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mike bishop
Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 04:37 pm:   

First of all, I'm okay. But this morning (Thursday, October 21, 2004), while traveling in dense fog to see my doctor in Thomaston, I came upon a stop sign on Cedar Rock Road much more quickly than I expected, hit my brakes too late to do anything but slide straight across Hwy 109, and wound up in a ditch, right over a culvert, with a crushed and hissing radiator and a misaligned right front tire. My seat belt kept me from smashing my face into the windshield, a young man stopped and called 911, and I got back home -- without seeing my doctor -- about thirty minutes earlier than I had thought I would. I've got a stiff neck and a sore chest, but I could be dead. In any event, I feel lucky or blessed -- if not both -- to have survived with only significant injury to our ten-year-old Saturn SL1, which has over 200,000 miles on it, even as I mourned that gallant little car as I stood in the fog watching an 18-year-old kid winch it up onto the ramp of his tow truck.

Forgive my setting this story down here. I'm not looking for sympathy (although I'll take it, of course) so much as I am simply recording the event, and notifying everyone that if I'm not around to comment on postings here for the next few days that's a consequence of my need to focus on a long story I've got going. Rather like a hanging, this accident has remarkably concentrated my mind on what I need to do to bring this project to completion; namely, work on it while I have breath. My best to all.
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Bob K.
Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 05:24 pm:   

Thank God you're all right. I totaled my folks' car when I was eighteen, and it took about a day for the whiplash strain to really set in, so you might want to have a neck brace on standby. I borrowed a foam one from the local fire station.

Hey, at least you aren't stuck home waiting several days for your folks to return from a camping trip to discover that a) the good family car was wrecked, and b) the collision insurance your dad just canceled last month had really and truly expired.

Sorry, this is your story. I do sympathize. That sucks.

Take care,
Bob
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Deborah
Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 05:36 pm:   

Mike, let me add my good thoughts to you for speedy healing...nothing like a close call to remind you what you care about, is there?

All the best,

Deborah
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 05:44 pm:   

Mike,
I'm relieved that you're ok. But as Bob says, be aware that whiplash can effect you later rather than sooner.
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JV
Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 08:30 pm:   

Mike:

Yes--I hope you go to a doctor to just get checked out. I'm glad you're okay. I hope you're not too shaken up.

All the best,

JeffV
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 11:44 pm:   

Glad you're ok. I was in a head-on collision a couple years ago--went whistling around a sharp bend under a railroad bridge only to find an English driver in an SUV coming straight at me in my lane. My little old Camry was totalled, the SUV unscathed. I felt amazingly okay at first, and then my neck and back were screwed up until I finally went to a chiropractor. I still flinch every time I go under that bridge; and it's hard to even enjoy the Pixies tape I was playing at the time.

It does make you re-evaluate your priorities. I took up astronomy.


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m.
Posted on Friday, October 22, 2004 - 04:46 am:   

I wasn't going to do this, but Bob K. actually telephoned me last night after I posted this message, and we had a fairly long and heartening (to me, anyway) chat on his dime, so I thought I'd look in and thank the others of you who took the time to read and to commiserate. I took two aspirins and slept pretty well last night, if I didn't try to roll over too quickly, but have in fact noted (thanks, Ellen, Deb, JV, MarcL) that the whiplash effects did not show up immediately; and that it wasn't until I got home -- after standing around an hour in the filthy office of a dilapidated body shop in Woodbury -- I fully realized that, hey, I might have died or suffered serious long-term injury. Marc, is astronomy a subject one can "take up" while lying supine?

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Minz
Posted on Friday, October 22, 2004 - 07:02 am:   

To add some perspective, everyone who drives will have at least one serious accident in their lifetime. I'm quite glad you got that statistic out of the way without any serious injury to you and yours. (Alas, poor SL1, she served you well...)

I won't repeat the obvious (i.e. whiplash can be delayed, so be careful--oops, I guess I did repeat it.)

