Thursday, February 5, 2015

Every Runner's Nightmare--The Day I was Hit by a Car

 The day started out like any normal day. The weather was nice outside 28F and I was hoping to make good time out on my 10 mile run. Lately, I had been running to the island rather then driving to add more miles and difficulty to my runs.  I wanted to run to a specific store downtown when it opened at 10am so I waited to leave until 9 am. After 5.5 miles of running, I arrived at the store, picked up my little items, shoved them in my vest and left.
This is the view from downtown, right before I run
on the pedestrian bridge to get to the island on my way back home.

As I was getting to the bridge, I saw my friend Baba Leda (Grandma Lydia) she set her bags down to give me a hug and we had our usual small talk and I went on my way. She's always so sweet, and I hope one day to have her over for tea and invite her to church! I was excited because I was making really good time and didn't want to lose it at the end.

I saw one more man that I also see often walking and said hello to him as I ran by. I finally reached the end of the island, only two more miles to go. (These last two miles are in the city.) I knew I was about to go uphill for a mile and was ready to push it. I arrived at the last of two crosswalks until I was around the corner from our apartment about half a mile.
The man who hit me and the crosswalk.

In Russia, it's the law that all vehicles must stop at a pedestrian crosswalk when they see a pedestrian. I usually, wait until I make eye contact with a driver and he comes to a stop. I always walk across rather then run because a driver has more time to react to a pedestrian walking then someone running across and vice versa. 
The man who hit, who ironically
is a physical therapist.

This particular crosswalk was next to a busy bus stop and many pedestrians crossed here. I saw the lady in the middle lane had stopped. And the lane next to me there was a bus pulled off, so I stepped out. I was almost to the other side and was going to resume running and hop on the curb. I didn't see the car until it was too late, and he didn't see me.

 I laid on the ground thinking, "I just got hit by a car! I just got hit by a car!" The man quickly stopped and picked me up of the ground, and I kept telling him to put me down, (in English). He set me down on the median, and he kept talking to me. I told him (in Russian) that I only understood a little bit of Russian, and didn't understand what he was saying.  I said my husband speaks Russian fluently, and pulled out my phone to call him. The man was trying to pick me up again and put me in his car, but I didn't understand thats what he was doing. I felt a bit vulnerable and just went into survival mode. I didn't want him to take me anywhere in his car, and kept refusing to let him pick me up. I just wanted to lay down on the ground in the fetal position, and stay there. (I later was told that was the worse thing to do because my body was going into shock.)

Me discovering my giant nose!

James answered right away, and he heard the most unexpected news coming from the other end of the phone. I told him I had I had been hit by a car and was close to home. It took me a minute to try to explain to him where I was. He quickly called our friend Kevin. Our car was in the shop so James called me back to tell me, Kevin was on his way and would be there soon. I handed the phone to the Russian man to talk to him. There was another man that had witnessed the accident and stayed with us (an off duty policeman). He called the ambulance and the police as the the man who hit me started to wipe me off and give me some water. I took some photos of the scene, the man and myself just for documentation. I wasn't sure if this man would try to blame the accident on me or what would happen.

James and Kevin arrived within ten minutes. James jumped out of Kevin's car and ran over.
Kevin's daughters stayed at our apartment with the kids. My first thought was Macy. She was needing to eat soon and I had frozen milk in the freezer. I could rest a little easy knowing she was taken care of. I was shaking and getting colder by the minute. James checked on me and I told him I was okay just cold and my leg was hurting. I was given a coat and soon Kevin and James took me to Kevin's van to warm up as we waited for the ambulance and the police.

My awesome splint.

First time in an ambulance. It
hurt to smile. I loved
James' hand on my face, it
made me feel secure and safe.
When the ambulance came, Kevin and James helped me inside it and onto the gurney. They checked my ever growing nose and said it didn't appear to be broken but my ankle might be. I received a shot of medicine to help with the pain and a home made splint that went from my ankle to my backside. As we arrived at the hospital, I also had to get off the gurney myself and out the little side door. I found out later, the ER wasn't allowing anyone in because they were cleaning. The people who were in the ambulance insisted they opened the doors because they had Americans that needed in. After that, there was no resistance. They let us in and we went straight to the doctor and then to the X-Ray table. There they asked what hurt and I told them only my leg. They took an X-Ray of my leg and I sat there alone and waited. They came back and the doctor said "All was okay" in Russian and then asked me my name. I told him and he told me his name was Volodia. I told him I had a friend who was also named Volodia. He then pointed to the door asking if the men waiting on me were named Volodia. I smiled and said no that was my husband, James and our friend Kevin. He then randomly spoke English and asked me if I had a boyfriend. I laughed and said yes, my husband.

