I’M STILL STANDING

last week was a life-changing week for me. a major eye-opener. a blessing, a reminder of how precious life is here on planet earth.

the universe gripped me by the shoulders, shook me up and shouted, the purpose of life is to feel. enjoy every moment that passes. and no, you can’t stay here forever…

in the span of 8 days, i experienced a lot of firsts. i received by hand from the rcmp a subpoena for a drunk driver trial. i was in a serious highway crash. i was in the hospital. i testified in court. i wrote off my car. i was in a fire truck. i was in an ambulance. i was on the news. i had an emotional breakdown. i dealt with rcmp 3 out of 8 days. it’s been nuts. read on to see what happened.

tuesday | september 28 | 2010

ryan’s out of town with work. the phone line’s dead. dead for 6 days by now. mts is a no-show… they were supposed to come this morning to fix it. they could possibly show up at any time. problem is, i have a life. can’t sit around for 48 hours waiting for mts to show up. mom offers to stay at my house while i run to the store to get some soy milk and fruit. i’m  playing with the dog in the yard when she arrives. before she can take her shoes off i say, “play frisbee with babe.”  “i just started, i’ve only thrown it twice so far and she’s gonna want to play a while.” mom takes the Frisbee and i leave. oops, forgot the reusable shopping bags. i run inside. grab the bags. back to the car. i’m off.

i approach highway 59 via coronation st. i need to go southbound, so i need to get across to the other side. i cross the northbound lane. sit in the middle of the highway. i look to my right. there’s a van heading my way but he’s in the far lane, and my lane is open. i look both ways and check again. i think to myself, even though my lane is open, i’m gonna cut really close to the edge of the road so i don’t get into an accid- – – –

BOOM!!

wtf ? ? ?

i’ve just been hit by a van going more than 100 kms an hour. full speed. no brakes. wasn’t he in the other lane??

the loudest noise i’ve ever heard. the fastest my body has ever been moved. no warning. didn’t see it coming. with ultimate force my car and i are sent into the ditch after spinning a full 180 degrees. i’m sitting in the ditch between north and south bound traffic, on the highway.  i just left home! crap! I look down. The car is chugging. I put ‘er in park and turn off the ignition. I wipe the glass from my eyes. Look to my right. Passenger door is now inside the car, glass is everywhere. I take off my seat belt, put my keys in my pocket, zip it up and get out of the car. it’s go time.

i begin running to the van who hit me, stopping to use another guy’s cell phone to call my mom.

“hello?”

“mom… you’re gonna have to come get me.”

“what?!”

“i’m in the ditch. you gotta come get me. i just got in an accident, and i’m in the ditch!! i’m okay!”

“what?! where are you??”

“just leave the house… you’ll find me!!”


I continue running to the van to check on the driver. His airbags are both deployed. he’s awake. he looks mad. woah… he looks maadd. I tap his window, are you okay?? there’s 3 or 4 of us there, standing outside his door. none of us know if he is okay. he looks at us, then straight ahead. back to us. straight ahead again. no words, no other movement. he looks sooo angry. an off-duty policeman opens his passenger door and begins talking with him. here come the police cars. i run to the police. i run back to the van. i look around. there are a lot of people stopping. this has made quite a mess and traffic is nearly at a standstill for the next 40 minutes. my mom shows up. i run back to my mom. she’s astonished. my car is absolutely totalled. i’m running around trying to play hero. i’m okay, i’m fine.

i see a man sitting in his van writing notes. i approach his vehicle.

“did you see the accident?”

“yes.”

“what happened??”

“he was swerving all over the road…”

I’m in a state of pure confusion and chaos. I’m okay. Now there’s a firetruck. an ambulance. two ambulances. police cars everywhere. ctv news crew is filming. A fireman asks me if I was the one driving the car in the ditch. he asks if i mind if he checks me up in the firetruck. “who me? okay…” but i’m fine, i think to myself. i climb into the truck. now i’m isolated from the scene and super overwhelmed. i’m surrounded by firemen doing their thing and discussing my vitals to one another. they write the stats on their gloves. I’m absolutely shaking now. i’m in shock. i’ve just realized my adrenaline is pumping like crazy. i’m in shock, and my stomach starting to hurt.

i sit there baffled and explain to them how all morning i’ve been chatting with my cousin chelsea about our horoscopes for the week.

my horoscope says im accident prone today her boyfriend has the same horoscope and just broke his hip this morning and he, too, had to take an ambulance to hospital… this is all we talked about all morning… my last thought before getting hit was about driving safe to avoid an accident… and i just got subpoenaed last night for an accident that i witnessed last year… in this very same ditch… this is starting to become a little bit freaky…

i’m then led to an ambulance to get checked out again by a few paramedics. not grasping the seriousness of the crash or that i, too, could be injured. despite how fast it happened. i feel like it’s not possible for me to be injured, because it happened so fast. what could have gotten injured in such a short time? i got out of the car immediately following the crash. which is apparently breaking rule #1: stay put.

