We drive to church. The traffic slows, there’s been an accident. There are gawkers galore, but very few helpers. As we inch closer to the collision, see flesh strewn across the road. Death. My stomach turns. I hold my breath, brace myself for more carnage ahead, hoping my children don’t observe the details too closely.
We plow through the gawkers, we pass by the accident. A truckload of waste pig parts – entrails maybe. I release my breath, thankful it wasn’t human flesh rolling across that road. Someone carries the moto driver to the side of the road. No human parts are lost — a near miss.
My stomach settles. Time for worship?
I sit at a coffee shop on the side of the road. A vehicle speeds by, then crashes. Glass shatters, a terrifying sound. I fear a death. A moto driver attempts to escape the scene. In his haste, he skids. Both he and his moto topple over. Now I see his back – drenched in blood. A second man catches up, starts throwing punches. In a little while the bleeding man manages to get away.
A crowd gathers around the million pieces of broken glass – a cart of glass bottles had been overturned. Policemen start sweeping the glass off the road.
Our car is parked across the street. I am afraid to cross it now.
I smell raw sewage. We are near the open sewer, almost home. Gravel sprinkles the pavement, making it slippery. Two men share a moto in front of us. They slide on the gravel, collide with the ground. No helmets. The driver hits first, cushioning the rider’s fall. The driver doesn’t move. Is he dead? My husband stops our car, tries to help the rider.
They pull the driver to the side of the road. He wakes up. Blood flows from his mouth, he wipes it away. They want him to rest. He is confused, combative. He tries to stand, but falls over. He wants to drive. Makes several attempts to climb on the moto, is pulled off by friends each time. Eventually his friend convinces him to be a rider instead, and they leave. But can he hold on, can his grip be trusted? Or will he fall again, injure his head again?
The accidents disturb me. The images play in my mind, my body reacts. I don’t know the long-term outcome for any of these crashes. Did the bleeding stop soon enough? Did a deadly infection overtake the wounds? Were the head injuries fatal? It’s hard to wrap my mind around.
I’m not accustomed to seeing accidents or injuries up close like this. My husband is, and he knows how to treat them – the ones that can be treated, that is. He’s seen it before, in the emergency department. Patients bleeding out, spinal columns severed. Gunshot wounds, knife wounds, industrial accidents. And he’s watched people die, right there in front of him.
It was on a Friday, the first time he came home and said, “A patient died today.” It stayed with him all weekend. Seeing this kind of bodily destruction does stay with a person. How can it not? It’s newer to me than it is to him, and I don’t know what to do with it.
I’m not sure my mind can do anything with it.