Take care.
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Friday, October 22, 2004 - 07:46 am:   

Dear Mike,

Glad to hear you escaped your major accident without serious injury. I had a somewhat similar experience back in 1991. Totalled a brand-new Escort GT, but my seatbelt saved me from hurling through the windshield. One bit of advice -- if you haven't already seen a doctor to get checked out, do so. Even though your seatbelt likely saved your life, it may have cracked your sternum (I ended up with a crack in mine). There's nothing a doctor can do about this aside from telling you not to lift anything for the next six weeks or so. But that's mighty important advice; a week after my accident, I helped my sister move out of her college apartment and made the grevious error of trying to pick up a TV set. Felt like someone had stabbed a red-hot sabre through my chest. Amazingly, I was able to set the TV down safely, to my sister's great relief.

So take good care. I'm looking forward to reading your interview in the new LOCUS.
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m.
Posted on Friday, October 22, 2004 - 09:53 am:   

Thanks for the info, Minz, and the advice, Andrew. I might mention that while Jeri and I were dating, I had what I thought the major serious accident of both our lives, in a red 1968 Dodge Dart, and despite rolling over two and a half times in that vehicle, we both, very fortunately, survived. So this latest survivable accident is probably one that I didn't deserve to have -- meaning not that the accident should not have occurred, but rather than I should not have come out of it alive.
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Nancy Jane
Posted on Saturday, October 23, 2004 - 09:27 am:   

Glad you're okay, Mike. And nothing like a brush with mortality to remind us all of the important things in life (like finishing the story).

I'm glad you were wearing your seatbelt. I became a great advocate of seatbelts while writing for a product liability newsletter. Reading gruesome facts on a daily basis -- and noticing how much worse the injuries were when the people didn't wear their seat belts -- made me a believer.
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m.
Posted on Sunday, October 24, 2004 - 09:24 am:   

Thanks, Nancy. I've always been a seat-belt believer. By the way, Bob, Ellen, I'm feeling some pain in the back of my neck -- the whiplash effect? -- to the extent that last night, up on an eight-foot stepladder to change a battery in a smoke detector on our twelve-and-a-half foot ceiling downstairs, I thought my head was going to fall off as I peered up at the battery connections. Jeri told me to get down when she saw how much difficulty I was having, and she wound up replacing the battery. This isn't like me. But I go back to the doctor on Thursday . . . if I don't have another accident on the way over there.
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Nancy Jane
Posted on Monday, October 25, 2004 - 07:33 am:   

I'm no expert on whiplash, but if your neck pain persists, I'd strongly suggest you see a chiropractor. I once gave myself a whiplash of sorts when a defective office chair suddenly went over backwards, and a chiropractor fixed me up in a couple of visits over a couple of days. And my current chiropractor has done me wonders for some different problems. Necks and backs are what chiropractors do and good ones are a blessing. Avoid any who think they can solve every health problem you might be likely to have with an adjustment.
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Bob K.
Posted on Monday, October 25, 2004 - 12:56 pm:   

Or a masseuse. I had lower back pain for a year, and Tom Whitmore fixed me in one session -- pretty dramatic, and cheaper than a chiropractor.

My whiplash was to the side of my neck, because the car was hit from the side. Your feeling it in the back of your neck makes sense because you hit straight ahead, and probably snapped your neck forward and back. Hopefully it's just muscle strain like mine was.
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m.
Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2004 - 04:30 am:   

I've heard similar advice -- about going to either a chiropractor or a masseuse -- from friends here in Pine Mountain, and from Paul Di Filippo in Rhode Island, whose companion Deb Newton visited a masseuse to ease a problem in her knee (because they're traveling to Paris this afternoon, where they intend to do a lot of walking), and the treatment was almost immediately successful. Thanks for the input. I'll see what Dr. Oxford says on Thursday morning, and I may well wind up taking this advice. Actually, the most distressing pain I've had lately is that involved in trying to find a new car and dealing with dealers.
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Jeff Smith
Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2004 - 02:04 pm:   

I have, upon narrowly avoiding an accident, found myself thinking "thank god I don't have to deal with fixing/replacing the car" rather than "thank god I'm all right."
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Bob K.
Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2004 - 03:18 pm:   

