Things have been chugging along pretty much as usual around here with Em, with not much of consequence to report recently. Then something happens to make us sit up and pay attention.
This weekend, we had some strange weather – albeit not that unusual in Ohio, where the motto could be ‘If you don’t like the weather, just wait 5 minutes’. We had a freezing rain/ rain/ snow mix that only lasted a few hours, but was certainly treacherous enough while it lasted. (Bear with me, just setting the scene…) We had our Homeschool Co-op Open House on Saturday and were on our way to the church on the slushy, icy roads. As usual, Em and I both had prominent roles during the program and were dressed accordingly.
So, when we spun off the road, down into a ditch, through/over a wire fence and into a wooded area, it was not convenient, to say the least. My son was driving, I was in the front seat and Emily was in the back on the driver’s side.
Before you say, ‘Wait, wasn’t he just in an accident in February and totaled his car?’ let me just say this: he was not being reckless at all. He was not speeding. He was not being stupid in any way. He didn’t overcorrect or jerk the wheel or slam on the brakes. One minute we were fine, the next minute we were spinning out. After much discussion and hand wringing and puzzling after the fact, we have sort of come to the conclusion that we hit a patch of black ice. My memory is that we suddenly jerked to the right and the back end spun around, sending us sliding across the road and into the ditch.
Honestly, I do not believe that my husband, who grew up in northern Illinois and learned to drive as a matter of fact in weather that would shut down the state of Ohio, could have steered out of that. Luke’s memory is that he suddenly lost traction and could do nothing once the back end went. I have been told, that sounds like what happens with black ice – the shaded section of road we were on and the icing conditions were prime for the formation of black ice. Somehow, it makes me feel better to know it was almost unavoidable.
I cannot say that I would have done anything differently if I was driving. Once my parents came to us, I drove my mom and Emily on to the church, while my dad stayed with Luke – my husband was at work and couldn’t get home quickly. Driving on to the church, I realized Luke’s speed was not at all excessive – if I had been driving, I would have gone a similar speed – between 40 and 50.
So, my point is, to family and friends who are questioning Luke’s driving and judgement: I was with him. I am not stupid. It wasn’t his fault. Once we got to the church, we found out at least one family had started out and turned around because the roads were so bad. Several other people reported scary slides that almost took them off the road. There were other accidents at the same time. Accidents do happen and that is the best explanation we have. (I have to acknowledge that I was really mad and really scared at the time and was not very gracious to Luke about it. I have since apologized to him – he deserved my apology and I don’t mind making that public.)
On to Emily…
We are all ok. It was very scary, but we all had our seat belts on and just got bumped around a bit. Of course, Emily is particularly vulnerable to being bumped around ‘just a bit’. We went on to the church and got through all of the performances, but she was falling apart physically and emotionally. By the time we got home, she was really feeling it.
- Her whole left side is stiff and sore. Knee, hip, ribs, shoulder – all hurt and are just not quite right, which throws everything else out so everything is not right. The nerves are all inflamed and painful, which is really just the next step above her normal.
- She thinks she hit her head on the window and then again fairly hard on the head rest, which is what it is there for obviously. There is no real bump or sore spot so she didn’t hit it too hard, I think. She might have had a very slight concussion, although it was hard to tell with her other stuff. She has so many symptoms that it is almost impossible to sift through them – she had blurred vision, headache, and dizziness afterwards but no nausea (or at least no abnormal nausea). That evening she talked about being confused and spacey and not able to think, but I think it was just the emotions of the day weighing her down. We hydrated her and got her to eat and she perked up quite a bit.
- Her neck is messed up – so easy to do with EDS. It is stiff and sore. The muscles are all in spasm, trying to hold it all together. She has been wearing her hard collar, off and on, and that is helping. Clearly, her neck took a jolt and flared everything up.
- Emotionally, she is pretty fragile. It was really scary and she will be feeling the effects of this for a while. Definitely did not help her anxiety! It is funny now, but not so funny at the time: As we sat in the car, where we had come to rest about 6 inches from a tree right behind Emily’s seat, she looked at me when I started freaking out about that and said, ‘You need to hold it together because I need to lose it. I need you to be strong for me.’ So, shamed by my 15 year old child, I pulled it together for her. Her grandmother and uncle helped get her to the point she could perform in the program and hold it together until we got home.
We are keeping a very close eye on her – she didn’t want to go to the ER and I don’t really blame her. There was nothing that prompted me to feel like we really needed to… Although, it would have been comforting to have her looked at and be told everything was fine, but what ER could honestly do that for her?
Yes, she is ‘fine’ by most medical standards. Nothing is broken. But, the subtlety of her injuries would not be seen or acknowledged, so it would be no help to go. If she had a concussion, it was so mild a doctor probably wouldn’t even call it a concussion or acknowledge it as such. Her neck is tweaked, but that is not going to show up on any x-rays or MRI. Yes, her nerves are screaming, but they were already screaming, so what more can be done? We could say her whole bendy spinal column took a shock and has exacerbated all of her preexisting symptoms, but what is a doctor going to do about that?
It will just take her time to recover. Her body needs to heal and recuperate and that will probably take considerably longer than the normal person. Her mind needs to absorb the fear and anxiety and deal with them. We will just keep an eye on her and if anything pops up, we will get her to the doctor.
Obviously, we are very thankful (AGAIN) that, while it could have been SOOOO much worse, it wasn’t and we are all, for all intents and purposes, fine.