thetimedok

Enlightened Conversation.

Drivers Beware …

I am unsure if the stars are out of kilter, the moon is lined up incorrectly or if people are just out of sorts however; yesterday was a bad day for drivers in general.

Here in Texas; yesterday was a normal spring day by all accounts.  The weather was nice, mid 60’s and sunny, open window weather for most of us.

There were accidents where I usually don’t see them, which was odd.

While going to clients yesterday I just about had the opportunity to test the air bags as some young blond women in a red Mercedes, “nice car,” ran the light right in front of me!  She had a phone stuck to her ear and never saw me.  Even as I came to a screeching halt she never looked.  I shook my head and was thankful that my breaks worked so well.

My truck would have made a mess of her paint and might have scratched my bumper had a hit her.  Actually 7000 pounds at 30mph in the side of her car would have made a mess.  I wonder if she would have looked up then.

The Day was not over for idiotic drivers.  I had dinner plans which took me to an out of the way restaurant. While parking some guy started backing out of his spot and came close to backing in to me.  When I tooted my horn to alert him I could see him screaming at me “I guess” through his window.  He then waved the traditional one finger salute and sped off.

My only guess is that he is not a Texan, as we really are a little friendlier than that.  It was all his doing and I did not honk to be mean, just simply alert him that he was about to hit me.  “That is what they made the horn for.”  We are not talking a long horn blast either we are talking a “tap.”

 

They serve alcohol where I was going so I can only surmise that he had been drinking and his better judgment was impaired, or he is a jerk.

That is the reason for this “blog”..

As we guide our thousands of pounds of steel down the highways and roads we really need to be mindful that they are really “loaded guns.”  In a split second of indecision or distraction, we can take a life, if not our own, someone else’s.

While the girl in the Mercedes was not texting, she was clearly distracted.  If someone other than I was in that intersection that also was either not on their game or driving too fast or texting or otherwise distracted, thousands of dollars of damage would have ensued.  Damage to her personally could have happened and possibly me, as it would have been an abrupt stop.  I don’t know how solid a Mercedes passenger door is but, it might have triggered my air bags which would have sucked, because I heard that they hurt!

The guy that cussed me in the parking lot is another story.  People in Texas carry loaded guns.  An armed society is a polite society “don’t you know.”   You really don’t want to bring your “northern attitude” down to Texas and pick a fight.  WE DON’T SCREW AROUND HERE IN TEXAS!  Drive friendly or else!  If you decide to drink and drive and then come at a Texan with an Attitude, YOU WILL LOOSE! Our Prisons are full of your kind.  Be responsible if you come to Texas.  We will welcome you with open arms, if you are a jerk; you will not like it here.

About 25 years ago one day in November I was met head on with a guy driving a vintage Cadillac. His wife had just bought it for him as he whined about wanting another car because he had wrecked his previous car. “I learned this later on from her directly.”

 

We were on the freeway, I topped a hill and there he was, barreling down the road at over 60mph, on the wrong side of the freeway!

 

Friends, when you see something like this and you have exactly enough time to say “oh $hit!” followed by a large bang, your day gets ruined quickly!

 

In the few milliseconds between seeing him, and the subsequent crash, several things happened.

 

I quickly noticed a red truck beside me in the right lane, slammed on the breaks “locked up anti-lock breaks and actually bent the brake pedal, and then the crash.

 

Funny thing about a crash; time seemed to fragment. It was almost as if one were watching a movie in slow motion as the film went by, frame by frame.

 

My personal theory is time is like a frequency.  It has to do with gravity and motion and space and what have you but, the crash had somehow caused a ripple or harmonic.  Don’t know enough math to prove that; and I am certain that Michio Kaku could not come up with the equation either.  This is far past p=mv or F=ma.

I have heard that adrenaline causes this “effect.”  If adrenaline can cause “time distortions, ” than we have discovered how to slow down time.  While I am certain that there was a “shot of adrenaline we are talking about less than a second from seeing him there and the crash!

As we hit head on, the window beside me imploded.  Tiny pieces of glass tumbled horizontally in front of me to my right.  I remember vividly watching the glass tumble as past from left to right, I felt each piece bury itself in my face, arm and hands.  The steering wheel came in and crushed into my face and chest breaking my nose and most of  ribs and sternum. “That bone between the ribs up front.”

 

The dash came in, crushed into me knees and legs.  I distinctly remember the pain as my left leg was punched up under me, torquing my hips in such a way that the sacrum is twisted to this day.  This is how it happened and the order in which it happened, all in a split second.

There is a Star Trek Movie where Picard is with some gal who teaches him to “live in the moment.”  Friends, I think they got the idea for that from someone who has experienced this very phenomena, as that is exactly what it was like however; “and I stress this,” it was not pleasant!

I had just stopped at a service station before this and filled up not only my gas, but my stainless steel thermos full of coffee.  The thermos was sitting beside me.  As the truck went from 55mph to zero in about .025 seconds or less, the thermos tumbled down to the floor.  Little did I know at the time, the thermos had wedged itself between the firewall of the truck; and the frame of my seat!  I in fact have legs today because of that thermos and the fact that it was full of coffee.  Has something to do with hydraulics, if you are scratching you head.

