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Thursday, February 09, 2006
hnt: another piece of me

hnt: survival badge




this week's hnt is just a no-brainer, because of the date. you see above a scar I wear rather proudly, because I consider it visual proof of my ability to survive anything.

February 9, 1996 - amazingly, a full 10 years ago as of today - I was hit by a pickup truck as I was walking back to work after my lunch break, and this scar is one of the very visible lasting effects of that occurrance. the accident changed my life in so many ways that the date can never completely be forgotten, even though I never consciously mark the anniversary.

Half-Nekkid Thursday -
find out why here.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

at the time, I was working for one of the larger employers in town as an office clerk, training in the various office departments so I could (ultimately) fill in anywhere for people off on sick days, holidays, etc. although I was working full-time during my training, I would be going to part-time/casual afterwards. on the day of the accident, I was scheduled for a 4-hour shift but my supervisor asked me if I could stay on for an extra four hours after all; since I hadn't taken a lunch with me, I had to go to a local restaurant to eat before starting the second four-hour shift.

at that time in my life, the boys were aged six and two. we had been living in a temporary home for 3 weeks & on February 10 we would be moving back into our usual home (long story short: the Dad & I had split up & I'd left with the boys; we just had to wait for him to find & move to a new place before we could go home again). it was in general a time of upheaval, so I suppose if any time was 'right' for something like this, it had to be then.

so I was walking back to work after my lunch. the roads were mostly bare, but had icey patches on them & snow was piled up along the sides of the road. I was walking back on the left side of the road, facing traffic, and had stopped next to a driveway that had a particularly large mound of snow at its edge; I was deciding whether I should try to climb over, or wait for a break in the traffic to go out onto the road & around the pile. just when I *might* have been able to go around, I heard a strangely loud noise of tires crunching on gravel or something, and turned my head to look over my right shoulder. what I saw was a bit shocking: a pickup truck sliding sideways across the line in the middle of the road, right towards me. there was a young man at the wheel, and I could see his face contorted in horror at his predicament.

apparently, according to an eye-witness who was coming up behind that truck, there was only about 2 or 3 seconds between when I looked at the truck & when it hit me. I remember the time in a stretched-out length of odd calm & questioning. I remember wondering if I should run, or jump. I seem to recall willing my foot to lift so I could jump. the last thought I remember was something along the lines of, 'well it's going to hit me... it's up to you now, God... take care of my boys if I don't make it.' I remember consciously relaxing my muscles so I might hopefully minimize the trauma to them (I'd heard it was best to do that in an accident situation). it's hard to believe that all this went through my mind in 3 seconds or less, that I was so conscious of what was happening & what I should maybe do about it, and wasn't panicing more. I guess one just accepts what's happening, when it's so very imminent. the 'whys' of the situation just don't occur until later.

the next thing I knew, I was hearing someone calling to me. I tried to look left... no luck, couldn't see anything. tried to look right... again, couldn't see anything. looked straight ahead & saw a small circle of light, which a moment later suddenly & violently snapped out into a full-on view of a face. I don't remember now whether it was a man or a woman I was looking at just then. I couldn't really feel my body just then, other than knowing there was a very large, heavy mass attached to my head.

I remember snatches of what was going on around me; I heard someone ask about the driver of the truck & someone else say he was sitting in the yard behind us, not far from the truck, a couple of injuries but seemed conscious & okay. I couldn't move my head & someone told me they were holding it - I looked up & saw the man who'd spoken, looking over me. there was a lovely lady - Jackie, if I recall correctly - holding my left hand and telling me I'd be alright. at one point she seemed to read my mind just as I was thinking I was lying in a pool of my own blood (or maybe I spoke without realizing?) & told me that I was laying in a puddle of ice water & we just had to wait for the ambulance & paramedics to get me out of it. a lady walked up - I recognized her vaguely from around town... I think she was the mother of one of my oldest son's classmates. she asked if there was anything she could do to help & they told her if she had any blankets in her truck to bring them over. I asked someone to notify my mother, who was watching my kids, about the accident. I also asked this lady to tell my work that I wasn't going to be able to make it back that day. strangely enough, she told them *exactly* that. I said it in a rather flippant & jokingly manner, but I figured she'd translate for them. as I heard from a co-worker later, though, they were so confused about the situation that they sent someone out to the accident site to see specifically what had happened.

