Wednesday, August 25th, 2010
Two nights ago I was getting ready for bed. I had a nice relaxing day which was spent with some friends, namely Tian Jialin and Wayne. The rest of our little group of friends had gone camping. The following morning I had to get up at 7:15 in order to shower and shave for my Y-Group training, a program which will allow me to lead the new Fall BYU Freshmen students around campus and help them makes friends and what not. I was hoping to get to bed earlier but didn’t get my retainers in my mouth till 11:20pm. I often take Benadryl to help me sleep because of it’s drowsy side effects. I usually take two, I have even taken three before, but tonight I felt that one would suffice. I took the pill and put my cell phone on the charger. Just then my phone started to ring, it was an unknown number.
“Hey Jimmy, it’s Daehyeon, we were in a car accident.”
“We were in a car accident and.... I don’t know...” Daehyeon is from Korea and has pretty good English, but he was choked up and couldn’t talk. He handed the phone to a man standing nearby.
“Hello” I heard the voice of the man.
“Hi, what’s going on?” I asked.
“Six of your friends were in a car accident.”
“Are they ok?!”
“ Some of them. A few of them have more serious injuries and are going to need to be transferred to another hospital.” I paused to gather my thoughts and realized I must be talking to a police officer or doctor.
“Who’s hurt? How many people were in the car?!” I was in a little state of shock by now.
“There were six people in the car. The car rolled three times before it stopped.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Just the night before we were gathered around a table laughing ourselves till our sides hurt, and now who knew if things would ever be the same.
“Who are the ones seriously injured?!” I asked trying my best to maintain composure.
“I’m not sure about any of their names, but the four in the back weren’t wearing there seat belts. There is one young lady whose injuries are a more severe.”
I wasn’t sure who he was referring to. It was either Shengge or some other person I didn’t know. He then told me it was a red Ford SUV that had rolled. None of my friends had that car so I was really confused. I knew Daehyeon was OK, but what about Henry, Shengge, and Jonathan?
“Where is the hospital?”
“We’re are located in Mount Pleasant.”
“I’m on my way. Thanks.”
I find it strange that the first thing I felt to do was pack up my laptop. Once I was on my way down the hallway at Alpine Village where I live I called Tian Jialin who was at the Airport an hour north of Provo picking up some girls that had just arriving from China. I told him the whole bit and like me became frantic. He said he’d call everyone and let them know. I thanked him and told him I’d call him when I get there to give him an update. I then called Henry’s phone, but as expected, nobody answered.
Since I had just taking some medicine that makes me drowsy I thought it wise to by a Monster Energy drink at 7-11 to keep me awake. The cashier was an overweight man with long hair. He noticed how quick I was moving and said to me,
“Chill man, you have all night.” I was in no mood.
“My best friends just rolled their car are are in the Emergency Room.” He didn’t say anything after that.
I used my phone’s navigation to get me there. I had never been to Mount Pleasant before, but my childhood best friend Michael Rigby used to go there a lot to go four wheeling. The road got narrow and windy, yet the speed limit was 65 mph which I thought was too fast. There were deer the whole way and I almost anticipated hitting one a few times.
The destination was 59 miles from the gas station in Provo to Mount Pleasant and I watched the GPS count down every single one. I called my sister Christy because I wanted to talk to someone to help myself stay calm, but she didn’t answer. I said a long audible prayer to Heavenly Father and was filled with peace and a calm sense that they were all going to be fine. This helped me focus on my driving. I knew that Tian Jialin had called some of our friends back in Provo because my phone was ringing non-stop on my down to the hospital. I told them I will let them know of any updates once I arrive. To be honest I had no intention on calling anyone but Jialin once I arrived.
While passing through a small town in the middle of nowhere I pulled over to relieve myself on the side of the road. the Monster had gone through me faster than ever.
I arrived in Mount Pleasant. I was the only car on the road in the little town with a population of 3,500. As I drove down Main Street off to my left I saw an ambulance backing into a garage. It gave me an eerie feeling, for I was positive that just moments before my friends were inside of it.
At the hospital I got out of my truck and headed to the front doors. Outside was very cold. It was the first time I had been in the cold in months, it only made things more dramatic than they already were. Because of the late hour the front doors were locked. Rather than walk around the fence leading up to the front doors I just jumped over it by placing my hands on the top of it and thrusting my body up and over. Ahead of me I saw the ambulance idling outside two glass sliding doors. I walked to the doors and the people inside opened them for me by pressing a button on the wall. I walked in and saw two unidentifiable people laying on stretchers with nurses all around. Their feet were covered in blood and scratches and they were wearing neck braces, they seemed to be unconscious. The people in the doorway asked who I was and so I proceeded to tell them that I was friends with the group of Asians who just rolled the car. They lead me into a waiting room.
By now it was around 12:45am. In the waiting room was a girl. She was Korean but had perfect English. I had no idea who she was, but she didn’t really know what had taken place. I filled her in with what I knew and by the end her hand was held up covering her mouth in disbelief. A guy then walked in, he must have been in the bathroom. I thought he was Korean. Tian Jialin called and I told him I had arrived but knew nothing. The guy in the room then reacted to some of the things I was saying to Jialin on the phone in Chinese, so I knew this guy had ties to China. After a few minutes of talking to these people I found out they were friends with the two other people in the car who I didn’t know, Sharon (Taiwan) and Marshall (American). I found out that they had borrowed a friend’s car which explained why they were driving a red Ford SUV. I was pretty sure Henry had been driving the vehicle it at this point.
