while I was equally as stressed (if not more so, because I also had to worry about kid kid) I did my best to be pleasant. After all, it wouldn’t help the situation to get angry. No reason to add more tension to an already bad scene. She was quite worried about Lily-Ann, and was thankful that she was okay. I have to admit, I kinda wish she’d have just left me alone – as I was feeling a huge amount of stress and anxiety… but I can’t blame her for feeling a need to connect. We all deal with situations like that differently. I wish she’d had been paying more attention (to hit a car that is stopped in front of you, full force??? Come on. All I can think is that she was distracted by the accident that had occurred a 1/2 block from where we were) but we all make mistakes. Thankfully no one was seriously hurt, and honestly? There are worse things in the world.
Eventually we got things cleared up. I was given a card with a reference number on it, and my Grampa came to pick the kid and I up from the scene. He took us to my parent’s place where I was able to borrow my mom’s vehicle and go pick up Damon from work. From there we headed to a mediclinic to get checked out. I’m in quite a bit of pain (my right hand is partly unusable, and my left forearm is the same). Lots of aches and pains all up and down my neck, shoulders, and back… but the arm and hand are the two things impacting me most right now.
So, the kid is in bed beside me. She still wanted to sleep in her up high bed… but with everything that happened today, Damon and I insisted she stay in the family bed. We said she could go back up to her bed tomorrow if she wants too.
And it leaves us unprepared for Yule tomorrow… and with a whole lot of UNfestive things that need our attention right away. Things could have been a whole lot worse, a WHOLE lot worse. So I am very grateful we generally made it through unscathed. We’re whole, unbroken, and the kid has a cool experience with a bunch of great fire fighters under her belt.
And hey! If you’re watching the local news you just might see us. At one point there was a news camera there filming the kid and I.
It really was the scariest experience of my life…. those seconds right after it happened? When the car was full of “smoke” and my daughter was screaming… Until I got her out and checked her over you don’t even want to know all the things that went through my head. I was so beyond terrified. The relief I felt that she was safe and without major injuries? Yep. Adrenaline… it kept me going.