Thursday, July 3, 2008

Good Samaritans Still Exist

What a day!

I worked from home until around 3 and then headed out to pick up some last minute items from Target and Fred Meyer. Oh and drop off packages at the Post Office. My little cousins will be getting 10 pounds worth of cereal, hamburger helper, body wash, maalox, and razors. =)

Anyhoo...after an exhilarating shopping trip at Target - I was in and out in less than 20 minutes and only spent $7.96 on over $40 worth of products - I was on my way to get my favorite ice cream at Fred Meyer. I was at the stop light on a ... it's sort of an alley like road but it crosses a main intersection ... and I looked over and saw a lady hyperventilating in her car. She looked like she was sobbing and having a panic attack (something which I recognized right away since I've had them myself).

I could have done nothing and kept right on driving. I didn't witness an accident or anything and it looked like she was on the phone with someone. I normally panic in emergency situations so it's probably best that I *didn't* see the accident. This was much less "emergency" to me so I didn't freeze. Miss Lucas would be proud. :)

I rolled down my window and yelled "Are you okay?" to which she replied (barely) "n-n-no". So I pulled into the nearby parking lot (I had to go up over the curb!), grabbed my cell phone, and proceeded to (carefully) cross the street to play good Samaritan.

She was very clearly having a full on panic attack. She couldn't catch her breath, she was crying, and shaking. I asked if she'd called 911 yet, since she'd been on her cell when I walked up. Since she hadn't I went ahead and called them on my phone. She said her neck was hurting, which was understandable.

I gave the operator all the details - cross street, number of cars, descriptions, etc. - and then let the lady talk to them on my phone. The calvary were on their way. She continued to take short breaths and shake while I tried to get her to calm down. I didn't let her get out of her car - it's important not to move if you have a neck injury. I at least learned that much from my nurse mother. :)

Taking deep breaths is so hard to do when you're in the middle of a panic attack, but I tried to encourage her to take calming breaths. I held her hand and she tried to make a couple of phone calls but was having a hard time focusing on her cell. Totally understandable! She had been on her way to pick up her daughter and needed to arrange for her to be picked up. Aren't moms great? LOL That is totally something my mom would do - she's injured but is worried about her daughter. Too sweet.

She has no idea how bad the damage is so I walk to the front ... it's pretty bad and she probably won't be able to drive it as it is. While I didn't witness it, it sounds like the accident was the other cars fault. This woman was going straight through a yellow light and the other car turned into her. That makes them at fault.

Finally, a gorgeous unmarked Charger arrived to take charge of the scene. Have I mentioned that I love men in uniform? And driving an unmarked dark Navy Charger? Rrrrrooooowwwww. *grin*

I continued to stay with her until the paramedics arrived - the police officer told her to stay still and try not to move her neck. It's hard to not move though when you're gasping for air. :)

Finally the fire truck arrived, lights and sirens on. I love those guys! (and gals!) Of course I got lectured!!! HAHAHAHA!!! I was standing on the driver's side, which meant that I was directly in danger of being hit by traffic. The problem is that I was trying to get her calmed down and I couldn't do that on the other side of the car. They're totally right though - most people get killed after an accident by other traffic.

I moved and got out of the professionals' way. As soon as they were there and attending to her I left.

I hope she's not too badly injured. I'm guessing she'll be really sore after the adrenalin wears off. Panic attacks are exhausting, not to mention the physical injuries a minor accident can bring.

Be careful out there and DRIVE DEFENSIVELY. That is one of the best things my mom taught me when I first started driving.

1 comment:

Marci said...

I'm so glad that you stopped to help her. I've only had one panic attack, so I'm not sure I would have known what to do.

I'm sure you were a big comfort to her.