My phone has become like an added appendage to my body. It is with me 24/7. With technology as it is, I am available 24 hours a day seven days a week. Accident and illness are not on a clock. This is okay with me because as I've talked about before, I am lucky enough to be able to consecrate my time to service----100% of my time. The phone rings and I answer "Hello, Sister Abbott". The missionary calling always says "Hello, how are you Sister Abbott?" Automatically I frequently say "Great, how are you.?" They always reply with "Fine" and then proceed to explain how they are not fine. The ailments are common and uncommon, complicated and simple in all the extremes. We plow forward doing our best to arrive at a solution that brings comfort and at least the hope of healing.
This night, I answer the phone and the message is the kind you pray daily not to hear. "Sister Abbott, Elder D..... has been hit by a car." My heart sinks at the same time it picks up pace, my stomach turns over and auto pilot kicks in. The broken heart and mind numbing emotion will come later. In this case, the injuries are not life threatening and the search for which hospital to go to begins. Chicago is huge with the good, the bad and the ugly in hospitals. The missionaries are spread out from the Wisconsin border down thru the northern third of Indiana. It takes us a full 45 minutes to identify the hospital of choice. In this case the missionary was lucky. He was wounded but he would recover. He did sustain multiple injuries that would send him home. He was within three weeks of the end of his two years so he would go home and not return.
When the trauma was over, I determined that spending precious time searching for a hospital would never be repeated. We would identify and locate hospitals by ward and stake for the entire mission. In the church we hear repeatedly the mantra of preparedness. It is a focus worth incorporating into every aspect of our lives. It makes our way smooth. It rescues us from unfortunate circumstance. It maximizes our time. It keeps us whole. It requires an investment of time and effort. This missionary was prepared-----he was wearing a helmet. In return for his preparation, in case of an accident, his function and possibly his life was spared. What could have been a fractured skull or permanent brain damage was only a concussion. We are grateful for tender mercies.