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Vicki Gunvalson: I Had Immediate Pain in My Back and Neck

"I was scared that I was paralyzed or had permanent neck damage."

By Vicki Gunvalson
Tamra Loses Control of a Dune Buggy

Welcome back to my blog. I'm sorry I have missed a week from time to time, but this week was important for me to write about.

How to Watch

Watch The Real Housewives of Orange County on Bravo Thursday, July 11 at 9/8c and next day on Peacock. Catch up on the Bravo App.

When I watched the news of Meghan and Jim finding out they are pregnant, it was so exciting. She is at the perfect age to start a family and I know she will be a great mother. She went through a lot to get pregnant, and receiving the call that her test was positive was all worth it. It's tough to know what Jimmy was really feeling once he heard the news, but I have to believe he is ecstatic. There is nothing that bonds a marriage more than having a child of your own together and I am sure once their little baby is brought into the world his emotions will be different.

When I heard that Tamra wanted to go to Glamis and asked me to go with the ladies, I was ok with it, but really wasn’t something that was on my bucket list of things to do. I had a few friends that really liked going out there, but I had always heard it was really dangerous which made me a little apprehensive.

I had asked my son Mike if he wanted to join me because I didn’t want to go by myself and he said, “Mom, haven’t you heard how many people get hurt and die out there?” He had no desire to go, so I just decided to go by myself. I wasn’t super excited about it, but really felt it would be good for me to bond with the ladies so that was my incentive to go.

When I found out that Meghan wasn’t coming, I actually understood and in hindsight was thankful she didn’t. In regards to Shannon, I figured she’d find a way to get out of going and I was right. I call “BS” on her pulmonary doctor saying he didn’t want her to go.  

Hindsight, it was a good decision made by Shannon not to go because we all just wanted to have a nice time with no drama. For some reason I just think we would have continued to have unresolved issues which would have put a huge damper on the trip.

Now onto the accident...when I watched it along just like all of you did, I realized there were so many things that I was unaware of that were happening because I was so “out of it”. I don’t know how Kelly didn’t get more hurt than me when her helmet flew off the way it did. We are so fortunate, so blessed and so grateful it wasn’t worse than it was. Kelly and I both were talking about how claustrophobic we were in those big helmets and we both were really uncomfortable in them. We loosened out straps to make it not so tight around the chin, but they were still strapped on. I have no idea how Kelly’s helmet was thrown off her head without her being injured. She definitely had an angel watching over her.

There were times when we were on the dunes that were really fun, but I never truly had a sense of calmness. There were so many dune buggies going so many different directions and my fear was that we would get in an accident by hitting one, not rolling. Rolling over never crossed my mind even though I have heard it has happened to many people.

When Tamra told us she was going to another area of the dunes called the “bowls”, I had no idea what that meant. When we went over the top of the dune all I could see was huge hills for miles and miles. It was beautiful for a moment, but it also looked very scary.

When we went over the top of the dune, it appears that the wheels hit the sand dune side ways and then ended up rolling over and down the hill. I just remember sand flying in my face, loud crunching of metal and all of us screaming and then I had immediate pain in my back and neck. I felt it was happening in slow motion, and thought we were never going to stop rolling. Carrie Underwood sings a beautiful song “Jesus, Take the Wheel” and Tamra and all of us think JESUS actually did take the wheel and protected us so we were not more severely injured. Whenever I hear that song now, I think of the accident and how fortunate and blessed that none of us died. Looking back now almost four months later, it was THE scariest time in my life.

Vicki and Tamra Get Taken to the Hospital

When I watched this episode, I do not remember going into the helicopter, I don’t remember getting the IV morphine drip, I don’t remember asking how badly injured Tamra was and I don’t remember Heather and Kelly watching over me the way that they did. I believe the four of us have a forever bond because of this near death experience and realize at any moment in time one of us can be taken from another. I am grateful for my friends and realize how much they all mean to me. Although I was alone heading to the hospital in the helicopter, I knew they were there in spirit.

Watching Meghan and Jimmy get the phone call about the accident was sad for me. I was shocked that they didn’t get in their car and head over to the hospital to be with me. I guess this is where people's true colors show, it's what happens when no one is looking. It’s called compassion. It’s called doing the right thing, being there for someone in need. I have known Jim and Meghan now for almost two years, and Meghan’s choice of not going to be with me because we weren’t “friends” was shocking. I don’t care if we are “friends or not”, we are acquaintances and we spend a lot of time together and for them to make the decision not to be there for me was selfish. I had no one there for me when I got to the hospital. It was a 45 minute helicopter ride until I got to the hospital. I was scared that I was paralyzed or had permanent neck damage. My neck and back hurt so bad, it was frightening. The medics cut my clothes off me. I had no shoes, no purse and no one with me. I have thought long and hard on this since the accident and if that happened to any one of my “friends” regardless how close we are at the time, I’d be on my way there to be with them. I am in shock at the choices some of these women make in the time of a crisis. It’s integrity, it’s the character of the person. When I got to the hospital, Briana had already spoken to the nurse and they informed her I was arriving by helicopter. My daughter was at home not feeling well herself and she was willing to get in the car with her two babies and drive two hours to be with me. After several CT and MRI scans, I was released about nine hours later and diagnosed with severe concussion and neck injury. I had to take a car service home from the hospital all by myself, late at night with no shoes, no purse and nothing on but hospital scrubs and hospital socks. Not exactly what I had expected when my friends were so close by.

Tune in next week to see how Shannon decides to handle the situation. For this week, I thank God for protecting all of us and for being our protector in this horrible accident. I am thankful and grateful.

Riding an dune buggy in Glamis – bucket list? I’ll check it off anyway. ✔

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Accidents and death happen unfortunately daily. Be sure you protect your loved ones in the event there was an unforeseen passing.

Have a great week.


Follow me on Twitter @vgunvalson

Instagram @vickigunvalson

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