i tell the same horoscope story to the paramedics. i’m totally living a scene right out of a movie. it’s absolute chaos everywhere. lots of questions. i’ve told the story of how the accident happened at least 7 times by now. i see the other driver getting put onto a stretcher. i ask for some water. my stomach hurts a bit more. i just can’t tell if it’s injury or nervousness. i look to my left, all of a sudden my dad’s here and seeing me for the first time. he’s already seen my car first, mangled in the ditch. here’s his little girl in an ambulance, in the midst of what seems like a hollywood scene. every parent’s worst nightmare. he’d just arrived home when mom made the call. he had even seen the police fly by him on his way home and thought to himself, gee i hope that it isn’t for somebody i know… i can see that he’s choked up, holding back tears. it really tugs on my heart strings. i’m in an ambulance, and my mom and dad are with me. how lucky am i? “i’m okay, dad.” he breathes a sigh of relief and tries not to cry.

i’m alive… in an ambulance… both my parents are here… my horoscope… the subpoena… court on monday… I can’t believe… i’m fine… i was just trying to go to the store… mts better not show up right now…

I’m stubborn and I’m trying to stay strong for everybody. i repeatedly say i’m okay. “i just want to go home and change.” i was decked out. skinny jeans, boots, leather jacket. (fake leather i must add) i sign a refusal form for the ambulance ride, promising to go to the hospital right away with my parents. they’re just going to follow me there anyways, i may as well go with them. it would be awful to follow your child to the hospital in an ambulance… it will be easier on them to ride with them. we agree to run home for a minute to change and get the dog settled away. it’s only 1 minute away anyways.

i notice ctv news there filming the scene. i run my hands through my hair and realize my hair clip and sunglasses have vanished from my head. mom asks if i need anything from the car before they tow it. i request my sunglasses. she finds them in the very back of the car. we run home for a few minutes while i change and catch up with my neighbour quickly. she saw the scene on her way home but didn’t know it was me. by now im in absolute pain all over. i can barely walk. i’m clutching my stomach with my arms and walking around the house feeling totally wiped. all i want to do is lie down and sleep. my energy has been thoroughly drained and this is starting to get real. i’ve been in an accident. i almost died just now. i’m in pain. my dad is panicking for me to hurry up so we can get to the hospital. he’s so worried. his little girl could be injured.

deep down i know i’m okay. but now that the adrenaline has run dry, all i feel is pain. dad’s called ryan to tell him what happened. i feel so much better now that i’m in sweat pants and runners. dad drives me to the hospital. mom follows in her car. on the way i finally have a moment to call ryan. he’s obviously upset. it’s tough for us to experience this apart from each other. it’s been exactly one hour since the crash.

all the glass and debris from this door hit me in the face

glass & dog hair in the backseat

we arrive at concordia hospital and i’m put in a hot gown and given a nice private room to wait. it’s about the 12th time telling my story. the nurse asks me all the same questions. how did the accident happen. does it hurt when i press here. where is the pain. lie down. do you have any wounds. breathe in deeply. exhale. she’s a great nurse and immediately asks if i’m hearing impaired or deaf. she’s the first person i’ve ever met who noticed that i read lips in such a short amount of time. i’m amazed.

“yes, i’m hearing impaired…”

she brings me a hot blanket and i spend the next hour chatting with my mom and dad. it’s nice to be alone with mom and dad. real family bonding. despite the situation. it’s been too long and it feels nice. i sorta feel like i’m 16 again living at home and getting into trouble. dad eventually heads home for supper. my mom and myself demanded he go home, that i would be fine. my mom and i end up eating vending machine chips for supper and chatting for hours.

i’m truly happy by now. i’m high on life. i’ve survived a horrible accident with nothing but a tiny cut on my wrist. my legs work. i still have my legs! my brain is working. vision is fine. blood pressure fine. arms, check. face, check. i’m on cloud nine. i’m cracking jokes left right and centre. i have a giant gash between my eyes. its smaller than a paper cut. the nurse calls me a smart ass and makes me a drink that we all agree would be better with vodka. 4 hours later the doctor finally sees me and as it turns out, i no longer need an x-ray. the pain is virtually gone everywhere and the only thing that’s not feeling right is my neck. i can’t really lift my head. it feels like i’m drunk whenever i try.

