Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Old Car on the bridge 8, OFF the bridge

Originally posted to Multiply on August 5th

Like the garden blog, I am writing this for my own records in ridiculous detail.  I have nothing better to do right now. Viewer discretion is therefor advised: May contain boredom. I will not hold it against busy friends if they skip to the more sunny present.

July 5th was the first day of summer, after a cold sodden June. I had 2 more weeks of normal life left, or so I thought. I figured those precious weeks would be my summer vacation. It is all many people get in a year. I had a few mild garden projects planned. Start more salad greens for a continuing succession, plant some started cabbage family members in the top garden, plant snap beans in one bed that my dear friend Gail had already prepared. Make a big batch of COF for future top dressings while we still have stomach muscles.

But first, on July 5th, we had to go to Vernon* for a pre-op chat with the aneasthesiologist.  On the way out, I stopped at the desk to make the point that the whole thing could have been handled over the phone, and certainly with a video link. Medical people in the larger centers have no idea about the reality of life in the rural regions. I always remember one dear Home Support client who had to go to Kelowna* for a post-op prostate checkup. It meant his daughter in law, a nurse, had to take a day off work. It all took some doing. When he got there he never even took his pants off. The whole thing was a 5 minute conversation that basically consisted of asking him if he was alright. Hallo! Could we do this over the phone please?

Anyway, since we were out and the day was still young, we decided to make it into an outing. I don't know how many times we have passed the sign for Zelazny farms in Cold Stream. This time we took the turnoff and satisfied our curiosity. We bought two bags of lovely spinach (mine had gone to seed) and young carrots for the juicer. Palak Tofu was planned for dinner. Then we treated ourselves to a pleasant early lunch outside at the Lumby golf course restaurant, another one of those places one always passes and wonders what it is like. It was a really nice hour. We commented to each other that no matter what the future would bring, we had enjoyed this moment to the full.

Onwards to home. Crossing the Monashee pass, getting close to the ferry across Arrow Lakes. I looked at my watch, 1.30. Good! There would be time to plant a bed with snap beans. And then it happened.

My dear husband has always been a fantastic, safe and secure driver. This is the man whose bus driving was so much safer that some seniors would wait for one of his days to take the community bus to Nelson. This is the man who thought nothing of driving across Canada to pick up his daughter, partner, baby and cats from Waterloo, Ontario. This is the man who has been the mainstay driver of our dear co-grandparents, who need frequent unexpected medical trips out of town. 

The stress of the whole cancer thing may have gotten to him. He may have fallen asleep for a fraction of a second.

But here is what happened: the road made a gentle curve to the left and the car kept going straight. There was a second of WTF?! followed by a sickening crash and the feeling of being inside a breaking wave. Then the car stopped in a deep ditch, leaning over to the passenger side with the door gaping open. It turned out we had flipped over on the roof and landed facing the opposite direction. It could all have been a lot worse.

We scrambled out, dazed and in shock. I noticed right away my right knee did not feel right, though all attention was on my right arm and hand, which had been lacerated by the passenger window and looked like something out of a zombie horror movie. 

An angel named Christy LaMarsh stopped an clambered down into the ditch within minutes. She called 911, thank goodness we were within cell phone range.
She stayed with us till the ambulance came from Edgewood. The paramedics hoisted us onto clam shells and took us to Nakusp, sirens and all. Once there the new doctor took one look at my arm and decided this needed more than stitching, it called for a plastic surgeon. I am so grateful to him for making that judgment. 

Chris looked dazed but other than a few stitches on his elbow none the worse for wear. I had the presence of mind to ask the local X ray tech who is a mutual acquaintance to call my best friend Beverley McClinchey and tell her what happened. Bev became our ROCK during the next weeks of  weirdness. 

Then I was hoisted back into the ambulance, given some gravol, and back across the Monashee we went to the plastic surgeon on call in Kelowna.

And that's enough for this entry.

*Vernon and Kelowna are fairly large towns in the Okanagan Valley, one mountain chain West of us. The trip takes about 3 to 4 hours and includes a mountain pass with some serious switchbacks and poor road maintenance. The Okanagan is much more populated than the West Kootenay.

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