Friday, December 22, 2006

A Percocet Christmas

In a fast [American] car
I'm amazed that I survived
An airbag saved my life.

Radiohead, "Airbag"

Things were going too well--that should have been the first warning. Fosco's December had been a delightful carousel of family and friends (including JennyT's visit). Just as exciting, December has included a month-long visit from the East Coast of Fosco's beloved sister--let's call her Maggie Tulliver of Mill of the Floss fame. Maggie Tulliver hasn't been to Santa Cruz before, and so Fosco has been thrilled to show her the glories of his Life in Exile.

To that end, on Tuesday, Fosco, his sister, and his mother took a day trip down Highway 1. The weather was sunny (but chilly) and the waves were magnificent. We saw seals, sea lions, and sea otters. It was truly a spectacular day and, as we headed south from Carmel after lunch, we were looking forward to the second half.

And that's when an 18-year-old girl named "Mica" (or some such nonsense), trying to make a left turn onto Highway 1 going North, pulled her white Toyota Highlander into the Southbound lane and just stopped there--just in time for us to smash into her head on. We were travelling 40-45. The airbags deployed. Fosco and his sister were strapped to backboards (complete with head chocks) and rushed to the emergency room at Monterey Community Hospital. Six hours of X-rays and CT scans later, Fosco was diagnosed with broken ribs (broken by the seat belt, ironically). Luckily, his sister and his mother had nothing broken--just deep bruising and some cuts.

That was three days ago. Since then, Fosco has spent most of his time alternating between sharp pain and Percocet haziness. He wakes up every four hours to take his painkillers and can't lay any flatter than a 45 degree angle (otherwise he couldn't manage to get up). It all makes him feel pretty helpless.

Yesterday, Fosco had to be driven back down to Monterey (imagine how much fun that was...) to clean out his car and to release it to the insurance adjustor. Oh, did I mention that it was totalled? Here's a pic:
The adjustor was amazed that we escaped without more serious injuries. I'm sure, once the Percocet wears off, I will feel more appropriately thankful.

I'm sure that, as time goes on and I gain more critical distance from this event, I will have wisdom to share. However, I already have a few observations to offer:

  • contrary to my expectations, my life did not flash before my eyes right before impact. Nor did I (as a committed atheist) backslide into any sort of prayer. Rather, I think I was concerned more about the potential damage to my beautiful face. My sister recalls me screaming, "Not the face! Not my beautiful face!"
  • airbags turn out to be a lot less pillowy than they look on TV.
  • airbags also produce a moderate amount of acrid smoke. Do not, in your post-collision confusion, do as I did and start yelling about how the car is on fire and we need to get out "before it explodes." It turns out that cars explore mostly on television.
  • Remember how when you were a kid and your mom would tell you to wear clean underwear everyday in case you had to go to the hospital? Well, all I'm going to say is that we left on our drive very early that morning and I didn't bother to take a shower (because we were just going to be walking on beaches) and I didn't see any reason to put on a new pair of boxer briefs... It turns out that the old advice is correct--you are more embarassed to be undressed in the Emergency Room when you are wearing yesterday's underwear.
  • ditto for socks with holes in them.
  • most books make absolutely no sense when you're Perc-ed up.

At this point, Christmas looks like it will be a bit low-key. I'm just hoping to feel well enough to do some reading. And, as this post suggests, I can do some blogging--so watch for that. If the spirit moves you, Get Well messages, Chanukah gifts, and soiled briefs from Justin Hartley are always appreciated!


ted said...

I'm so sorry I missed this post! I'm glad you're okay! Feel better soon.

I totaled my car last New Year's. We were physically fine, but it was incredibly traumatic.

FOSCO said...

Thank you, Ted--I appreciate it.

Apparently, a horrific car accident is a post-California-relocation rite of passage for us homosexual Harvardians...

Did you buy a replacement car made entirely of airbags? That's what I'm feeling right now.

Anonymous said...

My name is Monica Stone and i would like to show you my personal experience with Percocet.

I am 35 years old. Have been on Percocet for 7 days now. It did help the pain but the side effects weren't worth it. I'd rather have the pain.

I have experienced some of these side effects-
nausea, very itchy, racing heart, anxiety, flashing lights(almost hallucinogenic?), weird dreams, tiredness

I hope this information will be useful to others,
Monica Stone