Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year's Eve

Here I am! I was planning on posting a nice, introspective post on 2015, but currently something more important is on my mind. No, no one died. No break-ups. But yes, something semi-catastrophic...story of my life in 2015.

The last few days my parents and I haven't had electricity due to damages from the latest ice storm. I really hate ice storms. There was an awful on in 2002 that caused us to be without electricity for 35 days. Worst time ever. Currently, we are on day 5 and it's looking like we have about 2-5 more days without. I mean, it's not that bad, as we're on a generator, but still. It's more annoying than anything. Because of that, I was really excited when Rebecca called me up and asked if I wanted to join her in Stillwater for a New Year's Eve get-together with some St. John's folks. I was excitedly welcoming the return to electricity! I narrowly escaped a stomach bug that had gone through Gina and Emily's families (and Dad). I was really excited, barring the fact that I DIDN'T want to drive the awful muddy roads around my house. After summoning some courage and a pep-talk from my dad, I loaded up into my noble white steed (aka the 1998 Toyota Tacoma I've driven since I graduated HS that had 267,000+ miles on it).

The roads were every bit as awful as I anticipated, but only 3 miles of muddy treacherousness separated me from the freedom of paved roads. It was a little touch and go at times, but thanks to 4-wheel-drive and tons of prayers, I made it through! I was cruising along the highway, excited to get out of the house on my own. As I was heading south on Highway 74, I veered a little bit to the right, and my front right tire slipped off the side of the road. (I couldn't tell where I was on the road due to my muddy side mirrors.) I turned to get back on the highway fully.

Before I go on, I want you to participate in a little mental exercise. Count to 8.

Did you count to 8? Good.

In that amount of time (or less), I got back on the road, overcorrected, crossed a lane of oncoming traffic, swerved into the ditch on the east side of the road, narrowly missed hitting a pole and cement barrier, and flipped my pickup. It landed on the driver's side. My passenger's window broke out. I saw it happen, but I knew there was nothing I could do after a certain point. It happened in the blink of an eye. Once I knew I stopped moving and recoiled for a moment, I put the pickup in park (mostly for my sanity), turned the key off, and unbuckled. I thought I heard the radio still on, but it turns out that it was a couple who ran over to check on me. I confirmed that I was alright and located my cell phone. A guy's voice promised that he'd help me out, but I had to get up a little more. I stood up, and used the handlebars, my steering wheel, and my gear shifter to climb out. I got out into the man's arms, and he put me on the ground.

I looked, and besides the fact that I was covered in mud and water (I ran through a huge mud puddle), I was unscathed. Well, then I looked down at my hands (to check my engagement ring, honestly) and I saw a little bit of blood coming from my left palm. I was alive, standing, and well. The man's wife called 911, while the guy used my phone to call my parents. Within moments a state trooper was on the scene. The couple noticed my orange shirt I was wearing beneath my coat and said that they hoped I was an OSU fan, because they wanted to cover me up in a blanket, but they only had an OSU one! Eventually, the trooper had me sit in his patrol car to warm up while he questioned the couple.

I didn't hit them or anyone else. I didn't even hit the barbed wire fence. I don't understand why or how any of it happened. Plain and simple, I experienced a miracle. A HUGE miracle. Jesus and my Guardian Angel were with me. I'm certain of it.

After a bit longer, Mom and Dad came. They saw I was fine (minus the mud covering my face) and were relieved. They made sure I wasn't on my phone, which, for the record, I wasn't!!! Dad examined the wreckage while Mom thanked the couple for coming to my rescue. After regaling my account to the trooper, the ambulance showed up, driven by none other than Scotty (my brother-in-law), accompanied by one of his fire department cronies. They looked me over, saw that I only had a small laceration on my palm (which had quit bleeding by then because I put pressure on it), and told me that I should go get checked out, but that I didn't necessarily need to go via ambulance. I gladly let my parents drive me. The whole way to Enid, I sat in shock. (I also called Thomas somewhere in there. He needed to know.) Let me tell you, being in a moving vehicle immediately after being in a wreck is a bit terrifying. The moment of the crash replayed in my mind. I intermittently cried tears of thankfulness before falling back into mental numbness.

The ER was uncharacteristically empty, so I waited at most for 5 minutes. Every person who worked on me was super compassionate. They checked me for signs of concussion (I showed none), checked my vitals, and checked my mobility. No x-rays, CT scans, or MRIs. No blood drawn. Nothing. I was given prescriptions for a mild painkiller and a muscle relaxer. We stopped by the pharmacy and headed home. I came home, cried a little with Mom and Dad, and thanked God for bringing me back home in one piece.

I still can't believe I'm alive. I still can't believe I'm here to tell this story. I can't believe any of it happened. My only conclusions from this whole ordeal are as follows:
-We aren't as in control as we like to think we are. God is.
-God and angels are real. Don't believe me? Reread my story.
-Everyone has a time to go. Mine wasn't yesterday, and God willing, it won't be for quite some time.
-God still has things for me to do here, and I'm SO happy I still do!!!!!!

To bring home my point, here are a few pictures...not for the faint of heart, so stop here if you don't want to see them.

Okay. Here we go.

I was against the bottom side and climbed straight up to get out.

Note the pole and the yellow barrier. Exactly wide enough for my pickup to go through.

Left driver's window didn't break out, and the door still opened and closed.

This window did break out. The windshield shattered also. This door still opens and closes.

Front end damage was pretty bad. I think I only busted the radiator.

My only injury, if you can call it that.

Found this guy in the back of the pickup when I cleaned it out today. St. Christopher, you're the real MVP (besides God, obviously)!!

I still can't believe I'm alive to tell this story, but I thank God that I am!!! Happy 2016, everyone!! May the bad luck be gone this year!!