I’ll Take A Large, Please By Cookie

In September 2004, my family and I were the victims of road rage. We were traveling on highway two ninety which is six lanes and the speed limit is seventy miles per hour. I had just purchased a brand new Chevrolet pick up three weeks prior, which meant I hadn’t made any payments yet. The pick up with equipped with running lights, so when you turned on the headlights they automatically came on also. The young lady later told police she was mad because I was driving with my bright lights on. She ran into the side of my pick up at an excessive speed right into the front  passenger wheel, which caused it to turn to the left and at that moment she became stuck with my truck and wheel. I ended up loosing control of my vehicle slamming into a concrete barrier that divided the highway. The force of her vehicle and the speed we were moving at and the fact that there was no time for reaction caused my vehicle to drive up on the concrete wall and slide on top of that wall for about a hundred feet. Her vehicle finally shot off to the right becoming detached from my pick up then causing my vehicle to lose balance and shoot off the wall straight into oncoming traffic. This is a ride and time in my life that I will never forget. Believe me I learned the importance and value of a second during that ride down the freeway with trucks, cars and headlights coming toward me at seventy miles per hour. I decided that I wouldn’t try to dodge anyone but keep my car straight and moving forward, praying they would see me in time to dodge out-of-the-way. That decision is what saved my daughter Christy, and grandchildren, Hunter, Austin, Taylor and my life. The song Jesus Take The Wheel has great meaning to me in so many ways now. My truck was totaled and my insurance provided me with a rental car. I have driven a pick up for more years than I can remember due to problems that Ankylosing Spondylitis has created for me.

This is where the real story about Ankylosing Spondylitis and me begins….

I went into Hertz rent a car to rent a vehicle to drive for a few days while my pick up was being repaired or replaced. I walked into the rental office and the young lady says may I help you and I tell her I need a car. She says do you want a compact, mid size, full size, or a large car, I was like uh? I need something to drive. Finally after much confusion I stated that I wanted a mid size car, seems now a days large doesn’t really mean large. When I was young and driving cars you could fit a family of five in a mid size car. Well let me tell you that is no longer true. I had no idea about cars or sizes I haven’t paid attention to them for years. So the nice young lady hands me my keys to my mid size car and off I go. My husband said that he would wait for me in the parking lot in his car, I told him it would probably take a long time. With keys in hand I go in the direction she pointed to. I later come up on a very small MID size car; thinking to my self how ironic in a society of over weight people, mid size sure looks small. I was trying to decide if I should swallow my pride and embarrassment and go back inside to the young lady and explain my dilemma. I knew there was no way I would be able to get into that car easily. I weighed the pros and cons of this for a few minutes and came to the conclusion I was just too embarrassed to go back in and explain that I wasn’t able to get into that car easily. I decided to deal with it; I mean, it was for only a few days after all. I opened the door and realized it was worse than I thought it was going to be, but my shame and pride wouldn’t allow me to go back in. I decided to lay the seat back as far as it would go and then lay down as far as I could and try to slide in. It only took maybe ten minutes to manage this slick maneuver. So there I was in a parking garage in a strange car lying down in the front seat struggling to close the door.

Please stay tuned for your Public Announcement:

Always put the keys into the ignition of a vehicle you are unfamiliar with, before getting in to drive.

So anyway there I am lying down in the front seat of the car, I struggle to sit up and close the door, which I finally managed to do. So far so good, easier than I thought, yeah right.

I then leaned back in the seat to grab the handle that brings the seat forward, all this time still holding the keys in my hand; bad idea let me tell you. I struggled with the handle and then finally POP goes the seat, flying a hundred miles per hour to the upright position, slamming me against the steering wheel and in my shock and surprise I accidentally drop the keys.

I can hear you saying big deal what is the problem?

So there I am with my face against the steering wheel and the keys on the floor and the button out of my reach, my arms per portioned correctly to my body of course ,are still too short to reach the button or the keys. It would have been easier if Ankylosing Spondylitis hadn’t fused my spine into a bamboo spine that doesn’t bend or turn. I see the light going off in your head now! Exactly. I can’t bend or twist to reach the button or get the keys.

Hey! I can honk the horn. I am full-figured so it shouldn’t be hard to push the horn, only that my extra padding takes up room and room is not a luxury in a mid size car. I can’t lean back or forward enough to push the horn. So there I am, stuck in a car, in the middle of a parking garage, door closed, windows up and no air conditioning. It won’t be long till Ronnie misses me and comes looking, or will it?

Tick tock, I can’t even watch the clock! You ever wonder just how long a minute really is? Well let me tell you a long time! I began to wonder how long does the oxygen last in a mid size car. How long can I last in a hot car in the middle of a parking garage in hundred-degree weather? Finally after hours, actually around twenty minutes the door of my car opens and I hear, what are you doing? If I hadn’t been so happy and relieved to see him, I would have said, relaxing in the sauna. He was visibly upset when he realized what had happened, we laugh about it now, and then also, but it was a serious situation or could have been. Well he made me go in the rental office to tell the lady my dilemma, which was humiliating to say the least.

There are times the rage I feel toward Ankylosing Spondylitis is shocking to me.

So I politely asked may I have that in a large please? The young lady was so kind and understanding and compassionate she didn’t even change the cost of the larger car rental, which cut into her commission. Reminding me that there are still kind people in the world.

The pictures below are of an AS friend of mine named Rick, who was generous enough to allow me to use his pictures showing the difficulties that Ankylosing Spondylitis causes for us when dealing with vehicles.

Here is the link to find out more about Rick,  Thank you so much!


2 Responses to “I’ll Take A Large, Please By Cookie”

  1. I wavered between laughter and sadness, Cookie, what a dreadful experience x

  2. Jackie i was in the same spot! Didnt know if I should laugh or cry.
    I think back now and still feel the same!
    Much love!

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