June 28, 2009

Emergency Procedure

One of my responsibilities at our driving schools is to ensure that our curriculum effectively integrates with students, teachers and technology in the classroom. Being so submerged into driving curriculum (even though now I only teach in the classroom on a substitute basis) has given me an in depth look at many lessons that I'm sure I'd miss if I were just a student learning about it in a portion of a classroom session.

The scariest experience I had with a student was when we were on a two lane highway travelling in a no passing zone at 55 miles per hour (~90 km/hr). An on-coming car decided to ignore the law and pass a couple of vehicles. Um, yeah, that put him right in our lane. Head on. Fairly close to us. Terrible crash potential. Probably fatal.

Calmly, because I can be calm if I must, I took the wheel and guided our vehicle up the shoulder of the highway. Because really, there IS enough room for 3 cars side by side on a 2 lane highway if the drivers are smart about it. I asked my student if she saw the car in front of us. Her response? "Not until you took the wheel." That was the scary thing. She didn't even see him. This recklessly passing vehicle pulled into his lane just in time for us to not have 3 cars side by side and we took the next exit so that we could pull off the road and calm our nerves.

I sincerely believe that Heavenly Father watches over us. That doesn't mean that nothing bad will happen in our lives. But it does mean that if we prepare ourselves then potentially dangerous or frightening emergency procedures can become exciting adventures.

On Friday night, we went to a birthday party for the twins you see in Evan's birthday party post at his grave. My friend Amber was watching the kids on Friday while I was at work, so she brought the kids to work and picked me up for the party.

We got there and all was fun and games until someone crashed on a bike and sliced his head on a rusty nail.

Yeah, that was Jett. Now, we always tell the boys that we don't want to hear them crying unless there's blood. Well, there was blood...not a lot for the injury...but blood and a head wound none the less. We tried to clean it up best we could and then make the bandage in a fashion that would hold the wound together. But in the end the bandage popped off and so we decided to take him to a clinic. The cut doesn't seem so bad here...but the cut is deep and wide open. There was also a puncture wound in the middle of it.

My friend Erin looked up a couple of clinics that we could take Jett to. One was open 24 hours and the other closed at 8pm. It was just after 7pm and the one that closed at 8pm was down the street from some factory outlet stores. We figured if we went in and they glued his head by 8pm then we could go shopping until the stores closed at 9pm and then be home by about 10pm.

I was totally frustrated with the young receptionist who turned us away because they take their last patient at 7pm. What? Are you serious? It's 7:30, you close at 8pm, I have a 2 year old with a bleeding head wound sitting on your counter and you're not going to see us? She knew I was upset and asked, "well, have we seen you here before?" Like if I was already in her system then she could help us. Maybe I should have demanded to see her supervisor or the doctor that was there. I DID ask if she had some glue that I could self administer to my son. His wound wasn't that bad...but I did need supplies that are not readily available to anyone besides doctors. In the end, I figured that I didn't want to make a bigger stink about it than I already had. Jett could have a big scar on his forehead and I'd rather someone treat it that wanted to rather than someone who is in a hurry to get home and would do a lousy job.

So, no outlet mall for us. We headed 14 miles down the freeway to the other clinic. We got there a little before 8 and got out with Jett's head glued back together about 9:30pm.
My friend Amber and her son were with us and that was very helpful so I didn't have all the kids in the treatment room. I've done that before and it was miserable. Here's Jett all glued back together.
And what a fabulous bandaid. It's been on two days now and I just don't want to take it off. Jett has completely forgotten that it's there and doesn't pick at it at all.

On the way home, Amber and I decided to leave my car at work and Tymon and I would get it the next day. So, we were all together and traveling on one of the top 5 deadliest highways in the United States to get home. It's a two lane highway...curvy... rural and dark. About 5-7 miles from home my "check gauges" light came on. Nothing really looked weird to me on the gauges, except the battery one could have been on the low charge side. Remember, last week when we went to take Jovana to the airport the battery had died and so we couldn't all go together? So, it can't be the battery, right? We just put in a new one this week...nope...it's not the battery, but it IS the alternator which charges the battery. I just kept driving...then a few minutes later I asked Amber if it looked like my lights were on or not. So over the next mile or so my headlights fade to nothing. Yes, I'm on one of the deadliest highways in America in the complete dark with no headlights. We were on a long bridge with no shoulder. At least the guy behind me saw it happen and knew I was there. I made it past the bridge and decided not to pull off the road but to get as far as I could.

Then for me, something I'd never really considered happens. It's not just that I don't have lights. I also started losing speed and power. And then the power steering disappeared. The wheel was so stiff. I steered the best I could off the road and onto the shoulder. I called Tymon. While he was on his way, I called for roadside assistance. We made sure all of the boys kept their seat belts on as we had to wait on a dark, blind corner and we were feeling a bit vulnerable. Jokingly, I told Amber if she'd had more faith then her prayer to get home would've worked. Faith is one of the deepest principles in existence. And fortunately or unfortunately, sometimes what we want is not what's best for us nor what we get.

So, instead of feeling like we were full of bad luck, we made the best of our situation. Tymon saw our vehicle as he was passing us. It was so dark outside and the trees hid the sliver of a moon that was out. He expertly maneuvered his car into position to jump start us. It worked and we were on our way in no time. Well, I think we may have gotten half a mile down the road...only this time in a darker blind corner. We did the routine again but it took a bit longer to get the battery charged enough to go. The second jump got us up a hill and down an exit. That's when the car died again...I just coasted down the hill and steered as best as I could through a round-about and off to the side of the road. I didn't think we'd make it that far but we did. This third stop was under street lamps and across the street from a brightly lit car dealership. Much safer.

It's here that the tow truck driver found us and after a failed attempt to jump us again, he towed us down the street to another dealership. And it is here where our truck sits and waits for an alternator. We got home just after midnight.

Ahh, we are so blessed. Jett could have been seriously hurt. Our battery problem could have happened an hour away from home half way up the mountain pass. Amber and I could have been in separate vehicles. I could have been alone. We could have been in a worse place (though not a deadlier highway). Our cell phones could have lost reception. A car could have hit us while we were on the side of the road. Tymon could have not been able to come and get us to a lit place. Instead of panicking and complaining about our string of unfortunate circumstances, we were positive and enthusiastic. We were able to see the good and laugh about our predicament. Graeden and Elliott were ecstatic to be able to ride in a tow truck. We are so happy that all is well and especially that we have two cars that do work so that we can at least get the entire family to church...even if it isn't in the same vehicle. What a great adventure!

2 Riveting COMMENTS:

  1. Wow what an ordeal... good attitude about it Bridge! BTW Jett is such a cutie!


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