Saturday, March 17, 2007

Michelle & Pipa's Wild Ride

First of all everyone is all right, Michelle and the babies are fine.

Thursday morning I was awakened by a frantic phone call telling me that my wife had been in a car accident and was being taken to St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Beuamont. I jumped in the car and got there a few minutes ahead of her.

Michelle was on her way to work when the accident occurred. She was driving north on Highway 96 between Lumberton and Silsbee when a woman driving a blue sedan arrived at an intersection to her right. The sedan came to a stop, but then apparently the driver either didn't look to see if there was oncoming traffic or thought she had time to dart across the highway ahead of Michelle. Michelle collided with her head-on, T-boning the sedan.

Michelle was able to crawl out of her car through the passenger-side door. Pipa, our dog, was riding with her (he's a "therapy dog" at the convalescent center and usually goes to work with her - I sometimes call Pipa her business associate). Pipa jumped over her to get out of the car and ran off, probably terrified. Since they were in the middle of the highway it's a wonder that he wasn't hit by a passing car.

We don't know much about the condition of the other driver, except that she may have had broken legs, and had to be removed from the car with the jaws of life.

Michelle is pregnant with twins (a boy and girl) and when she was first taken into the ER she was hysterical with fear for our babies. She had bruises and burns from the seat belt, a bump on her head (probably from when the airbag deployed), cuts on her right arm, and a cut on her foot that required stitches. The babies appeared to be all right (normal heartbeats detected) and no internal injuries were found. She was in a world of hurt but they gave her pain killers. I stayed with for a few hours, then went to look for Pipa, who had disappeared after the wreck.

After the accident several people went out looking for the dog (an ill-tempered and utterly useless little Lhasa apso). In the commotion that followed the accident he had been a low priority, and was last seen crossing the railroad tracks to the east. The area of his disappearance has scattered houses amid large tracts of dense woods -typical rural neighborhood in the Big Thicket. I spent several hours that afternoon searching for him, walking, driving, and calling his name. A nice lady named Betty also spent most of the day trying to find him, and in the evening she saw him in a field about a quarter mile from the accident scene. When she tried to approach him he ran back into the woods (did I mention Pipa's not so bright?). I was out looking for him in that area until sundown, along with Betty, one of Michelle's coworkers (Natalie), and her boyfriend. A couple of times I thought I heard him barking from inside the woods, but he didn't respond to my calls.

Birds seen while looking for our stupid dog included Wilson's Snipe (had to walk some boggy bits), Northern Flicker, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Barn and Cliff Swallows (both newly arrived migrants), and lots of White-throated Sparrows. Yes, even in the midst of calamity I still notice birds.

The next morning I drove back to the area of his disappearance and immediately found him waiting in the field where Betty had seen him the previous evening. This time he came in response to my voice. He was wet and filthy, and his tail was completely matted with a long thorny branch tangled in it. I took him straight to K-9 Quik Clips in Lumberton for an emergency grooming. Pipa had been there only a few days before the accident, and because of the circumstances they cleaned him up free of charge - very nice of them. Michelle has been contacted by the Silsbee Bee, a local paper, which would like to do a story on Pipa's loss and revovery (must be a slow news week).

Michelle was held at the hospital overnight for observation because of her high risk pregnancy, and was released yesterday afternoon. She's home now and resting. She'll probably be back at work next week.

Her car is a total wreck, with the front end completely crumpled. Must say Chrysler should be commended for building a car that can handle a high-speed front-end collision this well. I'm definitely impressed with it's passenger safety. So all we lost was a car. All in all we've been very lucky.


At 10:13 PM, Anonymous Dorothy said...

How scary for you both - and for Pipa. Thank goodness the only thing lost was the car.

At 10:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear this! A real scare. Hope everything stays well.


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