Thursday, October 13, 2022

Blood In The Street

"Stay in the truck."

The officer stepped across the headlights and into darkness. Windshields, like televisions, demand wide-eyed watching.  Ears work when eyes fail.  I couldn't see but could hear screams. 

Assisting officers' flashlights flooded a citizen's split and dripping head. Her lament was an incoherent string of questions, facts and threats. With forehead, ear and shoulder bloodied, she begged for an ambulance. 

More cops, flashlights and chaos rendered the truck a 360 degree horror show.  Each window cast shadows and muddled voices. Exiting was dangerous but "Stay[ing] in the truck," was traumatic.  In crisis, we default to our lowest level of training. 

As an example, how do we extinguish grease fires?  Without training, intuition makes things worse.  In a crisis we default to our lowest level of training.

I was training in Kentucky when an International Conference of Police Chaplains lecturer began describing a tragic 911 call.  Before the lecture ended, Amazon was shipping a trauma kit to our home.  Christ strengthens the chaplaincy through generous people and a rare, stress-induced purchase resulted. 

Watching her bleed and wail for an ambulance ruined me. Ignoring an officer's request to stay put is ill advised.  Walking onto a crime scene without authorization is a no-no.  Risking blood borne pathogens is foolish.  A prayer team lifts the chaplaincy to the Father for the moments intuition says, "no" and training says "go".

Popping the door, and grabbing the trauma kit, I trotted toward her and asked an officer if I could help. Road officers have tourniquets but head wounds are unique.  Receiving permission, and gaining her consent, my training took over. 

"Speak Holy Spirit," was my silent prayer.

Stressed, and wearing rubber gloves, my fingers wouldn't work. Fine motor skills deteriorate under pressure.  Using an officer's knife to get the Quikclot open, her bleeding was brought under control. In shock, she continued ranting and rocking on the curb. Praying silently alongside her and wiping streaked blood began having a calming effect. 

With her listening, I asked an officer to check on the ambulance's estimated time of arrival.  A brew of rage, fatigue and grief made her unpredictable. First aid is however supposed to be rendered until a hand off to emergency medical technicians (EMT) can be facilitated.  Because I was rendering aid, I was supposed to make the hand off.

"What else, Lord, should I do until EMT's come?"

In quiet simplicity, the Holy Spirit whispered, "I hover over water."

As our Kentucky trainer advised, water was in the trauma bag.  As I poured, she cupped her hands and washed her wrists and forearms. Another bottle slackened her thirst, increased coherent speech and allowed a calm hand off to rescuers. 

Outreach to a hurting citizen was strengthened by a prayer team.  Trauma kits, water bottles and proper training were available because people give.  The Holy Spirit is using prayer partnership and generosity in a Christ-centered outreach among first responders. 

Together we are trusting Jesus to change lives. 

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