On a sunny Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago, my husband and I went for a drive for a change of scenery. We were trying to get me out of the house since I had been looking at the same walls for a few too many days. Just an ordinary day…except for an ER visit earlier that morning.
They say that things happen for a reason and I’ve always been a firm believer in that. It most definitely was the case that day. When we left the house we almost turned and went a different route…twice. Instead we followed our original plan. As we turned onto a winding, county road and were driving along, I suddenly noticed a woman standing in the middle of a hayfield. She was frantically waving with one hand and had a cell phone in the other.
My heart instantly sunk and then I looked a little closer. Someone was on the ground. I instantly screamed for my husband to pull over. In under ten seconds, I transitioned into a Registered Nurse again. With my ER and trauma experience alongside me, I grabbed the first aid kit that is always in my trunk. Racing to the field and getting closer yielded the next sight that nobody ever wants to see; someone was doing CPR.
Assessing the scene and assigning jobs to people as they arrived made me so thankful that people were willing to lend a hand. I was instructing bystanders on rescue breathing and checking on how long each person had been doing CPR. My gut so badly wanted this injured man to suddenly have a pulse, stand up, and walk away from everything unharmed. My mind knew better though. The injuries were too severe.
During everything, I started paying attention to a second person who was acting very agitated. Suddenly, my heart stopped momentarily as it dawned on me that this was another person that had been in the accident.
Instantly I hollered for a couple of people to help and we got the second injured person to the ground while I maintained immobilization of the neck. The screaming that emerged upon kneeling made me sure that there were definitely broken vertebrae somewhere.
A police officer showed up; his face turned white as a I rushed to see if he had an AED with him. He didn’t, but said that he would do anything that I wanted him to. My gut was telling me that this was the first bad accident of his career.
After what felt like hours of hearing sirens, but never seeing an ambulance, one finally arrived. In actuality it was twenty minutes. Welcome to rural America, where the ‘Golden Hour’ is something heard of, but rarely obtained due to distance from healthcare facilities.
There were now two patients, several bystanders, and ONE ambulance. A helicopter was what we desperately needed. Several minutes later I felt the familiar vibration in my chest from the roar of the blades as our precious lifeline touched the ground.
We continued to work; all of us willing with all of our hearts for even an ounce of life to emerge. It did. Twice. The helicopter was loaded and headed quickly to the trauma center. Prayers were sent up with them. Before leaving, the flight physician, nurse, fire department, and EMTs, all discussed that if there hadn’t been a medical person on scene immediately that this would be a different outcome.
As my husband and I walked away from the scene, my eyes were brimming with tears. My heart so deeply wanted to believe that this man was going to survive, but my brain knew differently. A wife lost a husband that day, a mother and father lost a son, siblings lost a brother, and numerous people lost a wonderful friend. A life was saved that day also.
The words from a poem kept going through my mind.
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright. I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more. I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive. I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger. I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting. I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess. I wish you enough “Hello’s” to get through the final “Good-bye.”
A piece of my soul was also left in that field. It was selfish, but I had gotten to experience being a nurse again. A glimpse of my life before illness, back to when life was still…life. One more dance as a nurse. “Life’s a dance, you learn as you go. Sometimes you lead and sometimes you follow. Don’t worry about what you don’t know. Life’s a dance you learn as you go.” ~John Michael Montgomery