07-14-18 Cassandra O’Leary

Monday, October 6, 2014

Oxyacetylene Saved My Life by Paty Jager

I believe it is a rare person who hasn't had a brush with death some time in their life. My incident is probably like many people who drive cars. It was an automobile accident. Luckily, I walked away, but it could have turned out quite different.

This tale took place many years ago. My oldest daughter was in second grade, my other daughter a first grader and our son wasn't in kindergarten yet. The day of my near death experience, our son had thankfully gone trucking with his dad.

At the time the school budget was suffering and anyone living within a certain distance of the school had to be dropped off and picked up. Before my husband left for the day, he loaded an empty oxyacetylene canister for his welding and cutting torch in the trunk of my car. I was to get it filled while running errands.

The girls and I loaded into my fairly new Ford Tempo and headed to school. I helped out in one of the classrooms then headed to town. After running my errands and some for my husband, I still had the tank to drop off and exchange for a new one. I looked at the time and needed to head back to the small community where I lived and pick up the girls. I decided the tank would have to wait.

It had started raining. As I drove out of town, I noticed the grill of a pickup in my rear-view mirror. There were two teenage boys in a jacked-up Ford so close, the only way I knew they were teenagers was by looking in my side-view mirror. I looked forward and noticed a car stopped in the road waiting to turn. I pushed on my brakes and pumped them to get the attention of the driver behind me.

Then I pushed harder and Wham!

The pickup behind me slammed my car into the stopped car and my Tempo popped out into the oncoming traffic. Someone was watching over me. That traffic stopped. By the time the police arrived, I'd pulled myself off the floorboards(this was before seat belts were mandatory) and was worrying about picking up the girls. I told the police I was fine, I needed to get to a phone and call for  ride to pick up my kids. The paramedics took a quick check and suggested I might want to see my doctor as I'd have some whiplash issues.

I went to the nearest business and asked to borrow their phone(this was before cell phones). Another miracle -- I knew where my mother-in-law was cleaning house that day and called her to pick me and then the girls up.

When my husband came home, we drove to town to look at my car. It was totaled. The only thing that saved me from being crushed like a beer can was the oxyacetylene tank that had jammed between the wheel wells in the trunk of the car. Otherwise the pickup would have come right on over/through the trunk. My husband nearly threw up when he realized what could have happened. In fact, every time he thought about it for months afterwards he became nauseous.

Now, whenever I hear metal screeching across metal, I get the metallic taste of fear in my mouth and my body tenses.

And I did go to my doctor and he confirmed that I was lucky to come out with only whiplash.

One thing I noticed, I'm not sure where the movies and TV shows get the character's life playing out in their mind before the danger. I didn't have time for any of that to happen. I was diving, I was hit, I popped out. I crawled out of the car and needed to get to my kids. That's it. No backflashes of my life or anything.

website: http://www.patyjager.net
Blog: Writing into the Sunset



Judith Ashley said...

Very grateful that tank was there, Paty. All the stories you tell could have been lost! Interesting that you had no backflashes of your life either. Hmmm! Do you think they make that stuff up?

Diana McCollum said...

Great post, Paty. And OMG! you are lucky to be alive. Your guardian angel was looking after you for sure. As I read the post my heart rate was going up.

Paty Jager said...

Thanks, Judith! yeah, it all happened so fast there was no way I had time to flash through my life.

Thanks, Diana! I agree someone was looking out for me.

Sarah Raplee said...

Definitely someone was looking out for you! Thank God!