Friday, April 27, 2007

Big Yellow Taxi

For most of the last week, I have been sleeping a lot, groaning like an old woman as I get in and out of chairs and thanking my lucky stars.

If there is a rite of passage to becoming "urban," I think I'll be waived on account of my experience on Tuesday night.

While crossing a street at 10:00 at night, in the crosswalk and with the light, I got hit by a taxi cab. It knocked my down on my back, which stunned me. It also knocked down Erika, my blogger friend who was kind enough to meet me for coffee when she was in town. She has had a difficult pregnancy so far and it was hard to watch her be so worried for her baby. She responded in a way that I could relate to: she got very quiet and stone-faced, obviously reigning in wilder emotions and trying not to think about worst-case scenarios until she knew more. She was gracious and let me pray for her in the ambulance. Her host from North Park met her an the emergency room and I felt comfortable leaving her with people that she knew better than me. I have been overwhelmed since then by the outpouring of prayer support that her network has offered me, referring to me as "Erika's friend." Considering how much I admire her, that is an amazing title that I'm not quite sure I've earned.

I was a mess, blubbering all over the place. I had sat on the ground for quite a while in the rain because my body had not yet given me the OK to stand up. Once I did and sat in the North Park University security vehicle for a few minutes letting it all sink in, I called my brother and the immensity of what happened hit me. The tears were very much a physical response to being scared. There was no deep sadness or grief. Just fright. Especially once I knew I was OK and wouldn't have to use any reserves of strength, my body just let it all go. Although I rode to the hospital with Erika, the EMTs said I didn't need to be examined: that I had a boo-boo but not an owie. My brother Daniel came and picked me up there with a dry sweatshirt and a blanket. He was perfect.

Of course, once we got home, the normalcy of our sibling relationship reared up. He asked, "What are you going to do now?"

I said, "I thought I'd sit on the couch and just wind down some before I go to bed so I'm not just staring at the ceiling with adrenaline."

"Oh, because I was planning on lying on the couch and watching wrestling until I fell asleep."

"Naoh!" I cried. "I got hit by a taxi cab! I get the couch."

He considered this and before he assented asked, "Can we still watch wrestling?" When I agreed, he said, "OK."

It has been somewhat fascinating to observe the way my body has responded to the accident over the past several days. On Wednesday, I sweat profusely and it stank, which was my body trying to get rid of the adrenaline that it didn't need any more. At dinner that night and my parents' house, I burst into tears. Although I had yelled at my mother while I was doing this, she forgave me quickly, explaining that I had been telling people all day that I was fine. Of course I was going to have to release that once I felt safe. Yesterday, my lower back stiffened up in a way that it hadn't when my elbows were the primary hurt. That made me cranky after about 8 hours in the company of other people and I went home rather than say terrible things.

I have a big weekend in front of me. Today, my lower back feels better, the bruises are fading and the abrasions are scabbing over. I am still struck by the absurdity of the experience and my friends Lorinda and Susan agree with me that looking back it is funny rather than disturbing. I like that perspective.

I got hit by a taxi cab. Who does that?


Ginny Olson said...

Rebecca - I'm a Chicago friend of Erika's (she was teaching in my class before she met with you) and I've been wondering who the mystery woman was that was with her. I am so glad to hear you're okay! May God quickly heal your bumps and bruises.

PrincessMax said...

Thank you for your concern, Ginny. Like I said, the concern of Erika's friends, including me as one of their own, has been a very positive consequence of the accident.

Scooter said...

Glad you're ok, Rebecca. I hope there's nothing sneaky left in the bones and muscles and brain and that you're feeling in a better place.

Glad you had lots of friends and family around to offer comfort.

PrincessMax said...

Thanks, Scooter. Last night, I overdid it swimming at the YMCA and had to put my head between my knees. So now, I'm planning on getting out to see the chiropractor, attending a yoga class, seeing my counselor and I have a massage scheduled for next Monday in order to exorcise any sneaky stuff left behind. It's interesting that you bring it up. I realized on Friday night that the entire week after the accident felt unsuccessful. Nothing really went wrong, but I didn't feel like I did anything absolutely right either. Just lots of awkward moments and uncomfortable interactions. I think I lost my center in the accident. Thus, the waterfall of physical and spiritual health practitioners.