Thursday, April 28, 2005

Moments You Don't Want To Experience

It's a very dark and rainy night tonight. I drove over to Andrew's studio with some band equipment (still trying to clean out all excess stuff in our house). It is so windy that I could feel the bridge moving up and down with the force of the wind. It's no Lion's Gate bridge, but it's not tiny either. When it sways like that you feel like you're on a roller coaster. I dropped off the equipment and saw the progress that they had made on the studio. Then I talked Andrew into driving me home. At the house we sat in the car for a bit and then I told him that I needed him to look at an email on the computer. He came in for a bit. He was heading through the dining room when I heard a thud.

"Wow," I said, "Sounds like something fell. Man it's windy."

Now Andrew's a city boy, I am a small town girl. He's lived in this neighbourhood for over 20 years now. He knows some sounds all too well. His head jerked around and he looked out the window.

"Shit." He grabbed the phone and started making a phone call. Three numbers

9-1-1.

"Hello. My name is Andrew _____. I live at ______. I want to report that someone just got hit by a car outside my house, at the crosswalk. No, I didn't see it happen. I heard it. Yes at the corner of _______ and ______. Yes, thank you."

By the time he was hanging up I was out the front door and running. Several people were already there. I told them that my husband had seen the girl out there and had already called 911. The girl who had been hit was lying (laying?) partly on the sidewalk with a blanket over her. A lady who told me that she was a nurse was kneeling beside her and holding her hand just under the girl's cheek so it wasn't on the cold wet pavement. She very obviously had that situation under control. The girl who had been driving the car was sobbing and talking on a cell phone. Neighbours had come out of their houses. Another blanket came out of nowhere. Several of us tucked it around the girl. She was conscious, crying a little bit and talking to the nurse. Somehow, she wasn't wearing shoes and instead had on thick work socks. I suspect the nurse had something to do with that.

I looked around. Traffic. I unzipped my black jacket so that my lighter coloured shirt would show and waved a few cars past. Then I looked back and heard a girl saying that she and her friend had been crossing at the crosswalk when it happened and that Ann* (who was 14) had said something about her knees.

Crap. It was Ann's friend. Poor kid. She was standing there looking lost and she kept letting out these panicked sobs. No one was touching her. Screw the traffic. They can handle it. I went over to her and held her arm (if I had hugged her, I think she would have lost it) and asked if there was anything she needed.

She said, "Ann's parents live just around the corner."

Oh My Gosh. The parents.

I asked her if she wanted me to go with her. She said yes. We had to cross the street. The little darling put her arm out like every child is trained to do. Traffic stopped. We started running. We ran the whole way.

At the back door, she banged and I said, "Do you want me to say it?"

"Yes"

When the father(?) opened the door he saw the two of us, the little friend in tears and me, some crazy chick he didn't know. I realized that I had no idea who he was or what his last name was.

"Sir..."

"Ann got hit by a car!" She blurted it out.

He turned white and his entire body jolted. "What! Ann?"

"Sir, she's still conscious. There is a lady with her right now who is a nurse. She's got blankets on her and the ambulance is on the way." I looked down. "You may want to think about putting on some jeans." The poor guy probably works shift work and had put his pajama bottoms on when he got home from work.

Another man in the house (an uncle?) ran past and upon hearing the ambulance decided that they should jump in the car.

The friend and I ran back to the scene. Andrew was there at this point and I realized one of our sleeping bags was now over the girl. The ambulance was just arriving. I stood with the friend until the police officer came along and whisked her into a warm car.

The police officer asked me if I had seen it. I told him no and then said, "Uh, You guys have got the traffic situation under control at this point, right? I guess I don't need to worry about that." He laughed.

My neighbours who live across the street introduced themselves (we live on a fairly busy street - we don't know anyone on the other side - which I find strange). I suggested that maybe we should petition for a light above that wretched crosswalk. They agreed. It's a very dangerous spot.

Back at our house, looking at each other in a bit of shock and realizing how wet we were, Andrew said, "That was something, huh? I'll tell you, those paramedics were amazing. They had her all calmed down."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah... the little girl said that she felt like she was in a dream and the paramedic said, 'the only thing you're dreaming about sweetie is that you've got a handsome man looking after you.' and she started to giggle."

The 911 call centre is in the basement of my office building. I will be going downstairs tomorrow to thank them for their swift response (less than 5 minutes) and that they sent a "dreamy" paramedic to the scene.

Things I'm Thankful For Tonight:
1.The little girl was conscious and probably had minor injuries (she could feel everything and wiggle all of her digits).
2. Fast moving paramedics.
3. Kind neighbours.
4. Nurses.
5. My fast thinking husband.

_____________________________________________________

A family in my hometown was not so lucky this week. Their two daughters were involved in a car accident. One of them was killed. The other has over 400 stitches and the doctors told her parents that her life had been spared by the matter of an inch or two. My dad went to the funeral home tonight. He said it was awful. Those two were just little girls when I moved away from NB 7 years ago. Little girls in Easter dresses at church. One with blond hair, one with dark brown. I can't believe she's gone. Their mom had survived cancer about 15 years ago. She was very kind when my mom was sick. And now here she is, trying to survive the death of her child. I can't begin to imagine what they are going through.

I would write more about this, but I don't think I can bear the thought of it.

Wherever you are, whoever you are and whatever you believe in... if you say a prayer tonight, please pray for a family grieving the loss of daughter while the other recovers in hospital, say a prayer for all the sons and daughters out there, that they stay safe, and that they know they are loved... say a prayer for two little girls, one on her way to the hospital, the other on her way home.

Wretched dark, rainy, windy night. Go away.

6 comments:

  1. what a downer after those bumble pictures - I should have read this first then the email......

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  2. And I bet the parents of those girls tonight are saying prayers of thanks that there are so many kind, caring people in their neighborhood who came out in the rain to help someone else's little girls.

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  3. Anmiryam5:29 p.m.

    I read your post and wanted to let you know that, despite not being religous, I did say those prayers yesterday. It's every parent's nightmare that something will happen to a child of theirs. But, if something does, you hope people respond as you and your neighbors did.

    I hope the sun came out today!

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  4. Thank goodness you were there and able to help these children! I'll say a prayer for them all! Jane

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  5. Your stories put life back into perspective! Amongst all the shocking and sad stories it is soo nice to hear that there is still good in the world--strangers willing to drop everything and help eachother even in really awkward scary situations. I will say prayers for the families and little girls.

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  6. Anonymous1:03 a.m.

    That is so scary... It is amazing though how these situations bring out the best in people.

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