once across the road the officer helped her into the ambulance and disappeared into the night. there were two attendants. one male. one female. the female attendant helped her remove one arm from her coat and was preparing to check vital signs when her brother crawled in and sat beside her.
he told her he'd been on his way home from a service call but because of an accident - obviously this one - he'd been re-routed down a street he didn't normally take. he couldn't help but repeat more than once just what a strange coincidence it was that he had been right there right then. she knew that he was right, seconds sooner or later and he would not have been sitting with her now. in everything she couldn't say, she hoped it was clear that thank you was not a big enough word.
after her vitals were taken there were a series of questions to test her physical and mental abilities and a determination was made that her mental processes were functioning within the normal realm, but there was some concern regarding short term memory loss. that in itself, they told her, wasn't as troubling as was the fact that she had been struck in the head hard enough to be rendered unconscious but there was no concussion and no headache. she overheard them tell her brother that these could be signs that something far more menacing could be brewing beneath the surface. it was strongly suggested that she be transported to the hospital for further tests that would rule out any kind of spine injury and/or internal bleeding.
she hesitated. she felt fine. she had walked several blocks. she had stood in the rain. all she wanted now was to be wrapped up safely at home - and to remember what had happened. she looked toward her brother with question and he told her she might not want to dance with chance any more that evening. she agreed to be transported. he, in turn, agreed to meet her there.
sounded easy enough, until she found herself locked into a neck brace, strapped to a board and locked down on a gurney. unable to move and unable to see anything but what was directly above. immediately she found her self wishing she had continued dancing with chance. the ambulance started to roll and as they sirened from this town into the next, she found herself nauseous and uncomfortable and she must have looked it.
"it is easier if you close your eyes." the attendant said. "unless you think closing your eyes will make you see it all again..."
"i saw nothing to begin with and i cannot remember no matter how hard i try." she replied, and closed her eyes. the attendant was right. it was easier.
once they arrived she was wheeled into the hospital and left in the hands of the emergency staff. the emergency nurse told her that because of the weather and fast forming black ice it had been a very busy night for accidents, one of them had even involved a police officer 'can you believe that?', and there were no available exam rooms. meaning, she would be pushed to the end of the hall to wait for a doctor.
and wait she did. but, at least her brother was there as promised and he was willing to hold her hand. what if, she thought, she'd have been there alone without anyone knowing where she was....
her brother told her she had made the news. seems the accident had been spectacular enough to break in to regularly scheduled programming with eye in the sky visuals of the gasoline tanker. the tanker that had lost control and overturned on the slick road. there were no visuals of her car. (there never were) but later news accounts were saying that apparently a woman (her) had made a U-Turn in front of the semi causing it to swerve....
"i don't remember making a U-Turn. never actually said i did. why would i make a U-Turn on that highway? would you? and wouldn't i check first if i was going to?"
"what did the other driver say?"
"no idea. but obviously he didn't tell them i was there or they'd have looked don't you think?"
"wasn't he there with you and the cop?"
"no. he'd gone home before they found me."
"i don't understand..."
"tell me about it..."
"are you comfortable?" he asked.
"no. i want out of this thing and off of this board. are you?" she asked because he had no chair and had been standing there hovering over her so she could see him.
"i'm fine, but i wouldn't think you are. it looks like they have you strapped on top of that board with half of your coat underneath you."
"no wonder my shoulder hurts. can you pull it out?"
"not sure i'm supposed to, but i'll try."
"nothing like paying for someone not to take care of you." she mocked.
"scene of an accident. they can't touch much unless you're in bad form. hey. here's your purse too..."
"yeah. is there any money in it?"
"because there won't be once i take it...."
"hey, try and stop me..."
her brother saw her husband in the distance and went to fetch him. she heard them before she could see them and again found herself wishing she'd have danced with chance. chance had taken her many places tonight, but none of them had been as painful as being immobile and unable to see anything but what was hovering directly above her...
"holy shit!" she heard her husband say; "they said she wasn't hurt!"
i'm surprised they've not removed it yet. maybe they have to wait for the x-rays to make sure nothing is broken?"
her husband took her hand. "are you okay?" he asked.
"i'm sorry about what i said when i left."
"i know that. you were just angry." he kissed her.
"i think i broke your car."
"don't worry about that right now, we'll figure it out."
"i want out of this thing." she said referring to the neck bracing.
"i bet. looks uncomfortable."
"you have no idea..."