Thursday, September 22, 2011
My neighbor Ron got pinned under his truck yesterday. He's a hobby tinkerer, so he's always in the driveway working on one vehicle or another. I heard some funny noises coming from over there, and actually wondered to myself if Ron had a history of mental breakdowns, since it kind of sounded like insistent singing nonsense (Ron's voice is unusually raspy to begin with) but as I walked closer, I could see a hand waving and suddenly realized what was happening. He was under the truck and the wheel was right on top of his right lung. I ran out the gate and up to him. He was trying to tell me to push the truck off, but I told him that I had to get help. I ran inside his house yelling for help and looking for a phone. His wife Thelma was working upstairs and came running. I told her to call 911 and ran back outside. Ron was still trying to tell me to push the truck, and I tried but there was no way I could by myself. I yelled and yelled for help, and Thelma started running door to door. A man, a college boy and 4 teenage girls came. Together we could push the truck uphill off Ron, and the college boy climbed in and set the brake and we got the girls to pick up rocks from the edge of the driveway to wedge under the wheels. When the truck seemed secure, I went up to Ron and held his hand and head and kept telling him that help was coming, to stay still, to breath slowly. His wife was right there too, on the phone still with 911. We could hear them coming, and sent the teenagers to wave them up. My dad appeared, having just gotten home right as the fire truck got here. I got out of the way for the EMTs, and the ambulance pulled up moments later. I went back into the yard and picked up Julia (who was doing fine, despite being left alone and the commotion. I could see down into the yard from Ron's side, so I wasn't worried about her during the incident. I did consider sending a teenager in to her, but I decided that might make Julia more upset than being alone and since she could still see me I felt like she was fine.) I heard an EMT say "this is going to hurt" and stayed my distance. I was pretty sure they were putting a needle or tube into his chest and had no desire to see that happen. They loaded him up and the ambulance took off. I told Dad that I thought he should go with Thelma, and he drove off with her after the ambulance. I thanked the teenage girls and told them that they had been really helpful and then I went inside and shook with adrenaline for awhile. A few hours later Dad called for a ride home and told us that Ron was in for a long recovery with broken ribs and a collapsed lung, but that he would probably live. I don't know how long Ron was pinned before I found him, but I'm so glad I found him when I did, and I'm so glad that the truck didn't pin him in a more critical way. I'm sure that a few inches in another direction could have meant a fast death. I'm so thankful that people came running to help. The few moments I was alone with Ron, knowing that I wasn't strong enough to move the truck were terrible. (At one point, Ron tried to tell me to take Thelma's car and use that to push the truck off, but thankfully I could see people running toward us and I didn't have to try that.) I'm still reliving the scene often in my mind.