When the area gets heavy snow and ice, people are encouraged to stay home. Often, though, they don't. They go shopping. They buy stuff. And stores require restocking of products to keep up with the demand.
This means that people who work in delivery can't stay home when the weather is bad. Trucks still have to run when there is snow and ice closing schools. Even when the police strongly encourages everyone to stay off the roads, delivery drivers often still drive.
Because Pepsi still had to be delivered during the Northwest Arkansas Snow of 2011, HoneyBear drove his truck. He drove all over Northwest Arkansas. He even made it all the way out to Oklahoma. He had a few problems getting out of docks that were slick with ice since the stores don't as a rule clear off their docks - regardless of safety - but overall made it through the day. He made it back to Springdale and only had to get fuel and head back to the warehouse before he could come home, get warm, and relax after the stressful day.
I was looking forward to getting him home. I hadn't worried all day, but had been concerned, and was ready to have him with us and off the roads.
Instead, I got a call from him after I knew he was almost done. He had been in an accident. His truck had caught some ice and slid off the road. He was fine, but he had to wait for the truck to be towed.
Well. This was not good news, but my main concerns were his warmth ("Do you have enough fuel to keep the heat going?" "Do you have your coat on?") and how his boss would react. I wasn't overly worried, though.
Almost two hours later I started to get concerned. At 6:09 I finally got a text. He had been taken by ambulance to the hospital. (He had also gotten to play with the stuff in the ambulance. We had recently visited a fire station with our Cub Scout den and seen an ambulance, so we were seeing the fun side of the little ambulance adventure--or trying to see the fun side at least!) He didn't think we needed to go to the hospital because he had a ride back to the warehouse to get his truck.
With slick roads and it getting dark, I wasn't so sure driving home was such a good option, though. I started getting shoes on and having the boys get ready.
Then I happened to see part of the local news. Which caused me to grow really concerned.
The local news reported that there weren't many accidents in the area, but that one semi truck was still on I-540 and was about to be towed. It seemed to be a nondescript white semi, without the Pepsi artwork on the trailer I would have expected, so I didn't think much about it, especially since it had been several hours since the accident. Then I looked closer. There, on the door of the cab, was a Pepsi logo.
(It's very small in this image, but was more obvious on our TV. The images are from from 40/29 TV, and are actually grabbed from a segment later in the week on truck safety on the ice rather than the original segment I watched. They reused the footage from the accident, but said in the package it had happened in Bella Vista. After knowing the rest of the story, that was one more thing to shake my head over regarding the newscasts.)
This had to be HoneyBear's truck. This truck hadn't just slid off the road, though; this truck was jack-knifed. This truck was very, very close to the supports for the overpass bridge. This truck could mean my husband was not exactly as fine as he wanted me to believe.
I immediately started texting and calling, but didn't a response. I found out later that the state trooper was in his room in the ER filling out the paperwork, so it was understandable he didn't interrupt the trooper to text me, but I was getting seriously worried! Fortunately for my anxiety level at the time, the news segment had a follow-up a bit later in the broadcast. The reporter shared that "the driver" had been released from the hospital with no injuries. This was a big relief! If he had been released, he would be coming home soon. I stopped getting ready and just waited.
Unfortunately for my anxiety level, I was still not getting a response from HoneyBear. I started worrying again. Tyler tried to make me feel better by reminding me that the news said he'd been released, but he should have contacted me by that point. I was not feeling calm.
He finally got in touch with me from the ER. He was waiting on a CT scan. He had hit his head on the back glass of the truck cab, and the doctors were concerned. It was also starting to hurt. He had NOT been released as the reporter had said, and did not know when he would be released.
Of course this meant the boys and I would be going up to the ER. There was no way I would let him drive after dark in pain and possibly on pain meds. My vehicle was the 4-wheel-drive, and surely I could make it to the hospital and back once I got the car out of the snow pack of the driveway.
I did get the Explorer out, and we did make it to the ER. HoneyBear was finally released and given pain meds, with orders to rest for 24 hours. We were able to call our family and friends and let them know things were okay. After a long evening of worry and pain, we were all finally at home resting.
We all stayed in and relaxed the next day, with Pepsi even closing down for the day. Of course, this meant that HoneyBear wound up working Saturday with his co-workers rather than having a sick day, but at least he got a day to recover.
Tyler learned something very important from the event. He didn't understand why we were going to the hospital when the reporter had said Daddy had been released. He couldn't quite grasp yet that what they say on the news isn't always correct. It was a media literacy lesson that was important to learn, though I definitely would not have chosen that way of teaching it. It's one he may never forget.