Jacqui (jacqui) wrote,
Jacqui
jacqui

Helping A Young Woman Having Seizures In Traffic

Hi Everyone,

Forgive me for my long absence. I actually have entries that I've written but never uploaded and I'm not sure how to post them. I'll figure it out somehow.

Today I was given the opportunity to be a good Samaritan to a beautiful young woman in trouble, and while I am so grateful for the experience to be of help to a sister being, I am feeling sad because I don't know what happened to her. I need to know that she is safe and well.

I think I'll call the police department tomorrow to see if they have any information about what may have happened to her. I don't know if they are allowed to release information to just anyone who calls but at least I can try. I feel like I need some kind of closure on this since I have been thinking about it all day.

I was on my way to do an errand in Beverly Hills this afternoon. I was driving my convertible, enjoying the lovely, sunny weather, and heading south on Sawtelle. As I was about to cross Santa Monica Boulevard, (a very busy, super-traffic-filled street near our home), I noticed that the lead car in the opposite lane -- the car that was facing me -- wasn't moving, and a line of traffic was backing up behind her. I couldn't tell what the person was going to do -- if they were going to turn right in front of me or keep going -- so I slowed to be safe.

As I crossed through the intersection on the green light I got closer to her and passed right beside her, that's when I could clearly see that something was seriously wrong with the driver. Her head was jerking up and down and her hair was covering her face and flipping back and forth. It looked a little bit like she was ignoring the green light because she was just really rocking out to her stereo. But this was obviously something much more serious because her head was jerking in this weird way and she didn't seem to be aware that she was in a car, in heavy traffic, stopped at a green light, with a dozen or more cars piling up behind her -- their drivers angry and honking like mad because she was blocking traffic and preventing them from being able to move.

I knew I had to help so I veered off to the right, parked in the red, bolted out of my car, and dodged oncoming cars while putting my hand up to get them to slow so I could cross to help this woman. When I got to her driver's side window, which was down, I could see that she had just had a seizure. I had a friend and neighbor who had epilepsy, and her little girl always knew to come and get me to help, so I've had a lot of experience with this. Everything about her appearance said seizure to me and her mouth was wet and her chin was covered with spit.

The woman driving the car, or not driving it, was strikingly beautiful. She was in her early twenties, tall, thin, with perfect pale skin, blue eyes, and long, long, red hair. I reached in through the window and brushed her hair away from her face so I could look at her. I put my hand on her forehead and brushed her cheek gently to get her attention. She looked dazed and surprised and said, "What's wrong?" I said, "Sweetheart I think you've just had a seizure. You're in your car in traffic. You're stopped at a green light. We need to get you some help right away." She just couldn't comprehend this and said, "Oh, why?" She said this same thing about six or seven times while I kept trying to reason with her.

Two men, who got out of two separate cars behind us, came to see what was going on, but no one offered to help, they were all mostly concerned about moving her through the intersection so they could get going again. She was in no condition to drive, she looked completely dazed and helpless. I couldn't figure out if she'd taken drugs or was having seizures from some kind of brain disorder. Nothing really made much sense.

I offered to drive her to the parking lot at the 7-11 across the street where we could call for help. But she would just look at me with her very pretty eyes and say, "Oh, why?" again, and the two guys behind me seemed fed up. One of them said, "Oh, she's out of it." I just wanted to get her somewhere safe, out of traffic, and take the keys away from her. But she wouldn't let me help her. Then suddenly she brightened up, began to take in some of what I was saying, started apologizing and said that she felt well enough to cross the intersection. I asked her if she was sure and she said, "Yes," so I got her to agree to meet me on the other side of the intersection, where I would try to do whatever I could for her.

I turned away from her and dodged a couple of cars again to get back to my car, but when I looked back over my shoulder I could see that she was having another seizure. Her head was moving erratically and her shoulders and arms were jerking. I turned around, ran back to her, and then we went through the same scenario again with my asking her if I could help, if I could call someone, if I could drive her to a doctor, or drive her home, and all she would say was, "Oh, why?"

Finally an Asian looking man with an accent came up to her and very assertively made her understand that she needed to drive through the intersection, which I didn't think was a good idea at this point. She looked up at the light, realized that she needed to go and pushed on the gas pedal, but she was in park so her engine just revved up. Then before I could stop her she managed to put the car in gear and drove slowly through the intersection with her head flopping around. I wanted to stop her but there just wasn't anything I could do so I ran back to my car and called 911 three times but each time I got a busy signal.

Finally I thought that the best way to help her would be to get in my car and try to follow and find her again, because in the shape she was in, it didn't seem like she would get very far before stopping again. Just as I got in my car I heard sirens and saw paramedics and a fire engine. I got back out of my car, ran back to the intersection, and then ran across Santa Monica boulevard to try to catch them before they left.

When I reached them, the paramedics had driven away and were making a U turn up ahead, but the fire engine was parked, so I crossed the street to get to them and called up to the men in the tall truck. Someone had called them about the woman, but they told me that since she had driven off, they wouldn't be able to do anything for her. I said, "She can't be more than a block or two ahead of you. If you just head that way, towards the VA, you'll find her, and she's really sick and needs your help." But it turns out they aren't allowed to pursue someone in order to offer them help, or at least that's what they said. So I just stood there feeling kind of confused, sad, and frustrated because I had had this chance to help this woman, who could at this very moment kill herself or someone else by driving a car in this condition.

Heading back to my car, again, I saw a police car and flagged him down. I told the officer in the car what had happened, but it turned out that he was a Federal police officer and only had jurisdiction over anything that happens on the VA lands. She had headed in that direction, and if she had kept going straight, that's where she was most likely to end up, so he took the information and went off to look for her. Then I called the Purdue police station, just in case she hadn't made it to the VA, or had turned on any of the many little side streets. I told them everything as well, and that was really all I could do.

I hated leaving without having been of more help. I wanted to know that she would be all right. I wanted to know why this had happened to her in the middle of a sunny day in Los Angeles -- why someone that attractive, driving a brand new car, (a light green Volvo with paper dealer plates), with an expensive laptop sitting on the seat beside her, had ended up in that condition. If she had epilepsy wouldn't she be aware of this and be able to recognize what was happening to her, and if she had taken drugs, why would she do this in the middle of the day, then get in her car and drive? She just didn't fit the mold, you know, she didn't look like someone with a chronic illness, and she didn't look like someone who would be doing drugs, but I know I'm being stupid and naive, anyone can get sick and anyone can do drugs. Oh well, I did the best I could do, I just hope she's home safe and no one was injured.

I'm watching today's Oprah on my DVR. It's so sad and moving -- stories about people who have done amazing, heroic things for strangers, and parents reading the last letters of their children who were killed in the war. So sad : (

Tomorrow I'm going with Atra to a preschool near here to keep her company and help her communicate with the administrators, teachers, and possibly the kids, at this school. She doesn't think her English is good enough. I think it is. I think she's really great. I can't imagine going to Iran and doing what she does in Farsi. For her class in early childhood education she needs to observe a class for an hour. I am not looking forward to getting up early, but I like helping my pal, and I looooove being with kids, so I'm both looking forward to this and dreading it. I'd better get to bed.

Big loving hugs,
Your Pal -- Wacqui
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