Sunday, July 24, 2011

Reflections on my car accident (part 3 of 3)

Misc. lessons learned from the car accident:

1. I avoid telling people who have been in a bad car accident (and perhaps other near death experiences?)... "You are lucky to be alive.". Though true, and despite people's best intentions, this comment never sat well with me. It is an instantaneous reminder that this accident could have had really different outcomes, and made me feel somehow undeserving of how well I fared, like I won some sort of sick cosmic jackpot.

Instead of that comment, I found things like, "thinking of you" or "hope you feel better soon", or "there are easier ways to get out of taking exams", to be more supportive. On that note, I was really touched by all the people who called in the days following the accident, and it was really nice to have Pete around to screen my phone calls/take messages and allow me to rest. It was nice to know that people were thinking of me, without having to interact with everyone individually.

2. I have learned more about something called the bystander effect, and now look for drivers in the ditch/new accidents to report to 911. Despite my accident occurring during rush hour, nobody called to report my accident until the truck driver stopped and held my hand, and I do not know how long I was alone.

3. Having a chaplain call a family member with only bare-bones information (like, "your wife has been airlifted to the ER") and no other details can cause a lot of worry and anxiety for the family member on the receiving end of the phone call.

4. It's good to have a family member/friend come with, to get instructions from the people in the hospital (in addition to being a familiar face)... being in the ER/hospital is disconcerting enough (especially with a concussion)!

5. Time is an important resource in life. We have become more critical of how this resource is being consumed, because in the end that's what life is... time. And how we choose to spend it, is important. And, we may as well spend more of it doing things that we enjoy doing, rather than blindly spending it wastefully... so we have trimmed out things that we don't enjoy that much: most of the commute, cooking, cleaning beyond what's required for sanitation, etc.

And... I think that's all! :)


Heidi Sue said...

Thanks for sharing Heidi! Your story made me tear up, I'm so glad you were able to come out of the whole experience with such a positive attitude!

Bridget said...

I agree with Heidi, this also made me tear up. Hope your enjoying school... how fun for Pete to be taking flying lessons!

Karen AMH said...

Wow, Heidi, your reflections brought tears to my eyes too. I'm so glad everything turned out so well and that you got some positives from it all. Enjoy your last three days of freedom! :)

ethiopifinn said...

Man, Heidi. Thanks for telling your story and sharing your insight. After reading all three parts, I am teary, too.
Part 3, especially, touched me.

You are an amazing lady, and I am so glad I get to catch glimpses of you through your posts.

Plus, You go, Smarty Pants!!