It had been an aggravating, irritating day—one in which I felt that nobody appreciated my efforts in behalf of the family. All the packing, planning, and preparation for our family’s annual camping trip had been left to me. My husband, David, a surgeon in training, had taken it for granted that I would attend to every detail of the trip. He had stayed at the hospital long past our planned departure time.
Before we had even driven out of the city, the children were restless and bored with the confinement of the car’s back seat. When David said I hadn’t packed enough activities to keep the children entertained in the car, I made some angry remark back at him.
“She’s just angry at Dad,” explained ten-year-old Owen to his little sister. It was then that I switched on a cassette tape of Primary songs for children and sat in bad-tempered silence.
But the joy of the Primary songs was contagious. One by one each family member began to sing along, until even my own anger melted, and I couldn’t resist joining in the chorus of “Listen, Listen.” The Holy Ghost will whisper. Listen, listen to the still small voice” (Children’s Songbook, 1989, page 107). How quickly the music changed the mood of our little family on that long stretch of highway. How quickly and how timely.
“We need to turn the car around,” David said as the sound of the chorus faded.
“What for?” I asked. “What did I forget?”
“Nothing,” he laughed. “I just have this compelling feeling that we need to turn around.”
Just as we had been in harmony in our song—suddenly we all felt the need to turn around. And as crazy as it seemed at the time, we followed the prompting, turned the car around, and started back along the way we had come. Shortly afterward, we reached a parked vehicle, and its driver stood by the side of the road motioning us to stop. As we slowed the car by him, he frantically called out:
“There’s been an accident,” he said. “A young woman was driving a motorcycle, and it rolled over off the highway. I think she’s dying.” He motioned to a still body in the grass at the side of the highway—a wrecked motorcycle beside her. We parked the car, and my husband got out.
We had never carried a first-aid kit in the car, but this time we happened to have an emergency kit with us consisting of medical supplies David had picked up at a hospital sale just three weeks earlier. For the first time in our lives, we had it in the car! Feeling helpless and scared, I held the children close to me as David grabbed the kit and headed for the accident victim.
As he reached the body, my daughter said, “We should pray.” Thankful for her suggestion, we bowed our heads. “Heavenly Father,” we pleaded, “please help Daddy. Help him to know what to do to save this girl’s life. …”
As I watched my husband kneel beside the young woman and assess her condition, I was humbled. The girl was indeed dying—unconscious and not breathing. David took out the last two items he had added to the emergency kit: a tube-like device called an oral airway that opens up the air passage to the lungs, and a bag that pumps in air and allows the doctor to “breathe” for the patient. He used them both. Along with his medical skills, they probably saved her life.
When the ambulance arrived, my husband rode to the hospital with the patient. In the ambulance, he was able to talk over the two-way radio to medical personnel at the hospital, preparing everyone for their arrival.
As I drove the car behind the ambulance, my mind was filled with questions. What if we hadn’t had the first-aid kit? What if David hadn’t gone to the hospital sale? What if he hadn’t been trained for such an emergency? And most of all, what if we had continued to argue instead of sing? Would we have then heard the “still small voice” prompting us to turn the car around? Would we have recognized it?
The cassette tape in the car had continued to play throughout the entire drama. Silent and in wonder, the children and I listened:
“For all his creations, of which I’m a part[,] Yes, I know Heavenly Father loves me” (Children’s Songbook, 1989, page 229).