Here’s what happened: on Friday night, heading west on 595 in the rain, I hit a wet spot that I did not see. (Two hands on the wheel, happily listening to the Comedy Channel on Pandora.) My car hydroplaned and began to spin. I cut the wheel into the spin to no avail and realized I was out of control. As I shouted an expletive and time slowed down, I heard a passing car honk at me as I spun. I hit a guard rail on the left of the highway with the passenger side of my car, and on impact, smacked my nose into the inside of the passenger door, which conveniently had come to meet me halfway. As the car spun the other way I felt blood running out my nose, and I prayed a broken nose would be the worst of my injuries. The car continued to spin in slow motion until it landed next to a muddy gravel pile in a construction site.
Thankful that I was alive and still conscious, I found the auxiliary cord and used it to pull my phone up from the floor. I dialed 911 and told the operator what had happened. She asked where I was. I tried to guess. She told me an ambulance and FHP had been dispatched, and that a Davie Police Officer had seen me spin out and was head toward me. She asked me to stay on the line, talked me through the standard questions. I wiggled my toes and felt my knees. I looked in the mirror to see if anything beside my nose was bleeding. I looked around to see if I had sustained any other injuries. So far, so good. When the Davie squad car pulled up I thanked the 911 Operator and we hung up. He looked me up and down, told me my nose was probably broken, and that the car was totaled.
Sparing the details of the ride to and in the hospital, it turns out the police officer was wrong about my nose. Nothing broken, no concussion, just a bloody nose, a headache, and sore muscles. Natalie met me at the hospital and drove me home with pain killers and muscle relaxers.
So all in all, not really a big deal. The car is a total wreck. The right side is completely gone, even though the left side has nary a scratch. It looks like half a car. I don’t even want to think about what would have happened if anyone else was in the car. But it is hard to not think about the “what-if’s.” I pulled over to take pictures of the crash site, and realized that the 30 feet of gap in the divider that I spun through was the only clear space in the 10 miles of highway on my route on 595. Had I lost control anywhere else I would probably have bounced back into the highway. Had I hit another part of my car I may not have walked away. Had anyone else been in my car they might not have walked away. Had any other car been involved, someone else might have been hurt. I have a stack of woulda-coulda’s in my head a mile high.
I suspect that anyone in this situation could feel horrible and wonder about how such bad things could happen. I look at my stack of woulda-coulda’s, and I realize that I am truly blessed. I feel so lucky to have gotten out of this alive, and to be able to hug my children and kiss my wife another day. I feel blessed to read all the well-wishes and good thoughts from my friends and wife’s friends on Facebook, and I am thankful to be spending this Thanksgiving with my growing family. (No Natalie’s not pregnant—my mom’s getting married.)
So to all the people in my life who have reached out during this scary time, thank you. You mean the world to me, and I am thrilled to be able to continue telling you that.
Everyone who is able is more than welcome to join us on Saturday morning at Temple Sinai, when I will bench Gomel, the blessing said when one has come safely out of a dangerous situation.