Friday, January 9, 2009

Feeling Lucky

This evening as I was driving home from work I witnessed a pretty bad wreck.  I was on the interstate and out of the corner of my eye ... in just a split second ... I saw a white car coming over the median airborn towards me.  In just that split second I was slamming on my brakes, not even thinking of what was behind me.  The little red pickup truck that was beside me, was in front of me just enough that the white car hit it head on.  70mph.  Immediately upon impact, both cars started spinning, and I drove straight between them as they twirled into the ditch onto opposite sides of the interstate.  Debris was flying and landing on my car, and I was driving through broken pieces of headlights and windows. 

I immediately came to a stop and ran back to help, and the man in the car that came to a stop beside me caught up with me, and told me that he was a off duty police man.  As we ran I told him that I was a nurse and ask him what he wanted me to do.  I went to the white car while he ran over to the red pickup truck.

The young man in the car was very dazed and in pain, but completely oriented and awake.  He is very lucky.  I stayed with him as other police officers arrived and gave them my report as they radioed the medics that were coming in a ambulance.  He had no visible injuries, but felt like his chest was crushing and had a excruciating back and neck pain, and his fingers were tingling.  He was able to tell me that two years ago he had broken his neck in a diving accident.  I held his head against the backrest to stabilize it with one hand while holding his hand with my free hand.  He was moving everything, but breathing shallow.  His heartrate was stable and he didn't appear to be going into shock.  Most likely he'd slammed against the steering wheel since he was still upright in his car.  His seat beats had sheared with the impact.  How he stayed in that car could only have been God's gift to him.  His windows were gone.

As the medics arrived and started working with him, I wished him the best and walked away.  I think every emotion I had came out as I got back into my car.  I had come so close to being the other victim, instead of the woman that he'll remember as the one that held his head and hand and prayed for him when he had a wreck on I-164.

He had told me that his wife was pregnant and this is his first child.  He ask me to call his Mother.  I silently prayed for him and told him that he was a very lucky young guy.  I think I'll always remember that look on his face when he ask if he was going to be okay.  He had the face of every Mother's son ... and the face of every young child's Father.  I saw my own children in his face as I thought about how in a split second of time, how life can change.  How fleeting life really is ... and how we don't know what our tomorrow's will bring.

I thought about how I was just driving carefully along and how in just a brief second of time, I was spared from being in the accident, and if I had been ... would I have lived or been okay.  Would I have been as lucky as this young man ... or would my children have lost their Mother. 

As far as I know everyone will be okay.  The driver of the red pickup truck and his child was lucky too.  They walked away.  Shook up ... but very lucky.  As I drove away from the crash site I could see all the flashing lights in my rearview mirror ... and I called his Mother on my cell phone and gently told her that Matt had been in a wreck ... but was very lucky and appears to be okay.  That is probably the best news that she could ever get.