Friday, October 14, 2011

Car Accidents & Boat Lifts

                                                                                 {image source}

A month ago I pulled up on a horrible car accident. It had happened seconds before I got there. I remember being confused by the commotion ahead of me and wondering what in the world was going on. Then I noticed a young boy, about 9 or 10, being pulled from the back seat of the car. A woman had her arm around him and ran him to the sidewalk. I used to be an EMT and worked on the Ambulance in Pleasant Grove. It's been A LOT of years. I felt my heart start to race. The last time I came upon an accident near this spot I walked up to the window and found the woman dead. It was an experience I will never forget! Every detail is etched into my mind.

As I ran toward the accident, my car left in the middle of the road, a man who had witnessed the accident pulled his head out of the passenger side of the vehicle and spun around quickly with fear in his face. I was the first person his eyes found. "Do you know CPR?" He yelled with panic all over his face.

It is funny how quick your mind can have so many thoughts and feel so many emotions. In less than a split second, I swear I pictured the motions of CPR and ran through the instruction and experiences I have had in these types of situation. A sort of internal check to be sure it would come back. Did I remember what to do?! My answer was an immediate yes.

See, I remember calls where I knew we were walking into a scary situation. It was always the unknown. If you are called out on a chest pain call 10 times a week, every single situation will be different. You never knew what you be facing. One time in particular, I was on call during the day shift. No one else had called in to cover it. Just me. That happened from time to time. Although, members of our team were everywhere and when they heard the call, they would respond, if they could. I remember the "Code 3" being called across the pager. Code 3 = Lights & Sirens aka "HURRY". I got to the station. The fire chief met me there. He jumped in the driver seat. I jumped in back to get the supplies we would need while we drove to the scene. I remember my heart racing. I was alone. It seemed my brain was blank. Cardiac Arrest was the call. What did I need for that again?! I wanted to have Chief stop and let me out. This was too much stress. What if I did something wrong? I didn't have my captain with me. A woman that had WAY more experience and knowledge than I.

I ALWAYS PRAYED! I had the knowledge. I had been taught what to do. I always asked the Lord to help me to be calm and remember what I needed to know to help the person we were going to see. Honestly, I couldn't have done it without that help. And just like every single  time I had ever responded to a call, the second I got to the patient, calm took over. The instruction and education I had been given was like 2nd Nature. I knew just what I needed to do. As I started to run through my checklist, my then captain arrived on the scene. She had been in the neighborhood when the call came in. We worked together and got this man the help he needed to get him safely to the hospital. I was always amazed how guided we seemed to be on so many of those calls.

These memories and the knowledge I gained about "Divine Intervention" gave me the peace and calm I needed as I ran around the car and weaved by way between the smashed up drivers side of her car and the van that had just smashed into her at 50 mph. The horns from both vehicles were blaring and frantic people ran around, it was almost too much noise to be able to think through. Sound like that certainly can ratchet up the intensity of a moment! I prayed in my mind. I knew the Lord was there to help me. THAT is why I would know just what to do. It is amazing how the world can seem to hold so still and move so slowly that these thoughts seemed easy to process, but in reality, only seconds had ticked by.

As I stuck my head in the window of the car, the woman had just taken a large gasping breath. We checked her pulse. It was weak, but it was there. She was totally unconscious and did not look good. She was in need of constant supervision until the ambulance arrived and we could safely get her out of the car. This man that witnessed the van run the stop light, without even a tap on his brakes as he slammed into the side of this little old Subaru, and I stood by keeping our focus on this woman. Others arrived to help. Interestingly enough, an old friend of mine who was also my captain for a time, stepped in to assist.

When the ambulance arrived I stepped back to the boy that was pulled from the car. He was young. He saw the accident coming, then he saw his mom slumped over the steering wheel. He was terrified. One of my greatest fears for my children. Watching him began to really cause me anxiety. I couldn't get over how scared he must be. Then I turned to the woman that I had seen running with her arm around him. She also had watched the accident happen. She stood next to him now. Her arm still around him. She never left him. Then I saw the drops of blood on her shirt. She had gotten them from the small cuts from the glass on this boy.

Something about that small scene really struck me. I thought about this woman, her day and schedule forgotten as she kept constant vigil over this boy as if she were his mother. She was so gentle and loving. He clung to her as if they had known each other forever, instead of just moments. He found so much comfort in her presence. There was also another woman that was there to help in anyway she could. A police chief swept in to comfort the boy and help him track down his dad. Back in the car, there were several EMTs carefully cutting the car open from one side, and trying to get at the woman still unconscious inside, from the other. It was like I could see this entire scene from the outside looking in. The whole picture.

All of this came to my mind the other day when I watched a clip from 9/11, about the "Boat Lift". So many people racing to help others. No matter their status or situation. They could only see humanity & those that desperately sought help. Frightened people covered in ash were greeted by willing helpers. People that were willing to risk their own lives to save even one, if they could. They saved nearly half a million!

The combination of these two events shows the true nature of people. In our busy lives we quickly run from one thing to the next, without much attention spared for the day to day needs of those around us. Sadly. However, in moments like these we are all inspired, by the actions of others, to reach out and do more to lift the burdens of others. We can also find comfort in knowing that if we were in the situation of need, the goodness in people will shine on us, when we need it most.

Heaven forbid we should ever face my fears of being in an accident, like the one I witnessed. I hate to think of my kids experience the sort of fear I could see in that little boys face. That being said, bad things happen to good people all the time, everywhere, in any situation you can think of. We are mortal. We get sick. We get hurt. We get scared. I am not naive enough to think that I or my family will live a life of invincibility, where nothing will ever harm us or make life more difficult. I don't think that because we have all gone through such a difficult experience of losing our little Dawson that We will now live out the remainder of our mortality in some sort of bubble of immunity. Of course it won't. And I wouldn't want that to be the case. Experience, good and especially hard, can bring the greatest amount of change and growth into our lives. Losing our son & my kids' brother...certainly the most difficult thing we have experienced. It's impossible to put our feelings about grief into words that would do it justice. Likewise, it would be difficult to adequately explain the peace in our lives that has come through this experience as we have learned and gained a knowledge about the true Eternal nature of our souls, our purpose & our Heavenly Fathers divine plan of happiness and salvation.

We have learned that through every experience, the Lord is constantly vigilant. When we reach toward Him, He will expand our knowledge and faith. When we push away, deceived into thinking that hardship is a sure sign that He doesn't listen to or care about us, WE step away from the greatest opportunity for growth and peace in our lives.

In our moments of need....He will come and He will put in our paths those whom He trusts to help us through.

People are good, because there is divinity in all of us. We are His children! While we can't predict OR prevent the things we will experience in this lifetime, we can find a bit more peace in knowing that there will be others there to help us through.

Want to see the "Boat Lift"? It is worth your time! So amazing! So inspiring!


Ann T. said...

Glad you did not have to do CPR, but it is also good that you remember what to do. Those experiences make us who we are, and all the years of helping is ingrained in our beings. Thanks for sharing!

Missy said...

This was really beautiful, Amy. I wish more people in my life could come to the understanding that bad things happen to all of us, but inspite of that, the Lord still loves us and is mindful of us. So important.

Shari Traughber said...

THANK YOU! the whole entry was inspiring and to end with that amazing video..boat lift was awesome and INSPIRING!

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