Sunday, September 6, 2009

Prayers, Remorse, and ....

A member of RantWoman's meeting was badly hurt Thursday night while walking home from a bus stop near her home. Our Friend was crossing the street with the light and was hit by a driver going 35 mph who did not see the red light. RantWoman will use her name a little more freely in a bit. For now other things are more important:

Friend is now in intensive care at Harborview. She is likely to be there for some number of weeks and then in the hospital some number of months longer. Friend has many fractures. There was bleeding on the brain and other internal injuries. So far, her vital signs are strong and many functions are working as well as can be expected. There is no way yet because of needed probes to tell some important things that might offer clues about longterm prognosis. Friend likely will pass through more surgeries and critical junctures. Friend could die; Friend could do dramatically better than that. Hold her, her wonderful husband and their grown children in your prayers.

RantWoman joined a small number of Friends to hold Meeting for Worship in a room near the ICU today. We learned that she is indeed badly injured, that she is less swollen and bruised and more responsive today than previously. This is because the medical staff have been rolling back the medically induced coma. However, rolling back anesthesia makes pain more apparent; we are very glad for indications of her presence among us and ambivalent about the need for pain medications that make her less reactive.

It is clear that friends from many, many circles of this Friend's life are rallying around her, her husband, her grown children and the interwoven circles of people who love her. It is also clear that these many circles will observe and contribute in many different ways.

Worship today began with assembly in a waiting area on a skybridge with remarkable views. RantWoman expects we will visit this waiting area and the different stories passing through many times and will not linger there today. Some Friends brought flowers for the waiting area. Others sat offering silent prayers while someone near us used the phone to speak of someone else with bleeding somewhere unwanted.

After a requested meeting room was unlocked we assembled and settled into worship. Worship was entirely silent but after worship broke, floods of questions came.

We learned from a co-worker that the way her husband learned of the accident, while sort of odd, could be understood as standard. Friend's husband first received a call from her boss. Her boss had heard from their company's consulting nurse that the wife had been in an accident and the boss wanted to know whether he needed to find a substitute for her the next day at work. Husband called the consulting nurse and then the hospital, and by some miracle RantWoman is not sure she in her driving days could have duplicated made it safely to the hospital. He said when he went home, there was a call on his machine from the social worker in the ER.

One Friend who also lives in the same area was stuck in the traffic backup from the accident. He said it would be healing to revisit the site. We learned others think cars just are not careful at that intersection. RantWoman, already afflicted with febrile obsessions about walkability, pedestrian safety and radical critique of everything to do with car culture feels she must also visit the site.

We learned the driver who hit our Friend expressed remorse at the scene. She stopped and said she just had not seen the red light. There seem not to be any indications that she was drinking. As for speeding, texting, putting on makeup, arguing with a lover....? A Friend who has been an ER nurse spoke of the burden people who have injured someone in such circumstances sometimes carry for the rest of their lives and asked permission to convey comments along these lines to the detective investigating the accident. RantWoman is grateful that others besides herself want to temper this line of thinking with respect for legal and insurance processes that also need to run their course.

RantWoman is humbled to read, while looking for any media tracks about the accident, news of a recent WA Court of Appeals decision invalidating a City of Seattle law making any traffic infraction that injures or kills someone automatically a crime. RantWoman has not read the whole opinion but the gist of the article was that the court ruled that the city of Seattle under state law does not have authority to enact such an ordinance. Friend's accident actually was in Shoreline, not Seattle and RantWoman is storing this constellation of data in case she is led to further activism and agitation about her pedestrian concerns.

Meanwhile, since RantWoman rides bus by Harborview fairly often, she will certainly add stops to visit along with the prayer list.


  1. More than ten years ago now, a dear friend of mine was the driver in an accident that resulted in a pedestrian's death. The accident was in no way my friend's fault, but it was terribly hard, and my friend still bears emotional scars from it.

    And as you know, two people I know and love have been killed, one a pedestrian and one a cyclist, in accidents with vehicles.

    So I have pretty strong feelings about this.

    I can't presume to judge. But sometimes I want to, anyway. It does my heart good to know the driver stopped, expressed remorse, etc.

    Your friend the ER nurse is right; and thank you for the reminder to hold the driver in the Light.

  2. I think the general sentiment is something like our ministry about sex offenders: hold the driver in the Light. AND let legal and insurance processes run their course.

    When I think about accidents, I always think of three sets of factors, related to the site, the driver, the pedestrian. I will do another post about being seen at night. I will go visit the site. I will hold the driver in the Light.