i head home and my mom is sleeping over as i’m technically supposed to be checked every 4 hours. with ryan being out of town and my phone line still down, it wasn’t really safe for me to be home alone. mom and i watched some tv and enjoyed some nice down time.

we later find out that the crash aired on ctv news at 11:30pm, today the 28th. a bunch of my friends saw it. unfortunately i never thought to turn the tv on once we got home from the hospital. if anyone knows of a link to it, please let me know. i’d love to see it as i never got photos of the car on accident site. the only one we have is taken with my dad’s phone as you see at the beginning of the post.

wednesday | september 29 | 2010

i’ve been wide awake most of the night. i’ve slept maybe 4 hours and all i can think of is the accident. the sound it made. the jolt it gave me. the shake it gave me. the way i felt. all the details. i get up at 9am and have some soup i made. i haven’t eaten hardly a thing since yesterday afternoon. i go back to bed around 11 and mts shows up shortly after. only get about 20 minutes of sleep. finally, our phone is fixed. somehow all the wiring was backwards. whatever, i’m in so much pain i don’t really care.

mom and i head to sobeys for groceries. i describe exactly how the accident happened as we drive pass the accident site. we realize that driving onto the highway like this is a regular occurrence for everyone. it’s chilling. much caution is taken and i am feeling pretty stiff. i load up on a hefty pile of fruits and veggies. by the time we’re finished, i’m completely exhausted. shortly after unpacking groceries, ryan calls. he’s about an hour away from home. mom leaves and i immediately take a bath with heaping amount of epsom salts. in the bath, i’m flooded with bliss. the Epsom salts are working their magic, and i’m trying to relax my very sore neck. the more relaxed i get, the more sudden bursts of creativity and ideas i have. water is alive. always moving, breathing with life… i was inspired to paint. as soon as i get out of the bath, i write down all these ideas to be sure i don’t forget. i literally feel like the bath soaked all of my troubles away.

ryan arrives home and we drive to the site where i explain from start to finish every. last. detail. this surely has got to be the 20th time i’m telling the story. we buy a lotto ticket. maybe it’s my lucky day.

thursday | september 30 | 2010

ryan has taken the day off to spend at home with me. we watch movies on netflix and i pretty much laze around all day long. i had another epsom salt bath this evening and am feeling the worst i’ve felt thus far. i can barely move at all. the baths really help me relax. afterwards, i always feel worse. it’s another long day.

friday | october 1 | 2010

i’m no longer feeling quite as bad today, still stiff and sore but much better. this is the emotional day. ryan’s gone back to work and i’m home alone in a messy house. i had so many things i needed to finish for work this week. i haven’t cleaned a thing in days. im miserable and thankful and happy and sad. im elated to be alive and sad about the scare i had. this is a close one. i could have been broken head to toe. i could have been in the hospital for weeks. i could have died. seriously. think about that for a moment. you cant even imagine because i used to think i could imagine it. no one can imagine what it’s like to have such a close call with death unless you have one yourself. the universe almost took me away from here. i can’t comprehend this thought and it’s much too big for me to handle. i’m not religious, rather spiritual and enlightened. i cry a lot and just feel. i feel so many emotions right now. it’s hard not to worry that it could happen for good tomorrow. none of us have any idea how long we are here for. that. is. scary. i have so much i want to do. my bucket list is massive. photography is reassured to be a major role in my life. that much i know. i also know now that i want to paint. i want to write. i want to be free from worry. i want to win the lottery. i want to live my dreams.

saturday |october 2 | 2010

today is a great day. our friends jen and joel are getting married and it’s beautiful outside. i feel great! no pain today. slightly stiff but no pain whatsoever. i’m wearing a sweet black dress tonight and stiletto heels. wedding is the best kind of wedding there is: open bar. i dance all night. in stilettos. i’m double fisting doubles. i lose track of basically everything by 11pm. couldn’t tell you how many drinks i did not buy. not only are my parents and all their close friends here, but all of my friends are here as well. it’s the first wedding where i’ve known this many guests at once. i’m totally unwinding from all the chaos this week and feeling so damn good. well, at least i was until i got home. hello, porcelain…

me = 0  open bar = 1

sunday | october 3 | 2010

today is not good. see above. it’s obvious i’d consumed a little too many vodkas. not to mention my brand new quad that we just bought this summer has totally crapped out. i’ve had less than 10 rides on this thing. total bummer…

october 15 update: it turns out i was way wrong about everything i had said regarding my quad falling apart. turns out we voided the warranty when trying to fix it ourselves. and when i say ‘we’, i mean ryan. haha. everything is good now, and i deleted all the things i said about the situation as the owner of the company doesn’t deserve bad attention. the company we purchased it from took care of us in a major way. big props goes out to outback power for rectifying this situation so quickly for us. lesson learned.

