Reality Round-Up: Accidental Edition

Accidents happen (shortenough-d5nhojw)

Accidents happen (shortenough-d5nhojw)

There once was a man of impeccable health who took such care and caution in every facet of his life that in a way, he staved off death. With no genetic predisposition for any major diseases, nutritional standards higher than those set by any government agency, and an exercise regimen capable of dismantling men half his age, it seemed as if he would live forever.

Then one rainy afternoon, he noticed that the light in his shed was still on and ventured outside to turn it off. The cement was so slippery that he lost his footing, fell backward onto the hard ground and slammed his head into it. He died instantly.

Accidents happen. And no amount of care, caution, planning, prayer, exercise, good nutrition or anything else can prevent a completely random accident from occurring almost anytime.

Sure, there are accidents we can avoid. Take the guy who slipped on the cement, for instance. He could have waited for the storm to pass, worn shoes with better tread or even ignored the shed light altogether, any of which could have saved his life. I can understand how none of these thoughts occurred to him, though. We all get so tied up in the mundane routines of daily life that we rarely consider how a simple, household task could be potentially dangerous or even fatal.

Putting the vacuum cleaner on your private parts is one thing—and I have never known anyone to be killed in this manner. But venturing into inclement weather to turn off a light after enjoying an accident-free life for so long is quite another. Why not repair the roof or rewire the fuse box while you’re at it?

We all make mistakes and bad decisions that result in accidents, most of which are minor or harmless (if we’re lucky). What about those random accidents that could be waiting around any corner or approaching from any direction, though? How can we prepare for something similar to death in the Final Destination films—pursuing those who cheat it and ensuring it never happens again—only without the sense of purpose—choosing instead to appear at the unlikeliest times and without warning or provocation?

We can’t. And neither could the people in this accident-prone edition of the Reality Round-Up. Actually, some of them could, but there’s no point in splitting hairs. Enjoy and proceed with caution!

Natalie Georgi was killed by her peanut allergy (CBS Sacramento)

Natalie Georgi was killed by her peanut allergy (CBS Sacramento)

CARMICHAEL, CALIFORNIA

Sending a child to summer camp must be difficult for parents. Yes, it can result in some much-needed rest and down time, giving parents a chance to relax, enjoy each other’s company and pursue their own interests for a while—as long as they don’t have other children at home, of course—but it has to be kind of depressing, too. They load a bus full of other campers, wave goodbye and drive off for a week, several weeks or even a month, in some cases.

I used to go to Camp Sea Gull in North Carolina when I was younger, and that lasted for a month. I’m not really sure how my parents took advantage of this brief respite—especially since my brother also camped there—but I’m sure it was pleasant, and maybe a little sad.

Now imagine sending a child to camp and having that become the final experience of their far-too-short life. As a parent, I shudder at the very thought, but that’s exactly what happened to the Giorgi family last week.

Their 13-year-old daughter Natalie was wrapping up a vacation at Camp Sacramento and attended a final celebration on Friday night. There was food, entertainment and a good time to be had by all—everyone but poor Natalie, that is. A little hungry from the festivities, she found a dessert tray in a darker area of the camp, grabbed a treat and took a bite.

She immediately knew something was wrong.

After spitting it out, Natalie gave the remaining portion to her mother, who tasted it and noticed a deadly ingredient—deadly to Natalie, at least: peanuts.

For almost half an hour, Natalie reported feeling fine. Then she started feeling nauseated and had trouble breathing. Vomiting followed and, a short time later, the young girl went into cardiac arrest. All attempts to resuscitate her failed—as did three epinephrine pens—and doctors pronounced her dead on Saturday.

According to family and friends, Natalie was well aware of her allergy to nuts—an affliction that has tripled in the past decade alone—and took great care in what she ate. She always made absolutely certain that nuts were not included in the foods she consumed and knew what might happen if she slipped. Unfortunately, that one slip turned out to be fatal, and that one accident turned out to be her last.

Better make sure that ain't loaded, partner! (WMCTV-5)

Better make sure that ain’t loaded, partner! (WMCTV-5)

HOT SPRINGS, ARKANSAS

Shortly after the U.S. Senate defeated a bipartisan bill to expand universal background checks on all firearms, the national conversation on gun regulation more-or-less ended with a whimper. And all the attention that had been paid to places like gun shows—known for their general lack of regulation—disappeared just as quickly. It’s a shame, though, because gun shows continue to spring up in the news… and it is never in a good way.

