Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Hit and Run - What I Can Tell You

Before I start my story, I want to take a minute to say thank you to everyone for all of the love, prayers, and support. It means more to me than you could ever know. 
  • Thank you to HS who rushed to the scene of the accident and has been my rock through all of this. 
  • A special thank you to Renee for calling him while I was on the phone with 9-1-1.
  • Thank you to my daughters, Ashley and Lindsey, who have pressed pause in their lives so they can be home taking care of me (this may be bragging, but HS and I raised two amazing young women). 
  • Thank you to my son-in-law, Max, who spent his weekend dog sitting.
  • Thank you to all of my co-workers and frequent riding partners at the City of Stockton for all of your kind words, prayers and support...and for the beautiful flowers! And to Eric Houston for his efforts to help find the driver.
  • Thank you to James Cotta for your support and your tireless search to find the hit and run driver. 
  • Thank you to Trisha and Tony for rescuing me from hospital food with a big bag of gummy bears and for their CSI work.
  • Thank you to the amazing staff at San Joaquin General Hospital. Everyone I encountered was so caring and understanding. 
  • Thank you to the all the emergency personnel that were on scene and to the young man taking care of me in the ambulance. I don't remember your name, but I remembered your face when you popped into my room Saturday night to check on me.
  • Thank you to the drivers that did stop and offered assistance.
  • Thank you to the second half of our Saturday riding group. Things happen for a reason and I am so thankful you were behind us.
  • Thank you to my Central Valley Triathlon teammates, my fellow Pearl Izumi Ambadors, my church family at Crossroads Grace Community Church,  the cycling community in the Lodi/Stockton area, and last but not least, all of my family, friends, friends of friends, and complete strangers for your prayers. They truly made a difference.
I wish I could thank everyone individually. Every Facebook post, text message, Instagram comment, and email means so much to me. This event has been a life changing experience, not because of my injuries, but because of the outpouring of love.

Typical Saturday Ride

I had made plans to ride with some friends on Saturday morning. HS was supposed to ride with us, but he had a very upset stomach and decided to stay home. I met up with my riding partners at Bear Creek High School and discussed which route we wanted to take. One rider suggested heading up to Lodi and looping back on Peltier Rd. Peltier is a heavily traveled road and can be dangerous in spots. I suggested taking Armstrong Road east since the ride is nice and the roads are pretty quiet. HS and I have rode this route a number of times and have always enjoyed it.

Once everyone was ready, we clipped in and pedaled off. I turned around to do a quick head count and noticed four riders still in the parking lot. I asked Jessica why they were still there, but she didn't know. I thought that maybe they decided to take the other route. Jessica, Dal and I continued to ride. We were uneasy about one of the other riders because he had forgotten his helmet but still wanted to ride (this is a big no-no).  Our route took us up Thornton, on to Devries, and then a right turn on to Armstrong. Traffic was light as expected.

And Then It Happened

Our ride was uneventful up to that point. Just a typical Saturday morning ride. The next events are a blur. The last thing I remember was hearing the sound of tires in gravel and loud cracking. Crack! Crack! Crack! My Garmin shows me accelerating from 17 mph to nearly 21 mph in a matter of seconds. Less than seven seconds later, I am no longer moving. My Garmin doesn't detect movement again for almost two minutes.

The next thing I know is that I am standing on the side of the road looking around, trying to figure out what happened. Blood is running down my face, but I can move. I see Dal laying on his back with at least half of his body still in the road. I believe he was to the right of where I was standing, but I'm not sure. He was moaning and seemed to be in a great deal of pain. I turned and saw Jessica on the ground, but she seemed to be mostly off of the road. She was also moaning and in pain.

I've been told this is what adrenaline does for you
According to my phone, I called 9-1-1 at 7:30am and stayed on the phone for 14 minutes.  I remember running back and forth between Jessica and Dal. I know I shouldn't move them, but I was concerned about traffic. I looked to the west and saw a big truck headed our direction. I was terrified. I ran into the road and started waving my arms. I prayed that the driver would see me. Thankfully, a driver coming from the opposite direction stopped and quickly jumped out of his vehicle to help me stop the truck.

I'm not sure how much time passed, but I saw the other four riders approaching. I could tell from the looks on their faces that things were bad. I asked Renee to call HS because I was still on the phone with 9-1-1. Time was a blur after that point. I remember seeing HS pulling up in his truck. Tears ran down his face when he saw me. He was just thankful I was alive.

I'm not sure what possessed me to snap pictures at this point. I guess since my phone was in my hand it just seemed like something I should do. Honestly, I don't remember taking the pictures or even the arrival of the fire trucks and ambulances.

Jessica is sitting up and being attended to on the side of the road.
HS standing next to Beauty

The next photos are not vanity selfies. I snapped these in an attempt to see how bad my injuries were. 

I think I was afraid to snap the side of my face with the injury.
It took me a while to get up the nerve to take a picture of the injured side of my face.

In the ambulance, I was finally brave enough to check out the other side of my face

I'm not sure how I ended up with my water bottle in the ambulance. I think I may have picked it up off of the road. I kept trying to take a drink but the EMT in the ambulance would tell me not to drink because I may need surgery. Surgery???

To be continued...

Hit and Run - A Week Later
Hit and Run - Anger, F-Bombs and Church

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