My Guatemalan brush with death (already)

This morning felt like any other with fabulous slumber and a hunt for coffee. The boys and I walked to a nearby internet cafe, caught up on email and spent a little too much time watching the facebook newsfeed. Keenan had some banking stuff to do on my computer, so I figured I would head back to the hotel and maybe swim in the lake to cool off. The morning was quiet and the streets were quite peaceful. I hopped along the sidewalks, popping into occasional tourist-trap souvenier shops bartering over colorful Guatemalan Purses. I crossed a skinny alley and looked to my right and thats when my whole day changed.

It all happened so fast. I saw a white pickup truck about 15 feet away from me, the truck was almost the same width as the alley itself. The drivers door was open, the driver was running up towards the door, and the truck was rolling downhill towards me. He jumped in the drivers side door as his brakeless truck plinko’d down the hill. I jumped to safe ground and cringed,  maybe within a second the truck would be stopped sucessfully, and the man and his partner would thank their lucky stars, and months from now, maybe joke about it. But then I heard the slam, as the truck crashed head on into the brick building in front of it, and then I saw the man standing in the bed of the truck fly forward into a metal bar.

It was at that time that I froze, with no one around me but the man laying on his back covered in blood. “You’re a nurse Casey, Do something!! MOVE!!” All I had on me was the shirt on my back and my shorts. The driver came wobbling out of the car with his ear clearly ripped off and blood dripping down his face. The poor man’s head was busted open, but he was alive. His shirt soaked in blood from a major laceration to his back. The passenger stumbled out weak with his arm gushing blood as well. The sound of the impact had many people come outside of their shops and a lady came up to me screaming upset and speaking very fast spanish. I had no idea what she was saying,  the only things I began yelling were “apply pressure! estan un emergencia, llamar ambulancia!!. necesito un toalla! Stop the bleeding!!” Two men wrapped a T shirt around the man’s head and carried him to the sidewalk and laid him flat. Their arms covered in his blood. The mans pupils were dilated and I told him to stay awake, though I dont think he understood me either.

The ambulance then showed up. They quickly wrapped guaze around the mans face and walked him to the side of their minivan and took him away They had him sitting upright in the passenger side, no gurnies in sight.. Some witnesses nearby, to my astonishment, were laughing and telling jokes. Most of me was sympathetic of the situation, and so happy that had I been 2 seconds later I would have probably been slammed into the side by the truck (though I always look both ways before I cross, you never know) and the other part of me felt like I failed as a nurse, like I should know how to act in times of trauma and not just freeze up like that.

Here are some crazy photos, They are a bit graphic so be warned, I also took them hours after the incident when no one was around as to not look like a total disrespectful jerkface

This is the Alley it rolled down, you can see the scrapes on the side of the building

Heres the wall it hit

Either way it left me feeling super bummed out. I walked back to the hotel and told the boys about it. In disbelief they looked out the window to see the blood stained sidewalk and the big crowd. I needed something to cheer me up a bit, so we got breakfast and we went to ARCAS. A place where they rehabiliate injured jungle animals. They also rescue animals from illegal poachers who sell them as exotic pets. They had cute monkeys and butterflies and goats.

This is Miguel. He is 86 and took us on his boat to the animal habitat


These are ocelots. One of them has a missing arm 🙁

Spider Monkey

and the cutest part yet. a Parrot who speaks espanol!

Anyway. Life is crazy, and I will be cliche and say that any moment it can totally slip away from you.

2 thoughts on “My Guatemalan brush with death (already)

  1. Christy says:

    Finally getting around to following your blog. I’m so happy that you’re doing this! Love hearing about your trip and knowing that my lil bro is safe and having fun. Keep the posts coming! Tell Kyle his sissy loves him and misses him.

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