It might have been life changing. It could have been life saving. I don’t know which.
We were heading 20 minutes away to the in-laws for Sunday dinner when we approached a motorcycle accident that had just barely happened. There was still a plume of smoke from the crushed bike several feet away, with a steady stream of broken yellow bike parts.
Some knob drove through the wreckage, crushing some of the pieces. What? They couldn’t be bothered with going around?
Traffic had stopped. Two guys were standing a couple feet away from the injured biker. He wasn’t moving. One of the guys was on his phone when I noticed the bikers arm move. The bystanders didn’t move closer, so I leapt out of the car, flipped off my slippers, and ran over in my socks to kneel close and provide comfort and advice to be still. I spoke into his helmet face opening so he could hear me.
His body was twitching in percussion with his arm movement as his eyes rolled back into his head. There was a little bit of blood on the pavement and some spots on his face, but I didn’t notice other obvious injuries. It seemed he was in shock as he seized so I talked to him calmly, telling him to stay with us, help was on the way, we’re right by him to keep him safe. I rubbed his torso, thinking that if his extremities were numb and in shock, then he might feel my touch if he couldn’t hear my words.
His twitching stopped, which made me nervous because the movement was a sure sign that he was still alive. Again, I told him to stay with us, we’re right here, help is on the way. I feel like I kept saying that over and over. I told him and the bystanders (one was on the phone with 911) that I was going to reach into his pockets for his cell phone to call family (probably not the best thing, looking back) but found his ID instead.
His name is Shawn (Shaun, Sean… I did not get a good look at his name, the guy on the phone read it to me).
Then he moved his hand toward his helmet to try and pry it off. “Shawn, leave your helmet on. You must keep your helmet on. Put your hands down and be still. Shawn, help is on the way, you’re going to be okay.” He rocked his legs to one side and moaned as if he were trying to get up. I kept telling him to be still, “Shawn, you need to be still.” It took a moment but his movement stilled. Finally, he looked right at me.
“Hi! You’re doing great. Just stay still. Help is on the way. We’re right here with you. You’re doing great. Stay with us.” I smiled and hoped he understood what I was saying. I want to believe he did.
“What happened? What’s going on?” Shawn asked, confused. I told him he was in an accident with his motorcycle but help is on the way and he’ll be fine. “I wasn’t riding today. I didn’t get on my bike today,” he replied. “Well, you did because I see it. It’s a yellow bike. I have an orange Harley. I’m a biker, too, that’s why I stopped to help you. You’re going to be fine, just be still. Can you tell me your name? My name is Shannon. What is your name?”
“Alright, Shawn, we’re right here with you and the ambulance is on its way. Just be still, you’re doing great!” I tried to sound encouraging, positive and full of hope.
He’d sharply blink and look around, again try to take his helmet off. He rubbed his forehead, smearing the blood, luckily not revealing an open would. He reached for his gloves, wanting to take them off. “Would you like me to take off your glove, Shawn?” He said, “Yes.”
As I unstrapped his glove, I found it was soaked. I got nervous that there was something bad underneath, but it turned out that the black & silver ring he wore on his right ring finger probably caused a cut, the source of the wetness. Looking back on it, perhaps I should’ve kept the glove on, but he kept trying to get it off and I wanted him to stay still. He would lay still for me, so I took the glove off. The other glove was too far away, so I told him he’d have to wait for that one to come off.
“Who are you?” he’d ask, looking at me. “I’m Shannon. I’m a biker too. I stopped to help you stay still,” I tried comforting him.
He’d keep asking what happened, and I kept answering him the same as before. “Where am I?” I told him we’re next to the Home Depot, on the street behind the store. “What happened?” he kept asking. “How did I get here?”
I was glad he was conscious and talking. His eyes were alert and the color in his skin seemed pink enough. He finally stopped trying to move, except to bend his knees and move his arm once in a while and seemed fine listening to me. I kept talking, trying to keep his attention. I told him when I heard the sirens approaching, “I hear the sirens, they’re getting closer and almost here! You’re going to be fine, you’re doing great.”
A Redmond, Washington police officer arrived. He saw that Shawn was alert, talking back to me and lying still. He radioed base and I handed him Shawn’s drivers license. He went on to take care of the traffic situation, I guess (I say that because I wasn’t paying attention what others were doing around me).
When the paramedics arrived, the EMT asked him to squeeze his finger. The gloved hand could a little and the ungloved right one barely moved. I told the EMT, “His name is Shawn. At first he was twitching with his eyes rolling back in his head. Once he stopped he tried taking off his helmet and moved his legs, trying to get up. I couldn’t find a cell phone but gave the officer his driver’s license. He’s been talking and following directions.”
Eventually I stepped away, professional life savers were there to take over. I gladly backed off so he could get care…