Brandi Kay Wrote:
Flashes in my head. Life. Death. Lust.
I am about to lose the second love of my life after my dog, Jody.
My hands were still gripping the steering wheel. My airbag went off, I think I am still alive, oh, but my beautiful car! The leather seats that cradled the curves of my body.
The surround sound, seven speaker, Bose music system that seduced me with Elvis and rocked me with The Stones.
The precision handling that responded to my softest touch. The engine that growled like an inflamed lover when I pressed the gas...gone.
I had no idea what happens to you when an airbag goes off, but I do now and I do not want to ever go through that again. Over the Fourth of July weekend I got into a car accident that totalled my Mercedes Benz C Class. I loved that car and even though I have been looking for a new one, I cannot seem to find one that grabs my heart like that one.
Your very first Benz is like your first teenage crush, you feel flushed approaching it. Your heart feels like it is going to pound out of your chest. Your fingers ache just to touch it and stroke the soft, leather seats. I was relatively unhurt in the accident, except for the damage from the airbag.
I do not remember the actual impact from the airbag. A few seconds before and few second afterwards, I remember. Right after it hit me, my car filled with this fine, smoky dust and all of my exposed skin was burning. For a moment, I thought I was on fire and it terrified me. I felt like I was suffocating, which was even worse. That feeling of trying to take a deep breath and getting no air, as though the fine dust had absorbed all the oxygen in the car. Then I started coughing and my mouth and throat were instantly coated and tasted like something burnt.
This experience made me feel powerless, vulnerable, and mortal. My life did not pass before my eyes, but the realization that I could die so quickly made me feel like an infinitesimally microscopic being. I have thought about it since then. If I did not know what was happening when that airbag went off, then there are probably plenty of people who do not know, either. I wanted to share this experience so others might avoid some of the fear and panic I experienced.
An airbag is going approximately 200 miles per hour toward you when it is activated. You are travelling forward at the same speed your vehicle is travelling. So, when that airbag hits, psi of the impact to you is going to be somewhere close to 3600-4400, depending on all applicable variables. For me, it was about 3800 psi (pound per square inch). The immediate result was the airbag hitting my chest, lower jaw, and abdomen with enough force to bust my bottom lip, shred parts of the inside of my mouth, knock the wind out of me, and friction burn my hands and the insides of both arms. I took a deep gasping breath inhaling all of the smoky, very fine talc-like powder that was released.
That has been ten days ago, my chest is still bruised, the insides of my arms are bruised and the friction burns were the equivalent of first and second degree burns, so the worst areas of the burns blistered then drained and are now a disgusting miasma of healing tissue. The worst has been from inhaling all that soft, fine, burnt dust. I have been coughing to the point where I can hardly speak. I have been given medications and breathing treatments, plus my doctor did an EKG to make sure my heart was not damaged, and ordered a CT Scan of my chest, abdomen, and pelvic region. Wonderful. (sarcasm) It falls under "better to be safe than sorry" or for the doctors "CYA". The doctors have warned me that I could be coughing this stuff up for weeks. Again, wonderful. Another problem is the chance of upper and/or lower respiratory infections and sinus infections from breathing all of this into your body.
Right after it happened, I felt very dazed. Like if I did not focus visually on a fixed object, I was going to faint. I was shivering and felt chilled to the bone, despite 95 degree heat and high humidity. After about ten minutes of sitting on the road, leaning against the side of car, I felt absolutely exhausted.
I was lucky, though. I called my best friend and he was at my side immediately. We have been friends for 25 years and as soon as I heard his voice, I felt safe, secure, and knew that he would take care of everything, including me.
I am still a tomboy at heart, all of my 'best' friends are men.
I get along better with men and do not have a feminist bone in my body. Men are awesome. However politically correct male bashing is today, I do not and cannot agree with any of it.
The next day, I looked and felt like I had been unmercifully beat with an ugly stick. I was heartbroken. I was hurting all over and found ugly purple-yellow bruises on my soft, curvaceous body, some in places that I have never had bruises before.
I had a bruise under my right armpit and I am still trying to figure out how that one got there. I had my seatbelt on, so that caused some bruising and soreness, as well. This was all pretty traumatic, but I was glad I had all of these safety measures protecting me from a direct hit to the steering wheel.
My car was a couple of years old, so I am sure there have been advancements made in comprehensive safety constructions. Nonetheless, what I experienced is within the normal range of currently common seatbelt and airbag injuries. I would have liked to have known this information before this happened, it would have lowered the level of stress and fear that I felt while this was all unfolding. I hope none of you ever experience a car accident, but if you do, you now have a better understanding of what are relatively 'normal' safety restraint system injuries.