anyway, the ambulance finally got there & the paramedics asked me all sorts of annoying questions - annoying because I was freezing & starting to feel my body, and I just wanted them to get me out of there! eventually they got me into the ambulance, and I got to see the driver of the pickup truck close up. he was 16, and until they got me into the ambulance with him he wasn't even aware that he'd hit anyone. we finally were off to the hospital & tons of x-rays, etc. they were talking about sending me home until they found the injury beneath that scar... my humerous had been broken off & shoved up the side of my neck by the impact of landing (I believe), so they prepared instead to send me to a hospital in a nearby town for surgery. I ended up there for 7 days total, and while I was there they discovered a few more injuries. over the following 2-1/2 years of rehab, other breaks were found too; apparently, the swelling of soft tissue had disguised these breaks in the initial x-rays.

as far as the accident goes, the police officer at the scene deduced that the truck was travelling 90 to 100 km/hr when it hit me, and that speeding in the first place was what caused the kid to lose control when he hit the icey spot on the road. I think what happened was that the left-rear quarter-panel of the truck hit me broad-side & sent me up, up & away (lucky it wasn't head on - I'd be road jam, the officer said). I flew about 50 feet into the air - the eye witness said I did 2-1/2 somersaults & he thought I'd be a goner when I landed - & about 25 feet down the side of the road. I think the impact of hitting me forced the rear of the truck to slide the other way, and then it broad-sided a huge tree standing on the opposite side of the driveway from where I'd been when I got hit. that tree is still there, complete with scar from the impact. the truck died that day, though.

it's very odd what an impact like that will do; it blew me right out of my left boot, split the seam on the end of my left sock, split my jeans & underwear down the back (very maddening - they were new at Christmas!), and blew my scrunchie right out of my hair. my jacket suffered very little injury - just a small snag on the back - and my purse survived intact but for a broken strap. strangely enough, my aunt's friend drove by & saw the people & ambulance & such; when he heard shortly afterwards that it was me involved & that I'd lost my boot, he went back & found it on the back of the tow truck & saved it for me :). I've still got those boots, actually. he (or someone) had saved my scrunchie for me too. oh, and my ring was ruined; the diamond from my engagement ring (which was soldered to my wedding ring) had been knocked out & the setting was crushed sideways. the Dad went back with the boys & looked for the diamond, actually, but they never found it. I thought that was sweet, but a little insane... trying to find one small, clear rock in the midst of a ton of snow, slush & dirt?? hehe, seems impossible. it may be obvious by now that I took the worst of it to my left side, though I did have a fracture in my right femur too (it was healed by the time it was found on an x-ray).

anyway, I won't write about all my injuries because that would make this entry about 5 times longer than it already is. suffice it to say it took me 2-1/2 years to go through the rehab, and the lasting after-affects are some arthritis & a bit of wisdom derived from a lot of soul-searching & self-questioning. I also have fibromyalgia, though since I was only diagnosed in 2004, I don't know if I can blame that on the after-effects of the accident in any way. I do have a spot on my forehead though, right where I figure I took a secondary-impact of landing, that has been sore like a bruise since 2004. there's no mark, nothing visible, but if you touch it I'll jump out of my skin. can't figure it out, even after blood tests & such. I imagine something will be figured out about that eventually.

1996 was, I figure, a year of upheaval & 'cleansing' (?) that definitely lasted a whole year for me & my family. I'd had a miscarriage in December of 1995, marriage broke up in January 1996, then the accident in February of 1996, and 3 surgeries that year, between February and October (accident-related). just when I figured it was safe to breathe a sigh of relief, my youngest son was diagnosed in November 1996 with diabetes, and it was back to the hospital for us - 10 days to learn how to manage his condition.

yeah, I'd say it was a definite relief to get past 1996, heh.

