Motorcycle/Camry Accident and the ICU: Part 2
Last week I described the time I witnessed seeing a motorcycle rear ended by a car.
Although I was at the scene of the accident from beginning to end, I somehow missed seeing if the patient was placed in the life flight helicopter or in the ambulance. Did he die and; therefore, not need the helicopter?
When the fire truck, which had been blocking the road, pulled away I was able to continue on in the left land. I attempted to drive away but found I was extremely emotionally distraught and not ready to safely operate my van. I pulled over at the next intersection in a gas station parking lot.
“Why,” I asked, “Why is this so profoundly disturbing me?
All these thoughts went through my mind:
- He’s human just like me.
- He was created by the Creator and his life has value.
- Surely he has family. Someone loves him.
- He needs the Lord!
- He may die in this condition or may have already died and have no possibility of eternity with Jesus.
- Maybe he isn’t as injured as I think he is.
- Why don’t I take the Great Commission more seriously? This man is not the only one living in denial of, or rebellion to, the Lord. I should be this concerned about all of humanity’s eternal destinations.
- I hope my children never drive motorcycles.
I continued in prayer, asking God to not allow my thought life to be taken over by the images and sounds of this accident.
When I finished praying I called my sister, Chasady, to tell her about the accident. I hoped talking about it would help me stop shaking; perhaps be able to change the subject and move along in my day.
I get giddy when I’m upset and when I am retelling serious or traumatic events. It is a weird quirk, I know, but it is exactly what happens to me. I wish I could explain why I sound giddy when I am truly distressed.
While my sweet sister listened to me, in all my afflicted giddiness, the ambulance pulled away leaving a view to the two flatbed tow trucks called to the scene. One of the flat beds had the motor cycle and the other had the car.
The car! I saw the car involved in the accident and realized it was a new Toyota Camry and I had heard in the news about Toyota vehicles that were accelerating suddenly without warning and causing accidents and injuries. There was an investigation going on at the time due to law suits which had been filed against Toyota. Could that be the reason the driver did not remember or know what had happened? Did the car accelerate on its own or did the driver indeed have a seizure?
Talking on the phone was not helping me to calm down so I said goodbye to my sister and sat with my eyes closed while taking deep breaths and praying. After about ten minutes my shaking had subsided enough that I thought I could safely drive to Kim’s house to reclaim my children.
My plan was to retrieve my kids and go straight home; however, my nurturing friend thought it best for me to sit down, put my feet up and receive the warmed neck-roll she had heated up for me. She had also prepared a hot cup of calming Chamomile tea for me to sip. Then she listened to me tell some of what happened, minus the details of the injury, which were too troubling for me to think about. Kim prayed for me then I gathered my children and drove home, taking a different route.
I spent the next few days looking for the accident information: I turned on the five o’clock news hoping to hear about the accident and the fate of the cyclist; however, it never made it to television or radio news outlets. I looked online but could not find any report or article about the accident.
I continued praying for the man every time I thought of him which was obsessively often.
Knowing that in the St. Louis region St. Johns’ Mercy Hospital receives the highest level trauma victims I called the St. Johns’ emergency room. I explained to the person who answered who I was, what I had witnessed, the time and location of the accident and that the Life Flight helicopter had come for the patient. I clarified that I just wanted to know if he had lived. I was told that the helicopter happened to be cancelled after it arrived and that the ambulance delivered the man who, at this time, remains listed as a patient. “At this time,” was emphasized. I thanked the staff person for answering the question for me. After hanging up the phone I cried over the implication of, “At this time.”
Did the helicopter get cancelled because they knew it was too late to save him? Reviewing the accident in my mind was at least an hourly reoccurrence. I really wanted to get the images, sounds and thoughts out of my mind. Why was it affecting me this way? I kept praying for the man, his buddy and family members. Family. Did he have family? I wept and wondered why this mattered to me so much? I did not even know this man whom the Lord required me to go pray over. I did what was asked of me. It was over. Why could I not let it go? Why could I not stop praying for him?
I checked local newspapers online and finally found a small report about the accident which listed the man’s name. He was retired from his job and lived in a small town about an hour from St. Louis. The article did not mention family, did not have the accident accurately detailed, did not mention if there were any new findings regarding the driver of the car nor did the article mention anything about the ongoing investigation of Toyota vehicles that were accelerating suddenly without warning and causing accidents and injuries. The article did give me a name and with a name I could call the hospital to see if the man was still a patient. He was! Hospital information had him listed in ICU. No one answered in the ICU waiting room but the nurses’ station confirmed he was a patient and he was still alive.
My preoccupation did not stop with one telephone call. I called again that night and the next morning to find he was still in the ICU; however, late the next afternoon he was no longer a patient in the hospital. I rang the nurses’ station and told them I was a witness to his accident which was why I was interested in knowing if the man was moved to a different room or or if he had died. They informed me he was deceased and that he had never regained consciousness.
I cried again. I wanted to know, was he loved? Will he be missed? What kind of legacy did he leave?
I continued searching his name on the internet in hopes of an obituary or an update to the accident report. I found a brief notice of his death which placed his passing a day later than his last day in the hospital. I wondered, “Why was the date off by a day?” Next of kin was not listed in the obituary nor was a service or burial date.
I asked my brother-in-law, who happens to be a physician, about the discrepancy in the date of death. He told me it was possible the patient was discharged from the room and moved to an operating room to harvest organs if he was an organ donor; thus, making his death a day later.
I assumed death would be the end of my thought life fixating on the accident but it continued to consume me and I wanted to close this chapter of life and move on. Why did this bother me so deeply? I cried every time it came to mind. I felt so traumatized by something that had nothing to do with me.
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Little did I know God was going to renew a steadfast spirit within me. He had a tender moment in store for me.
God had also taught me a lesson that I would have to draw from; instantly, with no advance preparation in a mere six more months.
I had no idea what was coming—but God did.
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Until next time…
“One reason a morning prayer time is so critical
is because we never know when a matter is going to arise
that needs attention ‘at once.’ We don’t get to deliberate
about it for several weeks and study our options.
If we’re not surrendered to God already that day
with our hearts and minds guarded by scripture, we’ll
more likely react by impulse than by the Holy Spirit.”