Friday, March 1, 2013

an Auto Accident on the way home from a clients office

Today was one of those really rough days...ones when you feel nothing is going right.  It started by a text message from an employee of a client's office asking when I was to be onsite as the Phone Service Technician was already at the office, though nobody had informed me of the time they were going to arrive and I typically don't arrive before 9am unless I have something scheduled and/or didn't work late the night before.  I wouldn't be being honest if I didn't tell you that I was deeply frustrated.  My neck was killing me.  I wanted to scream I was in so much pain.  I had taken pain medicine and let the hot water from the shower try to massage my neck, but the tense pain was there.  My client needed me to stay a third day, which meant that I had to cancel my acupuncture appointment I had scheduled.  On top of this, I had a few more changes that needed to be done to the voicemail script before we launched into that project, and since he was already there, I knew that was going to crimp getting it done.  I hurried as fast as I could but the reality is, I had just gotten up a few minutes prior to the text message and knew there was no way that I would make it to the office before 9am by the time I checked out of the hotel and attempted to get some coffee and breakfast.  I checked out of the hotel, grabbed a package of oatmeal and a paper cup and spoon, went through the McDonald's Drive Thru to get a large French Vanilla Latte and a yogurt parfait and rushed to the clinic.  In reality, I am not sure why I did all this because I never got to eat any of it!

When I arrived at the office, the guy was keenly perturbed with me.  I apologized, but it seemed to do no good.  This did nothing to life my spirits.  When I couldn't locate the information  he was looking for in a locked file cabinet that I had keys to, his frustration with me seemed to increase.  When I requested things he said couldn't be done and told him that I knew they could as I had worked with Avaya Messaging systems at other practices, he got immensely irritated with me.  I told him that I was sorry, I simply was trying to carry out my clients wishes and get things resolved.  He didn't care.  In the midst of working on this, the new locum provider that started two days previously couldn't get the EMR system to take her password so she could sign off on a note and send the prescription on a patient.  I needed the assistance of my client who was off for the day.  In trying to trouble shoot that, a call came in from one of the guys from the IT Department we work with needing my assistance on a project.  In the midst of that, our Attorney called regarding an issue we are working on with a Wage Claim Report filed by an Ex-Employee.  And if that wasn't enough, I had someone come in my office wanting to talk to me.  Overload?  Yes, beyond words.  This was just the first 30 minutes of my day.  Without going into all the details, let me tell you that this is how it was the rest of the day proceeded.  I thought I would get to eat a bite after my lunch meeting from 1-2pmCST and before 3pmCST when AFLAC representatives were supposed to arrive.  However, they arrived early.  While in the middle of working with two AFLAC account representatives in my office, one of the providers came up and barged in my office and said that we needed to call CPS right now on a patient.  Everything else went on hold and I launched into that.  When 5pmCST rolled around and the staff were leaving, believe me, when I say that I was more than ready to exit right with them!  I am typically one who presses on no matter the situation, even against all odds, when most people would give up, I dig in my heels and become stubborn and hence get the nick name for being a bull dog.  I didn't feel that today.  No breakfast.  No lunch.  Neck pain screaming to kill me.  Problems with every single item on the agenda.  Resolutions not coming through even though I was trying disparately to get them done.  I was left completely and utterly exhausted.  Ready to just crawl in bed, my own bed, as living out of a suitcase and traveling and staying in bed/hotels for days on end the last two weeks that were not my own were catching up with me.  My fuse was short.  I wanted to have quiet and sleep...even if that meant I still had pain, I needed quiet.  I needed alone time with God.

