Twenty years ago today I was in the first and only real accident I was ever part of. It was about 6:30 pm eastern time, I was on route 30 trying to pull out onto route 9 between Marlboro and Worcester Massachusetts. I lived in Marlboro and worked in Worcester at Univ Mass Med Ctr in CCU. It was my last shift to work there ever, I was only about 2.5 weeks from my due date of October 9 (John Lennon's birthday). I was just sitting there at a stop sign minding my own business waiting in a break in the traffic long enough to pull out when all of a sudden WHAM and I'm moving into the line of traffic! I thought quickly enough to turn the wheel to keep me on the shoulder of the road and out of the oncoming traffic. Route 9 runs east/west in MA pretty much the entire state and into NY state. I was trying to go west. To my right was a restaurant and across the 4 lanes was a McDonalds. Route 9 is like 31 W in many ways except the majority of it is 4 lanes and traffic moves fast like on the interstate and during rush hour it is difficult to navigate. I rarely went that way. That night, I had to go to Jack and Aurora's before work to check on them. They were like substitute grandparents to Valarie while we lived there. Anyway, so after I got stopped, I turned around and the man driving the little truck who had just hit me was sitting in his drivers seat looking angrily at me. I shook my finger (index one, ok?!) at him and said "that will be enough out of you!!" I got out and checked my car, back drivers side bumper had a softball size dent (that later actually totaled the car, bent frame somehow) and when he saw I was near term he freaked out! I thought he was going to leave the scene.
I told him to get out of his truck and give me his keys and go call for help. There were no cell phones around in 1990 like now. He said "how do you expect me to do that if I can't drive?" I said take your pick -- restaurant there or McDonalds over there. You are not getting your keys! WALK!! He did but he fussed! I said man, I am about to have this baby soon, I can't go. You hit me you go. So, in just a few minutes the local town cop came. I can't remember the name of the town. He was very nice. He said "you are going to the hospital" I said yes, I am, but I am waiting for my husband. He said no, you are not. The ambulance will be here in a minute. Ambulance, what ambulance? Who called an ambulance? I did, said the cop! OK, I'll go.
Mind you now I have been out of the car at least 5 or 10 minutes by now. Ambulance arrives. YAY right? NOT! Paramedics ask me questions like what happened, I got hit and were you driving, well yes and like did you hit your head? Like a dummy I said you know, I remember during the impact my head went all over the front and struck the side window briefly. WRONG ANSWER TO A PARAMEDIC!! Out comes the stretcher with a spine board on it. I said let me wait for Rick. NO! You can't you are a nurse you know better! Uggh!!! I had been walking around. I am fine. We gotta make sure! So I laid on the spine board. That is not good enough. Rigid neck collar aka then as a Philadelphia collar. Flat on my back remember 37.5 weeks pregnant! and they taped my head with sandbags on either side!!! UGGHHH!!!
Not a good day to have worn a scrub dress and TED's! (support stockings)
Trip to ER at Memorial Hospital. Can't go to St. Vincents where my Dr. is, gotta stop at Memorial just in case the baby is compromised. I shoulda stayed in bed! Get in ER. Nurse comes in asks questions, sees scrubs asks more! Dr. comes in! It's Louis (a resident who had just completed his rotation in my unit who is moonlighting in the ER at Memorial this night). I said Louis help me! Let me out! He laughed at me and said after we clear your C-spine and check your baby upstairs you can go......
C-spine ok of course. Rick comes in as they are clearing that. He is calm and smiling as usual. We go upstairs and get hooked up to the monitors in Labor and Delivery. After a couple of hours they call my Dr. and she couldn't leave St Vincents. Memorial dismissed me to go over to see my Dr. She kept me overnight for monitoring, drew some blood and let me go in the morning. About midnight Rick went home to sleep. I sent him there! Val was with my mom and dad in KY because we were getting ready to move as soon as we could after Nick was born because Rick was due to begin at Saturn October 16. I had a little difficulty sleeping, I kept reliving the wreck and the oncoming cars.....
So Dr. Kraft let me go home in the morning. She said take it easy and come see her on Friday. She would call me if there were any problems. Rick went on to work. About 6 pm Dr. Kraft called me. She said because of some blood test they could tell there was a placenta abruption. That meant the placenta had torn probably with the forces of the impact pushing me forward and the forces of the seat belt pulling me back into the seat. It didn't appear to be too big, and the baby was fine but she did not want even one contraction, so be at the hospital at 6am the next morning and if I felt even a twinge to get right back there overnight.
I used to tease Rick something awful because on the way to the hospital we stopped at Dennys and he had a grand slam breakfast and lots of coffee in front of me. I was NPO for a c-section that morning. (Non med folks, nothing by mouth). I really was not upset with him I suggested we stop for him. He always knew I was just teasing and not really mad about it, but I think he didn't remember that it was my suggestion.
Then about 1:30 our time there Nicholas Ryan Sanders weighed in at 8 pounds even and was 19.5 inches long. Rick was there with me. I had an epidural and we both got to witness his debut and hear his first cry. The previous c section for Val had been an emergency and I had to be put to sleep so neither of us got to see or hear. I have always missed that!
That same day and about the same time we later learned of the loss of a former neighbor from the Stockholm community where I grew up. Myrtle Meredith had passed away.
Just like the song, "old ones die and new are born" it happened that day....I will remember when....I love you all.