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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.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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.”

Beth Moore

Involved in a Motorcycle Accident

Truth is like a lion

It was a beautiful, sunny and warm day in June of 2010 when I was driving Riley, with the boys in tow, to my friend Kim’s house. Kim, with her big fat math and science brain (and I mean that in the most complimentary way), taught Riley all of her High School math courses. Yes, we were blessed: Me, since I was a horrible math teacher who would have utterly failed the task, and Riley because she could understand her teacher and was able to learn and do well in math.

I was driving on a four lane highway in the left when all of a sudden in front of me, in the right hand lane, I saw a motorcycle rear ended by the car traveling behind it. I saw what was happening and I instinctively yelled to my children in a panicked out of breath voice, “Close your eyes—now! Keep them closed!”

The cyclist was hit, slammed against the hood and windshield of the car, bounced up in the air and came down hitting the front of the car. At that point the cyclist was pushed forward and rolled down the road. The car veered to the right to avoid hitting the cyclist again.

The unnatural positions of impact surely broke his back; maybe his neck.

“Lord, help him!” I pleaded.

“Guys,” I informed my children, “There’s been a terrible accident and you don’t need to see it. Pray.”

I instantly felt numb and nauseated at the same time due to watching, in what seemed like slow motion, an accident that happened in a matter of seconds.  There was one car in front of me in the left lane when I, along with all traffic, had come to a complete stop. There were already a couple of people out of their cars running to tend to the motorcyclist. Trembling; I dialed 911 on my cell phone and reported the location. I explained what I just witnessed and emphasized the urgency. I told the dispatcher that I did not know how a person could have survived what just happened and that I thought the motorcyclist would need a Life flight helicopter. When I hung up the phone I prayed with the kids for the man’s life. “A.J. and Colson,” I gently insisted,  “unbuckle your seat belts but keep your eyes looking down. Look down at the floor and do not look up. I want you to unbuckle and sit on the floor. Riley, do not look up sweetheart.”

Then I knew Jesus gently spoke to my very being: heart, soul, mind and strength— not audibly but in my spirit, “Go pray over him.”

This was the beginning of a back and forth dialogue between Jesus and me, all of which was done through the spirit without the kids hearing what was going on. The boys had found small buckets of manipulative toys I kept in the van for the times when we were sitting and waiting on Riley at extra-curricular activities.

“Lord,” I answered, “I don’t want to leave my kids alone in the van.”

He countered, “Go pray for him.”

“But I don’t want to see it. This is how an animal gets hit by a car…not…not a man.”

“Go pray for him.”

I opened the van door then without exiting the van, closed the door.

“Please, Lord, no? I can pray for him here in my van just the same as I can pray for him over there.”

“Child, I want you to go pray over him.”

I knew what Jesus wanted. He wanted me to go pray out loud over the man because a spoken word is powerful, but more importantly, God’s word is omnipotent. He has been teaching me the importance of praying scripture out loud for several years.

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21.

 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak. II Corinthians 4:13

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I told my kids I was going to go pray for the man and they were not to look out the windows. I asked Riley to please turn around and watch the boys. I opened the van door again and climbed out, took a step and turned around. Tears were in my eyes as I implored again, “I don’t want to see what happened. That (the accident scene) is too close.”

The Lord insisted, “I want you to pray for him; now.”

I took two more steps toward the accident then turned around. For the third time I turned back toward the man then turned back around to the van again. Once again, I turned back toward the man and turned back around. “Lord, my babies are in the van. I don’t want them to see this. I don’t want to see what happened and I don’t want to hear what is going on.”

He assured me in His always calm voice, “Go pray for him. You can do this.”

This entire conversation took place in less than ten seconds. It was amazing how fast the communication went.

The motorcyclist had not been alone when he was riding. He had a buddy on another bike who realized what happened. The buddy looked back at his friend lying on the road, turned his motorcycle around in the right lane and drove back. He got off the cycle and was on his side lying down on the ground facing his friend.

I thought of the scripture, “Where two or more are gathered in my name, there I am with them also.”  Matthew 18:20. I asked the lady in the car in front of me, “Do you pray?”

She responded with a, “Yes.”

I proposed that she join me so we could pray together and when she accepted we walked to the injured cyclist.  Another lady walked across the road from the oncoming traffic and identified herself as a nurse. She asked if anyone knew CPR or had given the hurt man CPR. We all, the buddy, myself, the lady from the car in front of me and another man, possibly the driver of the car, all said no. I told her I saw the accident and thought he could have a broken neck or back. The nurse began checking his vitals. I was aware that we still were not hearing sirens and I knew we were no more than two miles from a fire station. I was kneeling over the back of the hurt man. He had landed lying on his side. I again wondered if he had a broken neck, back or both. He was wearing a helmet and I could not see his face but I did see a pool of blood beginning to stream downhill which appeared to be coming from his mouth. He never moved from the time his body came to a stop on the road and I did not think he was conscious. His breathing was labored as he gasped for air through a gurgling sound in his chest; and I wondered if his lungs were punctured. I was overwhelmed and could do nothing but pray.