I left earlier than I typically do from this clients office, a little bit before 6.30pmCST.  The drive home is on average an hour and 15 minutes, but can take and hour and 30 minutes.  I knew on a Friday night at this time of day, I was looking at a full 90 minute drive if not longer.  I took 175 north to I20 and headed West.  There was traffic.  Lots of traffic as I expected to have since it was Friday night and I typically wasn't on the road at that hour and therefore knew I would spend a fair amount of time not flying down the highway but in stop and go mess.  I was in the fast lane and had come to a screeching halt several times with the lanes beside me continuing to roll on by.  Each time I stopped, I would respond to text messages through my voice response option on the text messaging screen.  I had just finished a response and laid the phone on the shotgun seat when we took off again...but not for long.  We were going to be stopped shortly again.  After having done this several times and noticing a pattern in the traffic, I figured there probably was a wreck in the fast lane and I decided I would change lanes to avoid it.  I have been dealing with severe neck pain this week from all my travels, late nights and stress of several events compiling up.  I had to strain to look over my right shoulder to move into the right lane, but it wasn't clear and so I realized I wasn't going to be able to do that.  I looked back to the car in front of me and realized it was stopped more than I thought it was and I clearly was headed straight for the rear end head on and unless I did some quick magic, I was going to hit it.  I slammed on my breaks as hard as I could and tried to let up and press again even harder to decrease the impact. Very little seemed to be achieved by all this.  There was lots of crunching.  Lots of smoke.  Lots of burnt smell.  Utter devastation set in that I had caused a wreck and my car was ruined.  I just sat there, shaking all over.  I couldn't seem to think...couldn't seem to move and then suddenly I felt like I needed to hurry and get out of the vehicle fast.  The smell and smoke was getting worse.  My cell phone had slid onto the shotgun seat floor, I tried to grab it but my seat belt wouldn't let me move.  I unbuckled, grabbed my phone and started to hop out of the car.  As I did this, I thought better of that and grabbed my purse also and tried to quickly move and get out.  It was difficult as the drivers side door didn't want to open all the way, I had to force it to squeeze my body out.  I rushed to the car I hit and saw there were 3 passengers inside.  The driver rolled down her window as I approached and I immediately apologized and asked if everyone was okay.  I asked again if everyone was okay.  They nodded.  The passengers in the shotgun seat I could tell was greatly perturbed with me, but they all were calm and were not ugly to me.  The driver was particularly kind.  She got out and said we needed to look things over.  She saw that my car was very well damaged on the front end had come up right under her bumper.  I asked her if she felt she could move over the shoulder on the left so we could get out of the way of traffic.  She wasn't sure if I would be able to move as my car was spewing a bunch of liquid on the ground, but I told her I was going to try, I had nothing to loose at this point.  The problem was by this time, traffic was going around us on the shoulder which was preventing us from moving out of the way.  I decided to step into that lane and put my hand up and instruct people to go right around my vehicle.  It took a bit to get the cars to pay attention and quit just following the leader and change their path.  After a bit, a few cars started following heed and then everyone was following them, I quickly jumped in my car and moved over onto the shoulder.  There was lots of deb re in the lane.  I waited to get traffic to slow down again so that I could go into that lane and move all the big pieces out of the way.  I then went back and exchanged information with the lady who was sitting back in her car.  I got her name, her phone number, her email address, her insurance, the name and phone number of her two handwriting being very much scribbles due to my shaky hands.  I asked again if everyone was okay and to let me know later if that changed.  I was still shaking all over.  I couldn't get the shakes to stop.  I then went to take pictures of her vehicle and mine.  She got out of her car again and told me she was worried about leaving me.  I told her not to worry about me, I would be fine.  She said but you are still shaking, I can tell.  I said, yes, I am, I have never hit another vehicle like have no idea how I am feeling.  She said, believe me, it is just a car, we are all fine.  I reached out and hugged her and told her thanks for being so sweet.  She put her hand on my shoulders and said "you were forgiven before this ever happened, I promise it is all good".  Wow!  To have the fortitude to say that in this moment, she has no clue what an impact she made on me!!!  She has now clue how I daily, hourly beat myself up.  I always feel like a failure, no matter my results.  I always feel like I am not good enough, no matter how hard I try.  If she only knew...but you know what God knew!  God knew I needed her.  God knew what needed to be said to me.  She said that everyone in the car had voted to not wait for the police and they were going to head on.  I told her I understood.  I told her not to worry about me, I would make some calls and get help, as I wasn't going anywhere.  My car wasn't drive-able.

