Sean McDermott lives in Long Beach, California, now, but he and his six brothers and sisters were raised in Monticello, Iowa, about 35 miles from Cedar Rapids. He wrote to share a story about his sister Kelley. “Kelley has epilepsy,” Sean says, “and at the time, she was in nursing school in Cedar Rapids and living at home with our parents.” One cold day in November Kelly was driving to school and had traveled about five miles out of town when she started feeling funny, as if a huge migraine were overtaking her. As it turned out, she was in the early stages of an epileptic seizure, but it’s doubtful that she knew it.
Because she was the cautious type, she decided to return home. She turned her car around on the highway (an automatic Dodge K-Car with the gear shift on the steering column) and started back. It had been snowing earlier, and the ditches and farm fields were crusted over with dry slippery snow. Kelley always wore her seatbelt (in those days, seatbelts fastened across one’s lap) and was wearing it at the time.
The last thing she remembers is turning to the left on the highway. Her next moment of awareness was waking up inside the car, in the ditch. She was lying across the front seat. Vaguely, she noticed a farmer gently tapping on her window. “Are you okay?” he was asking. “Do you need to be towed out of the ditch?”
Strangely, Kelley felt fine. “I’d be grateful if you towed me out,” she said to the farmer, and sat up. Then….
“Imagine her surprise,” Sean says. “Those old Dodges had bench seats, so there was nothing to impede her from lying across both front seats. But somehow her seatbelt had been undone, and was in its sheath on the driver’s side. Her car was in neutral and was idling to keep the heater going and to keep her warm; and although it had gone down a steep incline, it was sitting perfectly straight on all four tires. Even the farmer who towed her out of the ditch couldn't get over how her car had not rolled over.”
What Kelley never discovered was: 1) How did her seatbelt get unfastened and 2) How did the car come to be in neutral? Her car was new and it took some effort to change gears.
“Kelley has always had a nice devotion to her Guardian Angel, and perhaps this was his intervening on her behalf,” Sean says. “I'll always remember her telling me about it and marvel to this day at the extraordinary grace she received.” Kelley was kept completely safe during that event. And from that day to this, although she does take her medication, she has never had another seizure.