Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Good In A Crisis

I am an excellent person to have around in case of an emergency.  When matters of life and death are at hand all of my emotions shut down like a switch that has been flipped and what is left operational is rational and logical.  I am able to separate myself from the terrifying experience and look at it as a puzzle that needs to be solved quickly and efficiently.

I remember driving to my uncle's house one December evening in my parent's Ford Taurus with my mother in the passenger seat.  I had recently gotten my learners permit and was excited to get in some drive time.  I was going over the curvy bridge that connects the 590 South and 390 South expressways.  As I reached the end of the bridge I hit some black ice and started to spin... once... twice.... three times across the expressway and toward the ditch.  I vaguely recall my mother screaming; I'm not sure if she was saying anything or if it was just a noise.  My mind blocked out the sound because it was not useful information to correct what was happening.  I was not afraid, even when I saw headlights coming at us.  "Pump the brakes.  Turn gently into the spin.  Hands at 10 and 2."  That's all that there was. 

We eventually came to a stop and I put the car in park.  We were far enough off the road that we should have been tipped into the ditch, but the car was level.  I took a deep breath, put the car in drive, looked both ways and pulled back out onto the expressway.  I don't remember anything between that and when I pulled into my uncle's driveway to meet up with the rest of our family for dinner.  All I know is that by the time we got inside the house my mother was calm and I completely lost it.  It was finally safe for all the fear and panic to come out, and boy, did it ever!  But I was calm when it counted, and that's what matters.

In high school I was at a party at a friend's house.  We were all having some good clean fun when one of my friends suddenly said, "Are there nuts in these cookies?"  Apparently, our friend's mother had ground walnuts into a fine powder before adding them to the cookies.  This kid didn't realize that until he had downed about half a dozen of them.  The other kids started to panic as his face quickly swelled and turned the oddest shade of reddish-purple I had ever seen on a human being.  It was my first experience with a peanut allergy but before his tongue swelled up like a brisket I was able to get some basic instructions from him as to what to do.  I stayed calm and got him the things that he needed to recover from the attack of the legume.  The two of us ended up sitting outside on the porch in the cold with a glass of milk and a box of Kleenex until he looked... well, less swollen.  I kept my cool and periodically asked if he was alright.  "Emb oday," he would assure me and we continued to sit.  When I got home later that night I got physically sick.

A couple of years ago I got a phone call from my mother.  My Dad had been hit by a bus while waiting at a red light and was being taken to the hospital.  Mom was clearly shaken but I was proud of her for how well she composed herself.  I told her I would be right there and immediately packed up my kids and husband along with a bag full of bottled water and snacks and headed to the scene of the accident to pick up my mom.  I collected all the paperwork the police officer had handed to my mom and kept it safe and organized until my mom was in a state that she could submit things to various insurance companies.  I stayed with her and my dad at the hospital until things seemed under control, offering water and snacks.  I took pictures and made jokes to lighten the mood.  When I got home I crawled into bed and cried for what seemed like forever at the sight of my dad in a big neck brace.  And that was before we found out that he was going to have to have his spine fused together with a big metal plate.  But again, I was calm when it counted.

The point of these memories is to remind me that I am able to handle tough situations.  However, I'm not feeling confident that I will be able to shut off my emotions and think logically this coming Thursday when I hand my baby boy over to a medical staff to perform eye surgery on him.  I don't imagine I will be thinking about how this is the right decision and that I am preventing a future problem and the likely loss of vision in his right eye when they take him from my arms.  I can't believe that I will be thoughtful and practical while waiting for two hours while the doctor's cut into my little boy's eyes to readjust the muscles.  I don't think I can be rational, calm, cool and logical when it comes to my kids.  I think I'm better in sudden emergencies because I don't have time to contemplate everything that is going on.  I just take care of business.

Just this morning a friend of mine posted this on Facebook. 

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.  Philippians 4:6

I know that God exists the same way that I know my husband, children, family and friends exist.  I have interacted with him.  I have talked with Him.  I have asked Him for help and listened to His voice as He guided me through trouble.  I know He will comfort me as I sit waiting for my son to come out of surgery.  I know His peace will be with me as it has been before.

1 comment:

Ashley said...

If you need anything let me know. I'm sure this will be very hard to go through but I'm agreeing with you that everything will be all right!