Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Night We Met Joe

Scott has really been too tired to post about our weekend. I told him that I would prefer his take on things, but he insists I can tell it just as well. I'll give it a try. I have no photos to post for this story, as the taking of them would have been, shall we say, tacky.
Saturday evening, right at dusk, I was giving Gloria a bath. I was mildly irritated that I had all the kids to bathe and none of them were really wanting to do it. Scott was engrossed in a book about edible plants, so I huffily went about the task at hand. I heard something odd, but it didn't really register what it could have been. I casually glanced out the window and saw sparks going down the edge of the road. My first thought was, "It's an odd time for fireworks." Then I heard what I thought was a disgruntled cow. We hear that from time to time because of the field across the street. At the same time, I saw a man emerge from the ditch carrying something. At this time, I knew something was up. This really all happened in probably less than a second. I knew there had been a motorcycle out there (I cannot remember if I heard it or saw it, but I knew there had been one passing by.) So I stuck my head out of the bathroom door and said (my exact wording), "Scott, go in front of the house." I didn't know how to say what I had just seen, so that was all I said. He responded with, "What?", to which I said, "Go outside and see if something happened in front of our house." He went out (no shoes), and as soon as the door opened, I knew that the cow sounds were a man's screams. I saw him dialing 911 as he ran down the driveway. I let him go alone (shouldn't have) because I had a little one in the bathtub, and I didn't want my kids to come out and see anything disturbing. My immediate prayer was, "God, please send someone who knows how to help," as well as, "Oh, God, please don't let him die."
Scott made it to the end of our very long driveway in record time. The man was carrying a little girl. They were both covered in blood, but there was no deep lesion, no spurting blood, etc. The man would not lie down. He was running frantically around, even into the road, and calling for help. The motorcycle was in the ditch, so to passers-by, it appeared that 2 people were just standing by the road talking. And when you are driving 60 mph down a country road, you just don't notice blood. Scott said he was afraid the man would be hit by one of the cars. He finally convinced the man to lie down, and stopped a car so the driver could help stop traffic. You can imagine his surprise when a woman jumped out of the car in scrubs with a stethoscope around her neck. She was a trauma nurse. Scott said at that moment, she was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen. He really can't remember what she looked like at all, just that she was beautiful. Understandable, considering the situation. She was able to talk to the dispatchers and tell them the vital signs of the 2 people so that they could determine what kind of help would be needed. The man and his five year old granddaughter were both conscious and talking. The little girl said over and over that she was going to die. The man told Scott his name, his granddaughter's name, and that they had hit a deer. It jumped right out in front of them. He rode the motorcycle briefly after he hit it, holding his granddaughter up as high as he could and trying to keep his leg off the road. Then the foot pedal, or whatever it is called, caught the road and they were both thrown from the motorcycle and into the ditch. The man, Joe, lives less than a mile up the street from us. One of the persons who stopped to help went to his house to get his wife.
The emergency vehicles arrived: 2 ambulances, 2 police cars, and a firetruck. It was determined that the 2 needed to be taken by helicopter (LifeFlight) to a major hospital in Nashville. Scott helped to clean up the scene, even working with 3 other men to lift the motorcycle onto a trailer and drive it to the man's house. He came inside emotionally drained 2 hours after the ordeal began.

While this was happening, with 2 bloodied people on the ground and emergency vehicles everywhere, the next-door neighbor (an elderly crazy lady) stopped to tell Scott that he was a bad neighbor and was causing problems with the other neighbors. She said that our refusal to grant someone a permanent easement through our front yard was not neighborly (it was not her, there is a temporary easement, and we are on good speaking terms with the person who lives in the house that needed an easement) and she said that Scott's dad swore at her over a squirrel. Now, my father-in-law might swear at my husband, but he would never swear at an elderly lady. And the very fact that she addressed this while there were people on the ground possibly dying proves my point that she is crazy.
This was followed up by an extraordinarily LONG Sunday at church, with more personal attacks. It is not really something that I should address in a blog, but suffice it to say I clearly understand why the unchurched have such a low opinion of church-goers. "Church people" can be very very ugly, and I would go so far as to say that some are even working for the enemy. Sunday evening as we returned home from church, we saw that the lights were on at the house of the accident victim. We did not want to intrude as it was 10:30 at night, but the front doors were open, and we desperately wanted to know how Joe and Hannah were. We pulled into the driveway, and a young lady came out of the house. We said we were there to check on Joe and Hannah, and she told us that they had been released from the hospital just an hour before. She invited us in. We sat in Joe's living room, as he was covered in bandages and we praised God together. He has a great testimony to share of how God has worked in his life, long before his motorcycle accident. He said that when he picked his granddaughter up out of the ditch, he felt the hand of God wrapped around him. Scott told him that it was obvious God was watching out for them- the way he didn't get hit when he walked out in the road, the trauma nurse getting out of the first car that was stopped, and being released from the hospital the day after being lifted there by helicopter.
It's great to have a new friend who lives just down the street. It's a shame he had to crash his motorcycle in our front yard for us to meet.
Scott has ordered a new and more complete first aid kit (with cervical collars) and we are looking for a first responder course to take. Just in case this ever happens again.


Tish said...

What an amazing story. I'm glad that everything turned out well. I think it's great that you're considering a first responder course. I have been certified in CPR and First Aid for 7 years now. I go through the American Red Cross program for both each year. You should look into their options. Good luck!

Don and Lynn said...

Wow, what a night! I worked as a nurse in the ICU for 5 years with a brief stint in the ER/Trauma Unit. If you're not accustomed to that scene, it's really nerve rattling. My husband was driving to work a couple years ago and witnessed an SUV leave the road and slam into a HUGE tree. He stopped along with another person and helped the people. The mom (driver) was already out of the car screaming for someone to help her boys. The one in the front passenger seat was pinned by the dashboard which took the brunt of the big tree falling on it. Don just tried to keep him awake and kept telling him not to look at his legs which were very messed up, there was no way to remove him. The other two were knocked out in the 2nd row. Due to the impact he couldn't open their doors to get to them, so he had to crawl through the busted back window to check them. One of them had a head injury. Don helped the firefighters cut the tree and remove it from the truck. He then had to hold an IV bag while they tried to extricate the front passenger. He said the boys legs looked really bad. He had to turn away when they were lifting him out of the truck. We kept in touch with the family and unfortunately, the boy in the front lost one of his legs below the knee, but everyone survived-thank God! You never know when something like that is going to be thrown at you!