she was taken for a series of x-ray testings - all taking place while she was immobile - and moved back into the hall. the attending physician then asked her several questions some of them repeated and told her she would be examined further once a bed was available. at that time they would have her test results and possibly be able to remove the restraints.
she began to pray for an open bed and clear test results. being restrained was torture.
finally she was transferred onto a bed, told the tests had shown nothing severe. thankfully she could be freed from the restraints. the neck brace was the worst and so, of course, it was the last one to go. she expected comfort, but instead she felt stiff and she ached. she was examined further now for anything else that might visually appear. she was also asked some of the same questions she'd been asked several times before. one question; do you need to use the restroom? to which she'd consistently answered no, was asked so many times she began to feel like a child defiantly declining she needed to pee while obviously trying to contain it.
the doctor finished her exam, noted bruising and head trauma, wrote a prescription for pain killers and told her she was nothing short of a christmas miracle.
both of her brothers, their wives, and children who had been waiting were then cleared to see her. "i won't be having anymore christmas cookie exchanges i know that much." was her sister-in-law's remark. there were gentle hugs and chattering about miracles and someone watching over her. as they talked she noticed the girls were wearing exactly what she had seen them in earlier at their house... but she hadn't really been at their house had she. how could she have been? she wanted to mention it - to ask who else had been there. if they'd divided cookies into boxes. but, how and why did she know this? - but she kept mum.
the brother that hadn't been at the hospital asked her about the accident and the ticket she had been issued. told her she'd gotten her 'ten minutes of fame' - the accident had been spectacular enough to warrant interruption of local television - and he wanted to hear her version...
".. the way those tankers barrel down that highway i can't believe you got the ticket! i can't wait to see who the jerk is who wrote it!" he'd said.
and, as if he'd heard, the officer in charge of the accident walked through the door. her brother, who also worked for the county, introduced himself and asked about her car and the tanker driver. some chatter occurred between them. the officer said he had not personally seen her car and probably wouldn't get the chance. he had however seen a very mangled tanker that had just been filled with 8300 gallons of various fuels that were lost onto the road. they figured clean up costs would probably run in the 6 figure range and he hoped she had insurance because he had no doubt there would be huge lawsuits.
then he turned his attention to her to ask if she had a death wish on her christmas list. he thought it amusing, she did not. he told her she had been ticketed for failure to yield because 6 or 7 witnesses said she had made a U-Turn in front of the semi.
what about the truck driver? she asked. "oh he was fine. minor cuts and bruises but he waived any kind of medical treatment and called someone to come get him. he was gone long before i talked to you in the patrol car..."
that wasn't what she was asking. she wanted to know if the truck driver saw her or knew he had hit her. and, if he did why didn't they look for her? but she had an inkling the officer knew what she was asking and he seemed hurried so she didn't bother explaining further...
on the heels of the leaving officer her brother said; "and you wonder why cops get a bad rap. the officer that just walked out of here is an asshole. he knows me, but there he was acting like he didn't have a clue who i was. acting all superior when he obviously doesn't know anything. excuse me? 'i never looked at her car and probably won't get a chance to?' what kind of investigation is that? i'd ask for a copy of the report if i were you. seriously, this guy is lazy. so lazy he sits in a warm patrol car making up scenarios and issuing tickets because he knows exactly what happened without having to check the facts. right.... yeah. i knew he was an asshole the first time i saw him and he has yet to prove me wrong... idiot!"
her first impression of the officer wasn't a good one either, but she couldn't remember so no matter how much she wanted to she couldn't agree with her brother. all she could do was hope that at some point she could remember for certain herself.
hospital shifts changed and when the new nurse came through to check her vitals, they took their leave. her husband walked out with them. no doubt, she thought, to ask them more questions about what they had seen and heard.
the new nurse busied herself taking her vitals and then she too asked her if she needed to use the bathroom. she said she didn't. the nurse reconfigured the question in such an odd way she finally realized why they kept asking it. she felt stupid and angered all at once; "oh... you aren't asking me if i need to go as much as telling me i have to go are you? i am being tested for drug use aren't i..."
"they won't release you without a urine sample and, if you keep refusing they will order a blood test..." the nurse answered, meaning her simple refusal to pee in a cup didn't look good.
now all she felt was anger. "all they had to do was tell me that in the first place, i had no idea why they kept asking. i didn't have anything to hide. i still don't. lets do this."
the nurse pulled a bedpan from a bedside table; "some people will go to great lengths to avoid using the restroom thinking they can sober up. tricking them into it is a pretty standard procedure" and helped her maneuver it.
it was here in the small window of humiliation that she started to think. "find a penny, pick it up..." but the penny had been tails up. a bad omen so they say. so, did the penny in her pocket save her life or did it cause her to be sitting here on a bedpan being tested for drug use? what were the chances she would miss the turn she'd taken so many times before? she never took chances driving, she wouldn't even drive with a headache so how is it that she would not have looked both ways before attempting a U-turn? especially on a highway. and if there were 6 or 7 witnesses that saw her do it why did the officer have no idea she was there. why was nobody looking for her? none of it made sense... and how was it she had been at her brothers house when she'd obviously never left her car... unless... had she been dead? sobbing came forth without warning and she could not control it.
"it finally hit you did it?" the nurse asked helping her maneuver off the bedpan.
"guessing it did. so many questions..."
the nurse left with the sample and returned with a box of tissues. she sat down beside her; "you know, some of those questions will never be answered. but i want to tell you something. tanker drivers like the one who hit you go barreling down that highway far over the speed limit all the time. that is a fact. and, they get away with it more often than not. another fact. but you don't have to believe me on that one, just ask the people who live on that highway. but, this is what i really want you to understand; that driver had a free ride on your dime. if you caused his tanker to roll, you are responsible for his care. no ifs ands or buts. not only now, but in the future whatever that care may be you would pay for it. understand?"
"and there he was waiving any kind of medical care. from what i heard, he wouldn't even let them examine him. i find that pretty interesting. don't forget that he also had a big expensive truck and some pretty hefty bills will be coming his way that you would also be responsible for. there is no doubt in my mind that if he didn't know you would be responsible for all his bills the officer in charge would have told him you were. now, add all of that to the fact that he was calling for a ride home before he even bothered trying to get out of his truck. honey, that tells me this; he wanted out of that area as soon as soon as possible because he knew he would be right here where you are pissing in his own bedpan... and that means only one thing; he had something major he needed to hide and this was not your fault."