Posted at 09:45 am by loz

plh
April 13, 2006   05:37 AM PDT
 
we need to compare scars!!! LOL ;)
brandy101
February 15, 2006   02:12 PM PST
 
wow.
loz
February 10, 2006   01:25 PM PST
 
hi all, thanks so much for your comments!

firefly: thanks, and absolutely true... it's like dominoes! try stopping *that* without knocking it all down eh? ;).

PhoenixBoi: yes, I think there must have been an angel or something else watching over me, for sure. thanks :).

KatieFeldmom: I agree, hehehe.

Lee Ann: thank you. although I tend to be a bit less 'definite' about it now, I do count my lucky stars as a type of celebration of life - especially when I do look back consciously like yesterday.

Tommy Gun: thank you :). I'll post again next week with something related, and hopefully be able to answer your questions more fully then. I may do more than Thursday posts at this blog sometime, but I made hnt separate from my regular blog so I tend to write there on any not-Thursday. see 'mostly appropriate' link above the HNT button, or at top-right of the page (in the header) :). and I liked your reading-on-loo picture :D.

Aunty Pat: thanks, my dear :). yeah, it might be handy for the kid (who's now 26! holy crap!) to see the effects (especially considering what I saw of his post-accident driving, around town!). but whatever... there are lots of little things I could've added, for sure; maybe one day I'll pull *all* the little pieces together into one mega-post, heh.

Lyly: thanks {{hugs}}. no worries... notwithstanding having to live with the after-effects, at least it makes a great story now!

NiC: thank you :). I think I am here for a reason, yes... just haven't *totally* figured it out yet! I think fuller understanding just comes with time :).

thanks again for stopping by & for your comments, to all.

l.
x
NiC
February 10, 2006   01:31 AM PST
 
What an amazing, incredible, extrordinary story! You must have some serious work to do on this earth to have survived! I admire your courage. Happy HNT. =)
Lyly
February 9, 2006   10:29 PM PST
 
I...I had no idea that the impact was that traumatic. Still trying to digest this...my God you've been to hell and back. *hugs*
Auntie Pat
February 9, 2006   07:14 PM PST
 
Honey you left out the good parts like how it has effected your memory and how every day you suffer much pain and live on tylonel 3's. I just wish that 16 year old could read this blog and realize how much he changed your life.
Tommy Gunn
February 9, 2006   06:56 PM PST
 
What a great story, especially since you survived it! Beats mine about reading the paper on the loo. LOL So tell us in another post ... what's the difference in your inner self from then to now? What changed within you after that day? I'd be curious to find out. HHNT Lucky girl and happy anniversary. Glad you are here to tell us about it.
TG
Lee Ann
February 9, 2006   03:37 PM PST
 
Wow, that is an incredible story. I am so sorry that you had to go through all of that. I was hanging on to every word. I am glad you made it through, amazing that you did.
I think this should have definitely been a day of celebration for you!
KatieFeldmom
February 9, 2006   01:52 PM PST
 
All I can say is WOW!
NamePhoenixboi
February 9, 2006   01:19 PM PST
 
That is so amazing! You had an angel look out for you I guess.. Im glad your here to tell the story!
Happy HNT
firefly
February 9, 2006   12:46 PM PST
 
incredible story! i am very glad you are here to tell it!

its strange... when one is going through such rough times... that all the dominos seem to fall... 2003 was like that for me, divorce, death of a close friend, depression, dad's heartattack (survied it, he is good now), and a number of other things i seem to have let go...

i think i even lost my drivers license because i had neglected to pay a speeding ticket... only 10 over... but still... if you dont pay it... they suspend your license...

but after a year like that... its amazing how you change... and become a better person.

take care
 

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