That Time I Trashed My Daughter’s Coat

A sincere, warm, and belated welcome to 2021 to you! Happy to be here with you. I mentioned in my last post that one of my goals for 2021 was to get back to blogging. Achieving this goal took me longer than I expected. Here is why…

On the morning of January 1st, 2021 I asked my daughter if I could borrow her hot pink Canada Goose coat for skiing. She generously agreed with the caveat that I not trash it. My retort? Margaux if I trash your coat I think we might have more serious problems than your coat. Long story short: I trashed her coat in a very bad car accident on a remote and twisty road in Maine. She was mostly okay with it.

I am with luck an eternally optimistic writer. So writing about a topic with this level of gravitas is not in my comfort zone. Let’s recall that if I don’t like a Broadway show, I don’t write about it. Seems mean spirited.

There was nothing to like about getting in a car crash, but writing about it seems like the right thing to do so will do so in a manner that reflects my normal style. Any one of us in this accident you are about to read about could have died. There could have been multiple fatalities. By the grace of a higher force and some well connected angels (I have some ideas on this front) we are as a group but a tangle of injuries that will, with time, subside… leaving me smack in my comfort zone with much to be positive, grateful and optimistic about. So here we go.

So many of you have reached out! Thank you. I am grateful for each and every word that has been sent our way. Terrifying and scary being chief among the adjectives used to describe our accident. In truth, I slept through the whole thing and just remember being annoyed to be woken up in such a brutal fashion. I was confused, disoriented and covered in blood. The last thing I wanted to do was move my throbbing head, but all the yelling to get out of the car made that seem non-optional.

So with the help of my agile and calm daughter (who was polite to not observe that her coat was at the nascent stages of being trashed) eased me out of our completely totaled vehicle. Immobile on a patch of snow there was little to do but wait, listen, think and shiver a bit.

As my head had taken the brunt of my accident experience it occurred to me that some very bad things could be happening inside there that were completely beyond my control. When Margaux asked me to “please don’t die…” I said I would do my best, but if not she was ready and equipped for an amazing life. I asked her to not live a small life. See what I did there? No pressure to live a LARGE life, but a gentle nudge towards that by inherently not living a small one.

I stand by those words and was proud when 2 minutes later heard her asking the person on the other end of the 911 call about the quality ratings of the hospital where I was headed. Real time proof that she is in fact ready and equipped for an amazing and not small life. 

After a super sprint assessment of my life, I determined it had been a very good one. Keeping an open and bright side mindset about whatever direction this would go, I allocated a bit of time musing about the dogs and people I would get to see in heaven.

Then the volunteer EMT’s arrived. God bless any and all volunteer EMT’s. They did the requisite tests – eyes, fingers, toes, brain! – all good and in working order. They gently got me into a neck brace and then a series of carefully choreographed transports occurred. Stretcher…to an ambulance to a helicopter to a hospital. Full body scan to surgery at 10:15pm to patch up my head (the nice surgeon, per my last gasp anesthesia induced request, spared my hair).

At midnight I found myself in a room with 50 staples in my head picking out a homemade blanket to keep me company during my four night stay. I got to keep the blanket. Lots to share about my stay with only my thoughts and a blanket, but will save those words for another time.

By now you must be asking…what happened? Not clear at this time, but the short answer is that my husband, for reasons we and the medical community will spend the next few months determining, had an unfortunate momentary blackout while driving us home from our day of skiing. He emerged, thank God, just in time to save us from slamming into a giant tree, passenger side first where Margaux was sitting. Wheel turned aggressively by Don to avert the big tree, we clipped it instead and hit the next tree tree head on. Then our car got pitched back across the road (ick), spun around a few times and stopped in the ditch.

My husband Don has a broken clavicle and scapula, a ruptured vertebrae, and two broken ribs. Our friend Michael has ruptured ribs that punctured his lung resulting in a collapsed lung that necessitated an onsite chest tube with no painkillers to speak of. OUCH with some colorful language. And I smashed up my head and have 4 fractured ribs. The two youngers in the car were shaken up and bruised, one with a whiplashed neck (Margaux) and the other with a chipped tooth (my nephew Nathan). 

Two weeks and a couple of days later we are recovering and mobile. We are sleeping a ton and plying our bodies with healthy food and hydration thanks to a remarkable group of people that have swooped in to come to our aid. Don and Michael are still in a lot of pain, but with time, Doctor’s visits, and some physical therapy that should subside. We have a whole pile of thank you missives stacking up and are grateful for the crystal clear lesson we are receiving on the power of community, friendship, and support.

And Margaux’s coat? We can buy her a new one. It’s just a coat.

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Space does open up! When it does it’s often at the last minute. Will keep our fingers crossed. Would love to see you at this experience!