I’m not the type of person who goes to the doctor, let alone the hospital, all that often. I’m not one of those people who will only go if they’re about to die, but I’ll go for the occasional check-up or if I’m in some serious pain. Which brings me to January, 2011.
We had a bad winter in 2010/11. Lots of snow, lots of freezing temperatures. Being from Buffalo, I used to not mind. Now I mind. I’ve openly discussed moving to a warmer climate. January was no exception. Cold, snowy, and I had a couple of colds during the winter I couldn’t shake.
I woke up one middle-of-January morning feeling especially crappy. I was hot and cold – always fun, my stomach hurt, and every minute or so, I got a sharp poking feeling in the abdomen like I had never felt before. Oh shit, what is this? I went work, but only made it a few hours before dialing up my doctor’s office and asking for an appointment. They got me in, and I drove down for an afternoon visit.
A few hours later, I was parked in an examining room, still feeling hot and cold, still feeling pain, when the doctor came in and started the examination. I explained the symptoms, and he began pressing on my midsection, asking if it was tender. A few spots, yeah, I told him. And then he said it: it could be your appendix. Double shit. The flu was a bad enough, I thought, now I’ve gotta worry about my appendix, and maybe surgery?
He rang up the hospital next door and ordered up a CT scan for me, and within a few minutes I was making my way to the hospital, wondering what the hell was going on. I texted my wife Katie, briefly explained the situation, which of course got a worried response.
After signing in and sitting around a waiting room, I sat in an office and went over my symptoms again, and was then shuttled into another waiting room specifically for the CT area. It wasn’t shabby, everyone got their own private waiting area with a recliner and television, and the nurse informed me that I’d need to drink three glasses of what was essentially Crystal Light to prepare myself for the CT scan. So I sat, watched ESPN, and drank bright red strawberry Crystal Light every half-hour or so. It was at this point the really bad chills started.
First, I put my jacket on. Next, a blanket. I could not warm up, and on top of that, I was starving as I had not eaten all day. Katie texted me – I’m coming, do you need anything thing? A peanut butter sandwich, I responded, figuring it wouldn’t upset my already messed up stomach.
About an hour later, Katie arrived and was instantly concerned. I was pale and shivering under my coat and blankets. I had already downed two cups of Crystal Light, and was looking forward to that peanut butter sandwich, which I started nibbling on almost immediately. Within just a few minutes of downing that first bite though, my stomach started churning in ways I hadn’t felt in years. I don’t even know if I said anything, but I got up, tossed off the blanket and coat, and bolted for the bathroom just a few feet away from me.
I made it into the bathroom, shut the door and dropped to my knees at the toilet just in time to regurgitate all that Crystal Light I had been downing. Katie said my heaves, groans and coughs sounded like someone being murdered. A minute or two later, a nurse poked her head in and asked if I was okay. Um, no. The returned strawberry Crystal Light sprayed and splashed all over the toilet looked like an NCIS crime scene. I managed to gather myself and return to my waiting room recliner just in time for the nurse to return with a fresh glass, which I would need to down since I just vomited up the first two.
After finishing the last glass, I finally got my CT scan done, which was a bit freaky because they had to run a line into my wrist vein, the first time I had ever had that done. The attendant explained they’d get a few looks at my appendix to see if it was enlarged or not, and go from there. It was over pretty quickly, and I returned to the waiting room already feeling better than I had cleansed my system, so to speak.
A short while later, the attendant came out and said, “we didn’t see anything,” and that I was probably suffering from a stomach flu, hence the violent vomiting. Sometime after seven, we gathered up our stuff and checked out. And then the real fun began.
It had started snowing while we were in the hospital and the roads were already slick. Thanks to the weather, rush hour was still progress long after seven. As we were in separate cars, and I was parked closer, I managed to get out of the parking lot before Katie. I pulled my car (the G8 at that time) onto the sidestreet an slowly made my way through the slush and snow towards the main intersection, gradually slowing with the vehicles in front and behind me as we approached the left turn lane and its red light. Only, I wasn’t slowing fast enough.
With my speed somewhere between 4 and 8 miles an hour, the car in front of me came to a stop, and I tapped my breaks. No dice, the car wasn’t slowing. I engaged the emergency break. Nothing. I kept sliding – right into the bumper of the sedan in front of me. Shit. The light turned green, and traffic started moving again. The driver of the sedan turned on his hazard lights and after making the left turn, pulled off to the right side shoulder. I flipped on my hazards as well, noticing that directly behind me was a police car, who immediately flipped on his lights as soon as we were all on the shoulder.
Now, it’s important to remember that Katie was a few cars behind me in line for the left, so I have no idea if she’s seen any of this. I got out of my car and approached the driver of the sedan, who had also got out of his car. I apologized, explained that the car kept sliding and I tried to get it to stop. I think I said something along the lines, “I can’t believe I just spent half the day at the hospital and then this happened.” Oh, but we weren’t done yet.
About a split second later, I caught Katie’s car in my peripheral vision in the left of the two lanes. She had just made the turn and apparently spotted me, because for a split second we saw each other, at which point she inadvertently turned the steering wheel slightly to the right, pushing her car into the right lane and her passenger door into the bumper of an unsuspecting motorist. I believe I said, “and that’s my wife’s car.”
Immediately, Katie’s car and the vehicle she bumped pulled off onto the shoulder just in front of where I was parked, and we both had to explain to the police officer what the hell just happened. Luckily, the officer explained that due to the weather, they were only taking injury accidents, handed the four of us contact forms to fill out and exchange, and left. The guy I bumped looked at me, looked at the small scratch on his rear bumper, and said forget it, not a big deal. I think he felt sorry me.
Katie wasn’t so lucky. The damage to her car and the car she hit required work. What would normally be a 15-20 minute drive home took over an hour in the weather, and when we got home, we were both in shock at what had happened.
Two cars. Two accidents. Same intersection. Thirty seconds apart.Social tagging: 2011 > cars > riverside hospital > writings > ytrh