Thursday, March 13, 2008

Too Close to Home

"Oh, please, no...," I said, "Oh, please, dear God, no..." I repeated this each time the ambulance brake lights came on as they slowed down to check the address on a mailbox.

We had been having dinner with a friend when my pager started vibrating loudly on the wooden table, startling us and sending the cats flying.

"Station 9-0. Report of a cardiac arrest at (address) between (crossroads)." Joan and I looked at each other. We have a lot of family and friends that live along that stretch of road.

"Do you recognize that address?" Joan asked me, "Could it be Grandma?" "I don't know," I replied as I ran out the door, "I'm gonna go. Start making phone calls..."

I flew down the dirt road, truck shuddering and snaking over the icy washboard, my stomach in my throat. Over the pager, I heard the rescue go in route from my fire department. Pulling into Grandma's driveway, I realized I wasn't going to make it up the hill. I jumped out of the truck, grabbed my medic bag and started running up the driveway.

Coming around the side of the house, I saw Grandma, sitting in the kitchen at the table, looking fine. With relief, I turned around and ran back down the drive. Just then, the LCA ambulance drove by, lights flashing. I quickly followed as they drove down the road, past houses of people I know and love.

It was horrible. It seemed to last forever.

Finally, with guilty relief, we passed the last house of someone I knew. It ended up being a man I had met the year before when he moved into the area. Unfortunately, he didn't make it.

I've had calls on people that I know before, but it's always been a surprise. This was the first time I thought it was going to be someone I knew - not a pleasant experience at all...