As the truck came to a rest in the middle of the median, steam and Freon and what have you escaped from what used to be my engine which was now sitting underneath my seat.

The pain in my chest was unbelievable, and very soon after that, blood started coming out from everywhere, nose, mouth ears and of course where lots of glass was now buried up under my skin.

Very soon after that I began to loose my vision and figured well, this is it.  “Jesus, if this is your plan, I’m ready.”

I struggled with the seat belt, while I was still conscious thinking if I could get it off, the pain would subside and maybe, just maybe I could breath, no such luck.

There was no time for anger, or fear.  I was consigned to the fact that this was most likely it and I was waiting for the final “sting.”

Before too long, someone came to my door asking me if I was OK.  I turned my head to look at him, he had a camera and was evidently a free lance photographer.  As I spoke I remember blood escaping my mouth spurting, punctuated by my words, “no, I don’t think so.”

I must have looked a sight as the picture that made the front page of the local paper was of them taking me out of my truck..  For that I am thankful.

I remember watching as they took the old man out of his car and put him on a stretcher.  Not too long after that I heard loud sounds as they were cutting my door off of my truck and extracting me out of what was left of it.  As they laid me horizontally on that “board” my vision returned.  Hmm I thought, maybe he has another plan.

The man in the ambulance told me that he was going to stick me in the arm and it would hurt as it was an 18 gauge needle. The needle paled in comparison and quite frankly I was OK with it as if I felt it, I was still alive.  He told me they were putting “sugar water” in me… “Ok…..Fill er up…”I said as best I could!  He smiled as I said that, I knew that things were going to be ok…

The trip to the hospital was uneventful and before long I was being wheeled to some ER room.

The ER visit was terrible.  The doctor was summoned in from his day off.  He was wearing sports attire and clearly distressed that he was missing the game or what have you.  His bedside manners were terrible and quite frankly he sucked!

You know what they call the guy who graduates with the lowest grades from medical school, “Doctor.”

While there, a curtain divided me from the man who hit me.  He was drunk and later I learned he was on several medications that he should not have had alcohol with.  Oh yes, he was in his 80’s!

We had the perfect storm for a disaster and it struck.  He was not wearing a seat belt and because of his inebriated state only ended up with a small cut on his forehead which required a few stitches.

My care was abysmal.  After they took care of the old man they came “by they I mean an entourage of police, some “want to be doctor women” and the rude guy with the sports attire.” They ripped, cut my clothing off.  The paramedic was also there and the cop was telling the doctor that I did not have my seat belt on.  I told him that I had taken it off and he said “sure.”

I think that they somehow wanted this to be my fault, some how some way.

As my shirt was removed there was a huge purple stripe where the seat belt had cut into my skin through my clothes and across my belly.  The trooper was visibly upset as I think he wanted to write a ticket. I want to preface this next remark by saying that I have huge respect for law enforcement folks.  I know several and am friends with several.  I listen to the scanner, a lot, as I like to know what is going on that the press does not think is newsworthy.  Having said that, some cops are simply assholes!  The guy that caused this was on the other side of the curtain and he “the cop” was giving me shit…  I am laying there in pain, bleeding from everywhere, and this guy is looking for something to write me a ticket about or blame me in some way.

The “doctor” treated me like a cadaver flipping me over, was rather brutal and really did not take into account that most of my ribs were broken.  His final “test” was to stick a finger up my rear.  I really don’t know where he went to school but I can tell you that is probably the one place that it did not hurt.  Of course everyone watched the entire process.

You know my part in this; I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  God knew where I was so, I have to guess that all of this happened for a reason.

The old man had lived in this town his entire life and was most likely known; I was an outsider and relatively young so guess what “it just had to be my fault.”

Other than the sugar water they did nothing for me.  Other than leaving me naked on the table for all of the gawkers, nothing.  I was waiting for the doctor to start filling out a toe tag, as they were doing nothing!  I was in pain, probably scared although that the time I was more pissed than scared.  I worked in the Texas Medical Center for fifteen years.  I know what professional care is and I know what a real doctor does in a trauma situation.  This wasn’t it!

He finally ordered x-rays and a sonogram of my chest.  Finally, some orderly came along and gave me a wool blanket.  Someone had some compassion but not the people that should have.

It is cold in ICU and it was winter, and oh yes, they were pumping me full of something cold. “Sugar water.”  I guess it is “hummingbird therapy.”  Isn’t that what they eat, sugar water? Oh, and did I mention I was naked!  Beat all to hell, naked and shivering is a terrible combination.  I would imagine there was also a “shock factor” involved as well.

This was clearly the hospital without funding as the equipment was a joke; it would not stay in place and kept moving after the tech would place it.

Wheeling one around on a gurney, “which way are you looking?”  You look straight up, at the ceiling.  The ceiling had several brown stains from leaks and what have you.  How much mold do you suppose is loose in that hospital?  Folks, if you run a hospital, look at the damned ceiling once in a while.  This was the basement where the morgue and radiology was.  If the ceiling in the basement is stained with dark brown stains from leakage, what leaked?

