Better Late than Never…

Distractions, Being Reminded You’re Old…

With a three week break between events I’d hoped to catch up on Broomgate and a few other odds and ends, curling and non-curling. It’s what happens to a competitive curler in real life.  You step out of reality to play in an event, then catch up with the world for a few days or weeks in between, all while prepping for your next spiel.

In my opinion, the ideal schedule is an event every 2 weeks-if you can afford it and I don’t just mean cash. This takes a lot of money, a very cooperative employer and, if you’re in a relationship, an equally cooperative and patient significant other. Or in my case an ex-other who will take my kids an extra night or two when a spiel leaks into my week with Adam and Zoe.

There are some teams who are blessed with enough sponsorship and time off to play every week.  God knows how they do it.  It’s not like we’re professional athletes with contracts and everything paid for.  We don’t get paid unless we win-Kamloops was an excellent example of that for us-and life on the road is not cheap.  And, as any athlete will attest, when you’ve seen one Best Western hotel room, you’ve seen ’em all.

So an event every two weeks is preferred. You need the downtime and the distractions to remind you that there’s more to life than the game.  I was looking forward to time with my kids, my insane compadres at work in the Kohler Shipping department (now there’s a dysfunctional family), curling with my fun team on Tuesday nights and the rest of the everyday clutter and craziness of life in general.

And then some motherfucker ran a red light in front of me…

I was heading to work early for some OT on the morning of October 20th. Zoe was in the back seat on the way to her mother’s home so she could run our daughter to school for me.  As I neared a controlled intersection (ironically right near the curling club), with the green light in our favor, some moron ran the red directly in front of me.  In wet, rainy conditions I slammed on the brakes and the Corolla came to a stop like a champ.  I managed not to T-bone this idiot-who motored on as if nothing had happened.

Unfortunately the poor gal behind me wasn’t as successful at getting her VW Golf to stop…

Now maybe she’d been following a little too closely or reacted slower than I did-she saw the car run the red as well-or perhaps my brakes and tires are better. Either way, there was a big jolt/crunch as she hit the Corollas rear bumper and pushed us a good five feet forward (it would have been a lot further, but my foot was still on the brake pedal).

Thankfully, my moments of shock in events like this are brief, if not non-existent-I’m the guy you want sitting beside that emergency exit door on a plane, I’ll have that SOB open before we stop sliding down the runway.

My first response was to see if Zoe was okay which, although scared, she was. The second was a quick check of the car and surroundings.  I had no idea how hard we were hit or how bad.  Satisfied we weren’t about to explode in spectacular Hollywood fashion (don’t lie, all of you who’ve been in this situation think about this), I popped on the hazard lights and got out to check on the other driver and my car.

She was okay, although an initial assessment of the two cars had the Corolla faring far better than the Golf in the damage contest. In the dark I could only see a big scuff on the rear bumper while she had a popped and crumpled hood, broken lights and damage to her front bumper and grill. I had to call it Corolla 1, Golf-no score.

Was I mad at the person who hit us? How could I be when the true fault lay with some mental midget who wasn’t paying attention and ran a red light?

Both cars were okay to drive so we pulled into an adjacent gas station, exchanged the necessary insurance information and carried on. The whole incident took no more than 20 minutes, but what was incredibly disappointing was no one in any other vehicles  took a second to check on us or offer themselves as witnesses to the guy running the light.

Now you might think coming forward in a situation involving a minor fender bender is not important, but it is. In a rear collision, without an independent witness to verify the red light runner, the blame falls squarely on the person driving the car behind you. 99 times out a 100 it’s the correct decision, but this time it’s unfair.  And 100% blame sends your insurance rates sky rocketing.  So as pissed as I am at the mofo in the red Corolla, shame on you bystanders for not stepping up.

I dropped Zoe at her mother’s and went to work. Now I’m no idiot.  I’ve been a certified First Aid attendant. I know soft tissue injuries don’t always manifest themselves immediately. Heading to a job where 80% of what I do is physical was the last thing I should have done.  Yet, I felt OK and although the crash scared her, Zoe seemed good as well.  Still, the right thing would have been to call in to work and wait out the day to see if anything developed.

But being broke with bills to pay, you sometimes ignore the right thing and go wrong. The very reason I was heading in early was to take over as acting lead hand for the day (which meant extra bucks for me). Our regular lead hand was off on a planned family day, putting us down a man as we headed in to our month end.. It’s always busy time then because our Sales department panics and steals from next month’s orders in a desperate bid to make target-slamming us with extra work as a result.  Taking a sick day over what was probably nothing would screw the department and also make my wallet lighter.  So, motivated by greed and guilt, off to work I went. My day couldn’t get worse than how it had started, right?

Wrong.

3 hours into the shift, my upper back and neck went incredibly tight and I had the mother of all tension headaches. Traci had also called to say Zoe’s back was sore at school. So I immediately tele-filed the accident with ICBC, making sure to mention this and taking their advice to have a doctor to check us out that day. My own doc couldn’t see us until Monday but we did get into a walk-in clinic that afternoon.

And that’s when the age reminders began…

The walk-in clinic doctor checked out Zoe first, putting her through a range of motion tests and then checking her out for tender areas. He pronounced her fine, advised me to keep an eye out for continued or worsening symptoms and suggested kids Tylenol for the soreness. Kid’s, he told me, are pretty elastic at her age and usually bounce back with no issues at all. He then looked at my chart and said;

‘Now, your Dad on the other hand…”

I pretty much winced every time he probed my shoulders and upper back. And I was surprised at a previously unknown pain in my deltoids when I put my arms out to my sides and  brought my hands together above my head.  I’m not a wimp and it wasn’t excruciating, but it was a solid 7 out of 10 on the ouch meter.  Apparently, as I keep getting told, this happens with people my age.

I was given a sterner warning about watching for increased problems and although he didn’t prescribe medication, the physician strongly recommended I invest in more Aleve and gave me a signed form for physio-should I feel it necessary.

Three days later my own GP said damn near the same things after the identical range of motion tests. Almost word for word.  A few days after that it was the ICBC agent looking after my file who also brought up the age thing.

It’s one thing to know you’re getting up there. I was staring down my 56th birthday only 11 days away (that’s Halloween for those of you counting on your fingers).  But it’s another thing to be repeatedly reminded about it-as I have been over the past two weeks.

At least my GP gave me the green light to curl-since the irritation is in my upper and not lower back-and to work (although I’d been doing that anyways. Bills to pay after all). The day after was Tuesday Men’s and while throwing a rock was without incident, I can’t say sweeping was all that pleasant.  And that was just from the teeline back (I skip on Tuesdays).

So I’m hoping that by Cranbrook the pain is minimal or gone. At the very least I’ll be living on Aleve and Myoflex to get through games and this time it won’t be for my knee.  I also hope I have a vehicle for the drive.  There is a real possibility the Corolla might get written off due to age, mileage and any unseen damage.

As I write this recap, it’s been in the body shop for three days getting torn apart and assessed for ICBC. The longer it’s there, the greater the chance exists that it’s not worth repairing or it has to wait for parts.  I’d also prefer not pulling into Cranbrook driving a bright, white Nissan Versa plastered with Star Auto Body decals.  Kind of screams ‘Shitty Driver’ don’t you think?

Sigh. Could’ve standed less drama, not more as a birthday present…

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