I've had quite a number of "firsts" whilst I've been in Korea. There always seems to be something new around the corner. Some "firsts" are good. Some bad. A few hours ago was awful. I was involved in my first car crash.
I was a passenger in my friend's car as we drove back to my town from the just rained on and un-fun beach. He navigated the small windy unlit roads through the countryside and we drove along happy and chatty until suddenly my head was smashing into the windshield. I ended up twisted with my friend in the driver's side as the car careened and flipped down an embankment and landed on its side. He managed to slide out through a small space in the half rolled down window, and then climbed on top of the car and opened the passenger door, yelling at me to get up and climb out. But I couldn't. My leg felt mangled and I felt - well I guess I was in shock, hyperventilating and trying not to pass out. Everything kept going grey. He kept talking to me, and I stayed conscious. Reaching into the cold muddy water through the window beside me, I found things: pens that had fallen out of my bag, my new nerdy glasses, mangled. My sandal.
I stayed there bleeding, half in the drivers seat and half on the door, crying and quietly saying stupid things. "Oh! My glasses! I really liked these! Is there a frog here?"
Finally, people showed up. They covered me with some white blanket and a man reached down through the passenger door and held my shaking hand as a fireman took an axe to the sunroof beside me. It was sturdy glass and seemed to take a long time to break. Arms came in and hauled me out. More hands held me up as I limped toward a stone wall, and other hands pulled me up onto the road and led me to an ambulance. It was my first ambulance ride, too!
We drove to the hospital. Sadly, I don't recall sirens. (What's a ride in an ambulance or firetruck without sirens?!?) I bet there were swirly lights though, so that's something. The EMT held scissors up, saying she was going to cut my jeans open. I shrugged, but came to my senses just as she was going to shear me. These are my favourite (now blood-soaked) jeans. I sat up and hiked them up to my thigh.
This was actually a few minutes after the nurses cleaned me up.
I guess I'm unveiling my regular summer look. Seriously. Why does June hate me so much?
Then I had some bandages.
And fifteen stitches up the side of my right leg. And a left knee that is hot and swollen and so purple and blue. Cuts and scratches everywhere. And X-rays on everything. And an MRI.
And no broken bones. And (apparently) no brain damage. And a $220 bill.
My friend had already vamoosed, headed toward the police station to fill out a report, and then to the airport to catch a flight to Seoul. When I called my manager to tell her what happened she shrieked that he should have paid my bill. Maybe. I don't know. It was, afterall, an accident. Right now I don't care. I feel shaken and stirred. I called my mother (who I wish was here) and my brother to tell them about the accident and that I love them. At least I'm alive.
I'm picking bits of glass and dried chunks of blood out of my hair, and kissing the individual packs of painkillers the hospital gave me. I'm still discovering new injuries. I just this moment noticed about six lines of scratches on my left ass cheek when I went to take a pee. It looks like a tiger swiped me.
But, I'm still here.
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