Our lucky day

This was my car yesterday, after another car pulled out of a side road in front of us on a main road, leaving us no time to brake before we ploughed straight into it. The whole family were in the car at the time – we’d set out about 15 minutes before on our way to our first first birthday party, and Ez and Fonz had been asleep in their car seats for about ten minutes. Here are some of my memories of what happened..
Young Daddy lets out a yell. I look up, just in time to see a car right in our path. Impact. I jump out of the car, screaming, screaming, screaming. The babies are screaming too. I’m screaming at the other driver (she’s unhurt), I’m swearing like a fishwife. I’m surrounded by passersby. I’ve lost my shoes and I look down and see liquid gushing over my bare feet. Petrol? Oil? Water? ‘Get the baby out of the car,’ someone says. I’ve opened the back door, my hands are shaking too much to get Ez’s carseat buckle undone. I can see a nasty welt and bruise on her temple. She’s screaming. I get her out and hold her to me, sobbing now with tears streaming down my face. ‘I live just here,’ someone says, ‘come in and wait for the ambulance.’ They guide me into their house, up the stairs. I realise my glasses are missing.
‘You need to speak to the operator,’ someone else says and thrusts a phone into my hand. I try to answer her questions. Ez is still screamng. I can’t hear the operator. She’s getting impatient with me. I must find Young Daddy and Fonz so I make my way, still blind without my glasses, out of the house. I answer all the operator’s questions, and as I hang up, I see the policemen walking towards me. A rush of relief and the tears and sobs start again. Someone puts a bag of frozen peas into my hand. ‘For the baby’s head,’ they say. The policeman takes me over to a paramedic. They do a quick check of Ez and think she’s ok. I wander to the side of the road. A fire engine arrives, and the firemen come to see Ez and I. An ambulance pulls up. ‘Let me find your shoes,’ says the paramedic. ‘You’ll cut your feet on the glass.’ Suddenly my shoes are back on my feet and we’re climbing into the ambulance.
Ez has quietened down. She’s dazed and quiet, but still alert. The paramedics perform some checks. They think she’s fine. But we need to go to hospital to get her checked over because of the bump to her head. I’m shaking. My whole body’s shaking. I realise my chest, my back, my neck are hurting. ‘That’s normal,’ I’m told. We wait while the paramedic starts to bring us our belongings from the car, which we can see is still in the middle of the road. I feel detached. The paramedic hands me the wrapped present that had been on my lap, and I feel a wave of tears. My parents arrive, they reassure us. The firemen move the car off the road and say goodbye. My dad stays with the police to finish emptying the car of our stuff and to make it as secure as possible.
My mum is in the ambulance with us, and we leave for the hospital. Ez starts crying again, but this time she’s just tired and frustrated. I start to calm down, though I’m still shaking. My chest is really hurting. We finally arrive at hospital and we follow the paramedics through the corridors and wards until we come to the Childrens Department in A&E. I feel calmer. Ez is checked by a nurse, then a doctor. They need to observe her for a few hours. There’s no point Fonz staying, he’s exhausted, so Young Daddy takes him home and I stay with Ez and my mum. We feed Ez, and get her off to sleep in the pushchair, then I have a KitKat and a cup of tea. Calmer. Calmer. And I’m beginning to realise how sore I am. It doesn’t seem that long before Ez is checked over again by the nurse, and then the doctor, and we’re given the all-clear to go home.
I’m so happy to see Young Daddy and Fonz. We feed the babies, give them a bath, they go to sleep and we let the day’s events sink in. We’ve been so lucky. We’re sore, we’re bruised, we’re exhausted but we’re all home and we’re all ok. The events play over and over in my head, but I have to stop thinking about what could have been. We’re ok. That’s what matters. We’re ok.

I know they won’t read this, but I’d like to thank all the people who stopped to help, the emergency services, and the medical staff at the hospital. They were all absolutely amazing, and I will never ever forget their kindness.

Wednesday 18 August 2010
I’ve retrospectively decided to use this post for this week’s The Gallery over at Sticky Fingers. The prompt is ‘A Memory’ so this seemed to fit.

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