It could have been worse.
It was 7th November, 2015. 4 years ago How time flies! It was like any regular day. The early winter morning Sun rays finding it’s way through the morning haze. A golden yellow glow spreading all around.
It was like any other morning. Except that I was starting 8 months into my first pregnancy. The haunting memories of the incident still bring back goosebumps.
Morning 7.00am..It all started when I overslept. Maybe my pregnancy brain somehow forgot about my morning assignments and told my arm to switch off my morning alarm. I woke up late. Somehow made myself tea but hardly had any time to sip it. My legs were forever aching and my bulging belly had made simple tasks more laborious.
My husband had night shifts at the hospital and I had to be there myself at 8 am, as I had left some unfinished work from previous day to complete before 9 am that day. I was a resident Pathologist then. The slides would not report themselves. A lot of stuff was pending. A lot of stuff was on my mind. And I was getting late.
It could have been worse.
I hurriedly gobbled through my morning breakfast and completed my list of daily chores. We stayed in a rented accommodation at a distance of hardly 10 minutes by car from the hospital. I knew the route by heart. I wanted to make it before 8.
I met my husband at the gate, took the car keys, adjusted my driving seat to accommodate my belly, barely managed a bye and drove away. Maybe it was Diwali or Dusshera holidays, I don’t exactly recollect but the schools were nonetheless off. There was less than usual traffic and I remember that I was happy to have realised that. I was sure now that I would be there by 8am. Little did I know, where I would wound up.
And then it happened. It could have been worse.
It happened so suddenly that I do not revoke the exact finer details. I don’t remember my exact speed at that fateful turning. Maybe it was 60kmph or 70kmph or even 90kmph. I don’t remember the rickshaw that I had tried to avoid, maybe it was static, maybe it was moving. I don’t remember how she and her activa suddenly came in front of my Maruti alto. I think she was also fast, I think she shifted her lane. I am not sure. As I said I can’t remember the finer details.
But what I exactly remember is the feeling I had. I could hear my heart pounding in my mouth. My brain frozen with fear. My eyes shell shocked as I saw her lying on the road from my rearview mirror. That sight I can never forget. It took me maybe 5 or more minutes to open my seatbelt and rush to her aid.
A small crowd of onlookers had gathered. She was conscious and writhing and wincing in pain or shock maybe. I somehow requested a good samaritan to help her into my car and accompany us to the hospital. Another fellow parked her activa at an appropriate place and gave me the keys and her helmet, her phone etc which had all scattered on the road.
With trembling hands this time, I drove her to the hospital casualty. I knew most residents personally so got her all the help she needed. She was attended most earnestly by my colleagues who also called my sister and my husband.
My sister was besides me in a minute. She is also a doctor and took control of the situation. She called her family, the auntie’s family and informed them.
The auntie was somewhat obese, middle aged, maybe 5o something with a round face. She was pretty. Now, again I don’t fairly remember whether she was a bank employee or a school teacher but I exactly remember how she looked. She was wearing a brown and maroon winter suit which was now torn at places, had a nice brown sweater and thick lovely black hair. She originally had a nice makeup and dark lipstick on. But now her hair were disheveled and lipstick all smudged.
She stayed in the adjoining sectors and her husband and her son were there besides her in less than 20 minutes. Her son was 25 years of age then. I still remember his name and have his phone number till date. Even though I never have the courage to dial it. He is 2 years younger to me.
I remember looking at their faces, searching for their reactions. The despair that their faces wore. The helplessness that they felt. How suddenly a bright beautiful day had turned so upsetting for them. Maybe they had plans for a nice picnic, or even a silver jubilee marriage anniversary celebration. But fate had given them a rude shock. Or to put it correctly I had ruined it all.
I remember her scolding me and publically shaming me. My husband tried to pacify her but she threatened us with police action in her agitated painful state. Later she perhaps took pity on my condition and did not press any charges.
I stood remorseful in front of the family and I clearly remember some thing that her husband, the uncle, said in a calm suave manner and it has stuck with me forever. It was destined to happen. I am grateful to Almighty God for being the Saviour today. It could have been worse.
Yes, It could have been worse. She could have had her skull cracked, if not for the helmet. Or her jaw broken or any vital organ crushed. It could have been worse. Anyhow, her X ray and CT scan procedures took about an hour or more. By this time, the pain injections had relaxed her a little.
Her X ray revealed a fractured left forearm which would take at least 6 months to heal and function again. But rest all her ribs and CT head was normal. She felt heaviness in her chest and head but all ECG were normal. The cast was set and she was prescribed a heavy dose of painkillers.
They were upper middle class family and she had a history of other chronic illnesses like diabetes and hypertension as well. They decided to pursue further care at their private family physician facility. My husband tried to extend full financial support but the Uncle firmly refused. He patted my back, told me to relax and learn my life lessons from that experience. Let’s all thank God and move on..
He was God sent to me. I have never seen a more calmer person in such a dreary situation. My husband stayed in touch with the Son and got all updates regarding her health. In fact, the Son inquired quite regularly about my health issues as well. He was perhaps the most loving Son any mother can dream of. My husband wanted to visit their home as well and bought all cards, fruits, flowers for the same. But I was paralyzed with fear, pain, stress and anxiety of the trauma.
My USG at the obstetrics department was fine. My folks tried in vain to cheer me up. My department helped me prepone my maternity leave and I did not or could not return to work or drive.
I had terrible thoughts cross my mind. She could have died. Or I could have died. Or worse still, I could have lost my unborn child. It could have been worse.
I was gripped with fear, anxiety and restlessness and the labour did not occur. I was taken up for a C- section and exactly after a month and 23 days later from the accident, in my 42nd week of pregnancy (post term), a day before the year could end, on 30th December I gave birth to my first born.
And with him, I was born again. I felt free from the shackles of my reckless mistake. My hopes, my dreams, my goodwill, my faith was born again. When I became a mother, I became a more responsible and a more loving person. I learnt my lessons and implemented them.
Today I am glad that more stringent laws are in place for offenders of road safety. Road safety is of paramount importance to all of us. But above all laws and enforcement, we must all ourselves become more responsible with these machines, more respectful of these machines so that they do not become monstrous beneath us.
Today, when I drive my almost 4 year old to his play school, I make sure that his car seat is properly tugged in right. I stick to my permissible limits. I stick to my own lane. And even on occasions of getting late, I try to not lose my calm. Its my Road to Redemption .