I placed a call to my Auto Insurance Carrier, Safeco, and filed a claim.  They setup a Rental Car Reservation for me with Enterprise in Burleson and scheduled a Tow Truck to come out.  I then made calls to see who could come and get me.  I had lots of client files in my car, my suitcase, my pillows, and my clothes as I had been on a 3 day business trip and I wasn't sure a wrecker would let me take all that with me wherever they were going to drop off my car.   After getting all that aligned up and waiting for almost 90 minutes, I called my Insurance back to check status of the wrecker service.  They said they were running behind and that they would be out in another 10 minutes.  Whatever, I didn't believe them.  My flashers were still on, but my battery was getting dim, and I was very tired, cold and needed to use the bathroom badly.  At this moment, the day was really starting to mount up against me.  I was starting to feel very much as if life was harder than I ever dreamed...and yet at the same time I had a peace knowing it was not being controlled by me.  I wasn't sure how long my battery would last and the flashers would still be flashing to alert traffic.  I was getting cold, very cold.  The wind was howling and it was dark.  I just sat there and waited.  And waited.  And waited some more.  I felt all alone.  But I knew in reality, I wasn't.  I had friends praying for who even called to pray over the phone with me in the moment.  Friends calling and texting to check on me.  I had angels all around me.  I had God watching over me.  My vehicle battery was dying, my cell phone battery was dying, my day had ended in a not so pleasant way, but God was still in control.  He sent the Courtesy Patrol along who pulled up right behind me to inspect a report of an unattended vehicle on the side of the road.  He found me inside, but I couldn't get the window to roll down or the car door to unlock due to the power locks and a battery almost dead.  I tried and tried and tried and finally got it down.  He asked me some questions and learned of the situation and how long I had been sitting there and said he would get a deputy out right away.  A few minutes later, Aunt Connie arrived.  I handed her everything through the drivers side window since there was no way to get the door opened.  Once everything was out of my car, I pulled myself out through the window.  Aunt Connie was worried that I would be able to do this in the wind and cold and dark.  I told her she forgot I knew how to do this, this is how you get in and out of a Race Car or Dune Buggy!  LOL!!!  Within 15 minutes a deputy arrived, Deputy Cloud 968 who was very kind and helpful and gave me advice on the situation.  He also took all my information and ran the ladies license plate and all information came up correct to what I had.  Within another 15 minutes a tow truck was out and had my car loaded up.  Aunt Connie and I headed to the next exit at 09.30pmCST so that I could make a pit stop before the hour drive home.  We were three blocks from my house when the wrecker service my Auto Insurance Carrier had contacted to come assist me, called me to see if I still needed assistance.  I was flabbergasted.  I let them know I didn't because that was 3.25 hours ago that call was made and the deputy had gotten someone out in 15 minutes!  Wow...if I had not had the Courtesy Patrol Car show up...would I have still been sitting there? waiting???

The Front End damage to my car
[pictures don't do it justice to the angle and pushed in effect on the engine and parts]

Another head on view of the damage, again, doesn't do it justice as seen in person
Though this day one year ago was an exciting day because I paid off my wasn't such an exciting day today because I had my first wreck in the car, potentially may have totaled my car with all the damage that was done and repairs that will need to take place not just on the body work, but the engine.  

I am requesting your prayers...please continue to pray for me!  The last few weeks have been very challenging.  I don't feel in the frame of mind to roll with all that is coming my way in "waves like sea billows roll" as the song says.  I am stretched thin on time and finances at the moment with being gone to California two weekends in a row, 5 days and then 4 days, along with a surgery bill looming over my head and now potentially another car payment on the books, I feel like I am in debt and behind once again.  I know God will take care of me...I just don't understand why He feels I am so strong to handle all this right now.  I can't help but question what God has in mind.  Do I not have enough faith?  Am I not trusting Him to provide for me?  Why me? Why now?  What am I supposed to learn?  Maybe in time I will know.  Maybe in time it will make sense.  For now, I ask for strength and patience to ride out my trials.

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