Tuesday, June 16, 2015

My 2015 highlight? A car accident which almost killed me. (Part One)

It's 11am on a cool Saturday, 2nd of May.

I'm going to one of my favourite spots in Cape Town: Hout Bay. Mum is in the passenger seat. Aunt from Johannesburg is in the back seat. I've just picked aunt up from Brackenfell and I spontaneously decide to take Kloofnek Road. I want to show aunt the gorgeous view of Camps Bay. You know which one - that stretch that makes you feel like you're on top of the world.

I love it up there, but I seldom take this route. Today is an exception.

"Your ears are going to pop, masi (aunty)" I say as my little red Hyundai i10 follows the winding uphill road. I am aware of my speed (about 40km) and I am aware of the red tour bus behind me.

In mid sentence, my mum shouts out something. It looks like a slow motion movie.

From the corner of my eye, I see a white car zigzagging towards me. It is as if in slow motion.

I can't do anything.
I can't swerve.
I can't accelerate.
I can't brake.

I hear the loudest bang ever.

And within half a second, I have experienced my first car accident.

I look to my mother and my aunt. We are alive. It takes me a moment to register what has just happened.

A man comes to my door which I can barely open. I see wires, nuts, bolts and...a wheel lying on the road.

I realize that the wheel belongs to the car that hit me. It hit me so hard that the vehicle spun and turned in the opposite direction.

The police and paramedics are there within five to ten minutes. I ask if the other driver is ok. They tell me he is. I can't really make him out in the crowd of people until we are both giving our statements to the cops. There is a lot of traffic and some people slow down to look at the commotion. I am amazed there is no shattered glass on the road.

I avoid looking at my little red baby. Her front right is crushed. I can barely recognize her from the front. I notice that the other vehicle hit me merely inches away from my door.

By the grace of all Gods, my legs are not broken and I don't have a spot of blood on my body.

I think I am in complete shock. More than anything I am taken aback by my mother.

She has gone into autopilot. She's asking me for phone numbers and already trying to organise a hired car for the weekend. We have to to go a wedding in Stellenbosch tomorrow. That is, after all, the reason my mum and aunt are in Cape Town.

This is all so surreal.

The paramedics attend to my aunt. She has a gush on her forehead, but is concious. They insist she has a full check up and they take her away on a stretcher. I feel like I'm having an out of body experience.

My mind races.
Should I call my dad and brother?
Not yet.

Too many people are trying to talk to me at the same time...the paramedics, my mother, the cops, the towing people.

It's time to leave the scene of the accident. The paramedic hurries me up saying that my vehicle is causing congestion and needs to be towed away.

I don't have enough time to pack everything from my car. I'm assured that my belongings will be safe.

No one tells me that this may be the last time I ever see my car again.

We have to travel in an ambulance to MediClinic where mum and I will be seen to. Aunt will be taken to another hospital.

While we wait for a doctor, I call my dad and brother. They have no idea bout the severity of the accident, but I hear the panic in their voice rise when I tell them we are at the hospital. I try my best to sound upbeat, but inside I am quivering.

My mum and I look at each other and we just embrace each other. We don't speak. I feel like I just want to hold her and kiss her face. It seems unreal what has happened in the past two hours. I say a billion prayers of gratitude for saving our lives.

I don't feel pain, except a burning sensation in my chest. I'm sure it's from the seatbelt that saved our lives.

I feel like I want to cry.
But I can't.
The tears are lodged somewhere in my throat.

The doctor gives me painkillers and sends me for X rays upstairs. I call my friends, who tell me they will be there as soon as possible.

I'm wheeled away in a wheelchair and I feel myself falling asleep. Perhaps the medication is making me drowsy.

I'm probably going to wake up from this dream any moment now.

This is a dream, isn't it?

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