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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Big Hit

Ya ever heard anyone say that they felt like they've been hit by a Mack truck?

Just one day after a massive 20 semi-tractor trailer rig pile up just East of Baker City, Oregon- yours truly got a piece of the action yesterday on Martin Luther King day. Here's some video from the pileup that happened the day before. The Oregon State trooper at the end of this clip is the same trooper who attended our collision.

I've had a rough 6 months between retina detachments and surgeries, broken water mains, and various other minor calamities including but not limited to blood clots, another minor accident, and furnaces going out during cold snaps. Oddly, it should come then as no surprise to anyone reading this, that I should get rear ended by a semi-truck.

While traveling down the Oregon interstate early Monday morning, we encountered that nasty form of road- the one where the road surface appears wet but it is actually frozen over with black ice. Having spun out a time or two on that stuff as we headed west near the Snake River, the young guy driving our truck slowed down to an appropriate speed. As we began to crest a small rise, we noted a wall of trucks on either side of the two westbound lanes. Other truckers had pulled over and stopped. We had probably slowed to about 30 MPH when a sonic "KA BOOM" hit us and sent our 20 foot delivery truck careening into the median.

The force of the impact was such that I was sent reeling forward into the dash and then backwards into the metal cab directly behind my seat. I acquired a nice lump on top of my head from the dash, and an even bigger lump in the back of my head from the metal support behind my seat- I bit down so hard on my tongue that it was lacerated and bleeding on both sides. When we came to, both of us just stared at each other. I do not remember how we landed in the median. I do remember some guy asking us if we were ok through the driver's side window. I could taste the blood in my mouth and my head, neck, shoulders, and back were hurting. Eventually we unbuckled and got out of the truck to find out what the hell hit us. The road was so slippery we could barely stand.

This is where I will give you some helpful advice.

If you ever rear end someone with your semi-truck at 60-70 MPH, it might be nice of you to ask the occupants that you have just struck if they are alright or heaven forbid- apologize to them for hitting or injuring them. Under no circumstances should you exit your truck and in a hostile and angry manner ask the people you have just struck, "How come you didn't have your flashers on!" Trust that I am telling you the truth as I mention this.

Had I known Ms Ramirez would be driving with her head up her ass, and had I thought it might have helped her avoid striking us, I would have begun lighting flares and throwing them out of the passenger window as she careened down on us.

As it stands, the 2 feet of wrought iron lift gate on the back of our truck probably saved us from serious injuries. It did however, put a woeful gash through the front of Ms. Ramirez' Peterbilt truck before caving in her radiator and supply hoses- sending radiator fluid onto the back door of our truck.

Ms. Ramirez, employing the same successful strategy she had used earlier, followed us down the shoulder as we surveyed the damage and another semi turned over in the ditch. That driver had the good sense to try and avoid striking the unfolding collision in front of her and chose instead to careen down an embankment and overturn instead. That decision may have averted another 20 truck pile up like the one the day before. As I stood trying to figure out whether that driver was hurt, Ms. Ramirez doubled down on her first winning statement by telling us she needed our names and insurance info. I told her, "Let's just wait for the cops instead."

Ms. Ramirez and her female passenger spent the rest of their morning filming us with their cellphones after we victimized them- by slowing down with nothing other than our brake lights sans some fireworks and a flashing neon sign or two.

We waved off the ambulance, mostly because I didn't want to spend the day in Baker City or the night in observation. We exchanged info with the Oregon State police who oddly, made no inquiry as to whether or not we had employed our flashers. We limped the truck back home.

At the hospital in Boise, I went to the ER which only had one person in the ER waiting room. After signing in, a river of people began arriving. One by one, all six or seven people were checked in behind me and seen by doctors. I was left all alone in the waiting area. After an hour or so, I stood up and informed the desk that I was leaving. In the same helpful tone employed by Ms Ramirez earlier in the day, the gal at the front desk told me, "Ok, whatever."

On Tuesday night I found another river of people at the same ER. Having experience in the matter, I left, got in my truck, and traveled to the hospital in Nampa which checked me in and treated me ala a CT scan in a fairly expeditious manner as hospitals go. Two hours later, I received a clean bill of health.

This morning my lower back still hurts. My swollen tongue has returned to normal size. I can move my head side to side although I keep hearing popping noises in my neck. All in all, I feel pretty good and grateful given the circumstances.

I'd be a liar if I told you I hadn't thought "Ok, so what's next?" I can hardly wait.