Tuesday, April 14, 2009
The short version:
I had taken my brother, sister, son and daughter to Boise to visit my grandma. We were on our way home to Salt Lake when I lost control of the car. We rolled 4 or 5 times, ending up in the median facing the opposite direction we were travelling. There are a few broken bones and cuts and stitches but we are, miraculously, ok.
Over Spring break, I had taken my 14 year-0ld brother, Jared, 10 year-old sister, Katie, and Brooklyn and Liam up to Boise to visit my grandma and sister, Jenny, who is living with her. We had a great time visiting them.
Saturday morning, April 11, we set off for home at about 6:00 am. The kids were all asleep for awhile, and were asleep as we passed Burley, so I decided to keep going and stop a little later. The kids woke up and Jared turned on a movie for them. I remember thinking that we would stop in about 1/2 an hour, and being alert. it was about 8:30. Thinking back, everything is fuzzy and I don't remember things as clearly as I would like. Somehow I lost control of the car (one of the EMTs said it's possible a tire may have blown, or I may have hit something in the road, or it is possible I dozed for a split second). As I tried to regain control I realized that we were going to roll before it happened, and knew there was nothing I could do (although I tried!) Jared said that I yelled "We're going to crash!" It all happened so quickly. We rolled 4 or 5 times. I remember seeing the grass and gravel coming at my window, and seeing the airbags and seeing and feeling the rolling. I have relived that nightmare many times since. Jared described it well when he said that time seemed to speed up and slow down at the same time.
After we stopped, I looked back at the terrified faces of the kids, imagining what they must have been feeling. I jumped out of the car and grabbed Liam out of his seat and ran around to the other side to help the girls out, but the door wouldn't open. I ran back around to help the girls out over Liam's car seat. The adrenaline was pumping so much I couldn't feel any pain in my leg that I later found out was broken. Because of the airbags, Jared had to climb in between the seats and out over Liam's car seat. We were in the median, facing the opposite direction that we had been traveling. I looked out and saw all of our luggage across both lanes of the highway we were on, and people running towards us (thankfully no one was close enough for us to hit). Strangers were there for us with our pillows, bringing water and blankets. Jared was absolutely amazing through the whole thing; he deserves an award for staying so calm, being so strong, making a calm, informative call to my mom, being there for Liam, and for all of us...
I was holding Liam, and a bald guy with a tongue ring stayed with me the whole time, talking to me, trying to keep me calm and still in case I had neck or back injuries. Brooklyn and Katie were lying next to each other, and I was able to put my hand on Katie. I was trying to process the situation and starting shaking severely, and Liam kept saying "Don't cry Mommy. Don't Cry." I think I scared him, and he asked for Jared, which I was extremely grateful for. Liam was concerned about finding Jared's football. Jared found my phone on the side of the road and called Mom. He found the diaper bag that I was concerned about, and even took a few pictures when I asked, as I was being put into the ambulance. There was some stranger there for each person, which I am so grateful for. When I would freak out about Brooklyn or Katie, someone was there to let me know that they were ok. I wish I knew who they were so I could thank them. I will never forget their faces. I tried to call Nathan, but he didn't hear the phone, and I got a hold of his mom, who was going to head over to our house to get him. My mom is the one who finally got a hold of him gave him the news. They were soon on their way to meet us. We were in the middle of nowhere so it took about 15 minutes maybe for emergency vehicles to show up. Brooklyn, Katie and I were all put in neck braces and on back boards (for the record, they are not comfortable) Brooklyn and I were in one ambulance, Liam, Jared and Katie in the other. We were taken to the Burley hospital.
Shortly after we got to the hospital, my aunt Maggie showed up (which is where she works), which was a huge relief to me. I finally felt allowed to break down and cry; that I could pass off my responsibility of being strong for the other four. She could run back and forth to the kids when I couldn't but wanted to so badly. She helped take good care of us, and got extra things for us that we wouldn't have had otherwise. My cousin, Kayla came shortly later with food and juice for the kids, shirts for the girls, and a movie. She was great! Liam and Katie got little bags that volunteers had put together with stuffed animals and books, which we were grateful for. I think all the kids were grateful for the distraction of "Toy Story."
Jared ended up with a cut on his head (and went to a church youth dance 12 hours later! With his hospital bracelet on, of course!!) Katie, thankfully had nothing in her eye, but but cuts around her eye and popped vessels in her eye. She had some cuts on her right hand, and a piece of her finger missing that they couldn't stitch up. Liam had a small bruise on his collar bone from the car seat strap but overall seemed fine (he does seem hurt when he is picked up, so may have cracked something.) One of his shoes was found right away, that I think he asked for, so he hung out for hours at the hospital with one shoe on. The highway patrol man said that Liam's car seat was installed so well, it didn't budge an inch, which was a huge relief. Brooklyn had a few little cuts and a broken arm (I think she hit the car seat.) Thankfully, I ended up with the worst injuries. I have a broken leg (I think I hit the emergency brake bar) I had a deep cut in my left hand that they were concerned about nerve damage, that I think will be ok. The doctor cleaned out a bunch of glass from my hand, and had to cut some of the skin away. I have 8 stitches on my hand, 2 on my forehead by my hairline, and some cuts and bruises, mostly up my left side. I have a burn from the seat belt on my chest. And I cracked a few ribs.
We were so relieved to have Mom, Dad and Nathan walk in. I can't imagine what the 2 1/2 hour drive must have been like for them. Kayla and Maggie went to the place where our car was towed and got all of our belongings, and came back with Liam's other shoe and Brooklyn's baby blanket that she had been asking for. My cousin, Brittni, showed up to the hospital as we were getting ready to leave. It was great to see her, and she helped get me around the hospital, and ran to get things that we needed as we waited in the cafeteria to go home.
Nathan was able to go with Kayla to see the car and take pictures, then went with my Dad and Maggie to get a new car seat (since they say it should be replaced after being in an accident), get some pain medication for me, and some food.
Brooklyn was nervous to ever get into a car again. Liam just kept asking for his broken car to get fixed, and didn't want a new car seat. So getting in the van to head home was a little traumatic for him. We were relieved to arrive home safely. We are so grateful for so many willing to help us.
We are so thankful for the angels that were with us in the accident to prevent any further injuries. I know they were there. We are indebted to the angels who stopped and helped us until emergency responders could get there. I am thankful to that bald guy with the tongue ring.
I will never forget mile marker 236 1/2 eastbound on I-84.
And, I would drive a Subaru again.