Many things in our everyday lives are taken for granted, but occasionally we're stopped in our tracks. Suddenly, we again realise there is a loving God who watches over us.
This day was just a typical Monday and my husband had set out to do a few routine maintenance jobs at some of his investment properties. Since his retirement, days have been happily spent catching up on previously neglected and overlooked “odd jobs.”
His destination was a block of units a few kilometres from home, so with the trailer loaded with mowing equipment and various other tools, he headed off. As he was driving to the planned location, he decided on impulse to stop at a closer property to give those lawns a quick trim too. His change of plans were no doubt influenced by new tenants who had recently moved in and who seemed “to be a nice young couple who said they were interested in plants and gardens and wanted somewhere neat and tidy they could call their own.”
The mower was unloaded and about to be started, when from toward the back of the units, he heard a spine-tingling, distressed cry. “Help me. I've cut my wrist!” yelled James*—the new tenant— as he staggered toward the car, covered in blood.
My husband isn't too good at the sight of blood, so when he relayed the story to me some hours later, I could still sense his feeling of discomfort, dread and shock.
But I'll let Ken tell the story in his own words: “I took one look at James's wrist and wasn't sure whether he'd slashed it himself or had had a serious accident, although he was mumbling that he'd cut it on the window and needed an ambulance—quickly! “After a deep breath, I had another look and decided there wasn't time to wait for an ambulance. After wrapping his wrist with my T-shirt and giving him instructions to hold it tightly, I helped James into the front passenger seat and headed for the highway. After phoning for the nearest ambulance, the emergency-service operator said to go to the closest hospital as all ambulances were out on call.
“I drove faster than usual, honking the horn and with the lights flashing, which other drivers ignored, quite oblivious to my plight as the drama worsened within the car. I began to despair as no-one would get out of the way. Lunchtime traffic seemed unbelievably heavy and progress was life-threateningly slow.
“With my adrenaline kicking in— and a quiet prayer or two—I weaved in and out of fellow motorists, thankful that the hospital emergency crew was on stand-by.
“It seemed like an eternity, but soon we were only a couple of kilometres away. More moaning and groaning sounds from James, who was gasping, ‘Don't feel too good' as he slumped forward in his seat. Desperation increased on my part! “Approaching a notoriously busy intersection, it was my turn to moan ‘Oh no!' as the traffic lights turned orange. I quickly checked around, contemplating the risk of driving through the red light when in the rear-vision mirror I spotted a car approaching from behind with lights on the roof. As luck would have it—or was that divine intervention?—the vehicle drove into the lane beside me. I quickly wound the window down to ask (thinking it was an emergency-service vehicle) if they could give us an escort to the hospital.
“‘No,' he said, ‘we can do better than that. We're from CareFlight.**' “Moments later, with our vehicles parked by the side of the busy road, out stepped a doctor and paramedic with all the necessary life-saving equipment.
“By this time, James had collapsed, thankfully still alive, but not looking good. They rapidly went to work. What an unusual sight we must have presented, me standing there in board shorts —everyday Gold Coast attire—and workboots, holding up a bag with a drip and purposely trying not to watch as the two men worked frantically on James, who slowly began to respond.
“By another stroke of good fortune, they were able to get an ambulance and, within a matter of minutes, James was being transported to hospital, accompanied by the doctor.
“I followed, once again trying to phone his partner, Melissa.* Later she answered her mobile, so I left the emergency section to go and bring her back to stay with James, who was being treated by hospital doctors.
“On the way to collect Melissa, I said another prayer—that no-one had taken/would take my mower, hastily abandoned on the footpath beside my trailer full of tools.
“Upon his release from hospital, I drove them both back to their unit. As we passed the place where James had virtually come to within a few heartbeats of losing his life—as the two CareFlight men later informed me—he had no recollection of events after getting into the car.”
My husband tends to shrug his actions off as being “something anyone would do under similar circumstances.”
Granted this style of heroics is an everyday occurrence, the chain of coincidental events surrounding the incident may help influence James and Melissa's life for the better. But there's an unexpected twist to their story.
Unbeknown to us, James was an alcoholic and had consumed a quantity of wine, after which he staggered home drunk—around lunchtime.
Having misplaced his key, and on discovering Melissa wasn't there, he went to the closest window and tried to force—or smash—it open, hence the severe gash on his arm and wrist.
Nobody else was home at the small unit block and as the closest neighbour is an elderly lady, almost bedridden and hearing impaired, she couldn't have come to James's aid. Had our “unassuming hero” not turned up at that crucial time (guided by an unseen hand), James may well have bled to death—such was the severity of his cut.
It's also a small miracle that my husband didn't pass out himself, but he said he felt as if he'd been blessed with inner strength.
Having his mobile phone—not something he always does—also helped considerably. Then, another mira cle occurred. The lights changed at that critical moment, allowing a fully equipped CareFlight vehicle to pull up alongside. Later they were able to locate a nearby ambulance. The final little miracle was the mower and tools that were on the footpath and roadside for several hours. Everything seemed beyond normal circumstances.
Since that life-threatening incident, James has been persuaded to attend Alcoholics Anonymous—something he steadfastly refused to do in the past.
Finding the purpose of life has taken on a whole new meaning for that couple.
I believe God masterminded my husband's change of routine and the ensuing events. God has a plan for every one of His children.
God knows the end from the beginning.
He is the beginning and the end. He knows everything and He will work things for our good (see Isaiah 46:10).
“In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”
*Names have been changed to protect people's privacy.
**A few interesting facts and figures about RACQ CareFlight, which is based at Coolangatta Airport.
More than 12,000 people have been helped by the CareFlight helicopter service since it started in 1981.
There are two helicopters based on the Gold Coast, a Bell 412 and Squirrel. They are virtual flying hospitals equipped with all the necessary emergency equipment, from medication to medical equipment.
Sixty per cent of CareFlight funding comes from the community.
Each mission costs an average of $A7000—mainly for fuel.
The Gold Coast team includes five pilots, four crewmen, five paramedics and two full-time doctors.