What Keeps Me Awake Now

Sunday, my dad invited us over for homemade pizza. “Aw yiss,” I answered with much enthusiasm. It’d been ages since he’d made pizza. I got the details from my brother and set my phone down.
Suddenly, I thought about what he’d said. “Pizza at dad’s.” “At dad’s.” Oh my God, I’d have to drive to dad’s. I started to panic. Okay, well, I could just take this back way and weave through the neighborhood so I avoid the street where I was hit. Then I could just park and walk to his place. But which way should I take? I don’t even want to take Center. I’ll take the interstate to I. No. I’ll take Center, but I’ll turn off on 132nd or something; maybe I can find the neighborhood that way. Then I’ll park and walk.
Wait. Maybe Conor can just pick me up. Then he can drive me. No. That’s stupid. Why don’t I just drive to his place and then he can drive me.
No sooner had I had that thought, Conor texted me: “Just drive over here and I’ll drive us to dad’s!”
Tears of relief hit me as I texted him back that I was literally just thinking the same thing. Panic attack averted.

I closed my eyes as he turned onto 120th Street. I know Mary was trying to talk to me, but I heard nothing. I didn’t open my eyes until we stopped in dad’s driveway.

Tonight, it started snowing. As soon as I saw a tweet about it, I jumped up and rushed to the deck. I was overjoyed – I love snow. It’s beautiful and calming and quieting and ’tis the season. I stood out on the deck for a moment and let it land in my hair. It was bliss.
As soon as I had sat back down and wrapped up in a blanket, I realized, with horror, that I would have to drive in it come morning for my orthopod appointment.
Now. I have never been fearful of driving in the snow. Or rain. Or wind. Or whatever inclement weather we get in Nebraska. (Okay, not hail). The only reason I’ve ever complained about driving in it is because it seems like everyone else in Omaha forgot how to operate a motored vehicle at the most inopportune moment. Just slow the fuck down and be aware of some things and it’s just like driving any other day: don’t be an asshole.
However, I now have to drive in weather with people I already don’t trust.

I want to call and change my appointment. Can it wait until another day? Not the first day of snow. I’ve been rear-ended on dry pavement. I’ve been hit head-on on dry pavement. Now there’s snow. People can’t have remembered their snow tires already; it’s so early. People aren’t ready for this; they’ve forgotten how to drive in it. Please don’t make me go. I need to go. I know I need to go. I’m still in pain and I need to go. Can’t it just wait until another day?
What if I can’t do it? I couldn’t even get out of bed to write this post – I started thinking about what I have to do in a few hours and I became crippled. What if I can’t do it? I can’t even sleep tonight, worrying about it. I have to do it another day. That’s all there is to it. I can’t. I just can’t.

Jesus. This isn’t me. I’m not like this. I wasn’t like this. The only thing worse than the anxiety is the anger.

I’ll have to drive in the snow eventually, I know. I can’t let this fear take over my life. But what was once a source of childish delight for me is now just another trigger. Just another thing that keeps me awake now.

Disruption, To Say the Least

So, one of the questions I’ve been asked by the driver-at-fault’s insurance company has to do with pain and suffering: “How has this accident and your injuries disrupted your daily life?”

How has it disrupted me? Let me count the ways.

I can’t walk; I can only limp.
I can’t hold anything more than a glass of water with my left hand; it’s too weak.
I can’t shower properly for the same reasons.
I can’t sneeze, laugh, cough, reach, carry, hold, move, stretch, adjust because of the pain in my chest.
I can’t kneel, cross my legs, crouch because of the pain in my knees.
I can hardly sleep because I can only sleep on my back – must keep foot elevated, chest flat, wrist straight.

I can’t drive because I don’t have a car. I can’t drive because I can’t put full weight on my right foot.

I can’t go anywhere because I don’t have a car. I can’t go anywhere unless someone is available to drive me. I can’t get groceries unless someone gets them for me.

I can’t go to the gym or run because I can’t walk. Or use my left hand/wrist. Or lift anything anyway.

I can’t apply for jobs because I don’t have a car.

I’ve essentially been in bed for two weeks.

I am paranoid.

I’m paranoid when anyone leaves my apartment – must text me when they get home, lest someone decide it’s a good idea to drive drunk.

I’m paranoid when someone calls me while driving – even through their car’s bluetooth. I’m just waiting to hear a loud crash and for the call to drop.

I’m paranoid when it’s the weekend – people will be out drinking/tailgating. Especially Saturday.

I’m paranoid about keeping my doors locked – yeah, the ones at my apartment. Someone physically hurt me and I am terrified that it’ll happen again. Especially when I wouldn’t be able to get away or fight back. I’ve already hobbled around my apartment twice with a flashlight after hearing a strange noise.

I’m paranoid every time I hear squealing tires – which is pretty fucking often, considering I live next to Dodge Street and by two roundabouts. I fell asleep to a movie and was so violently jolted awake by the sound of squealing tires that I probably hurt everything worse.

I’m paranoid when I get in a car with anyone – that night, driving home from the hospital, I wouldn’t even let my dad turn right on red. No, stay out of the intersection, just stay back, please, I’m sorry I’m being like this, but I can’t let you do it.

I’m paranoid about my injuries healing properly.

I’m paranoid when I think about getting behind the wheel again – will I be able to do it? I still had anxiety from when I was rear-ended in February, now what? What if I can never use a center turning lane again? How will I ever go visit my dad’s house again? Will I be able to be out driving past 9pm? Apparently, that was early enough to be wasted, so what’s my curfew?

I was a cautious driver before; what if I turn into a sniveling mess when I’m out and about? What if I have panic attacks? What if this affects me for the rest of my life? I’m not even 26.

So, I don’t know, how has this disrupted my life? Might be better to ask me how it hasn’t.

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