On Sunday March 24, 2013 Amber, her sons, and I were on our way to meet friends for coffee when a tree fell on my car. Despite KTVB’s attempt to report the news, they managed to get their facts wrong.
We had just turned down Black Cat Road and were traveling at no more than 30 mph (my Daewoo is a 4 cylinder without any “balls”) not 40. Seeing movement out of my peripheral vision, I looked up to see a tree falling towards us (due to the negligence of the property owner who had been burning weeds the day before, a number of trees had been burning inside all night).
Realizing that at the very least it would hit the windshield in front of Amber, but more likely hit and puncture the roof above the boys, my instincts kicked in. I yanked the wheel hard to the right and slammed on my breaks, aiming to hit the tree with the driver’s side door and frame.
Thankfully, my aim was on target (Star Wars reference for my Sith brothers & sisters), unfortunately the tree was longer than I had thought. After crushing the frame, shattering the window and smashing my hands, it landed on Amber’s leg.
Ignoring her own injury, Amber slammed the car into park, flipped around in her seat to check the boys for injuries and then raced around to rip open my door and help me. I will forever remember that day if for no other reason than what I saw come from this beautiful, amazing, wonderful 5’2″ woman. First lifting the tree off my hands and freeing me, she then turned to open the back door. Her strength that day could have rivaled Superman’s as she pulled so hard the door handle came off in her hands.
After getting me and the boys out of and away from the car safely, Amber started yelling at the EMTs “He’s a Hemophiliac! He’s bleeding bad and needs Factor VIII!” Never once considering her own injury, she made sure that all three of us were taken care of.
It was only after I waved the EMTs away from me and came to her side that she relaxed enough for the adrenaline to stop pumping. Once the adrenaline subsided, her leg injury took over and she passed out from the pain.
Contrary to the news, it was Amber who was taken to the hospital by ambulance (I rode in the front calling friends and family). And her awesomeness on the side of the road didn’t stop there either. Arriving at St. Al’s, the piss poor medical care started when the RN tried sending me and the boys to the waiting room. Through her pain, while strapped to the gurney, I could hear her yelling “NO! He’s a Hemophiliac! He’s bleeding bad and needs Factor VIII!” over and over.
I still ended up sitting in the waiting room dripping blood on the floor for over 20 minutes. It was still over 2 hours before I was given any Factor VIII. But I did get treatment. Amber on the other hand had the ER doctor jam a finger into her leg and say “You’re going to feel that in the morning” and then discharge her without treatment or pain medication.
While I was sedated Amber sat by my side holding me while my hands were stitched and put in casts. Living through the pain in her leg, neck and back, she has woken up multiple times during the night to help me in and out of bed and to the bathroom. She has woken up multiple times a night to get me my pain meds. And as hard as I try to refuse her help, offering her mine instead, she has steadfastly put her comfort aside to insure I stay on the road to recovery.
Because of her quick thinking & actions, my hands will heal. It will take a while and I’ll be typing with two fingers and not playing video games, but they will eventually heal. And until I take my last breath, I will forever remember and owe a debt of gratitude to Amber and her selfless acts of love & compassion for me.
Update March 26, 2013:
Amber and I went back to the ER, a different hospital this time, and she finally received quality treatment. After X-Rays and a CAT scan, it was discovered that Amber had suffered a bone and muscle bruise in addition to a cervical spine strain.
Update March 29, 2013:
I visited my car yesterday. Thinking we could still drive it, we knocked out the broken glass and attempted to start it. It was then that we realized that the steering column had been broken. Upon closer inspection, I learned that the airbag had malfunctioned. Looking at the damage to the car, you can see that the tree hit the support columns on BOTH sides of the windshield.
It took a moment for all of this to sink in, but when it did, my eyes filled with tears, it hurt to breath and my legs grew weak. Had the airbag deployed, it would have pushed the tree up, causing the branch that hit Amber’s leg to impale itself in her chest.