Running Into a Bus Is Not a Good Idea

I have only been in one accident, but it was one that changed my life in ways I couldn't have anticipated.

A city bus had lost power on a freeway offramp, the driver neglected to put on his hazard lights and had not put out any flares.

It was estimated I hit this bus at 45 mph. Airbags were a relatively new safety feature of cars, and the one I drove did not have them. I have no actual memory of the accident, but I saw photos of the car (inside and out), which showed the steering wheel mangled roughly into the shape of my head. The driver's side window showed evidence of my head hitting it as well, and the hood looked like an upside down "V". What I have been able to piece together is I probably went into the steering wheel first and then bounced into the side window.

I arrived in the emergency room semi-conscious with a deep laceration just inside the hairline to the right above my eye. My right heel had been crushed. I'm still not clear on how that happened, but I assume the impact forced the transmission and drive train back, along with either the brake or gas pedal. My left clavicle was broken due to the seat belt that saved my life, and my right cheekbone was broken.

Based on these injuries I came to speculate that I must have recognized at the last second, that I was going to hit this bus and instinctively turned my head away, throwing the right side of my face into the steering wheel and then bouncing off that into the side window. I was on my way to work, so a few people I work with saw the accident or immediate aftermath. One woman who had been a couple of cars in front of me said she almost hit the bus herself but was able to maneuver into the next lane in the nick of time.

I have no memory of my first few hours in the emergency room, but the medical personnel were so busy concentrating on my obvious injuries that they didn't do a CAT scan of my head until my mom insisted, pointing out I wasn't making any sense and kept repeating things I had already said, as if they were brand new.

The CAT scan revealed a subdural hematoma and a small amount of blood into the ventricles of my brain. The neurosurgeon was called in for surgery to relieve the pressure on my brain. They decided on one more CAT scan before surgery and based on this last CAT scan they decided they could hold off as it appearred my body was absorbing the blood and the swelling was subsiding.

I don't remember any discussions surrounding these issues, I only remember "waking" up (or at least becoming aware) with a bunch of gauze wrapped around my head and the awareness I had been cathaterized, and I wanted it OUT.

The next couple of weeks is still shrouded in a sort of fog, but I do remember repeating myself alot, because my mom would look at me with this worried expression and say, "I know honey, you just told us that."

After the swelling in my foot and ankle went down they did surgery to repair my heel using a metal plate and 6 long screws, that I still have 13 years later.

In spite of the pain and numerous physical and emotional things I went through, I never felt sorry for myself. In fact, I felt extremely lucky to come out as well as I did.

The brain injury had the most significant and long term impact on my life, but this story is already too long so I'll save that for another time.


WittyOne WittyOne
46-50, F
3 Responses Jun 14, 2007

Wow, sounds like you are lucky to be alive....

Car accidents are so scarey... been through a few as well as both hitting a pedestrian and being hit as one. I've also lost friends in them and it's still hard. Working in the car industry, I have cars arrive daily on tow trucks and the tow drivers always have the story to go w/ it. Some covered in blood and left over shoes and such. I've even had to call families of some that didn't make it, to pick up belongings. It's unfortunate but I'm glad you came out of it... otherwise who would be giving such great advise to me. SMILE!

I look forward to reading the rest of your story