Disasters / Emergencies, In-House Counsel

Moonlighting: A Brief Moment That Took Me Out For A Year

Hello loyal ATL readers. I’m back! I’ve been on somewhat of a forced vacation during this past year. That is, of course, if by “forced vacation” we mean “involved in a tragic scenario where I barely made it out alive.” To put it lightly.

Almost exactly a year ago, I was cruising on the highway on a clear Sunday morning. I took a bite of my breakfast sandwich and started to place it down onto the area between the front car seats that’s intended to hold things. But as my hand descended, I felt the sandwich start to come out of the wrapper. I looked down and fumbled around with the thing to prevent it from becoming a big freaking mess all over the car. It was literally just a few seconds and I didn’t even realize that I was no longer looking out the front windshield.

The car drifted toward the right and I jolted when the front right corner of my car hit the highway barrier. My first thought was, “Geez, I’m not gonna be able to hide that one from Michael.” The car then careened over toward the left side. I tried frantically to steer it in the opposite direction, but it had no impact on the leftward course of the car. It crashed mightily into the cement median and came to a dead stop.

Needless to say, it was not a good morning. I mean, I only had one bite of my sandwich and I did have a big mess all over the car…

I also had a spine that was broken in three places and had to undergo a spinal fusion surgery the next day. Five of my vertebrae are now fused with titanium rods into a single long bone. (On the positive side, I now have excellent posture!) Besides my spinal injuries, my back muscles were not in such great shape either. To quote my ER surgeon, it “looked like something exploded in there.” I’m pretty sure that was medical terminology he was using.

Among some of the other more minor injuries, I had lacerations around my mouth from the airbag and needed about 60 stitches. Amazingly, the scars aren’t very obvious. At least that’s what Michael tells me and I’m sure he’s being totally objective and honest about it. And in case he isn’t, thank goodness someone invented concealer.

I’m recounting what happened because I hope that when people read about it, they’ll be a little bit more careful behind the wheel. Thankfully, no other cars were involved and I was the only person who was seriously injured.

So I got myself a forced sabbatical from work and from Above the Law. I was fortunate that my spinal cord wasn’t damaged in any way and that I’m not paralyzed. But I spent a lot of time during recovery flat on my back and reflecting on my family, friends, what TV series I should watch next, etc. (i.e., on the truly important things in life). There was a lot of tedious rehab involved during the past year, along with contraptions devised by the devil, such as a back brace. There was also a cool, sci-fi-like device called a bone stimulator that sends painless electrical impulses to encourage bone growth.

As you may expect, I did end up focusing more on my health and well-being. I did things I said I’d never do in a million years like become an almost-vegetarian (almost because it’s seriously hard to give up sushi for, you know, forever). I started doing deep breathing and meditating. And resolved to cut out stuff that was cluttering my life and preventing me from spending time on things I really care about.

Luckily, during that time of introspection, I didn’t discover that I hate my job or writing a blog. (Although, I must admit it was pretty refreshing to have a break.) So here I am. For those of you who are newish to ATL and haven’t had the pleasure before, here’s a link to my previous posts. I write about working as an in-house lawyer — what it’s like, tips, challenges, etc. Sometimes, I even get off my butt expend some extra effort and actually check with in-house lawyers as well, and then bring all of that collective wisdom and experience to one cool blog.

For now, I’ll be writing once a month and increasing the frequency over time. As always, please feel free to let me know if you have any questions or if there are topics you’re interested in seeing covered here. No guarantees though, as I may be behind on House of Cards. I mean, spending quality time with my loved ones.


Susan Moon is an in-house attorney at a travel and hospitality company. Her opinions are her own and not those of her company or anyone she works with. Susan may share both her own and others’ experiences (especially the experiences of those who have expressly indicated to her that they must not under any circumstances be shared on ATL). You can reach her at SusanMoonATL@gmail.com and follow her on Twitter at @SusanMoon.

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