One of my biggest fears almost became reality for me at 6:30 tonight.
I’m still finding it hard to breathe and my chest hurts so bad.
I had a massive panic attack driving home this evening from an appointment.
Let’s just say, semi truck drivers are complete assholes. Wait, I shouldn’t say all of them since my favorite man in the world, My Dad, was a truck driver all my younger years.
This particular semi driver tonight was a complete asshole. One of my biggest, most irrational fears is that of being smashed into by a semi.
Well, it almost happened…..
My appointment was in a town about 35 miles from where we live. Everything is about 35 miles from where we live because we live in the middle of nowhere!!
So after going to my appointment, running by the grocery store and grabbing the pizza that my husband had ordered, I head home.
There’s an 18 mile stretch of highway before the only blinking traffic light in our whole county at a 4-way stop. About 8 miles from the 4-way I get behind a flatbed trailer and semi.
I see his trailer fishtailing quite a bit, then he starts going completely off the right side of the road onto the shoulder, then back into the lane only to cross the center line and be in the other lane as traffic is coming head-on.
This continues for several miles while I reduce my speed to about 59 and other vehicles are passing both of us at the same time. I’m honestly thinking that he has to be drunk. As we get to the 4-way stop, I’m really hoping he turns East or West and not be going North, where I’m going.
So after he sits at the stoplight for well over the normal limit, with no other cars in any direction, I honk. He doesn’t move. We had to have sat there for at least a minute or 2. Remember, no other traffic for miles.
I decide that he must be having truck trouble or he flat passed out, so I make the decision to go out around him, yes illegally, but what other choice did I have?
I am now on a county road for 10 miles until my next turn onto a highway. This is a super narrow county road with no shoulders and lots of little hills. I get about a mile or so North when I notice that the truck has finally moved, and he’s coming my way.
The speed limit on this road is 55. So I set my cruise on 60. Within another 2 miles, he’s rapidly gaining on me. I’m starting to get scared. We cross a river bridge and I am sure he’s going to ram me. I bump it up to 75. By now he’s so close to me that if I were to tap my brakes, he’s going to hit me.
I thought about pulling off onto a side road, but I couldn’t have done so safely at the speed I was now going. I no way could I have hit the brakes or he would have smashed into me.
I’m starting to have a massive panic attack now. Probably biggest one I’ve ever had. My oldest daughter is the only one who can bring me out of these, so I use my car’s Bluetooth to call her.
I start out the conversation with, “I’m so scared. I can’t breathe. I’m being chased by a semi. He’s so close to me, he’s going to hit me.” I’m met with her calm teenage voice telling me to calm down. I just keep repeating that I can’t. He’s so close to me I can’t see any of his front windshield in my mirror.
I’m about to pass out. Or throw up. I can’t get away from this guy. I’m keeping my daughter on the phone on the Bluetooth so my hands can be on the wheel as I’m now hitting 85. There’s no way for me to slow down, he’ll hit me.
Finally I tap on my brakes and I see him back off a little. I know I’m about 5 miles or so from the stop sign at the highway where I have to turn West. All of a sudden, he appears again. I’m back up to 75.
He’s going to hit me. I put my finger on the “end call” button on my steering wheel because I’m going to end the call before my daughter hears me get hit. We are a half a mile from the stop sign.
A deputy sheriff goes by us heading South. I think maybe he’ll light one of us up, but no such luck. He goes on South while I’m trying to figure out what to do at the stop.
I have just enough time to pause, while the semi is within inches of plowing into me. I scream to my daughter that he’s going to hit me and that I’m blowing the stop sign. I turn West and floor it. I’m about a half a mile from another car headed westbound too.
I get up to speed in enough time that the other car never really caught up to me. The semi, Thank God, let the other car go by before pulling onto the highway too. By now I felt a little safer with a car between us. My daughter had been on the phone with me the entire time, so I told her I’d let her go and be home in a few minutes.
It was just 1 more mile before I turned North again on another county road, and when I hung up from my daughter the radio started playing again. “Cowgirls Don’t Cry” by Brooks and Dunn was on. I turned that corner and started sobbing.
That song is my Dad’s ringtone when he calls my cell. I was crying so hard I was hyperventilating. I just wanted my Dad. I wanted to park my car and never drive again. That last 5 mile stretch into town was awful.
I pulled into the driveway, honked the horn, turned off the car and slumped over my steering wheel. I honked again so the girls would know I was home and to come get the pizza.
They opened the gate and came to the car, my oldest daughter opening my door. I’m sobbing hysterically and she’s just calmly rubbing my back. I can’t move. I’m frozen in shear fear. The little one is just looking at me with those huge eyes. See, I don’t cry and she’s never seen me like this.
Finally after a little reassuring and coaxing, I get out of the car. My oldest grabs the 3 bags of groceries and I grab the pizza. I make it in the back door, through my bedroom and to the kitchen counter before going back to my bed and just lay down, fetal position, sobbing.
My breathing is still extremely shallow and I’m feeling another panic attack coming on. My daughter texts my husband who is stuck late at work and asks him if he can come home, that I need him. He can’t leave, but he calls me and asks what’s wrong.
All I can do is cry into the phone and say I can’t drive anymore. He rationalizes it all out with me and tells me how to handle that situation correctly next time. And reprimands me for not calling the sheriff. I know I should have, but I also thought I was about to get smashed by a semi, I just wanted to hear my daughter’s voice.
Here it is, 4 hours later and I’m still tearing up. I have to go back to another appointment tomorrow morning, and there’s no way I’m going to be able to sleep!!
I hate anxiety, I hate driving, I hate being so traumatized from driving all the damn time. I wish I could say that I’ll get over it, but I’m afraid this event has left me scarred.