I ran over a duck on the way to work. The little quack was taking his time crossing the street. I thought that I could scare him with intense speed and engine revving. I was wrong. He barely had time to flap his wings before my tire sent his entrails rocketing through his mouth and onto the road.
In a fit of panic, I slammed on my breaks and jumped from the car. I raced back to the duck’s flattened carcass and cradled it in my arms. I don’t know how long I was singing, Hush Little Baby, when the truck hit me.
I awoke to blaring sirens. I could not see from the blood stinging my eyes. Someone was yelling at me to stay still. I heard a woman crying. I was crying, too. The pain was intense. My spine felt wrong. I tried to wipe the blood from my eyes, but my hands stayed at my sides, my arms unmoving. Someone lifted my head into their lap and I felt a pop. I saw stars.
You stupid old bitch! Someone screamed.
I only wanted to help him, said a softer voice, shaken and disturbed.
I think my head hit the pavement. I know that I blacked out.
I woke up in a cold, white room. Crisp white sheets covered my body. A mechanical beep rhythmically broke the silence. Tubes from machines and IVs snaked into my sides, spitting and sucking. My throat was on fire from a bigger tube. I tried to cough, but started to choke. The beeping got faster and sounded an alarm. Suddenly, people burst into the room, men and women bringing chaos again. I cried out, biting down on the tube, my throat gripping it in convulsions. I felt a stab of pain in my left arm. A needle. Warmth spilling through my body. It made me sleepy and I followed the feeling to darkness.
This morning, I woke up in the same cold, white room. I have fewer tubes invading my body. My arms are working again and I can wiggle my toes. The colostomy bag is a new addition that I may never accept.
However, I am enjoying the medication. It makes my insides float. A nurse told me my physical therapy starts in less than six weeks. I still haven’t seen any of my visitors, but they’ve come to see me. At least long enough to drop off some flowers and my laptop.
So, I’m thankful for that.