I sigh, putting the key into my run-down car and opening the door. It had been a long day at work, and I wanted nothing more than to go home and see my cats.
I look down at my phone: Two missed calls from Rob. I turn on the ignition.
‘Hey babe, just got in the car, what’s up?’ I send, setting my phone beside me and pulling out of the parking lot.
‘Can u stop and grab some cat food? Chunky got into the bag again LOL’
I smile and shake my head, shifting my glance from the road to my phone again.
‘Sure. I’ll be home in fi’
It all happened so fast.
The crunch of steel erupting beside me.
The glass of my windshield splitting my skin.
The metallic taste of blood.
I couldn’t think, I couldn’t breathe. Was I dying? Had my carelessness finally become the death of me?
My disheveled thoughts were interrupted by the screams of a young woman. I looked up to the best of my ability. My vision was blurry, but she didn’t seem to be any older than me. Nineteen, maybe twenty.
“Oh my God, are you okay?”
I would’ve laughed if the wind hadn’t have escaped me after the initial impact. Okay? I was lying in a puddle of my blood. That’s pretty far from ‘okay’.
“Um, uh, I’ll call 911.” She stuttered, obviously in shock from witnessing the whole scene.
I tried to get a good glimpse of the man I had hit, but his truck was too tall to see clearly. Sitting up seemed like a terrible decision, but I decided to try anyway.
Pain seared through my entire body as I lifted myself and I fell as quickly as I had risen. I was certain I had broken a bone of some sort and I was not trying to decipher which one specifically. An intense throbbing in my head began to make its appearance.
“So much for adrenaline,” I mumbled, spitting some blood beside me. I should’ve put my seatbelt on. I always laughed at the road signs, but never thought they may have been able to save my life.
My headache spared me of my self-reprimanding after the sound of sirens had made my pain seemingly worse. I groaned a little. Not out of pain, but from the thought of medical bills. I knew my insurance wouldn’t help me out enough with my poor choices.
Two calm-faced paramedics ran up to me, lifting a pair of scissors and beginning to cut through my blouse. It was only when I was exposed that I realized how much damage had been done. A large dark bruise was painted across my ribs and down my stomach. One of the women spoke into her radio.
“This is Crystal. Station 8. I’ve got a female on I-79, two obliques in the ribs and one open in the arm. Administering opiates now.”
She shut off her radio and smiled wearily at me. “Rough day, huh? Don’t worry, you’re in good hands.”
I looked up at her and began to cry. I wanted a simple evening, but my negligence came back to bite me, and its teeth showed no mercy.
I felt a small pinch in my good arm and sighed heavily once the morphine began to set in. Now I could fully assess the wounds I have.
I grimaced when I saw the bone protruding from my skin. I won’t be able to work for at least a few months, and it’ll leave an unsightly scar.
The blaring of the sirens became a mere annoyance now that I was painless, and I smiled a little at Crystal. She reciprocated with a sly smile and wiped some blood from my forehead.
“You’re really lucky, you know that?” she said, checking the morphine IV “Most people die in a crash like that.”
“Yeah.” I gurgle, coughing up some blood. She cringed and turned her radio back on.
“I’ve got some internal bleeding on the I-79 female. OR should begin prep.”
“Internal bleeding?” I widen my eyes, fear rising in my stomach. The fear of death now seemed too likely.
“Don’t worry, you have a few broken ribs already. All they’ll have to do is drain the blood and fix you up.”
I nod a little, looking down at my IV. The whole thing seemed surreal. ten minutes ago I was on the way to see my husband and cats. ten minutes ago like was okay.
I snap back to reality when the radio goes off.
“This is Tom. I’ve got an infant female on I-79. Cardiac arrest. Administering CPR now.
A lump in my throat forms, and Crystal and I both share a look of uneasiness.
I killed a baby?
No, this couldn’t be real. This had to be some messed up dream that I would wake up from and Rob would hold me and tell me it’s all okay.
“I’m going to jail,” I whispered, “I’m a murderer.”
“Look,” Crystal sighed and lowered the volume on her radio, “right now we have to focus on making sure you’re okay. Nothing can happen until we’ve got you in a stable condition.”
But it was far from okay. I’ve killed at least one person, my lungs are filling with blood, and I’m not sure how many charges I’m going to have after I get out of the hospital.
“Alright, we’re here. This is where I drop you off.” Crystal brushed some hair from my face and smiled reassuringly. “You’ll be okay. I promise.”
She rolled me to a group of well-dressed surgeons, giving me a thumbs up and heading back to the ambulance.
This was it. I was alone from now on. All that was to blame was me. I got into this alone, I’ll view my fate alone.
“Okay ma’am, we’re going to sedate you now. The operation shouldn’t last for more than an hour or two. I’ll make sure you come out of this okay, I promise.”
Okay. The last words I heard from a soft-spoken doctor. The last sliver of hope that I may just get out of this madness alive.
I repeat the ‘okay’ in my head as the anesthesiologist counts down
“Two…one…alright. Patient is fully sedated and unresponsive. Send her to OR to begin the operation. We don’t have much time.”