It’s 1:34 AM on Saturday as I write this blog post without my usual beta reader and better half Kathy. We traveled from Portland to Lakeland, Florida on Tuesday for business reasons and our flight made for a long day. We spent so much time on airplanes I remember a moment when Kathy, looking up from our seats in coach toward the big seats in front, said, “We’re going to sit in first class someday.” I just laughed. (If you knew anything about our budget, you’d laugh too.)
During the drive from the Tampa airport to our hotel I remember seeing a billboard along U.S. Highway 98 that said, “Lakeland Regional Health Joins Mayo Clinic.” When I read that, I thought to myself, “That’s impressive.” I’m a fan of the Mayo Clinic.
We were exhausted so we crashed shortly after checking in. The next day, Wednesday, at 8:30 PM, we walked from our hotel across U.S. Highway 98 to Mike’s Steak and Seafood for dinner. After our meal and just before 10 PM we left the restaurant walking side by side to the crosswalk that leads back to the hotel on the opposite side of U.S. Highway 98.
I hit the button to trigger the pedestrian walk signal and after sixty or so seconds and six or so hits on the button we saw the little white walking man icon at the other end of the crosswalk. Traffic was fairly light but we looked both ways anyway before leaving the curb. We had taken six or so steps when, out of my peripheral vision, I saw a car coming at us from behind and to our left. It was making a right turn from the cross street onto U.S. Highway 98.
I hit the hood with my right hand and yelled but it was too late. Even as I was hitting and yelling Kathy and I were struck by the passenger side front fender. I felt the tire run over my toes and for a split second I had the curious sensation of pulling my toes out from under the tire. I felt something strike my left lower tricep. Later I’d see two distinct scuff marks on my jeans where the car sideswiped my knees. The impact spun me around and I fell. Somehow after all this, other than a few cuts and bruises, I feel uninjured.
But Kathy went flying. Her torso remained mostly vertical as her feet went up in the air so she was bent at the waist forming a V shape. She landed on the point of that V. It was immediately apparent that something was seriously wrong. I’ve seen many motor vehicle crash victims in pain during my years in the fire department and Kathy’s pain was right up there near the top of the heap. She was shaking uncontrollably and vomiting or dry heaving every twenty minutes or so. We kept asking why and the ER doctors and nurses kept telling us it was caused by the pain.
Turns out the point of the V that impacted the road caused an L1 vertebral fracture.
God has been with us through all of this. The woman who hit us stopped and called 911. She told the police the truth about what happened–she never saw us. Lakeland Regional Medical Center has recently partnered with the Mayo Clinic and the doctors and nurses there are incredible.
Kathy has a long and painful road to recovery but her attitude is amazing and she has a good chance of healing from this injury. Even more impressive is her compassion toward the woman that hit us. We appreciate your prayers for Kathy, but we’d appreciate it if you would pray for the woman who hit us too.
In the past Kathy and I have both written about suffering on this blog. If you’re interested you can read what we wrote by clicking here: Suffering. I guess God has given us an opportunity to live out what we’ve written.
And one last thing. The only way to get Kathy back home to Portland in her current condition–is to fly first class.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
You might also like But I Thought This Was A Hotel, and Why Didn’t God Heal Me?, and Why Did Lazarus Have To Die? (And why do I have to suffer?).
[Crosswalk Icon Image via A. Strakey — Creative Commons]