I was thankful to have just
 painted my toes!

James carried me to the next room where the doctor told us that nothing was broken. He gave us a few slips that recommended a physical therapist. And we went home. (It was more of a do-it-yourself ER, but it was all free. So we got what we paid for!)

Dr. Volodia
My awesome elbow after
getting back from the second
 trip to the ER
Later, I took off my compression shirt and my arm had a huge bubble the size of a baseball. I felt it growing and spreading. I yelled for James to come in the room. He and Kevin looked it over called our nurse friend Dee, and we rushed back to the ER. They allowed us to go to the front of the small crowd of people there and took another X-Ray. They said it wasn't broken and it was just swollen from the impact. I was relieved, but still a little uneasy. I kept thinking, they aren't checking me over, what if we go home again and something else happens. Will they miss something that's really serious? But I just silently prayed and trusted the Lord.

Arriving at the hospital
My poor foot!
We gathered that as I was starting to run, my right leg went forward along with my left arm and those took the brunt of the impact, along with my face. I hit the side of his car, and broke his side mirror, put a small crack in his windshield along with a small dent. If it had been a second later, I probably would have been hit by the front of his car and been in much worse shape. I still can't believe that I had no broken bones and no concussions. God truly protected me.

I can't imagine what went through James mind as he heard me say "I was just hit by a car." We were just talking last week about being careful at the crosswalks. James had also told me that his only fear when I'm gone running is that I'll be hit by a car. In the Krasnoyarsk region there were 13 pedestrians killed in one week by vehicles.

My favorite part was coming home and getting hugs from my boy and holding my little girl. Jacob kept saying "Mommy- hurt-owie" and he pointed to my nose and kissed it. As he's been noticing all my "boo-boo's" he's been saying hurt and kisses them gently. Between he and James, I have been in good hands. I have been overwhelmed by all the prayers and well wishes. I have yet to cry from the accident but tear up at everyone's love for us. I don't take for granted being able to hold my babies and watch them grow!

One of the firsts thoughts after I was hit, was how I could bring God glory through this. I wondered what the Lord wanted me to learn from this experience. I have been really working on getting my priorities in order this last month, and trying to spend meaningful time each day with the Lord. I even analyzed my running, and wanted to make sure it didn't become an idol. My first priority is my relationship with the Lord and my family. I'm a mother/wife/missionary first then a runner. So I thought, why would this happen. I may not know the why, but I simply just trust the Lord. I know this isn't a punishment from the Lord, but rather a reminder of God's protection and mercy.

The man who hit me, was truly sorrowful. He told the police he didn't care what happened to him, he just wanted to make sure I was okay. He has called 7-8 times these past two days to check on me. And he is going to visit me on Saturday. I pray that we can show him God's love and build a relationship with him. And maybe he'll come to church for me. One of my friends, jokingly said, there is easier ways to invite people to church! But if he does come to church and develops a relationship with the Lord, it truly would be worth it all. I'll recover from my injuries and sprained ankle, but there is no recovery from an eternity separated from God.

May we look for ways to glorify the Lord in all areas of our lives, the good, the bad, and the ugly (insert my swollen face!). May we also not put hobbies above what's truly most important, and that is our relationship with the Lord. To God be the glory!

Thank you all for the many prayers on my behalf and my family. I feel a little stronger each day. And for whatever reason, the Lord spared my life I am thankful. I can't help but think He has plans for my life and desires to use me. I'm just so humbled that God would use someone like me with all my imperfections. I truly am unworthy.

Romans 8:28
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.
Our awesome babysitters and friends. :)
They even baked me a cake! 

James 4:14
Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

1 John 2:15-17
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

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