The Accident

"Is this really necessary?"

“Is this really necessary?”

Wendell is fine.

Yesterday was one of those days that you look forward to staying home.  The snow was falling, not especially heavy here, but the wind was fierce and whipping the snow around.  Afternoon appointments were cancelled, and school was dismissed early.

I was still in my pajamas, and since we weren’t planning to go anywhere, I didn’t get dressed.  I pulled Wendell’s snow bibs on over my pj’s, donned my hat, coat and gloves and went outside in the 16 degree cold to sweep the walk and drive in anticipation of Wendell arriving home.  Under good road conditions his trip is about 45 minutes, with the snow, I expected him home after about an hour.

The hour passed, and no kid.  I sent a text to his aid to determine what time the van picked him up from school.  I still wasn’t overly concerned, but decided if he wasn’t home in 15 more minutes I’d call the van company and drive out looking for them.  We don’t get cell reception out here on a good day, so if they slid off the road, well you get the idea.  The road to our drive is not traveled by anyone unless they are coming here or to our neighbors house.

So I’m standing outside trying to listen for a vehicle on the road, cars can be heard well before seen out here, but with the wind, you just can’t tell the difference.  I hear the phone ring…I answer and hear the words any parent of a child who is late does not want to hear, “There has been an accident.”  Fortunately, the caller immediately said that Wendell and the other kids were not injured.

Now, knowing from previous writings, you might think that my anxiety would send me into panic mode.  However, the complete opposite occurred.  Which leads me to conclude that my anxiety is driven by an idle (or addled) mind.  Anyway, when faced with emergency situations, I am extremely calm and focused.  I listened, asked questions about where the scene was located, while still talking to the van company’s owner (Dot), I walked into my mom’s place.  As soon as the call was completed, I briefly and succinctly told her the situation, that I was going to the scene to pick up Wendell and would text or call from there.

Cell phone in hand while walking back through my house, I dialed DJ’s cell and gave him the same report, grabbed my truck keys and wallet and left the house.  Yes, I was still in my pajamas with Wendell’s snow bibs over them, coat, hat and gloves still on from clearing snow and waiting outside.  It was less than 5 minutes from the time Dot called and I was backing out of the carport.

4WD and 25 to 35 mph, the 10 minute drive to the scene took me 25.  Still, calm and in control.  I arrived to see several fire trucks and a couple of ambulances, I was surprised to see such a response.  I pulled to the side of the road since all traffic was stopped on the 2 lane highway, put on my 4 ways (hazard lights to you west coat people), and marched up to the scene.

The school van had come to rest over a ditch, front tires on one side and rear tires on the other side.   Several EMT’s and firemen were standing around and I walked right up to the van.  Wendell was excited to see me and ready to get out of the van.  I stood in the ditch and the floor of the van was about at mid-thigh, just to give you and idea of what it looked like.  I could not see the driver’s side of the vehicle, but apparently, the other vehicle struck the driver’s side door.  Wendell sits directly behind the driver.  (She was taken to the hospital by ambulance, and suffered an injury to her left shoulder from the airbag deployment, and is sore today).

Questions were asked and answered, a State Trooper collected Wendell’s info.  Dot had asked me to wait until she arrived, but after 15 minutes standing in the cold and being advised by an EMT that due to the nature of the accident, Wendell should be checked out at the hospital, I decided to leave.  One of the firemen took my keys and brought my truck up beside the van, two other firemen assisted Wendell out of the van and up to my truck.  The ambulance with the van driver was gone, and at this point, traffic was being directed through one lane at a time.  Vehicles were held again in both directions and I was ushered away from the scene.  I called my mom with an update and headed to the hospital.

Half hour later we arrived at the ER, and 5 minutes later DJ joined us in the exam room.  Wendell told me on the drive that his neck and back hurt, but wasn’t much help in pinpointing any aches and pains for the triage nurse.  The neck collar was placed on him as a precautionary measure, he’s cute even when he looks miserable!  The doctor came, poked and prodded, ordered a catscan and xray, and said everything looked good.  While waiting, I found the van driver and talked with her, and with Dot.  She was terribly shaken, and already getting sore, but relieved that Wendell and the other kids checked out fine.

While waiting for the all clear, the State Trooper arrived and gathered more personal info, told us what had happened, and that the other driver was at fault.

By the time we got back on the road toward home, the snow had stopped, but the side roads were still not well cleared.  The 30 minute trip took an hour, but we arrived home safely.  Wendell showed no signs of any pain or discomfort, enjoyed an early dinner and took a nap.  I slowly wound down, never really feeling anxious, just tired and relieved.

Today, with temperatures plummeting to sub-zero, school was delayed 2 hours.  I poked and pushed on Wendell to roust him from bed, as usual, and got no complaints about any pain.  He hopped and bounced around as usual before the school van came to collect him.  He’s due home withing the next 30 minutes…the sun is shining, it’s a lovely 6 degrees now, and this is when my anxiety decides to creep in, just a little.

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