Monday, September 28, 2009

Incidents and Accidents

It is purely coincidental that my first blog entry is being written just over 24 hours after the worst vehicular accident that I've ever been involved in. The truth is, I've been blogging in my mind for several years, but never had the time (gumption?) to put the "pen to the paper".

Yesterday at this time, I was at the hospital with my wife, securing care for her fresh wounds from a broadside collision that had happened hours earlier. A lot can be said for our health care system and the providers within it, but I still feel a twinge of gratitude each time I walk into a hospital in this country. I surmise that if a questionnaire was passed around that standing-room-only waiting area, inquiring as to whether that patient or family would rather be receiving health care in another country - Cambodia, for example - 9 out of 10 would respond that they would rather be here. There is a good reason for this: despite the problems our health care system has, it is still one of the best in the world.

Since the accident happened, I have replayed it in my mind about every 2-3 minutes. There is something peculiar that happens to you the moment before you encounter a collision, or something grave happens - it's almost as if time stands still for that one millisecond before impact. The rest of it goes by in a flash, but that one moment is what I will remember for ever; how the hit felt, how our bodies both flew forward against our seat belts, the face of the other driver and how it looked, and the image of a small child seat in the back of his car. It's almost as if somebody took a branding tool and burned that image into my brain, where it will now remain for eternity.

When the dust settled, and the realization of what had happened finally became clear, the mass confusion began. We were on our way to watch the Patriots game at our newly discovered local chapter of fans, but instead we were
surrounded by sirens, lights, all sorts of hoopla - the bad kind. Almost immediately after I got out of the car and asked the other driver if he and his baby were ok, I realized the irony of the fact that he was donning a Clinton Portis Redskins jersey. (I briefly contemplated removing my own Pats jersey, to lessen the chance for any onlooker hostility).

This morning I waved goodbye to my wife as she hobbled towards her carpool, newly established due to the chain of events. Her foot broken, hand bandaged, she trudged off to her daily routine of shaping young (but distorted) minds. I have to hand it to her, that's true dedication. I'd have been kicked up on the recliner with meds on one side and a laptop on the other... as Ferris Bueller says, "I'm takin' the day off."

Though we missed the game, the Patriots still pulled one through for us. It was a small consolation to an otherwise ugly Sunday.