The old man was released that day and I got to stay in ICU for about a week before I was moved to a room.  I did not sleep for 72 hours.  I entertained myself by using biofeedback techniques to alter my heart beat.  I once got it so slow I scared myself.  One of the leads came off and the monitor went to that “solid beep.”  Twenty two minutes later someone showed up running to my bed to check on the reason.  I had a solid beep for twenty two minutes before they noticed!  Now you know why I was afraid to sleep!

Some doctor (dentist I think) came and stitched up my lip where my teeth had come through, another came and tried to straighten my nose without any kind of pain management.  Huge forceps up the nose with this guy twisting on it, without so much as an aspirin.

They did not do anything for my pain as they were worried that it would adversely affect my heart which had been “bruised”.  I had to take little breaths as it hurt to breathe.  I could not turn my head because of vertigo.  I could not lift the sheets to pee as I could not lift my arms.  When they pump you full of saline solution you have to pee a lot.  I had to have help each and every time; you would have thought that they would have installed a catheter.

On the third day in ICU I asked to be cleaned up because even with the broken nose I could smell myself.  The busted glass was still in my hide, my body was still covered in blood and my beard / mustache was caked in blood.  The nurse said she would have to shave my face as there was no way to get blood out of my beard… REALLY?  I told her, whatever just please get me cleaned up; I was going to live and if I did not for some reason I damned sure did not want my next of kin to identify a blood covered corpse.

She never did anything.

Would you believe that it was not until I got into a room, days later and was able to take a shower was I able to get “cleaned up.”  I dug into my luggage, found my tweezers and dug the glass out of my arm and hands and face myself, after the shower!  A male nurse came in as I was finishing up to check on me.  There was enough blood from my digging out the glass he got concerned.  I told him to get me some bandages but he sent on the doctor anyway.  I had not seen the guy since the first day as there were other Erudite s to take his place.  He seemed visibly upset that I had taken the glass out of myself.  I am unsure if he was upset with me or the fact that it was still there.

The entire time I was there they kept asking me “what I was on.”  I guess they thought that I was on some sort of recreational chemistry and kept confronting me.  “No, don’t drink.  No, don’t do drugs…”  They had taken my blood several times a day for a week and yet they kept asking.  Had I been able, I would have walked the hell out of there, it was that bad!

By the end of my stay the doctor was treating me somewhat better as I guess he was finally sure that I was indeed “clean.”  They had collected blood and urine for several days, I guess he was satisfied. Maybe it took that long for the tox screen to come back!   If you are young it would seem that you are guilty of whatever they decide you might be guilty of..  Small Texas towns… Be wary… BTW, most small Texas towns are speed traps so don’t speed.  They depend upon giving tickets for revenue.  Now if you are from the north and have attitude, forget what I said and speed all you like.  You too can meet some “nice trooper who will address you as “boy or son ” and will have absolutely no use for wise ass remarks from Yankees! Heaven help you if you give them attitude!

The old man and I had the same insurance company so I was lucky to get my bills covered and get what was left of my truck payments covered.  She (claims person) argued about the cost of my cooler and camping supplies which were ruined.  Looking back, I think that was a distraction from the bigger picture.  Pain and suffering was not covered here.  Embarrassment and harassment from the locals was certainly not remunerated.

Oh and pain today as a result of this was and is not taken care of either…  Insurance is not for your benefit.  They sell it as if it is, but trust me, have a claim and you will learn.

When this type of thing happens; nothing good comes of it. I don’t know whatever happened with the guy that hit me, that was 23 years ago so I am in hopes that if he is still alive, that he is not driving.

Insurance claims and such have a life of 2 years.  Statute of limitations…

Guess what, after an accident like that, things happen much later in life as a result, like bone spurs and such, which cause pain.  You are never normal again after an event like that.

I drive a larger truck today and have little to do with small vehicles.  Screw the mileage; if I get had again I want the larger vehicle. I support MADD, and encourage everyone else to as well.  I don’t care if you drink, just don’t drive!

If you don’t have a “hands free device” get one, or simply call back, nothing is that important.  Oh yes, that bell alerting you that you have a text, ignore it if you are driving.  It can wait.  Too many times I see people texting and driving.  I know that they are doing something because they are weaving or their speed is erratic.  Upon closer inspection they are screwing around with the phone.  “I drive a truck, I can see.”

This inconsiderate old man changed my life forever.  I live in constant pain, and had to quite my job and re-invent myself because I could no longer do my job.  “Not compensated for that either BTW.”

Over 30% of all drivers on the road are impaired by either alcohol or prescriptions drugs or “recreational chemistry.”  Add to this statistic now we have distractions of people who think that they can drive and text, or what have you.

There is nothing smart about a smart car!  I would drive a tank if I could get one.

 

Actions have consequences… Be safe and courteous and if you are in Texas, don’t speed, drive and text and don’t drink and drive!

 

Best to you and those that you care about…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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