There will be a separate post on the emotional impact of this, but here are the facts, for now.
What a couple of days! Thursday was Mom’s car wreck and her miraculous survival.
Here are Mom’s words, to a visiting friend.
None of it makes any sense. I was going to the Food Pantry. I drove down Ott Street, took a left on Market, a right on Broad, and a left on E. Wolfe. There’s a little street in the middle of that block (with a stop sign). The car came out from the left and “wham!” spun me around and upside down. I was hanging upside down with my face on the glass. I was on my way down for my shift at the Food Pantry. How anybody got going that fast to hit me that hard I don’t know. (Question asked if she was able to talk to the responders) I could talk to them. They were amazed I could. It was very scary because the officer said it was a probable skull fracture. It was a big gash. Jesus and I took a ride (medivac helicopter) through the heavens to UVA. The first thing they did was cut off all my clothes. I wondered what I’d wear home but we talked them out of some scrubs.
I was in the middle of teaching my second class of the day when my phone kept ringing. I finally answered. The voice on the other end said, “Your mom’s been in a wreck. She gave me your number and told me to call you.” I asked if she was okay or if I needed to go to the hospital. He proceeded to tell me that I needed to come there immediately because it was bad and “she might not make it.” He went on to say she was “still under the van.”
I ran my class to the gym, turned them over to my co-worker, grabbed my stuff, and ran to my car. Usually I walk to work but I had driven that day. I drove to the street in a panic, sitting through an endless stoplight. I turned the corner onto the E. Wolfe Street. There were multiple firetrucks and police cars, with yellow police tape. In the middle of it all, was Mom’s van, lying on its side. I parked and hurried to the site. They let me inside the tape, but wouldn’t let me get close. I watched them and heard them sawing away parts of the van. They were working hard to keep the van from tipping all the way on its side.
An officer, still visibly shaken, talked with me on Friday when I arrived to pick up Mom’s stuff. He said, “I’ve never seen anything like that!” He explained that Mom was partially out of the van with the van resting along her head/neck. He said that he was afraid she was going to be “guillotined.” That is why they worked feverishly to cut her out and to keep the vehicle from continuing to roll onto her.
At the site, they would not let me go to Mom. I was facing the bottom of the van, with the van on its side. I texted my friend, Julie, who lives up the street and she came down immediately. Another friend, Jess, works in the building beside where the wreck occurred. She came out of the building, already praying, and saw me there. She asked me who was in the van. I had two friends there to support me!
They finished cutting Mom out of the van and loaded her on the gurney. The police chief gave me his number and told me she wasn’t very coherent and I should go straight to UVA. They were going to airlift her and there was no room for me. My friend Julie immediately said she would drive me there.
I placed phone calls to several relatives and we headed to UVA hospital, an hour away, in Charlottesville. On the way, I got a call from UVA. The caller was a social worker who said Mom was awake enough to give her my number. They were taking her for x-rays and scans. That sounded positive.
When we arrived, we had to wait awhile. Finally someone came out and said they hadn’t found anything major wrong yet, other than the head gash which would need stitching,
They let us back around 30 minutes after we arrived. Mom was pretty banged up and in a lot of bandages. She still managed to talk with us and to thank Julie for driving me.
People came in and out after that. The doctors decided that the head gash was too big and deep for them to fix, so they called for a plastic surgeon. They also got the elbow x-rays back and determined that there might be a fracture in the elbow. A doctor put stitches in that elbow, where she had a cut, and put a temporary cast on it. She didn’t realize it was on and started moving her arm. I said, “Don’t move that!”
She said, “It feels stiff.”
“That’s because there’s a cast on it!” I replied. She hadn’t realized that they’d already put it on.
The doctors and nurses were quite surprised at the lack of serious injuries, considering the wreck (and her age, I’d imagine). One doctor stated that it was “a major ‘Jesus take the wheel’ event.”
Thankfully I don’t have a weak stomach because the head gash was pretty nasty. Although she looks like Frankenstein now, the plastic surgeon did a wonderful job. We joked that, sadly, Mom would have to drop out of an upcoming beauty pageant.
Mom and the doctor joked around throughout the stitching job. I was asked to pass bottles and get towels. I said I’d send the bill later.
When all was said and done, at the end of the day, Mom was able to go home. I don’t think anyone who saw that wreck would have ever believed that would be possible.
Thank you, Lord, for protecting my mom. Every day in this life is another blessing.
Thank you to all of you who were praying that day. Our family appreciates it!