Recovery, and finding time to volunteer | Home Again

By Joanne Peterson | Apr 24, 2019

It’s been over two weeks since my unfortunate adventure in the Seattle I-5 express tunnel on my way to a youth soccer game in Tukwila.

It was the last day of March. Rear-ended by a speeding Ram pick-up, my 2005 Toyota Camry – of which I was fond – was totaled. And I was totally shaken.

My Toyota had sentimental value. I gave my old Volvo to my son’s family and purchased the 2005 Camry from the estate of a dear friend. I named the car “The Spirit of Nancy,” and frequently thought of my friend as I drove it.

I came away from the wreck two weeks ago with whiplash, sore muscles and assorted new fears – about driving, about tunnels, about loud traffic noises, about whether I’d go to bed every night from then on with a headache and wake up with the same headache.

I didn’t realize that I’d quite soon be involved in too many insurance issues to keep straight. Talk about headaches!

Sitting in that tunnel, listening to the rear parts of my car and the front parts of the truck hitting the pavement, I knew that I hurt and was shaking – but I wasn’t bleeding. Mostly, I felt alone. Well, I WAS alone. It did not escape my attention that the three apparently uninjured people in the truck had each other. I envied them. (You already know this, but wearing seat belts saves lives. My seat belt bruised me, but it saved me from much worse injury.)

A therapist explained to me today at my first PT appointment that when a whiplash occurs, the head goes forward and the brain goes back. I appreciate simple explanations and can well imagine that’s what happens.

I did not anticipate the increasing brain fog, which seemed to creep over me the second week, often leaving me searching unsuccessfully for just one simple noun with which to finish a sentence or label an object.

Now I can better understand others who have tried to explain about their inability to come up with the right words, whether following a serious accident, chemo or other trauma. For me, it’s a bit daunting, but it’s also humbling.

Moving on, I want to thank the patient and skilled AARP volunteers who again prepared my tax forms at the Edmonds library. Please keep them in mind for next year. If you haven’t yet found something at the library that improves your life, keep looking.

And don’t overlook the Friends of the Library ongoing book sale, just to the right as you enter the library. The sale welcomes volunteers, who – after training – work a two- or three-hour shift once a week – substitutes also welcome.

Please speak to a volunteer on duty for information.

Speaking of volunteering, sometimes repetition gets results, so I’ll say this again: The Edmonds Food Bank has a huge need for drivers for food bank vehicles, volunteers who have a few spare hours and a sense that they’d like to be part of the devoted team that keeps the food bank operating.

Did I mention HUGE need?

Local grocers donate generously, but volunteers must pick up their food donations. Working to transport food for families who need a boost can enrich your life in great measure.

It takes only a few minutes to learn more about meeting this great need in your community – just call director Casey at 425-778-5833 or email her at

And, no matter where or what you drive, please be careful.

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