So, this week, on Tuesday, I was on my way home from work in my spiffy, shiny Nissan Altima, with its awesome 3.5 liter engine and its kick-ass sound system, just listening to some music, minding my own business on the interstate home.
Traffic slowed down, as it always does at that time at this one certain spot, and came to a stop. So I stopped, singing along with the damn radio, and I look in my rearview mirror and see a crappy pickup truck behind me, coming up fast.
He’s going to stop, right? He’s going to stop right? F*ck me, he’s not going to stop.
*Insert massive crunch sound here.*
It’s a seriously hard hit. I limp the car to the shoulder, cursed because everything in my purse had flown all over the front seat and passenger side floor, and call the police.
While I’m on the phone describing where I am, still dazed, Dude in the pickup is out of his truck and is knocking on the passenger window. “Are you all right? Are you all right?” So I hang up, and – not my best moment – screech, “NO I’M NOT FUCKING ALL RIGHT, YOU ASSHOLE.”
The damage to the back end of the car? Extensive. It’s not driveable. I just bought this car three months ago, did I mention that part?
Truck Dude is a total stoner/weirdo, who says, “Oh, my God, I’m SO SORRY, my phone beeped and I just looked down for ONE SECOND.”
I say pretty much nothing. My head hurts. My neck sort of hurts. I’m shaky and dazed and I HATE HIM.
The cop shows up and takes our information. Thankfully, Truck Dude seems to be insured. The cop looks at me closely and says, “Are you okay?”
I sort of frown, I think, and say, “My head hurts. And my neck sort of hurts.”
That, folks, is all it takes for them to call the ambulance, over my sort-of-weak protests. I really DO think I probably need to be checked out, but an ambulance seems kind of like overkill, especially since I’m … well, ambulatory.
The paramedics show up and ask me where I hurt. I tell them my neck and my head. And THAT, folks, is all it takes for them to strap me down to a backboard, with a neck brace, in front of an entire highway full of stopped traffic that is riddled with my coworkers on their way home.
The car is towed to the wrecker, I’m hauled away in an ambulance feeling sh!tty for taking paramedics away from, probably, some real emergency somewhere.
At the hospital, they leave me in the neck brace until they can take a CT scan of my head and neck to be sure I have no fractures or hematomas or any other completely scary thing which effectively whips me into a quiet, stoic panic.
Two hours later, the verdict upon examination is a back sprain, and a cervical sprain. Which is WHIPLASH, y’all. I am inordinately excited by this. I’ve never known anyone who’s ever had whiplash, even though it’s routinely trotted out on TV as a farcical and always-faked car-accident injury.
An hour after THAT and I’m in a cab on the way home with a fistful of prescriptions, a belly full of muscle relaxants and painkillers, and a serious fucking headache.
Total time getting home from work on Tuesday: Six hours.
Total damage to the car, according to the insurance adjuster and the mechanic: $9,947.00.
Hospital bills: Probably around $4,000, which includes medication, ambulance services, a CT scan, and an X-ray.
Cab ride during which the driver regales me with tales of horrifying car accidents he’s had (NOT comforting, assh*le): $45.
Rental car for four weeks while they repair my vehicle: $600.
BUT. The sprains will heal in another week or so. I was in the car alone, sans child. The car was not totaled out. Truck Dude was insured.
Life is still good.