Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Near Miss

My bride of nearly forty years, my son and I took a little trip to visit Jenny in Idaho. Nan had been there a couple of times in the last year, but it's been probably fifteen months since my last visit.

We all had a nice time visiting but needed to be home by Tuesday afternoon for Ben to attend a job interview. Since it's a three hour drive, we left after breakfast so we could be home before noon.

On our drive up, the roads were wet and it rained or sprinkled almost all of the way. We were a little surprised that even over the pass, it wasn't snowing. The drive home was even better...dry roads, partly cloudy skies and mild temperatures.

As we passed Willard, Ben and I both noticed a sign warning drivers that "driving drowsy can be deadly".

Three miles later a car traveling the opposite direction suddenly went out of control and was in the median coming directly at us on a collision course. At the freeway speeds of 75 MPH, having a "head on collision" would kill us all. I hit the brake in a last ditch effort to at least try to avoid the inevitable.

In less than a second before the collision, the car struck the wire cable barrier on our side of the median, not stopping it, but turning it down the median where it continued for a couple of hundred feet, breaking off 16 of posts but stopping it from going into oncoming traffic.

When the car hit the barrier, it's bumper and tons of debris from the car and barrier posts flew into the air in the same place as the car would have been without a barrier, and there we were.

For the life of me, I can't figure how some of the debris didn't come through the windshield and kill someone. We ran over something fairly large...perhaps one of the barrier posts. The noise was terribly loud.

I pulled off the road entirely on the grass and dirt, not wanting to be exposed to any traffic. I got out, looked the car over and couldn't believe my eyes. Over and again I looked and couldn't find a dent or scratch. Finally I discovered a broken piece of plastic below the front bumper. That was it!

Ben and I walked back to the other car to check on its occupants. Other drivers had also stopped to help. The driver side of the car was still against the barrier. The passenger stated that he thought the driver was having a heart attack. In less than five minutes, many emergency vehicles were arriving on the scene, the health of the other driver absorbing most of their attention.

After making sure we didn't sustain any injuries, a State Trooper helped me fill out an accident report for our damage and told us we could leave the scene. He informed me that the responding paramedics thought the other driver had suffered a stroke...possibly causing the accident. Looking at where we were and at the cable barrier, he said "it did what it was supposed to do". It literally saved our lives.

After we returned home, I took the car over to the body shop and they quoted the damage as a little less than five hundred dollars.

I believe in miracles.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Some people besides my family know that I'm going to have a knee replaced. I wish there was some other alternative but I've tried about everything else.
The doctor who is going to do the surgery requires that I have an EKG to make sure my heart is working properly. I made the appointment at the hospital, got an EKG done and they sent the results to the surgeon. The people at the surgeons office called and said that the EKG was abnormal and I would need a cardiologist to give me clearance before I could get the knee done.
This last week, I went to the cardio clinic where they did another EKG. Then, to make sure I was OK, they had me come back the next day for a stress test. I've done a stress test on a treadmill before, but because of my knees, they did the stress part chemically. First they insert an IV after which they inject some radioactive material so they can take pictures of the heart. After an agonizing 16 minutes with my arms lifted above my head on a table, the pictures were done...not. Then they did the stress part. They put me on another table and assured me that the test was safe. Then they injected a radioactive isotope, whatever that is, into my IV. They said it would cause all the veins in my body to dilate at the same time. This would simulate the stress put on a body and heart similar to a hard workout. I'm not sure what it did, but I was sick...very much like I had overdone a workout by a long ways.
After a few minutes the effects wore off and I felt better. Then they took me back for more pictures of my heart. First on m back with my arms above my head again for another twelve minutes, then on my stomach for another eight minutes. They assured me I was OK and that they would send the results to the surgeon.
The next day, I still had a slight headache and my stomach was a little sick.
I was on the phone with my daughter Christine. I was explaining the whole procedure to her and that I didn't feel all that well. Then I told her about the side effect of the radioactive injection...that it made me glow in the dark.
The whole family is laughing...SHE BELIEVED ME!

Driveway Circus

My daughter received a call Saturday morning from a friend. This "fifty something" year old woman needed help changing a flat tire. Her car was in the driveway so she wasn't in traffic. Since she live in a secluded area of condo' one could see she needed help. After several attempts to reach her home teachers and some other men in her neighborhood, she called Les.
I'm not stating that Les can't change a fact, she did once several years ago.
Nan called to talk to Les and found out what she was up to. When I was made aware of the fact that Les was changing a tire, I knew she was imminent danger and asked directions so I could help. I also told her to make sure she put something under the other tires so the car wouldn't roll off the jack.
Fifteen minutes later I pulled up to the driveway behind flat tire car. By this time, two other men had also found their way there. One had a small floor jack that he used to replace Les' Jack...she couldn't find the one in flat tire car so she used her own.
Les had loosened the lug nuts and jacked the car up. This man stated that he used to rotate his own tires, so the floor jack was easy to use. He also had a four way lug wrench so he didn't need the one from flat tire car.
I figured I should do something useful since I was already on the scene. I pulled the donut spare out of the trunk and thought it felt kinda soft. I gave it to floor jack man who put it on the car, released the floor jack and watched the rim settle to the concrete driveway.
Everyone stood there looking at each other. Les pulled the spare from her car and said, here use mine...unfortunately it didn't fit. I suggested we take the donut tire to the gas station a block away and fill it up. They removed the donut, I took it to the station and filled it, took it back, it was placed on the car so the woman could drive to the tire store to repair her flat. I told her the tire store would put it back on the car for her.
All the tools gathered one could find flat tire cars lug wrench. It was at this time that they decided to gather up the things they put behind the tires to keep the car from rolling. I'm still laughing at what they used. On the one side they had placed a black bag containing a bowling ball an bowling shoes. On the other side they has placed a twelve pack of soda. (who knows, perhaps they might have slowed it down had flat tire car started to roll.)
All said and done, we decided to follow Les to her house. At the first corner where she had to stop, we watches something slide off the front of her car...It was the missing lug wrench. It was black and had been placed on the hood of her black car.
What's that saying...something about the blind leading the blind?