Going In Circles

It has been my goal to post on this blog once per month. That’s been all fine and good unless something monumental happens. And during the month of July, monumental happened. This post has nothing to do with Going Home and living life over gain, the main topic of this blog, but I feel compelled to write it just the same.

The day was Monday, July 1, 2013. Thirty-one days ago, and I’ve been going around in circles ever since. My son Jordan and his wife Arianna had a closing in Iowa City for the sale of their first home, and they were all packed and ready to start their journey to Knoxville, Tennessee for the closing the next day of their second home. We were all excited about that! I knew they would be arriving late to spend the night with us, and they would be hungry and tired, so I headed into New Albany to the grocery store around 10 o’clock in the morning to pick up a few healthy supplies. First, though, I had a craving for White Castle hamburgers, which happens almost every month, so I stopped there first. I dined in the front seat of my car, a little 2003 Toyota Echo. I’d had the car for two years and really loved that little car. What a gas saver it was! And the best thing about it was that it had belonged to my Aunt Sarah. I named my Toyota Sarah, in fact. After the luxurious White Castle breakfast, I drove into town, and headed up State Street to the Kroger Store. I’d pick up what I needed, run a couple of other errands I’d been putting off, and planned to make it home by noon. I thought.

Nearing Kroger, I approached Elm which is a one-way street that serves as an exit ramp at the beginning, from I-64W out of Louisville. To make a long story even longer, a 2003 Dodge Caravan 7 passenger van (with nine passengers in it!) ran the red light and Ker-Pow my Toyota was toast. Two witnesses to the accident were going the opposite direction from me, and they saw the accident in its entirety. One of them was a police officer, and it’s always good to have an officer of the law actually witness an accident. The other man ran to my car and opened my door. I was so grateful for him, because I knew I was in trouble and couldn’t function alone. During the impact, I felt and saw myself and my car going in circles. It was like a slow-motion ride, only fast. When my car came to a stop, I had ended up on Elm Street from my original location on State Street. My vehicle was blasted on the front, both sides, and even a tail light was broken, so go figure how that happened. When I opened my eyes, I saw a bright light. Not heaven, no, I think it was sunshine. My glasses were in the street, so I couldn’t focus, but my head had banged and bumped  against the inside of the car, causing a concussion.  That’s described as when the brain is treated like scrambled eggs. I still was seeing circles, and couldn’t possible walk, even if I could get out of the car, which I didn’t. The ambulance came lickety-split and I was put on a board in a neck brace. No, the board wasn’t in a neck brace. My neck was in that. You see, I still can’t think straight. That’s what concussions do to you. I am improving, however, and it’s been 30 days now. What we used to call Whiplash is now referred to as severe cervical sprain/strain. So with just a few cuts and bruises, that was my diagnosis along with the brain concussion. These are labels I am using to the largest advantage to get out of doing housework. My husband told me to milk it for all it was worth. So I did.

I had a CT Scan of the neck and was given some very effective medications, and was sent home after a few hours. When Jordan and Arianna arrived, I didn’t even get to take a peek at them, I was so banged up. On the days that followed I couldn’t stop my brain from going back and reliving the accident in great detail, over and over. I remember thinking it was funny that when I realized I was about to be slammed, my first thought was, Oh no, she’s going to hit me. And the next thought was, I really don’t have time for this. I have GOT to make it to Kroger! This is going to ruin my day.

This was my first accident. I hope there is never another one. I was really lucky; I’d worn clean underwear, in case anyone wonders, but it didn’t matter because the injuries were all above my shoulders. Oh well, my mother would’ve been proud.  I’ve changed since the accident. And I’m not referring to underwear. I’m referring to behavior—I’m a little paranoid now when I’m out driving. The first time I drove to the hairdresser, two miles from my home, I held my breath nearly the entire ride! I go out only when absolutely necessary, and I am even more of a defensive driver than I was before. I keep my cell phone in my purse, and nothing else loose lying about because it could get thrown out of the car or could hit a passenger while flying around. I knew this before, but I thought nothing would ever happen to me. Right. Anyway, I guess you could say I’m preparing for the worst, but it’s better to be prepared. I’m sure after another month or two passes, I’ll be just as reckless as I was before with all of my “stuff” in the front seat next to me: books, phone, grocery lists, etc.


My car was totaled and I have no idea what to replace it with. I got new glasses because my other ones broke. I think I’ve milked this thing to the max, and to my husband’s satisfaction, but I’ve been having ocular migraines, and can’t spend more than ten minutes at a time on the computer. So my ten minutes is up. I know this is poorly written, but I am doing my best. Surely I’ll be able to think straight again. Some days my neck hurts terribly, and other days it doesn’t hurt at all. Weird. Like I said, I know how lucky I am. I’m so glad to be alive.


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  1. Robyn says:

    Is that when your ocular migraines started? Things happen so fast, but the road back can be so long.

  2. Holly J says:

    I keep blaming the Supermoons. I don’t know – maybe just distracted, busy, idle-minded drivers. My accident happened on June 8. A GMC Sierra tried to climb into the passenger seat of my Honda Accord. Didn’t fit. I’m glad of that. I remember the shower of tempered glass flying at me, and thank God for tempered glass. We all walked away from it, and the other driver admitted fault and was ticketed on the scene. I didn’t go to the ER until the next day; I knew when I laid down in bed that something was wrong, and fortunately it was just bruised (not broken) ribs. A couple of weeks, and that pain was gone.

    I never had a name for the car that was totaled, and I felt bad about that. A lesser car might not have protected me as well. The new one is “Cherry,” which is both its color and my mom’s name – and it makes me feel safer than I felt driving immediately after the accident, in rented cars. You might enjoy this post: http://jahangiri.us/2013/car-name/

    I’m so glad that your injuries weren’t worse, and I hope that dealing with insurance hasn’t been a slow slog through hell.

  3. Marian Allen says:

    Joanna, I’m so tremendously glad your little car protected you so. You’re precious!

  4. Stacy says:

    This is now the second time I’ve read about your car accident, and I can see the whole event a lot more clearly now. We all should be patient and compassionate in dealing with other’s brain injuries because of many reasons. Because they are probably trying much harder than they had to before, and for less results. And because even though they may seem out of it they-trust me- they will notice how you are treating them, which will either help or hurt them.

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