I woke up early Monday morning, having only gotten a few hours sleep. I washed up, and followed Deputy Jamie into town. He "handed me off" to Deputies Beach and Pete at a little diner, where they bought me coffee and eggs. They were kind and funny, asking me how I slept and how I was doing, if I had heard much about Mike's situation, etc.
After a quick bite, they again escorted me into the hospital (I've never seen such strict hospital security!). They came into Mike's room in ICU to see him. They asked him what the RV needed fixed in order to get it running, etc... Then once again, went to work, and worked on helping us out in-between calls.
I sat with Mike through the morning, and finally got to find out what exactly had happened the day before:
If you recall from Part 1, we had been on the phone with eachother while I was driving in front of him. He had his cell on speaker phone, and had it sitting on the passenger seat. That way his hands were free to handle manuevering the engine and the steering to get the RV down the road. I heard muffled sounds, and I heard him say something that sounded like "it died", what I now found out he had really said was something like "I'm on fire" or "there's a fire". I'm glad I was unable to make that out correctly, or I may have panicked myself.
As I turned around and saw the RV moving across the 3 lanes of traffic, I thought he was pulling over. In reality, there was NO ONE driving the RV. While he was driving, the engine backfired, and a flame caught the carpet on fire. He immediately jumped up and stomped on it, which caused it to spark and spit and grow. There was a divider curtain that had been hanging down from behind the passenger seat, and it also caught on fire. A combination of these two things ended up with his legs actually CATCHING on fire. When any part of your body is on fire, you think of nothing else but making it stop, and he left the driving of the RV to our great and gracious God.
He ran to the back of the RV and turned on the sink (the water pump was on, which is not usual, God's plan again). He stuck his legs in the sink and 'put them out', ran back to the now spreading fire and tried to stomp it out again. However his legs caught another time.
He remembers trying to wipe the fire off his leg with his right hand, which resulted in it burning as well. He quickly ran to the sink again, putting out the fire on his legs a second time. Suddenly his brain shot out "Fire Extinguisher!", he grabbed it from the wall and sprayed the fire, stopping it immediately. You must understand this all happened VERY quickly, probably 30 seconds. All the while, I had no idea what was happening inside that RV, as I was calmly turning around. About this time is when I approached the median and he had picked up the phone and was talking to me...
Lunchtime came and went. Mike was in plenty of pain, but wanted to leave the hospital. He wanted to go home. However, there was one problem. We were in ICU. They don't release people from ICU straight onto the street. It is policy to downgrade them to another "regular" room before they leave. However, Mike assured them he did NOT need to be in ICU, and he was ok to leave. We had to wait for the Doc to make her rounds, it was up to her, and no one knew when she would be in.
(I wanna go home!)
It seemed ridiculous to us, but looking back, God was giving us a place to rest while He took care of other loose ends. While we sat there feeling like we were twiddling our thumbs trying to get out of the hospital, Deputy Pete was making some connections. He had a friend named Luis....
Don't you love it when someone says "I have a friend...". His friend is a mechanic, and wanted to look at the RV so he could determine what it would take to get the thing running. I met him there along with my two deputy friends. After confirming it was the fuel pump (as Mike had known), he said he'd call another "friend" who has a tow-truck. I don't know if you've ever dealt with RV's before, but towing and fixing one can be COSTLY.
He spoke in spanish on the phone for a few minutes and then turned to Pete. Pete relayed the info to me: His friend would come from 30 miles away, tow the RV to Luis' shop (only a couple miles from the hospital), and he would do this for $50! Incredible! It would normally costs over $100 to have a CAR towed.
I was floored, how awesome our God is, he works through many to bring blessings. After a few more words in spanish were exchanged, I was told that the part would be $50 (we had already known that was the cost of the part, as we were on our way to pick one up when the fire broke out)...and his labor would be $150. I don't know how often you deal with mechanics, but $150 to drop a fuel tank that is 1/2 full, ON an RV nonetheless, replace a fuel pump, as well as blowing out the soot from the engine fire, putting the cover back on and buckling it all up for us, is an INCREDIBLE deal! $250 bucks and an hour's work, and we'd be back in business. Wow ~ my heart was thankful.
I sat with Deputy Beach, and waited for the Tow Truck. When he arrived, we were unable to start the RV, so Beach and I had to push it backward until he was able to squeeze his truck into the small space in front of it. He did some manuevering and managed to get the weight of the RV to pull his truck in-line! That's a lot of work in the hot sun for $50! I was once again, SO thankful!
Once it was towed away, I headed back to the hospital to check on our "release" status. It was possible we could be out of there today, if only the Doctor would make her rounds. The RV would be ready soon, and we could get the boat hooked up, stay in a hotel, and hit the road in the morning.
Maybe we wanted things to move quicker than God had planned. Getting home wasn't going to be quite as easy as we thought...
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."