Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Wreck - a parable

Georgette and Bob went for a ride in her car one evening.  Georgette was behind the wheel.  She didn't tell Bob that she had night blindness and that she shouldn't be driving; she just figured it would be fine.  

It had been raining so the streets were wet, but it had stopped raining.  However, in the dark, with slippery roads and the lights of an oncoming car in her eyes, and only Bob's "Look OUT!" to warn her, Georgette lost control of the car and it crashed into a barricade, flipping the car and landing it in the ditch.  Georgette was pinned behind the wheel and couldn't get out of the car.  Bob was thrown clear. Neither was wearing a seat belt.

Both miraculously survived.  

Source: via Google Images:
In the dark, as people stopped to render assistance, Georgette screamed in pain - her leg was broken and the bone was protruding a little from it. She yelled for Bob to come to her aid.  Bob was lying quietly on his side several feet away, breathing slowly in, out, in, out.  Nothing appeared to be broken.  But he didn't get up.  

As the crowd gathered, the cries from Georgette grew more and more angry.  Why wasn't Bob coming over? couldn't he see she was in pain? The cries took on a pleading tone; Georgette was screaming and sobbing. The people around the accident site all crouched beside her and tried to comfort her, since she was the one who was obviously the worse off.  Someone called 911 and everyone waited for the police and ambulance to come ... and the paramedics to tend to her.  

One or two people went to see Bob.  He didn't look to be hurt, and he wasn't saying anything at all, so they turned their attention to Georgette.  She was moaning in pain, writhing... and the sirens came within earshot.  Neither she nor anyone could figure out why Bob wasn't helping.  He just stayed where he was, with a bleeding lip, breathing in, out. In, out.  They figured he was just an ingrate, that he was lazy, that he was angry at her - several theories came to the fore - and finally the paramedics came to the scene with their emergency kits.

A couple of the paramedics went to Georgette to check her out as the other two went to attend to Bob.  They had only been with him for a few moments when they called to their companions and said, "Get a backboard.  This one goes first."

"What?!!" screamed Georgette.  I'm hurt here!  Don't you people know anything?" Several in the crowd agreed.

But the paramedics knew differently.  Those close enough to hear them working with Bob, heard them radio the hospital.  "From what we can tell, this man has at least four fractured ribs, at least one of which has punctured a lung.  There's internal bleeding, possibly a ruptured spleen - we suspect a compression fracture of the upper lumbar spine.  We've started an I.V. and are getting him on a backboard.  Get the O.R. ready and have a surgeon waiting."  

There was a garble of words at the other end.  "Oh, the other one?  She's pinned in the car screaming her head off.  Just a broken leg."  More garbled words.  "Okay, we'll give her a shot.  Send another ambulance for her with the jaws of life, we're taking this one in.  Right now.  ETA, fifteen."


  1. Sometimes the ones that hurt the most inside, say the least to others....

  2. So true ...
    Pain is pain; it's subjective. Often it's the ones who are hurt the most who CAN'T speak out for themselves, yet it seems to be the ones who act the most like victims that get all the attention - at least until someone shows up who's familiar with what is serious ... or not. It takes someone who knows what to look for, to triage the injuries of another person and give appropriate care.
    Someone who is him/herself hurting is especially in no position to judge how bad off someone else is or what someone else needs.