June 2014 wasn’t exactly the month I had planned. It started out on a great note with big plans to do a little exploring as I traveled across the state of Montana. My workouts were going great and I was building up to do a few more 5k and 10k runs this summer, hopefully building in a few more trail runs around the Helena area. I had big plans to really enjoy my first summer in Big Sky Country. All that changed in just a few seconds…
On June 7th, the first Saturday of the month, I went to the office for a few hours to get some things done in preparation to be on the road for two solid weeks. I stopped for a late lunch at the new Qdoba in town and picked up a burrito bowl and headed home to enjoy an afternoon on one of the first really warm days of the season. At the stop light at the edge of the shopping center, I decided against waiting in line for a left turn, and instead ended up first line to go straight ahead on the road that would be a little less hectic, for a more peaceful drive home. I wasn’t in a hurry at all and when the light turned green, I proceeded forward.
Before I knew what had hit me, my world was turned upside down. I found myself in a colossal mess, skidding across the intersection into a car on the other side. In a frantic hurry, I unbuckled and tried to get out. Seeing a man dressed in an army uniform, through the shattered windshield, I motioned to the passenger side of my pickup, which was now straight up in the air. I climbed out in a furry and dashed over to the grass shoulder and collapsed. I was a ball of adrenaline and still couldn’t figure out what had happened. I called my roommate to come pick me up. Emergency responders were on the scene and people wouldn’t leave me alone, continually asking if I was ok, begging me to stay still and looking to see if anything was hurt. It only took a few seconds…
It’s all still a blur and still gets my heart pumping fast in frustration and makes me a nervous wreck. It’s been a month and I’m just now able to sit down and write it down.
As I was pulling through the intersection, a lady in a Toyota Corolla blasted through the red light. Not realizing there was an intersection there, the hit my Chevy Silverado, dead center in the cab, and flipped the truck on its side, skidding across the intersection, not coming to a halt until it had hit a vehicle on the other side. There wasn’t much left of her car.
We were miraculously unharmed to any great extent. My pickup is totaled. I just bought it in September and it only had 20,000 miles on it. It was supposed to be my long-term investment. The cab crumbled and wrecked, still saved my life though. The side curtain airbags kept me from scrapping on the pavement and the cab held up to the impact of hitting another vehicle, stopping just inches shy of my face.
I’ve been in a month of soreness and pain. Now going through physical therapy to help repair torn muscle tissues in my back and neck. It could have been much worse. 10 people have died on local highways in recent months from auto accidents. My plans to fully enjoy the summer in Big Sky Country are put on hold.
I was angry at the woman who hit me. Part of me still is. Everything I’ve worked for was put into that truck. Dependable transportation was worth it to me this far away from family. Add that to the fact that I haven’t been physically able to do much of anything over the past month. No lifting or carrying. Long hauls on the road for work drew pain. We put up the first cut of alfalfa in the last few weeks and I had to sit by and watch while others did my share of the work. I’ve been sick over it.
But you know what? It’ll all work out. My truck may be gone, but after working with the insurance and hours on the phone, I have a new one. I’ve had several physician appointments over the past few weeks with more medications than I ever care to consume, but I’m getting through. Just a few more weeks of physical therapy and I hope to get back to the grind. I’m trying to start back on the running routine. There’s a 200-mile Relay race in September in Napa Valley that I’ve already bought tickets for. I’m going to make to that goal.
All in just a few seconds, she crumpled my plans, shattered the glass, and turned my world over on a dime.
I still jolt at every car that moves as I drive through an intersection in town. I still see, feel, and hear the impact of the crash. It’ll take a bit longer to get over that, but I’m sure it’ll pass, eventually.
- Wear your seat-belt at all times. Not because you might be careless, but because other drivers are distracted more than we care to acknowledge.
- If you’re on the phone in the vehicle, put on speaker or bluetooth and pay attention to the road and things around you.
- Your world may crumble in just a few seconds, and it’s ok to be angry about that.
- But you better start looking up, because things can always get worse.
- Insurance may be expensive, but you’ll be thankful it’s there when you need it.
- Don’t put a burrito bowl in your passenger seat and expect it to stay contained or survive a 50 mph impact.
I never did get to enjoy that burrito bowl, nor have I returned to the new Qdoba in town. It, along with glass from shattered windows, completely covered the inside of my pickup and everything in it, except for me. I walked out without a stitch of food, glass, or blood. Someone was watching over me that day. And I never did find out who the guy was who pried my passenger door open and helped me out of the pickup. My roommate picked me up and I went straight to the urgent care clinic for xrays. I’m on the (I hope at least) downhill side of physical therapy to regain my full strength. To this point, insurance has been cooperative. And early last week, I picked up a new Ford F-150. (Chevy’s are 0/2 in my book. This time I’ll just stick with the Ford.)
June was a crazy month. I’m not excited about the circumstances of how I got to July, but I’m thankful I’m here. Let’s hope this half of summer turns out a little better. And safer.