i’d personally do everything i could in my power to make sure my clients were happy if for any reason a purchase fails in any way. i would not rest until i know any issues are resolved.

sigh.

i took some photos of babe being cute on the couch. she always cheers me up =)

monday | october 4 | 2010

we’re up bright and early today. court is at 9. this sucks. a drunk driver trial. we witnessed the accident some 18 months ago. first of all that is oddly a long period of time waiting for punishment, dont you agree? secondly, we’re wishing we had nothing to do with it. third, why should i have to get up bright and early monday morning, drag my butt to court to testify, when the accused could have simply told the truth? i mean… guy knows what our statements say, knows what we will say in court, why bother dragging it out? i am so nervous all morning that it makes me ill. it’s a rough day for both ryan and i. another tough situation that we’ve faced both individually and together. first my accident, now this. hey, we’re warriors by now.

tuesday | october 5 | 2010

today i’m back to work. lots. to. do. ohhh my. i sleep in so late. ryan made pizza and left me half the dough. i split that in half and make one veggie pizza and one fruit pizza. yummmmmyyyyyyy!!

i spent a little while playing with babe and some new flash accessories

wednesday | october 6 | 2010

this morning ryan took me to mpi with my mom to make the statement about the accident. as it turns out, the other driver claims 0% liability. no recollection of the accident. has no idea he hit another person. what. that person was me!

thankfully there was a witness on scene. he has reported to the police that the driver was driving erratically and swerving around the road prior to hitting me. there was also a nurse on scene who reported that he was definitely in diabetic shock. that guy needs to send me a christmas card thanking my butt for saving his life. whether i was there or not, he was in diabetic shock and headed for the ditch anyways. this explains the fact that he didn’t hit the brakes at any point. his sideways busted tire eventually stopped the van. it also explains his non responsiveness at the scene. lucky for him i was there to break his fall! he could have easily driven full speed. into the ditch. worse yet he could have gone into the oncoming traffic or killed someone. he could have killed me. i am amazed that he has no idea of what he’s done. thank gawd for witnesses. that’s definitely the motto this week. both in court and in my own life.

i want that christmas card.

=)

please, please… wear your seatbelt. this seatbelt here saved my life. i couldn’t love this seatbelt more than i did today when i saw it.

to my car, i will miss you dearly. i first met you nearly a decade ago in high school and you’ve been with me through some really good and bad times. it’s been one hell of a ride, hyundai accent. seriously. i can’t imagine driving a different car. thank you for saving my life. it saddens me to leave you behind. especially since i finally just got you fixed up. =)

but hey. i’m still standing!

// REVEAL // HIDE 7 comments //

Noel Meilleur So….do I need to hire a photo picture takin kinda person to get pics of our side of the family? Would be nice to some sort of pics of Ryan’s family so you could add them to the part of your videos entitled “family”. Just puutin it out there.November 10, 2010 – 3:19 pm

Alison Wong Wow,Stephanie, what an incredible story, I am so glad you are still here to tell it. 🙂 Your photographs are beautiful, you are clearly still needed on this earth! 🙂October 24, 2010 – 9:53 pm

Stephanie Ash Hey Abby, thanks for your comment! =)

I actually said that to the nurses too, that I felt as thought I saved his life. I was the only one who was totally viewing it that way. Whether I was there or not he was still going through the shock at that moment, and who knows what else could have happened… He also had a beautiful husky with him in his van. She was totally fine too… it’s just amazing. When I was in the hospital they did tell me he was stable. To find out you’ve hit or worse yet killed someone and have no recollection of it would be a huge burden to carry.October 7, 2010 – 7:00 pm

Abby CRAZY! Glad your okay! My husband is diabetic and if his blood sugar levels go to low or to high he will end up in a coma. Its crazy how fast they can drop or rise and they loose a lot of recolection as to what events took place around that time.

Like you said…good thing you were there! You saved his life and hopefully he will take better care of himself and actually watch his health!!!October 7, 2010 – 6:55 pm

sarah very moving!October 7, 2010 – 7:32 am

Kacy Kizer Wow, so glad you’re okay!! Crazy that the guy doesn’t remember a thing. I feel the same way about ATV helmets as you now feel about seatbelts, so I was glad to see you were wearing them in your mini-quad video! 😉October 7, 2010 – 4:01 am

WTF?! » Stephanie Ash Photography […] turning 26. i lost 25 pounds almost overnight. (a whole ‘nother story) a few months later, death almost caught me but i somehow survived, miraculously. (thank you) the next thing i know, it’s christmas and […]July 21, 2011 – 6:15 pm

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