The latest gun show mishap went down in Hot Springs when 42-year-old Charles Pike picked a gun up off a display table and it suddenly fired. The bullet hit him in the hand, ricocheted off the floor and grazed another visitor. Both men were taken to local hospitals with minor injuries, thank goodness, but it certainly could have been much worse.

At least no one died in this accident which, incidentally, could have been prevented… by the jackass who forgot to check his weapons before he put them up for sale!

Baby, get off that awning (Eric Bokman)

Baby, get off that awning (Eric Bokman)

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK

Last Friday was a beautiful day in Bensonhurst. The weather was pleasant, the streets were filled with people and store owners welcomed every customer with a smile. Then a pharmacy worker glanced across the street and noticed something moving on top of the awning over Tenda Tech, Inc.

It was a baby!

Honestly, this 18-month-old girl could be the reincarnation of MacGyver, the 80s television hero resourceful enough to escape from any situation. While her mother was cooking, she somehow crawled out a window, through an air conditioning vent, onto an adjoining roof and finally onto the awning of the store next door. Fortunately for her, Qing Chen from the pharmacy acted fast. He immediately ran to her apartment, told her mother what happened, climbed out the same window and retrieved the young daredevil. Family members took her to the hospital as a precautionary measure, but otherwise she was unhurt and should be just fine.

Accidents happen, to be sure, but it’s nice when they end as well as this one.

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

Every so often, an accident you cause works out even though the odds of your survival are slim to non-existent. Such was the case for one lucky driver on Monday morning… one lucky drunk driver.

The accident happened on Sunset Cliffs Boulevard when the driver—who police suspect was under the influence—lost control, smashed through a guard rail and plunged off a 40-foot cliff, his car landing on its wheels on the beach below.

Believe it or not, but the driver survived! (FOX-5 San Diego)

Believe it or not, but the driver survived! (FOX-5 San Diego)

By some miracle, the driver was able to get out of the car and suffered serious injuries, but nothing life-threatening. Perhaps what I heard about drunks going limp during an accident and sustaining fewer injuries was true after all?

Despite being buzzed and combative, two lifeguards and a paramedic were eventually able to get the man into a rescue basket for a helicopter ride to the closest medical center. I haven’t heard anything specific yet, but I assume that he’s fine.

It’s the people drunk drivers put at risk that normally suffer, after all.

KATY, TEXAS

Our final accident happened to a mother-and-daughter team from Texas—Nancy and Sara Allen—during a visit to scenic Mount St. Helens last Wednesday. And honestly, they were lucky to return home after this trip-of-a-lifetime nearly became a tragedy.

After a long and strenuous hike, the pair finally reached the summit of the famous volcano in Washington State. Unfortunately, the thrill of their momentous achievement faded moments later when, once again, an accident changed everything. Nancy took a terrible fall and injured herself too badly to continue.

Sara and Nancy Allen survived a volcano (KTRK-TV/ABC Local)

Sara and Nancy Allen survived a volcano (KTRK-TV/ABC Local)

“I was just thinking about the fact that she could be really hurt to the point she had a concussion or something,” Sara said later. At the very least, Nancy suffered cuts and scrapes that caused pain and soreness just as the sun started to set. And it wouldn’t be long before hypothermia became a real danger, either, so Nancy took action. She grabbed her cell phone and immediately called for help.

Since Nancy’s injuries were not life-threatening—which would warrant the use of a helicopter to airlift her to safety—the rescue team told her they would have to hike out to her, a trek that normally takes six or seven hours.

“I don’t have seven hours in me,” she told them. “I really don’t.”

Oddly enough, the rescue team then offered Nancy a second option: she could order the helicopter and pay for it herself. To her, this was a “no brainer” and she quickly agreed to pay for the $1300 trip. Rescuers arrived a short time later, strapped her into the rescue basket and hauled her to safety with her daughter. They’re both alive, well and back home in Texas as we speak.

It might be a while before their next trip-of-a-lifetime, though. And I get the feeling this one might be enough for a hundred lifetimes.

Yes, accidents happen. And yes, a lot of them result from our own bad decisions, risky behavior or failure to think before we act. To me, this means that most accidents can be avoided if we simply consider the potential consequences of our actions. Of course, there are others that we never see coming and that Nostradamus himself could not predict. All you can really do is stay alert, be careful and take the precautions that are available to you.

For everything else, you might want to consider prayer.

Posted on July 31, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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