Four Years…to the Day

Four years ago today (December 15th), I had a very bad car accident.  I’ve written about it before:

Writing about it has given me some peace.  I struggle internally sometimes – because I don’t like to be seen as week.  Sometimes I hold it in.  Like today.  I was in the car before I remembered the day and it’s significance.  On the highway.  With my husband driving.

Four long years.  And I still remember the date every year.  It’s like a wound that’s healing – but it hurts each time you rip the bandaid off to clean it.

This year was a good year.  No surgeries.  The lawsuit finally got settled a few months ago.  Not a giant windfall, but enough to keep me comfortable.

Two weeks ago, I got a steroid injection in my foot.  So far so good.  For the first time in four years, I can over exert myself without paying for it later.  

There is though, one part of the story I haven’t told.  Today, I’m going to let you in.

Two weeks before the accident, hubs and I went for a short romantic weekend trip.  It was just over an hour by plane.  About 15 minutes before the plane landed, I found myself quite short of breath.  

I suffered from childhood asthma.  Very mild.  As my lungs matured, the symptoms all but disappeared.  And when I did have them, it was usually triggered by over exertion and allergies.

The symptoms I was feeling that day – the tightness in my chest, struggling, concentrating to draw every breath – were very similar to asthma.  As my asthma presented typically when exposed to allergens or during activity as a youth, sitting on a plane, I was surprised at it’s appearance.  I hadn’t had an “attack” for years.  And I didn’t have a puffer with me.

But as the plane set on the ground, the tension eased.  The compression loosened – and my lungs released.

At the time, I it odd.  I worried that it would present again on the flight home, but it didn’t.  

And then, December 15th, I had the accident.  I spent several days in hospital before the surgery.  The night after the surgery, I was settled in a ward bed.  There were three other patients with one nurse in an office in the middle.  I carried an inhaler for my son in my purse (I haven’t carried my own for years) – and the nurse got it for me.  For several hours, I had difficulty breathing – I think they assumed that I was having anxiety as a result of my traumatic injury, and that I’d had long term asthma.  When I finally disclosed that I was confused by the symptoms given they didn’t usually present at rest, there was a sudden flurry of activity.  It was in the middle of the night.  They brought an x-ray to the room.

There was a blood clot in my lung.

I never saw pictures of it – but I know now how very dangerous it was.  The doctors assumed that the injury to my leg had caused the clot – and it traveled to my lungs (thank goodness) instead of to my brain.

But to this day, I’m not sure. I’m not sure that I didn’t have the clot that day on the plane.  And that it lay, somehow dormant, until the accident made everything worse.  But it was already there.  By some miracle, I was in the hospital when it re-materialized.  And I had an incredibly astute nurse who figured out what it was.  

So in some way, the accident may have been a blessing.  Without it, I may not have gone to the hospital.  I may have written off my symptoms as asthma.  And I might not be writing about it today.

Celebrate with me my friends.  Life is mysterious and wonderful.  And we’re all very lucky to be living it.

Image Credit: (Edited) khunaspix /

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