I kissed Jess goodbye last night and she headed off to a ladies’ meeting at the church. Peter Pan was on television, so I sat and watched for a while.
Then the phone rang.
Jess was in tears. She had been in a terrible accident, but she was ok. I said I’d be right over and hung up the phone.
I immediately began to search for the keys to my car but couldn’t find them anywhere. I dug through everything, then it dawned on me that I had left the keys in her car on Sunday. I was like an animal in a cage. I called Pastor because he lives right around the corner from where she had her accident and, thank you God, he hadn’t left his house yet. I told him about the situation and he was so very understanding… I knew someone needed to be there to help her through the scariest moments of questions and police and shock.
The only hope I had was to ask a neighbor to drive me over. In another thank you God moment, Andy, one of my next-door neighbors had just gotten home and immediately gave me a ride over. I got to know him a few weeks ago when we brought over a basket of goodies from the church and introduced ourselves. Just goes to show how important reaching out to those around you is!
As we approached the scene of the accident, I thought a plane had gone down. The entire intersection was shut down and there were lights everywhere. Maybe it wasn’t that big, but it certainly felt that big. We pulled into a parking lot and I ran over to where Pastor was. The front passenger side of her car had been smashed into an accordian and the engine was oozing everywhere.
Then I saw her. My teary-eyed princess. They were just putting a neck brace on her, so I couldn’t hug her, but I grabbed her cold hand and told her I loved her.
Everything was a blur. Everyone was asking if I was her husband. A man who looked like a journalist was trying to make small talk. A police officer was trying nicely to explain that he thought that she was at fault. I never realized just how offensive it is when EMT’s joke around with each other at an accident scene. It feels so terribly out of place.
They strapped her to a board and put her into the ambulance. I wasn’t allowed to ride in the back, which was so frustrating. Pastor told them to take her to St. Mary’s because they’re the best in the area. Ironically, she starts work at the daycare there this coming Monday. Nothing like meeting your employers early!
He dropped me off at my apartment and I tore it apart looking for her license and our medical insurance information. All of her important documents weren’t in the car because we had them out while switching over insurance earlier in the day. Probably one of the most ironic things about the whole situation was that just yesterday we switched our insurance over to Geico. While our old policy had comp/collision on her car, the new policy didn’t. Fortunately the new policy didn’t go into effect until midnight last night; the accident happened at 6:40 pm.
So I hopped in what used to be considered the junky car and raced to the hospital. First, I would here publically apologize to everyone I tailgated on the way over. Second, a word of advice to all who go 10 mph below the speedlimit–don’t. You never know when people need to get somewhere in a hurry. At the ER desk, I cut in front of a guy and asked for Jessica Gardner and they said they didn’t have her on record. That’s certainly not a good feeling, wondering if I’d gone to the wrong hospital. They figured it out and let me back; and there was my beautiful wife, legs and arms strapped to a board, her head in a neck brace with what looked like medical duck tape across her forehead between two rolled up towels. She could barely turn her head to look at me, and we decided that hospitals need to paint pretty designs on their ceilings or at least something to keep the attention of their neck-braced patients.
Three hours, a CAT scan, an xray, a urine sample and a big nasty shot in the arm of painkiller later, we were discharged. The official diagnosis from the doctor was that we were the cutest little couple ever and that she would be very sore today. I was officially dubbed her nurse for the day, a title I gladly wear in exchange for having a wife alive, in my arms, safe.
And a great big thank you to God, for knowing just how incomplete I would be without her.