Sunday, October 13, 2013

Still Jittery

I was the first on the scene of an accident today. I made a lot of mistakes.

I should know how to use a flare. I couldn't get the damn thing lit and the Asian man who was trying to help me kept fiddling around with the one I handed him too close to his daughter for me to feel comfortable. He didn't appear to be flustered after crunching his car, but I never should have handed the flare to him in the first place.  He didn't speak much English either. I should have realized that too. He probably didn't have any more experience using a flare than I did.

I should have gotten the woman whose chest hurt to lie down. I was pretty sure that she was bruised from the airbag, but I wasn't actually sure. Plus, she might have had a spinal cord injury. I had to help her out of the car because it was smoking, but I could have done a better job of keeping her still. I don't think I should have left her side since she seemed the most injured of the four of them.

I should have asked the Asian man to take his daughter to the car and get her to lie down. The girl was shivering and pale. She might have been going into shock.

I should have called 911 right away instead of assuming that the Asian man actually meant 'yes' when he said 'yes.' I didn't realize until much later that no one had actually called. If they'd gotten word of it at dispatch, the woman would have told me they were aware of the accident and it would have been a short call instead of the agonizingly long one that it was. The dispatch woman actually asked me if I was in the northbound lane or the southbound after I told her I was on I-90 near the Rainier exit. Had I said I-5 by accident? Oh, it's possible. It really is.

The blankets I used on two people were filthy. It's hard to keep the blankets in the car clean because of the dog being in there every day, but I should give it a shot. I could put one in a zippered plastic case that blankets come in so I have a clean blanket to hand people in an emergency. Still, I rationalized that a dirty blanket was better than nothing in that frigid wind, especially if someone was going into shock. No one was bleeding, so I didn't have to worry about introducing infection.

I should have given the police officer my phone number in case they needed more information. Oh, I didn't actually see how it all happened. Suddenly the woman's car had popped up in the air, had gone on two wheels, and had come crunching down, spewing debris and sparks behind it. I never even saw the other car make contact. I couldn't tell you who was at fault if I tried. I was just grateful I didn't have to slam on my brakes to avoid it, glad I didn't get hit myself. But I should have given the officer my phone number for the report he had to write. Ah hell, he didn't ask for it. He would have asked for more information if he'd needed it, right?

I should have stopped for a minute, got myself a cup of coffee or something to eat, or just sat for ten minutes on Rainier Avenue before I got back onto I-90 to drive home. I was so relieved to get into my own driveway safely because I was still really revved up. Hell, I stayed jittery from the adrenaline rush for a couple of hours after I got home. I got jittery again when Mike got home from his Boy Scout hike and I told him the story.

I need to sign up for First Aid training. I lived in New Jersey the last time I took it. That was over twenty-three years ago. It helps that I've been involved when Nick's Boy Scout troop worked on their First Aid merit badge, but I really need to take the training again. It's changed quite a bit in twenty-three years.

Hey, tomorrow will be fun. I'm going to have Mike show Nick and I how to use a flare. Then I'll have less of a chance of being hit by a passing car the next time I'm out of my car on a busy road.

I'm still jittery.

Thank you for listening, jules

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