“Which one of you is friends with Henry?” A nurse asked standing in the doorway where I entered just a moment earlier. I quickly raised my hand. Though I haven’t known Henry all that long we quickly become really good friends.
The nurse let me into the E.R. where Henry lay. He was laying there put out by the morphine they had given him. Hey was covered in blankets and was wearing a neck brace. His hands were flexed outwards as though stiff curved tree limbs had grown inside from his elbow to his fingertips. I gently put my hand on him and said his name. He awoke but was dazed and said his whole body was in pain. He asked that I give him a Priesthood blessing. One of the doctors was LDS and anointed Henry with oil. I then sealed the anointing and blessed him that he would completely recover and be ready for school which started that Wednesday. I was relieved to hear what I had just said.
I asked the nurses about the rest. Daehyeon and Jonathan (Hong Kong) just had a few cuts. Sharon, was a little banged up and Marshall had broken his collar bone. Jonathan and Daehyeon came into where Henry and I were and they looked great, though still recovering from all the spinning and banging. Nobody had seen Shengge. After Daehyeon and Jonathan left the room I asked the nurses about Shengge. They said that she had some fractured ribs and was having some breathing issues. I listened in on a conversation the doctors were having and gathered that Shengge’s pulse wasn’t stable. They were still running tests on her and said she’ll need to be transferred to another hospital. In the end I knew everyone was going to be fine.
They wheeled Henry’s bed out a few times to take more X-rays and scans of his neck and abdominal area. I thought it a little humorous how the nurses didn’t realize how good Henry’s English was because they referred to X-rays as pictures and would talk with a really loud and slow voice when talking to him. Finally around 3:00 Henry fell asleep and his body relaxed. His stone cold fingers and toes became warm and soft. His whole body twitched as it seemed to recover from the trauma. I asked the nurse if I could go see Shengge and he said yes. I walked down a long dark, empty, silent hallway where the nurse told me she was. I walked into the room and saw her laying there asleep with tubes running all around her face and body accompanied with beeping noises and the sound of an oxygen machine. If anyone knows Shengge they know that she is the happiest person in the world. She is fun to be around and makes everyone smile. Seeing her like this made my heart sink ever so low. I sat next to her and said a few words even though she was asleep. I touched her gently and told her that we are all praying for her. Seeing her like this made me want to cry and so I left her knowing she was going to be fine.
I sat next to Henry the whole night. Henry awoke a few times and asked that I call his brother who is studying at BYU Hawaii and tell him that Henry is doing great. The Hospital had wi-fi and so I got my laptop out and got on Facebook and 人人网 (Chinese Facebook) and let the world know what was going on. Henry permitted me to post pictures of him and I did so with explanations of what was happening. Daehyeon, Jonathan, Sharon, and the two in the waiting room had gone back to the camp grounds and will return later to get Marshall. I planned to stay with Henry until he was released, whenever that was going to be. People commented non-stop on all of our walls.
Henry was told that he would be able to go home. I was excited for him. Since they cut off all of his clothes he had nothing to wear. I gave him my jacket and the nurses let us borrow some scrubs which I’m supposed to bring to a nearby hospital so they can be returned. I haven’t done that yet. Henry was weak and so I helped him get the scrubs on. Much time had passed and finally he could leave. I helped him onto a wheel chair and proceeded to go. We stopped by Shengge’s room on the way out and saw that she was awake, but was surrounded by four nurses. She looked like she was in pain, but at least she was conscious. We waved goodbye and headed to my truck.
It was 5:30am when we pulled out. I hadn’t slept at all but wasn’t really tired. We listened to Mormon Tabernacle Choir music on the way back to Provo, for we realized that many of them should have died considering their circumstances, but they were all fine. Henry was out cold in minutes. I drove cautiously on the fast windy deer-infested road. The sun started to come up just 15 minutes into the drive. Once we arrived in Provo it was light outside. It was 6:30am when I called Tian Jialin to come out and help us move Henry inside. Once in the living room Henry immediately collapsed on the couch. I woke up Wayne (Hong Kong) and told him about Henry’s prescription drugs. Tian Jialin and I had to be somewhere and so we put Henry in Wayne’s care.
I went to my apartment, ate some Pop-Tarts and showered. I picked Tian Jialin up and we went to our training meeting which didn’t end till 1:00pm. We were tired and worried at the training. The crowd there was pretty upbeat, for they only chose those type of people to be Y-Group Leaders, but Jialin and I were pretty dull. We just wanted to know if Shengge was going to be OK. Time passed as we groggily walked from place to place listening to different people lecture us about do’s and dont’s. Tian Jialian got a phone call and stepped out for a second. He came back and told us that Shengge was going to be released later that day. We hugged each other and were greatly relieved. After that we loosened up and were happy, though we were very sleep deprived. We acted a little strange. We were like little kids and at times would laugh at the dumbest of things. For instance, I smacked Tian on the back randomly and we both started laughing hysterically for no reason at all.
Henry has moved into my apartment now until he finds a place to stay; he hasn’t found an apartment yet. Last night Tian Jialin went and picked Shengge up from the hospital and took her back here to Provo. Before I went to bed last night I took two Benadryl in order to get to sleep even though you think I would fall asleep easily. Despite taking the pills I still woke up several times in the night. Blah.
Everyone is ok and we’re already getting ready for classes. Henry starts today,in fact he is ready to go to class just as the blessing said. Shengge needs more time, but she is OK and that’s what’s most important. We are all so blessed.