First, my apologies. It was not my intention to create a cliff-hanger. I just ran out of caffeine-powered steam. Suzie is home and doing fine. My goal was to talk about ways to deal with an emergency before the memories grew cold and to analyze my response to make sure how I’m doing.

Thinking without talking

As the paramedic attached leads, printed an EKG strip (or ECG/electrocardiogram for you techies)and took vitals, I tried to talk my brain out of its adrenaline fog. And do it without talking. What else was there I could be doing?

[Prayer] I said another prayer while trying to think what I could do and pay attention to what was going on at the same time. I have trouble focusing on one thing, much less three things at a time. I settled for trying to stay out of the way.

Shoes! I could get her some shoes but there are three firemen in the way and she’s not walking out of here anyway with all of these guys and a stretcher waiting. Bag! Same problem. We could always solve that later.


“Your heart looks fine,” the paramedic said. “You’re doing well.” Suzie was still gasping for breath. Obviously something was wrong. “Let’s get you on the stretcher and get you to the ER.”

“I think,” gasp, pant “I can walk.” gasp, grimace, Suzie began. They weren’t having it.

“Oh, no. Then what are all of these big firemen going to do?” the little general replied. “Why don’t we let them do their job. Guys?”

The mass of men moved and I slid back out of the way. Nothing to do but give them room. Except . . .

Mom! I didn’t wake up my mother because I assumed she’d hear the commotion. But since they turned off the siren at the bottom of the hill, things were fairly quite. I didn’t want her to wake up to an empty house. I ran back and knocked on her door, leaned in and told her. She was sound asleep. I made sure she heard and grabbed my coat.

The cute, little paramedic/general told me where they were going, where the parking garage was and exactly where to go in the hospital. She was more help than I remember a paramedic being before. All I had to do was follow directions, which was about all I was good for at the time.

I told Suzie I loved her and would see her there. We’d been separated at this point several times before and I was determined not to let it happen this time.

Billy and I headed for the car. A neighbor stopped us and asked if we needed any help. I looked around at all of the people, thanked him but said no. But it was appreciated.

Driving under the influence – of adrenaline

We swung in behind a parade of equipment going back down the hill. Along the way several people on their way to work thought the ambulance was too slow and tried to get around us, cutting me off. Their survival instincts kicked in when I placed myself firmly on the ambulance’s bumper and they backed off. Though I agreed that the ambulance was slow, I disagreed with their appraisal of their own importance.

We watched the paramedic through the back window. She still seemed calm. I pointed out the positive signs to myself and to Billy. The EKG was good. There were no signs of trauma through the window.

I tried not to run over anybody.


I swung into the ER parking garage and hurried to get to the entrance before they got Suzie out. I just made it and she smiled at me as they wheeled her in. I knew triage would send me to the waiting room but I wanted her to see that I was near.

The paramedic, once again, surprised me by coming over and giving me details. Suzie’s EKG was still good. She’d administered nitroglycerin spray and gotten the pain down. They’d find me in the waiting room as soon as they got her triaged and settled. I should check in so they would know to call me.

Just what I needed. Plain instructions to follow.

Billy and I walked to ER waiting, found a corner in the nearly empty room and settled in. From full speed to all stop. Waiting again.

[To be continued]

Emergency Part 1

Emergency part 3

Emergency – The Conclusion


Photo By Rosser321 via Flickr