Im sure youve heard or used the expression “I feel like I was run over by a truck” to describe the aftermath of a really bad asthma exacerbation or some other aliment. Ive used it several times myself in my blog posts, but this time around Im not using it as an expression, I actually did get run over by a truck!
I was doing my daily 1.5 mile morning walk, the same that Ive done almost every day for the past 10 years, when I got hit by a pick up truck while crossing the street…in the crosswalk. Before crossing that street I saw a truck coming down the hill approaching the intersection on the other side of the median from me. I made sure he came to a complete stop at the sign before I stepped off the curb. Everything was fine until I was right in front of the truck. Then all of a sudden in my right ear I hear an engine rev up. Reflexively I pushed my arms and hands to my right side hitting the grill of the truck to absorb the impact, but the force knocked me to the ground. As Im trying to roll out of the way, his right bumper hits me square in the right butt cheek and tosses me into the street.The irony is that had it not been for that second blow to my hip, his right wheel would have run over my head and I wouldn’t be here writing this.
Obviously, I was pretty dazed from the impact. For a few moments I thought this person was deliberate trying to run me over. I thought for sure that the thud of me bouncing off his front grill and hood would have alerted him that he hit something, but as I hit the ground I could see him still coming at me. I was terrified and thought I was gonna die. Thankfully, he finally stopped. But get this, as he gets out of his truck to see what he hit, he says…” Why the heck did you run into my truck?”. I said , “Are you F’ing kidding me, you just ran me over! I couldnt believe it. At this time im thinking, this guy is either a lunatic or is high on something.
Miraculously, and I truly believe that my fitness level played a huge roll in this ( along with a guardian angel or two), I was able to get up off the ground and walk back to the sidewalk where the guy who hit me backed up and pulled over. I think the seriousness of what just happened finally sank in, because the guy kept on saying..I didn’t see you man.. I didn’t see you. The fall to the ground damaged my phone , so I wasn’t able to take any pictures of his vehicle or even his license plate number, so I had him write down his info for me. Probably not the smartest thing as he could totally lie, but I was so out of it I couldnt concentrate on the things that needed to be done, like calling 911. He asked if I needed a ride somewhere, I said no of course( like Im gonna get in a car of someone who just ran me over). He said ok I’ll report the accident to the police as soon as I get to work, and then he drove off.
Dazed and confused, I started making my way home when a couple of passerbys who witnessed the aftermath of the accident, asked if I needed medical help. I was so out of it, I didn’t realize my hand and elbows were bleeding. It was then I realized I was injured and should call 911, which I did. The CHP and fire dept showed up took my statement and examined me. I tell them Im fine, just some abrasions, no big deal. The ambulance shows up and the paramedics examine me again, and though they don’t notice any apparent life threatening injuries, they recommend I be transported to the hospital to get checked out just in case. Again, thinking that Im not seriously injured and worrying about what an ambulance trip would cost me, I told them I would take myself to the hospital. With that, they made me sign a release and I walked, or should I say..limped the rest of the way home.
About an hour later I started developing severe pain in my right hip that got so severe I couldnt walk. It’s amazing how shock and adrenaline can block pain, but eventually it wears off and your pain receptors go into overdrive. Getting worried that something wasn’t right, I called my partner, he came home and we headed to the hospital. An ER visit and 12 xrays later, turns out I had an oblique fracture on my left pelvis and had a contusion in my right hip. The fracture was stable, so they gave me pain pills, some muscles relaxers and referred me to physically therapy to strengthen the supporting muscles. It’s been a month now since the accident and Im doing better. Ive been able to gradually start walking again and my hip only hurts now if I touch the area, or if I sit on it the wrong way, or if I walk too much on it.
This ordeal has literally been a pain in the ass and has caused a lot of emotional distress.Im stilling experiencing some PTDS from it. When I cross the street where this all happened, I get these horrible sensory flashbacks where I can actually smell the oder of the truck’s engine as it plows me over. Then I start seeing it’s right wheel coming toward my head. But the real reason this incident is such a big deal, is that the physical injuries I sustained affects my ability to exercise, ie walking. Exercise is my life blood, which has a direct impact on my health as a person living with severe lung disease. And the timing of this accident couldnt have been worse. As a potential lung transplant candidate it’s essential that I maintain a certain level of fitness at all time, and to do that I need to be able to keep up with my daily walks. My injuries have caused me to loose a whole a month of walking. Hopefully I’ll be able to ramp back up without too much delay.
My message to others out there who walk, run or bike for fitness..Dont stop what you love doing, just be extra careful. Regardless of how well you know your route, if you’re on city streets,be aware of your surroundings. Never assume that a crosswalk will protect you. Never assume that people in cars and trucks can see you. This accident shook me up so much, that when Im at a crosswalk now, I wait until there are no cars there at all. If I see one, I wait for them to proceed before I step off the curb. Still shell shocked I guess.
UPDATE:3-18-2017; It’s now been nearly 3 months since the accident occurred, and while most of my physical injuries seem to be healing ( I still have occasional pain and a limp when I walk), the mental consequences have gone the other direction. Immediately after the accident I felt a little shell shocked…who wouldn’t be. But as the weeks went by my symptoms got worse. I felt on edge all the time and found myself constantly and deliberately trying to avoid situations that would trigger flashbacks of the accident. I was even afraid to drive, which I thought was weird because im the who got hit by a car, not the other way around. Anyway, it got to the point where my emotions and stress were affecting my breathing, which is not good for someone with tenuous lung function. I ended up hooking up with a psychiatrist I had seen as part of the lung transplant evaluation work up. He diagnosed me with full blown PTSD, a very real and often debilitating condition that apparently a lot of people involved in car accidents suffer from. The good news is that Im responding to therapy. Ive learned a lot of coping tools and that bad things happen to good people all the time. Still, things aren’t back to normal yet. Im not sure what, if any long term affects will come from this accident. All I know is that Ive already been admitted to the hospital 3 times since it happened for severe life threatening asthma exacerbations, which can be triggered or made worse by stress. Im a strong person, so hopefully I can get past this. Ive got too much on my plate already.