Wednesday, July 31, 2013

FLASH BACK at the Emergency Department at the hospital

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FLASH BACK at the Emergency Department at the hospital

We all know the idea that when you come close to death – that some say their whole life passes in front of them… right?  Well there is a second part of that thought as well.  It can happen to other people outside of the person that encounters a close call with death.  There is a secondary level that takes place – and I am about to tell you about that one.


Yesterday I was sitting in the waiting area of the Emergency Department of our Hospital. My wife was sitting beside me.  That is when the first Flash happened.

I was 19 and had just completed High School. I had been working and not yet enrolled in any further studies.  The money had been good over the summer and I was now enjoying the fruits of the first level of my completed studies and looking at the next.  I was on a road trip on my own – real freedom. With money to burn, a new small car(new to me) that hardly burned any gas at all… the 1957 VW was all mine and so was the world around me.

I had driven from Regina, Saskatchewan to Calgary, Alberta then on to Banff.  From Banff I had wandered back to High River, Alberta where my Aunt and Uncle Sigglekow lived.  My Grandma Lincoln was staying with my Aunt… along with all my Sigglekow cousins.  We had fun together.

At this point it was getting closer to Christmas 1963 and I had told my parents that I would be home for Christmas.  My Grandma Lincoln was kind of thinking about going with me back to Regina. After going back and forth she decided that she wanted to be with Sigglekow’s that year… and she didn’t climb aboard my VW Bug when I left.

I headed into Calgary before starting the 10 hour drive back to the east. After spending a whole evening as free as a bird I headed out on the Trans Canada Highway – back to Regina.  It was already late but there was no one to tell me I couldn’t go when I wanted to – I WAS TOTALLY FREE!

It was December 21, about midnight when I drove through Swift Current, Sask.  After eating another burger I headed east again.

There is a series of small towns all along the Highway.  I passed by Herbert, Sask heading toward Morse.

It was very cold outside and the notorious little VW had a very bad heating system… and defrosting system.  At Minus 28 C with the cold winds ripping across the Highway the front window fogged up a lot.  Using a scrapper and an old rag I was able to keep the front window clear of the creeping frost forming because of my breathing in that little machine.

What happened next is not totally clear even after 50 years. The memory was wiped clean in the next few minutes… only distinct bits and pieces still exist… while these bits and pieces include the horrific roar… the flash of light… the pain and then nothing… and then my reaching up to turn off the silent car’s ignition and putting the keys in my pocket… then nothing… not even the cold that must have been biting at my exposed skin… I don’t remember anything that happened in the accident.

My memory started to come back as I stood in the middle of the busy Highway. Two men were pulling on my arms to get me off the Highway. I am assuming at this point when both semitrailer driver saw me wandering on the road, my face covered in blood… that they could have easily run over me… but I don’t remember how I came to be walking down the Highway…

They both were questioning me at the same time.  “Was anyone with you in the car?” etc.  They told me that I must have been in an accident… I didn’t know… One of the drivers had a flashlight that he pointed out into the field about 150 feet away… and there was my pride and joy, the maroon VW sitting half buried in the snow… obviously not driveable.

“What happened?” one driver asked.  I couldn’t remember right then… it was slowly coming back to me… my grandma was possibly coming with me… High River… a loud roar… the flash of light… an accident?

I think I had reached for something that was under my seat… and as I did I drove closer to the shoulder of the road.  I can remember hearing the sound of gravel under the wheels… then my driving toward the shoulder and further into the ditch… then the roar…

At that spot, out of all the 550 miles of Trans Canada Highway between Calgary and Regina was the only place that there were huge boulders half as big as the VW… and as my little car scrapped over the first rocks at 60 miles per hour (100 Km/Hour) – it flew about two hundred feet before catching its nose then beginning its end over end roll missing the ground by I don’t know how much… landing on the back end hard and then falling forward on to the four wheels.

In 1963 we never used seat belts yet.  My body flew around inside of the VW with each bang and crash… likely a rag doll. The right side and back of my head went through the side window of the back seat(behind the driver’s seat). The driver’s seat was broken off and there was a gigantic hole in the floor under the battery which was located under the back seat.

The blood all over me was coming from the many cuts from the front of my forehead, on the side, and around to the back of my head… and the cuts were full of glass.


One of the semitrailer drivers took me into Herbert to the small hospital… where I was checked out and checked in… where I slept all night.  When I called my Mom and Dad early I found that Mom had not slept all night. She knew something was wrong. She had immediately answered the phone.

“I’m alright” I assured her… “Can you come and get me?  My car is not going to drive and I cannot drive… I had an accident…”

Mom and Dad were there in about two hours after driving the long highway. Dad’s friend brought his tow truck – and my little smashed up VW followed us back to Regina.

Back at that time I knew nothing about concussion… nor did my parents… so I just went to sleep for the full two hours home.  Again I don’t remember much…

Flash forward – now in Emergency of the Peterborough Hospital…

My grandson Clifford had called his Mom from his accident scene… asking her to call Trent University Pool where he works.  “Tell them I won’t be able to work my next shift… I had an accident.”

Needless to say our daughter Dana called to tell us that we needed to come right away.  That is how we ended up in Emerge with our grandson laying in a bed being checked out by the medical staff.

What Happened!?

Clifford pulled up to a four way Stop. Stopped and looked to his left and saw a truck coming across the bridge quite away from where he was.  Then he looked to his right and saw another car stopping at his Stop sign… the other driver waved at Clifford to proceed first… to which Clifford did.  The next thing Clifford saw out his left side window was the grill of the truck about to smash into his car.

The truck had run through the Stop sign at quite a speed. The trailer of uncut logs he was pulling didn’t have the brakes attached – or as the police officer told Clifford, “they were cut…” The rapidly rolling truck likely couldn’t stop even if the driver tried.

The police officer told Clifford that they had been checking for poor conditioned trucks at the south end of the city… and he radioed the Transportation safety guys to get up to this accident now to see what had taken place.

Clifford could have been killed.  The police officer told him that if he was a cat he had just used up one of his nine lives.

My grandson is the same age as I was… 50 years ago.

The more I thought about what happened to Clifford… the more the Flash back came to me…

God protected me in 1963… and there was a great purpose and life ahead of me…

In 2013, God has done the same for one very special guy in my life… and I know there is a special life ahead for my grandson…

We are filled with nothing but awe today.

BTW… Clifford was trapped in his car and had to be cut out with “the jaws of life” by the firemen.  He had no cuts or broken bones. He is way passed the work “sore”… and his whole body was covered in the glass from the side windows being smashed.

God was there yesterday… thank you God for a miracle!

Here are some accident scene photos that we will not soon forget!!!
Cutting the car open...
Clifford at the wheel...
Carefully on to the stretcher...
Off to the hospital
~ Murray Lincoln ~

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