We finally settled in the accident and the money has long since cleared our account.
On his way to work September 29, 2012 my husband Dean was t-boned in an intersection by a teenager who was not only speeding, but also ran a red light. It was a Saturday morning around 7:30am and Dean had just gotten to the very last light before his job. He was literally within sight of the shop when it happened. KABOOM.
Shortly after they got him into the ambulance, a police officer called me and woke me up “Ma’am, are you the spouse of [full legal name]?” I said “I am junior’s wife. Is it him or his father?” The officer said “Junior. Ma’am your husband has been in a car accident. He’s being taken to [hospital]. Do you have a pen? You need to write a few things down.” And then my heart fell into my stomach. He wouldn’t tell me what condition Dean was in, just that he wasn’t dead. There is NOTHING on this earth that prepares you for a phone call like that. It’s been 15 months since that call and it still makes me cry thinking about that morning.
I knew taking a shower would seem stupid to someone else, but I decided I needed to do that because I knew I had a long day ahead of me and starting this off with a clear head was the best idea. I also had a 45 minute drive ahead of me from our house to the hospital and the only way to quell the building panic attack was to get a hot shower.
When I got to the hospital I had no idea what to expect. I was told he was in trauma and I couldn’t go back while he was in there. I spent the next hour on the phone calling the police station for the report information, our insurance company to file a claim right away, the towing company to find out where his car was because there were some important documents in the car I needed, and then I called the moms and dads. I know, I should have called them first, but I had zero information and I was waiting to be called back. Reality is that I just couldn’t handle the calls yet so I was grateful when every single one of them went to voicemail. I left as calm a voicemail as possible for each parent.
After about an hour and a half, they finally transferred Dean from the trauma center to the emergency room so I was finally able to go back. There he was, bandaged up, a collar around his neck, his face bruised and covered in blood, and a surgical tech removing glass chunks from his arm and stitching up the wounds. I did not immediately burst into tears. I stood there over his head and looked down and said “Hi sweetie, I’m here” and he squeezed my hand. When the tech finished, we had a moment alone and the two of us burst into tears. I’ve seen my husband cry maybe 3 times the entire time I’ve known him and this was one of those 3 times. When the tears subsided, I started to pull flecks of glass, chunks of styrofoam, and bits of metal out of his chest hair and off his arm. I took a soapy wet paper towel and slowly cleaned the blood off of him. He was in a LOT of pain and couldn’t move until we got clearance from his scans. We waited another hour and in that time I called the parents again, this time I had information. before we were cleared to go. They had cut his clothes off his body (all but his boxers, thank God) so he had to go home in scrubs. It was the one funny moment of the entire morning because Dean is a VERY large man and disposable scrubs are hard to find in his size. He popped through a set or two before we found the right fit.
On the ride home he was very sad and very sore. Unfortunately I still had to pick up his meds and instead of wanting to go straight home, he said he’d wait in the car while I waited in the pharmacy. The second funny moment of the day came when I was waiting and an ex boyfriend stopped by to talk. This guy dumped me for being too fat and lo and behold, he’d gone and chunked up over the years. Then he saw my rings (which I’d had under my crossed arms) and acted surprised when he asked if I was married. That was a fucked up moment. They finally called my number so I paid for the prescriptions, some bandages, gauze, and antibacterial ointment, and left.
When we got home, Dean wanted a shower. In order to do that, I had to wrap his bandaged arm up (they said not to expose the wounds for another 8 hours and then change the bandages) in plastic and keep it out of the shower stall as much as possible. We had a wee bathroom and a wee shower so I finally said “just open the curtain and I’ll put some beach towels down. Much easier.
I finally got him cleaned up, medicated, and into bed. And then he told me there was a deposit from work in his car. A large one with cash in it. I knew there were other items in the car that shouldn’t be exposed to the world and figured he could sleep while I went off to Bumfuck, MD to get to the car. Of course the car was in a crazy ghetto ass area down a back road and when I got there I thought I was going to be murdered. Instead of waiting for the towing company at the gate, I pulled back out to the main road and waited. Apparently someone else had been calling them all day and when I called they were a little shitty with me so I started crying. Right then and there it all shifted. The guy on the phone apologized profusely, told me where to wait, that the driver was literally 5 minutes away, and then talked to me about Dean. He told me what to expect when I saw the car and to just remember that he was okay and back at home. It was a surreal bonding moment with some random towing company guy and it was a blessing. That man talked me off the ledge when I needed it the most. Then the crazy lady who’d been bugging him all day showed up in a flurry with her entourage. I knew immediately why the other guy had initially snapped at me thinking I was her because this woman was fucking nuts and her teenage son was a douchebag!
The driver was helping them out with their car while I walked over to ours. In front of our car was the SUV that had hit Dean. It was royally fucked in the front and the frame had been damaged, but the airbag hadn’t even deployed. That kid was fucking LUCKY. And then I got to our car. If you’ve ever been punched in the stomach and had the wind knocked out of you then you know exactly how I felt when I saw the car. The drivers side front end was smashed. The tires on that side were deflated. All the windows had exploded except the windshield which had clearly been cut by paramedics to reach him. The doors had been cut off of that side and stuffed back into the car – one in the back seat and one shoved through the back window. The seat had a side impact airbag and the frame had a curtain airbag – both were deployed. I suddenly realized the styrofoam I’d seen on Dean’s chest earlier was from the side impact airbag. There was glass EVERYWHERE. I got all sorts of cuts and scrapes from going through the car.
I slowly went through the car while the other people caused a scene. I told the tow truck driver to take his time and I’d be there for a little while cleaning up. Reality was I wanted those assholes to go away while I was searching desperately for the cash deposit and didn’t want anyone to see. I found it in one of the cut off doors and thanked every god and deity I could think of for not letting it fly out while the car was being towed! When the driver finished up with the crazy people he came over to talk to me and help me get everything out of the car. I took pictures and talked to him. Apparently he’d been there at the scene almost immediately because he was around the corner when it happened. He asked about Dean and what had happened. I was blown away by the sincerity and kindness of this company and thanked him profusely as I left the crumpled remains of our car behind.
After a very long drive home, I picked up some dinner. Dean had not slept well while I was gone so the minute I curled up next to him in bed, he zonked out. The next morning was my grandfather’s funeral and I knew we had a long painful night ahead of us. I let him sleep and didn’t leave his side.
to be continued…