Posts Tagged ‘car crash’

I’m coming Kimberly…

March 31, 2014

ImageI’m on an airplane to Salt Lake City. I can’t post this until I land, but, wanted to write when my feelings and thoughts were still raw and fresh.

I left my home in Vancouver, Washington 30 minutes ago. It’s been a long morning. I woke up to a text message from Jory, my brother-in-law. That was unusual and honestly alarming. In the few minutes it took to wake up, my initial fears were confirmed. In brief and clearly anxious words he wrote:

<em>Kimberly and I were in a really bad car accident this morning. They are taking Kimberly to the SICU, she had a broken leg and a crushed spleen, a liver laceration and a bruised kidney. Can you please try and get a hold of your parents?</em>

You see, my parents are in South Africa picking up my other sister who just finished two-and-a-half years as a volunteer in the Peace Corps. After several attempts, I finally reached them. They had so many questions; the same questions I had. But I had no answers. The only information I had was in the text message above. In my rush to be useful, to do something despite the miles between us, I didn’t even think to find out more before alerting my family. I needed to find out more.

After several phone calls to family members and Salt Lake hospitals, I finally learned that after dropping off their two children (thank goodness), my sister and brother-in-law were driving to work together when suddenly, and without warning, they were T-boned by a large tractor trailer carrying a heavy load of gravel. The truck driver ran a red light and struck their car on the passenger side–my sister’s side. The impact knocked my sister unconscious, and pinned her inside the mangled vehicle. It took 30 minutes for emergency responders to finally get her out of the vehicle. She was taken to the hospital as a “Trauma” patient. She doesn’t remember the collision. My brother-in-law was also taken to the hospital with less-threatening injuries.

I eventually relayed the information to my family in South Africa and have kept them as updated as thousands of miles permits. I know not being here is hard for them. All I can do is communicate and provide information.

Last update I received before boarding the plane was that Kimberly’s injuries were “not life threatening” but that she was still in SICU, for observation and pending a decision on whether to remove her crushed spleen, or to simply “tie it off.” I suppose I’ll know one way or another before too long.

I deal with car crashes every day. I talk daily to victims of car crashes, who suffer physical injuries, and emotional damage in car crashes just like the one that put my sister in the intensive care unit of a hospital. No amount of familiarity or experience can prepare someone for getting “that call.” It’s different when the victim is a close loved one. These things never happen at “convenient” times. To the contrary, they always seem to happen at the worst times–when people are the most vulnerable.

Please, be careful. Please pay attention. Please don’t ignore or take lightly the safety rules that are designed to keep us all safe. Please be vigilant and aware of your surroundings and of other vehicles on the roadway. It only takes a moment of carelessness to forever change the lives of so many people.

Love you sister friend. I’ll see you soon.

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