I gotta respond to this, sorry. When we had the 6.8 earthquake in 2001, I was driving through downtown North Bend, and I felt the car go all wobbly, and I thought I had a blowout. I pulled into a parking lot where two women were facing each other, hands on each other's shoulders and yelling. When I got out of the car, one turned her head to me and asked, "Do you feel the earthquake?" Just then, a guy comes out of store up ahead shouting and points out in the distance, beyond the roof of a half-finished building where workers are hunkered down to keep their balance. A wall of rock a couple hundred feet high had just peeled off the side of a nearby mountain, sending up a cloud of rock dust. Amid all this chaos, my first thought is, "Huh, an earthquake. Thank God it wasn't the tires."
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m.
Posted on Thursday, October 28, 2004 - 04:16 am:   

Funny -- blackly funny, of course -- stories about feeling relief that the car or the tires were okay when you've just walked away from an accident or a potential accident. I know the feeling well.

It's about 7:10 a.m., EST, as I write, and in about an hour I'll be leaving the house again for the doctor's appointment that I failed to make last week. Jeri wanted me to take our new car, because it gets better gas mileage than our truck, but I just couldn't face the responsibility of driving a brand-new vehicle in a fog almost similar to last week's, and told her that the truck needed gas and that if I had to stop at the body shop in Woodbury on my way back to pick up our effects in our wrecked Saturn, the truck would serve me better. I'm still gunshy, to tell the truth. Anyway, I do think I'll feel more comfortable in the truck essaying this little journey again.

I'll report back later. Given the chance to do so, that is.
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Monday, November 01, 2004 - 08:33 am:   

Dear Mike,

Just to let you know, that "gun-shy" feeling does go away after a couple of months. My first few months of driving after my bad accident were a trial, with my blood pressure spiking every time I approached an intersection. But gradually, my (false but comforting, and maybe essential) sense of personal invincibility returned. So just give it some time.
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Bill G
Posted on Monday, November 22, 2004 - 04:22 am:   

Mike, do you think you'll ever use this experience in your fiction?
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, November 22, 2004 - 05:21 am:   

Jeez, Mike, just seeing this thread for the first time. I know how these close-calls are bad on the bones and bad on the psyche. Glad to hear you're doing better.

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m.
Posted on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 05:17 am:   

Bill, maybe: My sense of having been in two fogs simultaneously strikes me as one that I could use effectively in a story. Interesting to note, the late Jack Cady has a story entitled "Fog" in the most recent issue of F&SF. I have a feeling that my story, which I would in fact give a different title, won't resemble Cady's very much.

I'm doing better, Jeff, but over the past week I've felt a continuous low-grade pain in the very back of my neck, probably a delayed whip-lash response. I'm all right, though, just not writing right now and using the helpful excuses of the lost election, the accident, and heavy preparation for three new courses I'll be teaching in the coming year. Thanks for your concern.
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Coppervale
Posted on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 09:17 am:   

Hi Mike -

Just saw the thread myself, and felt a brief thrill of fear (in the wake about hearing Gardner's accident as well). Very relieved to see you're okay, and hope your recovery continues apace.

Best,

James
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, November 24, 2004 - 03:40 am:   

Hey Mike...

I just noticed the thread. Hope you're continuing to improve and all. Eat lots of turkey---it's good for what ails you....

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Andrew Fox
Posted on Wednesday, November 24, 2004 - 06:57 am:   

Mike, I hope you and your family enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving. I'm really looking forward to starting Count Geiger's Blues (but I have to finish reading a wonderful Neal Barrett, Jr. novel first).
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m.
Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 07:55 am:   

Well, it's already the first of December, and I haven't dropped in for a while. We did have a good Thanksgiving, even if I'm still contending with a sore neck and the strain of compiling a book index for the first time in my life, and I thank James, Lucius, and Andrew for your kind good wishes. I wish everybody an extravagantly joyful holiday season. And forgive me if I don't check in all that often; I'm trying to figure out how to cram forty-eight hours into every twenty-four-hour period.

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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 08:15 am:   

Mike, we;re counting on you for the football pool. No excuses. :-)


Happy Holidays...

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