1
Sep 2014
Josie Bungert

(My) Nightmare on 24th Street: One year later

A year ago today, I was hit by a car while waiting to cross the street.

Walking home from a meeting, my friend said, “Don’t, like, die or get kidnapped” because she wasn’t walking back with me. Well neither of those things happened, but I did have a different situation arise.

For those of you that weren’t around for that struggle, here’s a brief synopsis of the event:

I was waiting to cross the street, when a car turning around in the half circle on my college campus slowly approached behind me until they hit the back of my ankle, my Sperry and ankle got stuck under the car’s low riding bumper. In short, when I finally got free, they left the scene. In shock and adrenaline, I didn’t think I was in pain, and walked the 7ish minute walk back to my apartment.

I then called my friend who had cautioned me and said, “Well I didn’t get kidnapped, but I did get hit by a car?”

I got home, sat down, and realized I was in a lot of pain. After a meeting with a health aide and campus safety, had a restful night with ice cream from my supportive friends, followed by a morning at urgent care where my ankle sprain and road rash were determined.

IMG_1431_2

This post really isn’t about the actual incident, though, as much as it is about the time after.

Campus safety was able to locate, after a long search, the person who hit me and ran. They were a student at my school, and I did not know them. After a meeting with them in which I was angry, sad, and scared the entire time, I tried to put the incident behind me, as my senior year was underway.

I tried to laugh at myself about all of this. I joked with people about how of course this would happen to me because “my life is a joke,” and poked fun at myself on crutches. I would laugh at taking the elevator, laugh at eating a massive cookie because I was in so much pain, laugh at everything in order to make it all more bearable and seem like it was unreal instead of, well, real.

That was difficult to do, though, because my life was full of phone calls from my parents, doctor’s offices, and insurance agents (who were all out of state). Along with the emotional stress, I was in a lot of pain, even though I only had a sprain and some cuts and bruises. With being on crutches on a cobblestone campus, followed by 5 weeks in a walking boot (which included my 21st birthday), it was hard to ignore what happened. And, it wasn’t really over. In a boot, I couldn’t workout, (I had run my first half marathon a month before this happened), and I was in a walking boot, which had become apart of my wardrobe.

IMG_1489_2

Well, it took awhile for it to really be over (my medical bills were just settled in May). So now, in most respects, it is done with. But, despite it being over, something else still sits with some of my friends and my parents. They don’t understand why I didn’t want to pursue anything further than payment of medical bills from the student.

Well, for starters, I just had a sprain. Sure, it debilitated me a bit, but I have sprained my ankle so many times in my life as a dancer that I knew exactly how to handle it. I didn’t break a bone, didn’t need surgery, and didn’t miss a day of work. It didn’t ruin my life.

I also didn’t need anything beyond the immediate doctor’s visits or medication. I didn’t need additional care, which also made me hesitant to keep all this going. My care was just on myself after that point, and no one else was really involved.

The main reason I tried to let it go, though, which I know most people don’t understand, is that I didn’t want to cause more grief to the person that hit me. They were a student, younger than me, and had no idea how to react in a situation like that. I have a hard time forgiving them for fleeing the scene, but part of me wonders what your body wants you to do in a situation like that. I would like to say that I wouldn’t do what they did, but when you’re in the moment, you never know what could happen. I knew that they struggled with their decision to do so, too, since I met with them and saw their remorse. No, I don’t think this situation was worse for them than for me, and no, I don’t feel bad for them. But as a fellow, young, student, there was a part of me that wanted to forgive their mistake.

Mostly, I just wanted it over.

A year later, I think I can say that I am officially done with it. Yes, in May, I got the bills taken care of, but I have’t felt completely over it without full exercise mobility. After trying to rehab my ankle back into running in March and failing, I have been since working out on the elliptical and exercise bike. Two weeks ago, I was finally able to run consistently again, and am trying to work my way back to running a 10k. It’s been slow and steady getting back into my previous working out, but other than that, I think I can say it’s over.

I don’t really know how else to explain the lessons I’ve learned over the past year other than recalling what they teach you in elementary school:

10.) Some people will be mean and do wrong things, and there’s not much you can do about that.

9.) Authority figures can be scary but they are there to help you when you’ve been wronged.

8.) Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

7.) Don’t be scared to call your parents; sometimes you just need them.

6.) Keep friends around that will be there in good times and bad.

IMG_1447_2

5.) Teachers can be understanding.

4.) An ice cream sundae really can make a bad day better.

3.) Forgiveness, though hard, is good for both you and the other person.

2.) Slow and steady wins the race.

 

and, (most importantly)

1.) Be careful crossing the street.

IMG_1446_2