*Daddy Daughter Date*
It was a mildly overcast day on June 1st, 2005 here in the rolling hills of Kentucky. The temperature was kind of warm but not unbearable as it was still spring in the Bluegrass. The clouds suggested rain, but in the Ohio Valley, who’s to say with any certainty unless of course you are in the moment.
I had been working most of the day in southern Indiana removing computer equipment, telephones, etc. Upon completion of the loading and grabbing a late lunch, my co-worker and I decided to head back to his firehouse where I had picked him up earlier in the morning. There we decided it had been a long enough day and we were calling it quits. We could get a jump on traffic, dinner, time with family. So we divided the load, I took the telephones and a 70 UPS (uninterruptible power supply). I hung around for a few minutes .as Josh showed me the new fire truck and other new gear. I noticed an ambulance there too and had some questions about their functioning with the fire department; just small talk really. After the tour I said my good byes and headed out, looking forward to a little extra time.
My daughter, Little Bird, was staying with my folks for the day just across the street. I picked her up and started towards home, the back way avoiding the highway traffic and preceding traffic lights. On the way home we discussed going for a walk together, I had just purchased some new running shoes and was quite anxious to give them another go and spend some quiet time together with my daughter. We even decided to go walking in the rain should it ever come. As is my habit I treat my gas tank as on empty when I reach a half tank, so we pulled in and topped off at the last station before we were home. From here the population really thins out, returning to pastures, farms, and sparse development.
As we crossed the county line, little more than 2 miles from home it had just begun to spittle a bit of rain. I looked ahead to oncoming traffic and noticed a black car moving way too fast for the curve it was approaching. Have you ever seen something that just didn’t look right, almost cartoonish, but frightfully real? That is what I saw. I remember saying “Oh no.” (calmly) Little Bird saying, “What Daddy?”, (concerned) then impact. The black car’s tail had spun out, the driver over compensated and lost his nose to the ditch, over compensated that and came across the center line hitting us head on. All in about a space of 2 seconds I would guess. I remember slowing down, considering ditching but trees were everywhere, hoping the driver would pull it out, realizing I was at the point of no return and that my life was about to change, then a last split second decision to cut hard 90 to the right. This last decision resulted in a more glancing blow and probably saved the passenger of the other vehicle as the driver was careening towards me covering both lines almost sideways.
So airbag deploys, visibility gone but not before I see the windshield shatter and my door split open, Little Bird screams the most distressing scream and then thump dead stop head on into a tree 30 feet down a ravine into a small creek. All is quiet.
At the point of impact all I can think to say is “Jesus”. After the initial hush, all I can think to say is “Jesus” over and over. I did this to gain bearing, since He has always been the most reliable facet of my life so He came to mind first as a source of bearing. Figured either way we were gonna be talking as I had no idea what my condition was or Little Bird’s for that matter. I could barely breathe had that feeling I was talking like Froggy from the Little Rascals, Little Bird was moaning in pain, I looked saw no blood, she looked intact, feeling better about the situation yet I still can not breathe right. Then I smell electrical burning, seen too many movies and so I figure it is time to bug. Front doors won’t open, now what?
I ask Little Bird to open her door, she is not thinking clearly at all, so after telling her to try the handle her door opens. I explain we need to get out, so painfully we exit, but first I secure my .40 XD into my back pack, grab the cell phone then I traverse the cab to exit. Little Bird stands for 5 seconds then doubles over onto the damp earth. I am standing on one leg, can’t seem to put any weight on the other, but I am standing, dizzy, tunnel vision, poor hearing shooting pains, still can’t quite breathe but I don’t sound like Froggy anymore. See some people up on the road and a dude yells out “hey there’s another one down here!” Two teenage boys scramble down to check us out, they offer Little Bird one of their shirts but oddly she is burning up and declines. The boys run up the ravine and get more help. A mechanic comes down and I ask him to make sure the truck is not on fire, I am not feeling I can move much more but I am trying to figure a path for me and Little Bird if needs be. Mechanic dude gives me an all clear then an angel appears in the form of a nurse. She kneels beside Little Bird brushing the hair off her face and begins to assess and comfort. At this point I am starting to lose consciousness.
Being concerned for the safety and security of the area both immediately and thereafter I inform the nurse of the .40 in my ruck and instruct her to inform the sheriff should I check out. She agrees but wants no part of handling firearms, I tell her that is fine but just to stay with Little Bird and inform the sheriff. Somehow I manage to stay conscious I did have to sit down, grab a water bottle off the floor of my truck and take a breath. After a minute I stand up again to the dismay of the nurse and try to look for rescue workers, just about that time the Fire and Rescue guys scurry down the hill side and begin debating their approach to the situation. I tell them to send off for a board which soon arrives. They are intent on laying Little Bird flat on the board but each attempt results in screams so I again step in and direct them to tape her on the board as she is, lying on her side. She is coughing up blood at this point, coagulated. The fire and rescue are successful in pulling her up the hill and into an ambulance to take her to a clear ridge top so the chopper can medicvac her out. With the help of 3 fire and rescue I walk up the hill determined to see my daughter to safety before anyone touches me. Little Bird is off in the ambulance, nothing more I can do for her. I personally secure my gear with the sheriff and then allow the EMT to look at me. He of course tapes me to a board and off I go into the ambulance I had been looking at not an hour before.
Oh, so how is everyone? Pretty good now. Little Bird sustained a lacerated spleen and upper intestine resulting in the removal of about a third of her spleen and 2 inches of her small intestine. Big scar but otherwise ok, just completed a great season of field hockey. I came out with a torn achillies, (there’s the standing/walking problem), 3 broken ribs in 5 places, internal bruising, external bruising like I have never seen, and the death of my truck. I have hope that my last Dr. visit is tomorrow for the achilies.
Things to consider: Due to impact the contents of my cargo area spread everywhere. The 70 pound UPS flew forward and hit the seat next to Little Bird smashing it forward. Should have secured that huh? My BOB broke free from it’s secured point and even bent the ring free on the alice pack strap but remained low in the cargo area. Airbags work. So do seatbelts even though Little Bird was cut by hers internally. I found her hat tucked between the broken windshield and dash, not for the seat belt she would probably have been worse off. I was able to secure my phone because it was still connected to the charger, I would have been unable to scrounge for it otherwise. I was able to use it to inform family during my bumpy ride to the ER. Always carry a knife, I was left unattended taped to a board with no info so I pulled out my SOG and freed myself so I could see and move. A proud moment.
My point in writing this is to bring to light the importance of being prepared not just for the teotwawki scenario but for the end of your world scenario. Being in good enough physical shape to withstand a crushing blow, to be able to compensate with what good parts still work. Keeping your wits to secure the well being of those you love. Being sure you have secured your gear; if plausible, for your future use and to avoid it falling into the wrong hands. Having resources easily attainable in a debilitated state can turn the tide in a worse case scenario. Being able to count on friends and family is a true blessing, count that high in your preps. Plans can quickly change, even though I was below the speed limit with my lights on in a SUV loaded with preps we were still compromised, without modern tech my daughter would be dead and I would have been hard pressed to pull myself out of the ravine even if I had wanted to.
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