A Bad Day To Travel

A Bad Day To TravelBy Robert Mackay

It was the day before Thanksgiving and my wife and I decided to travel 7 hours due South
to visit my parents and other family members for 3 days. It was the usual excitement –
Bumper cars, stop & go, trading obscene gestures, tailgating, cutting people off, and my
favorite pass-time, blowing the horn. We were filled with the holiday spirit.

If we were lucky, the 7 hour drive would be 10 or 11 hours because we picked a bad day
to travel. We hit the road at 04:00 to beat the rush, but everyone else did the same thing.

It was after lunch and we had a measly 60 miles left of Nascar driving to complete. About a
quarter of a mile ahead, just past the bridge, on a big curve, we saw a blue Honda suddenly
careen to the right across 3 lanes of traffic, roll over at least 4 times, and then land on some
short scrub-trees. We slithered over to the break-down lane and ran to help.

As we got close we saw trouble. The car was up-side down and still running. The husband,
in the passenger seat, was bleeding profusely from the mouth. He had two puncture holes
in the top of his head and there was some brain-matter splattered with blood on the inside
of the car. His wife was in and out of consciousness, and delirious.

There were at least 20 of us that had run over to help. Some idiot screamed, “Don’t move
anything, there might be a spinal injury!”

My survival instincts took over. I yelled, “This car is going to explode if we don’t get it down
and turn it off! This man is bleeding so much out of his mouth, that he will be dead in two
minutes if we don’t do C.P.R.!”

Unanimous Consensus

We all got the car upright on solid ground. My wife reached in and turned off the key.
(Wow, no explosion). I got the husband out with help. An E.M.T. and nurse were next to
me and said, “C.P.R. immediately!”

“We’ve got to get him on his side, I explained. He is bleeding so much from the mouth,
that the best we can do is put him on one side and keep one lung going.”

“You’re right.”, was the reply. The nurse and I did C.P.R.. The E.M.T. went to his truck
to call in a helicopter.

I’ve learned one thing about trauma. Deception can be quite useful and the right thing to
do. Very often, in life-and-death situations, a traumatized spouse can die, believing that
their loved-one is gone.

I was pretty sure that Alex was not going to survive, but you can never be really sure…
So as I yelled to my wife, who was with his hysterical wife. I said, “Alex wants to make
sure his wife is not hurt.”

“She’s alright.”, was the reply. “-How’s he doing?” We fooled the woman into thinking
her husband was alive.

“He’s coming around. Just hang on.”

I lied for a good reason. We played the game of he says this and that.

The nurse and I did about 20 minutes of C.P.R. until reinforcements arrived. I knew the
E.M.T. code that was read out.

I have seen a lot of death in my life, but I have never been holding somebody as they
died. I felt a horrible sense of failure. It took a few weeks to get used to it and not let it
bother me. The next time I’m holding somebody as they die, it will just be another day.
I will have been hardened.

As my wife and I strolled back to the car, I said, “Next accident, when you turn the key
off, make sure you duck under the steering wheel. If that air-bag had gone off, it would
have taken me at least a week to find a replacement.”

As we were climbing into our car, my wife asked, “Did you get his wallet?”

Page 2 A Bad Day To Travel

A Bad Day To Travel


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