“Jesus, he needs help so we lift him up to you. Thank you that you live to intercede for us—for him. I ask…”

The buddy, looking up at me, angrily and authoritatively interjected, “You can stop right now! He wouldn’t want to hear a word you have to say and he wouldn’t agree with it or appreciate it!”

I looked at the buddy and slowly shaking my head up and down I acknowledged him, “I will respect that.”

The other lady and I removed ourselves to be out of the way since there was nothing else we could do. Walking toward her car I asked if she would still pray with me for the man  since he did not know Jesus as his Lord and Savior.  We both agreed that we still needed to pray for the man, now more than ever, so we stood beside her car and prayed.

“Father, I prayed, “You are the Lord, and there is no other. You speak the truth; You declare what is right. Satan has come to steal, kill and destroy and he is hoping to take this man as an unbeliever right now. Father, please don’t allow Satan this victory. We invite You to this place and ask that Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We ask in Your name, Jesus, that Satan and his demons be made to leave—NOW— and be kept away. We ask that this man be allowed another opportunity to accept You as his Savior. I don’t know how he will possibly survive without Your intervention and healing. ”

I do not remember what else we prayed at that time. This sweet sister –in-Christ and I took turns praying and she spoke in tongues while I prayed. I was thankful for the body of Christ and that we each are a different part of His body which together function for Kingdom purpose. When we were finished I thanked her. We told each other our names but I think her name went in one of my ears and out the other without ever being filed away in my brain.

I walked back to my van wondering what on earth, or in the heavenlies, God was doing. He had demanded my obedience to go pray for this man and when I did I was basically told to shut up and leave. I would have loved to have seen what was going on in the heavenlies at that moment.

Why were we still not hearing sirens?

I had kept my van in the left lane so other vehicles could not get through. I knew I was blocking traffic but my first interest was the hurt man. Besides other vehicles could turn left at the intersection behind us and easily reroute themselves.

I called Kim ever so quickly to tell her why we would not be keeping our Algebra appointment. She wisely insisted my children should not be there and said she would come and pick them up.

After several emergency response vehicles arrived in the west bound lanes I was asked to move my van to the right shoulder of the east bound lanes. The ambulance came and the fire truck arrived and parked diagonally across both lanes to keep traffic from getting through. Most traffic had rerouted and left, including the lady who had prayed with me. I thought I better stay in case the police needed statements from witnesses. I also knew God had not released me from praying over the situation.

DSCN3087

I took my scripture notebook out of my purse and began praying scripture over the man and his buddy. The ambulance had arrived but I was certain the man needed a helicopter if he stood any chance of surviving.

Next thing I knew, Kim was knocking on the van window. She quickly shielded the kids and took them to her van. She had parked in the Quik Trip convenient station parking lot and had walked a ways down through a ditch to my van to retrieve my children.

I again thanked God for her friendship. Treasure.

I continued praying scripture while the emergency personal did their jobs. I passionately and powerfully prayed scripture out loud like there was no tomorrow; knowing there may very well not be a tomorrow for this man.

I wondered why a helicopter was not here. There were police men taking measurements and pictures of the accident sight. Two of them were standing beside my van window so I rolled the window down and inquired if they would need a statement from witnesses. They reported there was another officer working on taking statements who would eventually talk to me. I then asked them if they knew what had caused the driver of the car to rear end the motorcycle and they divulged that the driver thought he had had a seizure because he could not remember what happened. I kept expecting to see some form of media coverage since there is ample supply of all forms in the metropolitan area but I never saw a reporter or photographer, other than a police photographer.

Kim called to let me know she had arrived at her house with my kids and from what she gathered, they had not seen anything. I mentioned my concern that a helicopter had not yet arrived and that the ambulance had not left the scene of the accident. She immediately informed me that the helicopter was sitting in the intersection behind me when she came to pick up the children. I looked in my rearview mirrors and realized all the vehicles behind me were now gone and there was not a helicopter sitting anywhere insight. I wondered how I managed not to hear a helicopter land, or leave, or notice all the vehicles behind me had turned around and left. Had the emergency personal managed to take the patient right past me to the Life Flight helicopter and I did not even notice?

The only people at the sight were those involved in the accident, the emergency personal and me. I got out of my van, walked over to an officer and asked if they needed a statement from me. He said they had enough information and would not need my statement so I went back to my van to leave.

As I began to turn around an officer motioned for me to wait. The fire truck was leaving which would allow access on the east bound lanes. As I passed the sight I saw what I could not see from where I had been parked and did not notice while I was out of my van. The motorcycle was still upright and attached to the front end of the car. The car’s front end had hooked over the motorcycle’s back tire and the seat was against the hood of the car.

All of a sudden I realized I was shaking, uncontrollably, and was not fit to drive my van so I pulled over at the next intersection to sit in the parking lot of a gas station until I calmed down. It had been over an hour and a half since the accident happened.

“Father, I so want to know what You are up to but I understand I may never know. You often place me in situations where I have to fervently pray for someone or something.  But this time was different. It was at Your insistence and not of my own accord. It is exhausting but I thank you for the opportunity of involvement in what You are doing.”

I continued to pray.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Next week I will continue with what I saw next, did next, prayed next, and what I found out about the man, John.