I was at the rear of my minivan, the gate up to put groceries in. I had one foot on the ground (in NON rubber soled shoes) and one in the air to balance me as I bent forward to drop bags of groceries in the rear of the vehicle. I places one hand on the frame of the door area, with what happened to be ONE ring finger pad touching the actual metal of the car, the rest grabbing onto the plastic material and rubber door seal. The lightening struck. Everything went absolute WHITE, then black, then it was all surrounded by halo’s in rainbow colors. The sound was instant and deafening, yet I felt it rather than heard it.
I quickly shoved the rest of the groceries in the car and got in. I called my hubby as I began to drive toward home. I told him I thought I was just struck and said the only thing that hurt was my finger- which felt like a bacon grease burn X10,000. In fact, it was ash white. As I spoke to him I started to realize I was not feeling so well and my chest was starting to hurt. I called the nurse line while I drove and they BEGGED me to pull over immediately and call 911. I told them I was about 1/2 mile from my hubbies office and I would go there and let them do anything. I also knew the hospital was only a few blocks past that and that I could be there quicker than they could get an ambulance to me. By the time I got to my hubbies office my chest really hurt and I felt quite weak. He rushed me to the ER and ran home (I had a LOT Of frozen and chilled foods, a whole months budget worth in a hot summer car!) to put them away and pick up kids from the bus.
I walked into the ER, signed in, told them I thought I was struck by lightening and they said have a seat. I had almost made it to the chairs when I was suddenly surrounded by people, shoved into a wheelchair and whisked away. They were stripping me before I even got to a private area and were slapping those leads on me like I was a sticker book for a 4 year old with a lifetime supply of stickers.
In the end, my blood work confirmed that I had indeed been struck and I had significant tissue damage. I remember feeling that jolt go up my arm, through every joint, to my neck and then out- that shoulder hurt for months as the tissue tried to heal.
They said the reason the nurse line wanted me to pull over is that after a lightening strike, even an indirect one, your brain can simply shut down- like a bad PC. Your heart will just stop and you will stop breathing with NO warning. This risk lasts approximately 4-6 hours after the strike.
What saved my life was that I had been doing some serious walking recently. I had noticed feeling disconnected and a little like I was kind of short circuiting lately. I had been drinking my water and eating a higher sodium diet to avoid washing it out, but NO one told me that our potassium washes out as easily!! I had a nearly fatally low level of potassium in my blood. Potassium is the lubricant for our nervous system. Since mine was not lubricated well (the short circuit feeling I had been experiencing lately) it actually stopped the jolt from the damage it could have done. The likelihood of severe damage or death was SIGNIFICANTLY higher if I had not lost so much potassium according to the docs and the blood work.