Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Hit By a Car

The year I turned 21, I was living in Vancouver, in an ugly old house on Kingsway. Kingsway, at that time, was a well-used diagonal street that cut through a residential and industrial section of Vancouver. While not the best area of town, it wasn't bad.

There was a corner store across the street. This was before the days of the QuickeeMart, and all such shops were mom-and-pop operations. On this fateful day, I had gone in search of penny candy. My mom always said my sweet tooth would do me in, and, on that day, it very nearly did.

Crossing back, I saw the oncoming car. It was coming pretty fast, but I was safely enclosed in the magic bubble called a "crosswalk," right? I could see my husband and two friends sitting at the bottom of the path to our house, waiting to mug me for my candy.

The next thing I knew, I was seeing the same three faces through a doorway as I was being wheeled by on a gurney. They looked remarkably glum, and I wondered what had happened.

I found out later that my magic bubble was not impervious to a car travelling 40 mph. I had been hit and tossed onto the hood of the car. The driver stopped, and tried to get me onto my feet from the spot on the road where my slide off the car had left me. I was bleeding from the mouth. Fortunately, my friend Paul was well versed in first aid, and he knew to tell the driver to leave me on the ground. Apparently, I was sitting there, calmly munching my candy.

Xrays showed that I had a broken pelvis. I also had both knees wrenched, and my teeth had gone through the flesh below my lip. That accounted for the bleeding, and I had no internal injuries.

I was in hospital for two weeks, and, when I came out, I had reached an all-time low adult weight, for me, of 87 lbs. Of course, that was the era when a normal birth kept a person in hospital for four days. If the accident had happened recently, I'm sure I would have been out of there in three. I limped around on crutches for a further six weeks. I was told to wait at least three years before having a baby, and that I would have trouble with my knees "later." "Later" has now arrived.

I was asked, after a suitable period of years, if I had ever remembered the accident. I had not, have not, and probably never will.

I have been reminded of this painful incident because one of Jim's former students was hit and killed on RM 620 this past weekend, less than a mile from our house. She had parted company with the friend she was riding with, due to an argument, and had called her mom to come and get her. He mom had just spotted her, and made a U-turn to pick her up. The girl crossed the road to get in the car, and an oncoming car, swerving to avoid the U-turning mom, hit and killed the girl. Her mom now has a memory she will never shake.

Just a glance at the fact that our lives can change in the blink of an eye.

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