Monday, August 29, 2016

All the good that comes out of the bad, or "If you're going to get hit by a car, this is the way to do it"

I was so proud that I rode my bike to school the first two days! I love not using my car, knowing I am polluting just a little bit less, getting exercise, and enjoying the sights and sounds I miss when I'm stuck inside a vehicle.

While riding my bike home on Thursday, however, I was hit by a car as I crossed a street near the hospital [thankfully!] I was riding the sidewalks but came to a crosswalk where a car was stopped while waiting to turn left. Suddenly the car went and we collided. I was hit on my left side and watched the hood of the car go around me as I rolled over in the air and landed on my left side on the pavement. I just lay there stunned. I remember the entire accident including thinking, this doesn't hurt as much as I thought it would. Then I heard the driver (let's call him Steve, which is not his real name) cursing and at first I thought he was cursing at me, but he got out, leaned over me and said, "are you okay?" several times.  

We eventually moved out of the road and I sat on a curb nearby. Then a woman was talking to me who used to be a medic in the army. As it happens, Steve used to be a medic in the air force. Then an ambulance came, which had just finished dropping someone at the hospital across the street, saw us, and came over.  

The paramedics looked me over, and I didn't fight and I wasn't obstinate. Twelve years ago I was in a bad wreck in Utah and so distrustful and afraid that I didn't let those paramedics give me any medications. I was a park ranger at the time and one of the medics in the park had scolded me later for not letting them do their job. He reminded me that though a person might feel fine at first, their status can change quickly and being able to administer drugs quickly becomes super important. So Thursday I went along with everything people suggested. Which happened to be relatively easy as I was busy crying non-stop. I felt silly and embarrassed, but more about that later.

Photo from
I started seeing little rainbows, but now that I know that it was what people call "seeing stars". When I think about it I just see Wile E. Coyote after the Road Runner has beaten him one more time! The paramedics said it was a good thing I was wearing a helmet and strongly suggested a trip to the emergency room to get checked out, and I agreed.

As the paramedics helped me out of the back, my vision got wrong. Not black or faded, but not correct. Not good. They helped me inside, put my bike in a safe spot near the door and got me checked in. These men were wonderful and kind and funny, which was super helpful because I was so self-conscious when I hobbled into the waiting room (not due to injury but because one of my flip flops broke).

One paramedic asked if he could call anyone for me. I thought of how far away my family was and said "no" as a wave of sadness washed over me. I sat down in the waiting room just crying. I prepared to sit there alone for a few hours. then I caught myself and realized that my old habit of trying to do things alone needs to go. But then I realized one of my best friends works near the hospital. I texted and she called and of course she came over, despite the fact that she didn't have a car at work. She stayed with me until I got home.

Calling her was the best thing I did. She counteracted the voices in my head that said, this is no big deal, Joy, get over it. She reminded me that the crying was not only appropriate but my body's way of dealing with the trauma of what happened. She helped me keep my mouth shut when one of the nurses wrapped my shoulder so much it looked like the Michelin Man. Instead of being cold and rude, I just stared at my friend and we laughed with our eyes.

The doctors and nurses were funny and helpful and I was only at the hospital for just over 2 hours. They cleaned and dressed the abrasions, asked me lots of questions, gave me a Tetanus shot [note: I did NOT like that] and did a CAT scan which didn't show any damage. I got pushed the scan in a hospital bed and so pretended I was a queen and waved to everyone I passed as we went! I started to get nauseous the last few minutes we were there, so the doctor prescribed an anti-nausea medication that I could fill if it persists. After half a dozen calls for a ride, a good reminded that I have many people in my life to help, my next door neighbor answered and retrieved us and my bike.

Friday when I woke I was only mildly nauseous so I went to school. I felt mostly good all day. Saturday, however, the nausea was bad. Here's more good out of this: It was the day my church hosts a monthly meal for the hungry in Boise. I knew I wouldn't stay to help, but I showed up to settle who would cover for me. I didn't want to tell people what happened because I still felt embarrassed about it. When I got to church and told them, though, I cracked open and everyone jumped in to care for me. I was overwhelmed by the kindness and love these people showered on me! Someone took care of my position. Another friend who is also a nurse took me home and went to fill my prescription. Later, people brought my car home. I got a few emails when people had gotten back home. This morning the priest at church called to check on me. 

There is one more thing. Wednesday night, the night before the accident, my friend Doug, who passed away two weeks ago from cancer, visited me in a dream. He was so happy to see me and gave me a huge bear hug. He looked wonderful and happy. I imagine it was not a coincidence his visit was the night before this happened. I know that somehow Elmo (Doug) stepped in and helped me out. Maybe he stood in between me and the car, or maybe he gave everyone involved a cheerful disposition. Whatever he did, it worked.

Not only am I whole, with nothing broken, walking and talking and getting better each day, I know that I am loved, in a way I never would have known if this hadn't happened. It brings me so much joy to know that I am not alone, and joy to realize I don't feel alone. Though my family is in Texas, I am know without a doubt that I have an equally loving family here in Boise. Thank you to everyone and may God bless "Steve". It was terrible for me, but I bet it was worse for him.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Catching up! #Belfast #reunited #missyoualready

I got to catch up with friends in Belfast today! We met in Dublin two summers ago when I sat next to them in a pub, and we got along so well we hooked up later that summer when I went to Belfast.

Today they met me at my hotel and took me to a fabulous pub called The Duke of York where we talked for a few hours. How wonderful to see them again--and to think I was afraid they wouldn't remember me and I found out they had kept up with my graduation this summer!

Miss you already and can't wait to see you next year!

Goodbye Europe from the Europa! #EuropaHotel #Belfast #seeyoulater #MAET #summerofalifetime

This is my last night in Ireland/the UK, and I'm staying at my favorite hotel ever: the Europa. I can't think of a better way to end my 7-week journey!

The view from my room

The welcome committee in my bathroom...

Staying at the end of the rainbow #Scotland #hfholidays #walkaboutscotland

My last night on the West Highland Way, my hotel was end the end of the rainbow! Not only that, I had a personalized welcome letter...

The view out the back of the hotel...

The view out my room window! 

After the rain blew away and the sun reappeared I was greeted with a stunning view on the back patio: