Crash, The First Hour


This is Part 5 of a multi-part series.  For the full story, begin with San Diego with Jet Blue
I turned to Linda to make sure she was alright.  Her breathing was shallow, forced, painful.  I touched her and she gasped in more pain.  I’ve never felt so alone and helpless. 
My only thought was:  Don’t let her die!

The brain is lightning on adrenalin.  I scanned the car.  No blood.  The airbags, which saved us possibly from death and certainly much worse damage, rested limply.
A young man at the passenger window: “Roll it down!”  I did.  “I’m am EMT but I’m from Canada so I can’t touch her.  Miss what’s your name?  What’s your name?
Linda was taking short, painful breaths.  “Linda.”
Others  appeared.  “Call 911!”
“When were you born?
“January . . .fifth . . .”
“Tell the ambulances to hurry!  We need two!”
“Need fire trucks! The engine’s smoking!”

Ambulances seemed to instantly appear.  I got out of the car, grabbed my pipe and tobacco, knowing it was going to be a long night.  Sudden excruciating pain in  my lower back nearly made me drop.  My mouth was dry.  Two EMTs appeared behind me. “What’s your name?”
“Dennis Miller.” Please, no Dennis Miller jokes.
“When were you born?”
“9-1-49.”
“What day is it?”
“Tuesday.”  I could feel them nod to each other.
“My back,” I said.  My mouth was dry. “I need water.”
“Stand still.  We’re going to get you the board.  Let us do everything.  This will feel strange but we’re going to lower you.  Let us do everything.”
“My wife. . .”
“She’s being taken care of. Don’t worry.”
They  didn’t say “It will be okay.  They just said don’t worry.
They were young, very serious, competent and professional.  They loaded me in a separate ambulance swiftly and painlessly and put a neck brace on.
“Water,” I said, sounding like a bad  movie.
“Just relax.  We’ll have you to the hospital in no time.”  That meant no water. Can’t fool me.
They took my blood pressure.  “187 over 120.”

I studied the ceiling of the ambulance, thinking, “If I’m ever going to try to follow The Power of Now, it’s now.  Don’t fret over the past or what could have been, or the future, whatever it might be.  If there ever was a time I needed clutch the moment, it was now.
“So what were you doing when the call came in?” The young female EMT asked her partner.
“Watching the Olympics,” the guy said.
“I was cutting up vegetables for a late supper.” There was no hint of frustration at having their schedules interrupted.  It was  just conversation.  Calls are what they live for. They train hard to become EMTs. My publications manager is an EMT and ambulance association chief.  Their inside joke was “I was out saving a life last night.  What were you doing?”
A joke but the truth.  I was always appreciative of their interest and sacrifice.  Now I was living it.
It was my life — and my wife’s — they were saving.
I focused on the now because nothing else mattered.

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2 responses to “Crash, The First Hour

  1. You’re such a good writer, and you leave us hanging at the right moments…but all that aside, I hope both you and your wife are well.

    I look forward to reading the rest of the story.

  2. Thanks for your comments and your kind thoughts, Susan. I’m thankful everyday to be around to share the experience.

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