Happy not dead anniversary!

I know I haven’t posted in a long time. It’s been a whirlwind few years with the restaurant and everything and I feel like I never have time anymore to write but today I felt compelled to share my “anniversary” story.
One year ago today started as any other but ended much differently, with me in Grady Hospital ICU/trauma center, confused and not being able to remember exactly what happened. It’s terrifying to know you can end up like that really through no fault of your own, but, I have come to realize three seeming cliches’ are actually very true. “God works in mysterious ways”, “everything happens for a reason” and just like those big billboards plastered all over Atlanta proclaim “Grady saved my life”.
One year ago I got up, went through my normal routine of getting dressed, hopping on Pinky Vespadero and going into work. I would normally at some point between 3 and 5 hop on Pinky and take her home and get my 4 wheeled vehicle to bring me back to work because I didn’t like riding Pinky after dark (I was afraid some errant deer not paying attention would run out of the woods and plow me down). I don’t really remember but I guess we must have been fairly busy that day or I was busy running errands and didn’t have time to take Pinky home at my usual time because it was closer to 5:30 (I also didn’t like riding her in the thick of traffic) I think (I don’t really remember that either).
Dwight kept fussing at me to take her home and again, everything happens for a reason and we had a slow spell so Dwight told me to take Pinky home but since it was getting to be the rush of traffic he’d follow me. I remember being annoyed because I thought “I’m a big girl, I can get home fine. Why does he think he needs to follow me?” Thank God he did!
I always parked on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. I remember getting on Pinky and backing her back to the ramp and watching a car pull into the main drive of the shopping center. She turned right towards Tony’s and I pulled off the sidewalk. She was about 50 to 75 yards or so in front of me and I was going about 5 miles an hour. She turned into the parking lot in front of Tony’s and I sped up to maybe 10 miles per hour. Just as I got to that area of the parking lot she pulled right back out, right in front of me. I remember (now I remember) thinking to myself (actually I think I yelled it out loud) “Holy shit!! I’m gonna hit this car!” There was absolutely NOTHING I could do. I didn’t even have time to really be scared because at this point I was maybe 5 feet from her. I slammed on the brakes and turned the wheel and tried to lay it down but couldn’t. I do remember making eye contact with her and seeing the look of terror in her eyes that probably matched the terror in my heart. That’s the last thing I can remember for a while. I still don’t remember the actual impact which is probably a good thing.
Apparently I hit the back quarter panel of her car and went airborne, over the handlebars, over the trunk of her car and landed on the pavement on my head and eventually left shoulder. I don’t really know since I was out completely. I don’t remember anything from that time until I guess about 20 or 30 minutes later when I woke up in the ambulance down near 6 Flags. Dwight of course witnessed the whole thing, bless his heart. He thought I was dead. Scared probably 20 years off his life! Thankfully he WAS behind me because apparently the other driver was going to drive off and leave me lying there, twitching, unconscious, on the pavement. He pulled in front of her car to stop her. Dwight said I did regain consciousness long enough to tell him that I wanted him to get me up and take my helmet off because I was hot. He told me no, he wasn’t moving me until the ambulance arrived. Idon’t remember any of that. I don’t remember the ambulance arriving or them putting me in the ambulance but apparently I talked to the paramedics even though, again, I don’t remember any of it.
I remember waking up in the ambulance and I could see the roller coasters at 6 flags through the back doors and the paramedics were asking me if I knew who I was and what happened and I was telling them no and they were like all concerned like “You don’t know who you are?” I said “No, I know WHO I am, and I am obviously in an ambulance, I just don’t know WHY”. They asked if I remembered “the accident” and I told them no. I remember them working on me but no real specifics. I remember trying to joke with them and them laughing but don’t remember what I said. Then eventually we made it to Grady (it was the thick of rush hour traffic). For some reason, about the time we got to Grady I remembered hitting the car. I was like “Gold or cream colored car, pulled out in front of me and I hit it, right?” The paramedic said you remember it all now?” And I said “NO, that’s ALL I remember”. Since then I have slowly remembered the car pulling out and the look on her face.
I seemed to have sat out in the hallway of the Grady ER (on the gurney) for what seemed the LONGEST time because they were so busy. I remember the paramedics coming back several times to check on me before they left and headed back to Douglas County. I will forever be grateful for their kindness and their quick response time. Thank goodness there is a fire station less than a quarter of a mile from our restaurant and I was still in the parking lot when the accident happened. They were such kind people. I wish I could remember their names but my memory is still pretty foggy. It seems I remember that there was a young woman with blondish curly hair but that’s the only one I really remember. I do know that Dwight is taking them food by today to thank them that a year later he still has me here. He won’t let me leave the house today…. He’s pretty superstitious.
I was only at Grady about 23 hours I guess. Overnight and into the next afternoon but I was back home the next day before 5. It seems like forever because it was a seemingly constant stream of tests. I had MRIs and CT scans and full body scans and blood work out the yahzoo. It seemed like every time I turned around they were wheeling my gurney out of my “trauma room” down for another test. They kept telling me that they needed to get me up to ICU but there were no rooms available so they were “holding” me in a trauma room until one opened up. I never even got into an official hospital bed (just a gurney) until about an hour before I left the hospital and I never made it up to ICU.
A few hours before I left the hospital an intern came in and pointed to my daughter and husband as if to say “Who are these people?” I told him it was my daughter and husband. He asked if I had talked to my doctor yet that morning and I told him no, I didn’t remember them coming by and he said she was supposed to come talk to me about my kidney. My kidney? What’s wrong with my kidney? I’m here because I hit a 4 wheeled vehicle while I was on a 2 wheeled vehicle and now I have 2 brain bleeds and a concussion! He proceeded to tell me she was supposed to come and talk to me about the large mass on my left kidney. WTH??? So, yes, apparently things DO happen for a reason. Had this driver NOT pulled in front of me, and had Grady NOT been so thorough, I literally might be dead right now. SO Grady DID save my life. Because they were so insistent in doing so many scans to make sure I wasn’t bleeding internally, they found my renal cell carcinoma and I was able to find an awesome surgeon, Dr. Msangi, who removed my left kidney and ridded my body of the cancer.
This last year has seemed a whirlwind and I am constantly reminded of how blessed I am. The night before my surgery last summer to remove my kidney, my oldest informed me that she was pregnant. I now have the most wonderful gift of our first grandchild. My grandson Ryman is just perfect and I can’t spend enough time with him. Our daughter Sara married the love of her life, Denise, in December and they are very happy. Our youngest, Erinn met and got engaged to the love of her life Brian. Now in the next couple of months we have another wedding coming up and the much anticipated birth of our 2nd grandson, Carter.
My heart is full and my life is full. I am eternally grateful to the Douglas County EMS that showed up and transported me to Grady (apparently when you are knocked out in an accident or have any type of head trauma, you go to Grady whether you want to or not). It would not have been MY first choice of where to take me but I will forever be grateful that they did. I was told by one of the doctors that 6 more months and I might not have been here, it might have been too late to do anything about the cancer so….. God does work in mysterious ways. I can’t even be mad about the accident. I like to say that God made her temporarily stupid so that she’d pull out in front of me and they would find the cancer. EVERYTHING happens for a REASON. It’s not up to me to second guess God’s timing or why he allows things to happen. It’s only up to me to be eternally grateful that it did. I am so blessed.
June 13th will forever mark for me a new anniversary of when I got my life back. It’s amazing that it takes almost getting killed in a stupid accident to save your life. Thanks to everyone that helped me and my family through that time and thank God for his love and mercy.

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About pegbur7

South of the Mason/Dixon Line
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