the accident.

September 28, 2009

sophomore year was so good. it was a lot of good and often too much good to maintain any level of sanity…but it was good. i had a lot of commitments, but each one was important to me. for those of you who do not know, i was attending ten hours of ensemble rehearsals each week. all of which added up to one hour of credit out of my seventeen. i was actively participating in my church’s events along with various requirements from the school of music, being a spiritual life assistant to over ninety specific freshman girls through university ministries, being involved in the belmont university songwriter’s association, and attempting to maintain somewhat of a social life. these activities plus practicing, homework, preparing for seminar performances, etc. kept me going a thousand miles per hour every day between 7am to 1am and i found myself struggling to maintain the pace.

the week before my accident was particularly exhausting. thursday, september 17th, i was on my way to an off campus assignment after classes. i remember climbing the steps of the parking garage thinking to myself, ‘kristen, you are so stressed.’ i rarely allow myself to get to this point. i always try to keep the insanity at bay. i’m a bit of a control freak…so it was at this point that i was admitting to myself that i was losing it. i was late. i found myself in my 1995 blue astro van at 15th and wedgewood trying to find a way across traffic to 15th avenue (traveling north) on the other side. there is something about nashville traffic (especially rush hour, which seems to run from 4:30 to 7:30) and this particular intersection that had me getting more and more anxious.

for those of you who are not familiar with this intersection, 15th is a small two way street and wedgewood is a heavily trafficked two way street with two lanes per direction. the street dips into a valley at 15th and it is often difficult to see when traffic is coming over both hills. traffic on wedgewood was trying to turn left from both directions onto 15th. in nashville, if you’re driving in the left lane and you get stuck behind a left turner, you’re stuck. nashville drivers in the right lane never let the left laners over. thus, i watched as traffic began to pile up behind both left turners. somehow, the left turner turning north was able to go and the traffic headed east behind him cleared out enough so that the left turner turning south was able to go. by the time the south turner was making his turn, the left lane traffic that had filed behind him had cleared. he was making the turn, which means that traffic traveling east was clear. i looked quickly to see how much traffic was traveling west and only saw a couple of cars back far enough that i thought i could make it. it wasn’t an irrational driving choice, but a risky one. while the south turner was turning i moved with him driving straight across quickly, so i could get off the road and out of the way. by the time i made it to the fourth lane, a truck smacked into my passenger side.

where the van was hit on the passenger side.

the truck had the right-of-way. i don’t know if i just didn’t see him in the blind spot of the south turner or if he was just moving faster than i had anticipated, but i got in his way before he had time to react. he didn’t even get to honk his horn. i saw him a split second before we collided in my peripheral vision and thought that we both still had time to swerve out of the way; however, that was not the case. the force of the collision knocked my huge boxy van to the driver’s side as my original motion took me into 15th avenue. thankfully, no one was traveling south on 15th avenue at that moment and there were no cars parallel parked on that curb. once the van was knocked on its side, the windows broke. i don’t know how my left hand ended up out the window. some have theorized that i was trying to catch myself and others have said that my body was thrown in that direction. i had my seatbelt on; a nonnegotiable for me. it may have saved me from going out the window completely. as the van skidded along my left hand grated, for a moment, against the ground.

somehow, by the grace of God, my vehicle ended up on all four wheels at the end of its motion. i originally thought that the vehicle had traveled up onto the lawn of the first house enough to tip it back over, but the lawn didn’t have a steep enough hill and the curb was small. i’d like to think God’s hand uprighted my van again. all laws of physics would have kept the van on its side. it was a miracle. i was not trapped inside a turned ton of metal.

when the motion had ceased, i looked down at my hand. it was crumpled, bruised-grey, and bleeding a little. (this is the part where comic relief takes place). my first reaction upon seeing my hand was to hold my hand out the window to keep blood from dripping on my good jeans. it didn’t take long before i realized how stupid that was and the condition i was in. i pulled my hand in and started to call for help. a good handful of people from the residential area heard the crash of metal and came out to see what was going on. the landlord if the house i was in front of came to me first.

amazingly enough, my engine was still running. the landlord, kelly, told me to turn my engine off and asked me if i could unbuckle my seatbelt and get over to where he was at the passenger door. he took me over his shoulder and helped me sit down on the curb. i was amazingly lucid and never fainted. kelly took the shirt off his back and wrapped my hand in it. he knelt beside me and held my hand up to encourage the bleeding to slow. i am forever indebted to the care and love he showed me. he wouldn’t have even been there that day, but the tenants of the house there called him about a leak in the roof. God was so in this. a woman named debbie was also there to hold my right hand. she was a nurse and was able to check my neck for any damage and ask me questions to keep my mind off of my injury. others were making phone calls and retrieving items from my vehicle. my laptop was lying in the passenger seat and survived without a scratch. it wasn’t long and the ambulance was taking me to vanderbilt on a stretcher.

the truck that hit me busted up the front grill and headlights. apparently the vehicle was pretty new. fortunately, both the driver and his son weren’t injured. i’m so thankful that no one else was hurt in all this. also, it is a miracle that i was not hurt any more than i was…but i’ll touch on that more in another post.

once we made it to the E.R., i was given a social worker for my case who was able to contact my roommate and my parents. i’ll explain more about the hospital stay in my next entry, but i will conclude by saying that through this whole experience, God was by my side. and for the first time, i gave Him control over my very out of control life. thank you all for your prayers and support. my life has come to a complete stop. i knew it would never be the same when i saw my hand for the first time. i cannot thank you all enough for your love. you have made this time of healing much easier and i know that God has a lot in mind for me in the coming days.

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6 Responses to “the accident.”

  1. Alana said

    Kristen, what a brave, sweet girl you are! I’m proud of you for sharing your story and giving God the glory even amidst this trial. Our love and prayers are with you.

  2. Courtney Yeaton said

    Kristen,

    I am so glad that you are ok! Praise God! I have been pryaing for you since the minute I heard you were in the accident. Please let me know if I can do anything. I’m just a few minutes away.

  3. Kristine said

    Your cousin RaAnna shared your story with me. i am a recent amputee. i lost my ring finger in a boating accident july 3m 2009 when my wedding band got caught on something and i fell in the water. my heart goes out to you. i am learning to adjust. typing is different with 9 fingers. god is walking with me and to his glory i walk with my head held up. if you would like to talk, i would be glad to.
    i am new to this as well. just learning to move forward and count my blessings not my losses.
    god bless!

  4. Roxanna said

    I love you very much Miss. I miss you like crazy and wish I could come and visit you. Maybe this summer I will. I am so happy to hear that God has blessed you so much! You’re amazing!

  5. Dan said

    Kristen,

    If ever there was an example of a woman after the heart of God in the tradition of David, you are it. Please know that you are constantly in my prayers as you heal. Your name is brought before my church family on a weekly basis, and I begin and end each day with a prayer for you. You are a blessing, and know that God will continue to provide for your healing.

    dar

  6. We are praying for you down here in Gainesville, FL !

    GET WELL SOON GAL !

    Love,

    Bob and Celeste Gailey <*

    and our

    University of FL
    Christian Campus House Student Family

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