…and several years off of my life this morning.
In addition to my full time job, and a part time job in the Reserves, I tow cars at a second part time job. Doing so, I see a lot of wrecked mangled messes left by drunk drivers and how it tears families apart.
This morning, at 2:47am, it almost did so to mine.
I got “the call” at 3:22am, my daughter was at the County Hospital emergency room, and they couldn’t say how she was, just that she was in a vehicle collision.
Being the Tow Guy that I am, the first place I went was to the web, specifically the Ventura County Fire Fireline page, where I saw this;
“TC Heavy” means Heavy Rescue; usually victims are trapped in their vehicles. This was MY daughter?
I called the ER myself and heard the same gibberish about can’t say how she is (found out later us parents get to hear it first in person, in case someone calls pretending to be family), so I jumped in my tow truck and headed to Ventura.
Since the scene of the t/c was on my was to the hospital, I went by there first in case police were still on scene, and sure enough, two units were there still.
They informed my daughter was ok, except a couple lacerations and her “boyfriend” was driving, DUI, and currently residing at County Jail pending bail and arraignment.
“Good for him and me” I told them, “I’d be arrested if he were at the hospital when I got there.”
I headed to the ER, and after several minutes of trying to fit a 30 foot tow truck in a 20 foot space, I finally made it to the kid’s bedside.
An officer was just finishing with her, getting her story and we spoke briefly. Same thing, boyfriend was in jail, she was lucky to be alive and wearing her seatbelt, and then he heard a call on his radio and split in a hurry.
Having decided not to lay into her about being out as late as she was, being with an idiot for a boyfriend, and being an idiot herself for getting in a car with somebody who had been drinking, we were discussing instead how she crawled up out of the broken passenger-side window to get out of the car as I heard a radio call come in from an ambulance in the field.
“Trauma patient, full arrest, ETA 2 minutes.”
“Great, ” I thought, probably another wreck.
Various ER people began suddenly transforming into a machine before my eyes, with only one purpose, fix a broken body. “Code Yellow” was announced and the pace quickened.
They came to my daughter, and decided to move her across the ER so they could put the inbound patient in her spot, so off we went.
As her Doctor was pulling on gloves and face shield, she told us she’d be with us as soon as she could. My daughter had to use the bathroom, so a nurse helped her up, and tied her gown so her backside wouldn’t be hanging out. She apologized for having to leave us, and ran to get ready for whatever was coming in.
I helped my kid over to the bathroom, and stood by the door outside as the sirens in the distance became the Ford Super-Duty diesel engine of an ambulance outside the ER doors.
As I waited, they wheeled in an ambulance gurney with a big guy on it, pushing his chest as they entered the area where my daughter was moved from. There was every bit the frenzy of activity I was expecting with crash carts wheeling in, people looking like Marines storming a building as they followed the gurney into the room.
Finally I heard the toilet flush and my daughter came out holding her IV bag above her, and I escorted her thru the orchestrated mayhem back to her bed.
I figured with what was going on, we were in for a wait. I heard a police officer explaining they received a 911 call with only moaning on the line, which led to what was unfolding in the ER now. No name, just “John Doe” on the patient they were working on.
After a half hour, it looked like we would be some time on standby, so I was starting to scout the ER for a chair when doctors and nurses began walking from the room with the trauma, and washed their hands, threw away paper garments, and filled out papers. I guessed things didn’t go so well for the guy, and nearby I overheard a nurse telling one of the paramedics;
“There was nothing you could do, even if you had seen the hole and knew he was shot,” she told him as they were putting away various gadgets. Paper was spitting out of a large portable contraption with cables and a screen, and the paramedic tore it off and handed it to the nurse.
I looked at my daughter laying there. Just last spring one of our other drivers had his step daughter die in a single vehicle rollover on a freeway not far from where we were now. I even made a video tribute for her funeral that wasn’t shown because of logistical problems at the mortuary. I wondered how close I just came to watching a video made in her honor.
Finally the doctor came over and did another check on my daughter, and cleared us to leave. Tubes were yanked, her clothes were brought out and we were heading home to her mother’s house. Her mother, well I don’t want to get into that here, but suffice it to say we had words. I peeled the rest of the tape off my daughter, picked at the blood dried on her face, and put her to bed.
She’ll get up soon and wish her cell phone and purse weren’t 14 miles away in a car in an impound lot that can only be accessed by one who’s in jail. She’ll be upset she can’t call or be called by her friends, and angry at the injustice at not being able to have her phone.
I think then I’ll tell her about the Circle-K clerk, shot to death during an apparent robbery attempt who died early this morning approximately 50 feet away from her.
Then I’ll hug her, and tell her I’ll kill her myself if she ever does this to me again.
Why can’t we teach these lessons successfully before they are demonstrated first-hand? It didn’t sink in with me either at her age.
Better, why can’t they stay six years old where life’s main complication is making sure to have control of the TV when “My Little Pony” is on?
Most important, how did we ever push God so far away from us, where he’s out of schools, hearts, and lives?
Working seven days a week for the past 12 plus years making sure all the bills are paid, I neglected the most important bill of all. The spiritual bill. Now I find myself in the fourth quarter behind fifty points, and I pushed my best quarterback to the I’m ignoring my coach’s voice in my helmet from the sidelines.
Time to give Jesus the ball.