The care of strangers

A little over a year ago, a small white car rocketed into a busy intersection. Several laws of physics were triggered as that vehicle attempted to occupy the same space as my own.

At least, that’s what I was told. I don’t remember the collision, never saw the white car or its driver, and the next two hours have been wiped clean from my memory. I was told that I might at some point

be able to recall the events. Yet, despite my efforts I have no clue what really happened.

Talking to friends and family now, I’m also learning that I didn’t act quite right for a significant period of time after the accident. I remember some of the struggle, but I’ve been able to laugh at a few of the stories of my confusion.

I was blessed by my recovery. I suppose I am 100%. I occasionally get a little anxious around intersections, but I’m taking that as the blessing of heightened awareness to other motorists.

The most perplexing thing is the loss of a few hours shortly after lunch on April 24, 2010. How did I get out of the car? Did I talk to the other driver? Why was there grass all over the back of my shirt when I awoke in the trauma center? Was I conscious and talking when the emergency teams arrived? Who were the doctors and nurses who cared for me?

I’m enthralled with the idea that a team of people — maybe a dozen or more counting firemen, policemen, other motorists, nurses, hospital technicians, and doctors — came to my aid. I don’t remember seeing most of them. Yet they cared for me. And while I’m grateful, I don’t know how to begin to thank them — or even identify them.

My solace in that bit of grief comes in the care and concern of the people I do know. A call by Nancy from the trauma center to cancel an appointment with a plumber for later in the afternoon triggered a chain of calls to friends.  Plumber’s office to a close friend and co-worker, who called our church, who sent out an email. Before long, I was surrounded by a dozen or more loved ones who gathered in vigil.

I suppose that group was meant to be the face of all of my caregivers.  Although the hours before they arrived are completely gone, I can remember each and every one who rushed to the hospital that day.

In a different way, I’ll remember the care received by those whose faces I cannot see. And, I’ll pray for the opportunities when I can be one who cares for the stranger.

At least I had the presence of mind to turn on the windshield wipers . . .

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