Every Parent’s Nightmare   2 comments

Car Accident

As I put the finishing touches on dinner the other night, the phone rings.

It’s my daughter, hysterical.  I can’t understand anything she’s saying.  After the third attempt, she tells me she’s in an accident.

It’s every parent’s nightmare to hear those words.  Yet, some sort of calming influence overtook me.  Deep inside, there was this instinct that said, “Steady, now, it’s really going to be all right, but you must keep a clear mind.”  So I did.  I told my husband and son what happened, said to go ahead and eat, and I’d let them know what happened.

Our house, fortunately, is only a mile from the site.  I rush down there not knowing what to expect.

It’s going to be a long night.

Rain had cleared and the sun lowered in the sky, but the roads were still slick.  A curve taken too fast and a car spinning out of control.  An inexperienced driver overreacting to a potentially fatal situation.

The police hadn’t arrived yet, but a medical technician helps my daughter, the passenger, after checking both she and the driver.  She calls 911.  My daughter’s friend is able to move and gets out of the car. The technician (who happened to be driving to work and passed the scene right after it occurred), assists my daughter into the driver’s seat.  She’s in pain and extremely frightened.  A neighbor witnessed the incident and also called 911, then rushed to the scene.  He waves vehicles on as I get out, explaining who I am.  Then the police and EMT show up.  After a few questions, they put both on backboards and lift them into the ambulance.

I feel numb.  It’s like that’s someone else’s kid there.  I see this car, smashed up, and am grateful nothing worse had come of it.  To be honest, I don’t even know how I made it to the hospital.  My mind certainly wasn’t on the road.

Once at the hospital, I meet up with her friend’s parents and sister, who are both parts calm and rattled, as am I.  I took pictures of the accident and sent them via my phone to theirs.  Our kids are lifted out of the back of the ambulance.  My daughter’s friend cries.  Although he held himself together admirably at the scene, suddenly the impact of the incident overtakes him.  I can’t possibly feel angry or upset with him, only sorry that the entire thing happened.

We are fortunate to have a good hospital nearby.  Immediately both kids are checked out by a full retinue of nurses, technicians and doctors.  All sorts of tests are taken and monitors are hooked to their arms and chests.  The friend’s father and sister pop in to see how my daughter is doing.  I assure them she’s holding together rather well.  I join them and visit her friend.  He’s still upset and I make him laugh a little.  That reassures me as well.

Laying perfectly still, my daughter is in shock, going over and over in her mind the events leading up to the accident.  “We were laughing and joking, and the next thing you know we T-boned the tree,” she says, minus the tears now.  I wet a paper towel and wipe the smeared mascara from her face.  It refreshes her.  “I felt really sticky,” she said.  “That’s probably from the airbag and whatever dust and goop flew up from inside the car,” I say.  “Besides, you don’t look so much like an accident victim now,” I continued, cleaning the last bits of blackness from her cheeks.  She smiles.

The hours drag on as both kids go for CAT scans, MRIs, X-rays and a whole battery of tests.  I’m aware of the fact my daughter hasn’t eaten or drank for hours, and go to the cafeteria to check out the diminishing supply of food available at this late hour.  Water and a ham sandwich seem to be the only palatable things remaining in their stocks.  Returning to the room, she’s not allowed to eat until the tests come back clear.  Finally, at nearly 11:00 pm, they say she can have something.  My daughter is starving and wolfs down her food.

Finally, we’re released.  The doctor tells her she’s going to be okay, but really, truly stiff and sore for a few days and tells her to take it easy.  We drive home under the stars shining up in the sky.  I sigh, paying even more attention to the now-dry roads.  We pass the curve where the accident took place, and my daughter eyes warily the scene.  A boy only two years older and the star wrestler of her school, took a similar curve way too fast two weeks previously.  He died, ending a life full of promise.  Realizing her life could have ended similarly, my daughter now says with great insight, “Man, we were lucky, weren’t we?”

I reply, “Yes, you certainly were.”

Quietness fills our car as we pull into the driveway.  I help her out and up the stairs.  Everyone’s in bed, fast asleep.  I finally make it there myself, grateful this evening was over, and everyone was safe in our house.


Posted April 25, 2014 by seleneymoon in Personal Anecdotes

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2 responses to “Every Parent’s Nightmare

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  1. You are right, that is every parent’s worst nightmare. I’m so glad your daughter is going to be okay!

    • She is! Actually, she’s back at work at her after-school job, not much worse for the wear, but hopefully with a good perspective on careful driving. Thanks for your concern.

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