T’was early evening in the Shmeel residence, and the hero of our story was doing what he does best: bath time. Kids screaming, bubbles flying, beeper beeping, baby crying, and water splashing; pretty much a normal day.
“Beeper beeping?” did I hear you say.
“Indeed I did. And wouldn’t you like to know what it said.”
“Indeed I do sir; please sir, what did the beeper say?”
“Ah well, said the hero; you shall just have to wait and see.”
And so began the bedtime story, I was telling my kids.
I often tell them of my escapades, and the stories always have a wonderfully bright and happy ending. My oldest has begun to question, why, if every story is so joyful, how is it that I often return from a call looking a bit discouraged.
I’ll delay telling them the whole truth and nothing but the truth as long as I can.
In the meantime, the escapades have a weightier purpose. My true intention, far beyond persuasive entertainment, is to instill in my family essential values and critical life tools.
I pray that the tales impart thankfulness, a joy of life and living, an appreciation of being, and gratitude to our Creator for His interminable and infinite kindness. I hope to impart to my kids that even when the going gets tough; especially when the going gets tough, the answer, beyond the lights and sirens, is faith and hope.
I have been there, I have done that, and bear witness that our abilities are severely limited, and that salvation will come but from a connection with the Divine.
Back to our story.
A unique feature of EMS over all other professions or pursuits is that you never, ever, know what the next minute might bring. Sometimes there are three calls back to back in the early morning and then silence for the rest of the day. Sometimes you get weekly furloughs and then an MI, PE and GMG within half an hour. What this means for emergency personnel, is that we need to be prepared to get interrupted at any time, in any place, and during any given activity, to go and save a life.
Particularly popular places to be when a call comes in include: la toilette, the WC, el inodoro, the bathroom, tas tualetas and die toilette. The volunteer can be undressed, partially dressed, or almost dressed. Getting a call when you are absolutely ready for it, is rare. I know someone it happened to once, but even then, he forgot his glasses at home and spent the better part of 5 minutes trying to find the entrance of the building.
Back to our story.
This particular call found me with my hands full of soap, giving my son a bath. Kneeling next to the bathtub, I felt the beeper vibrating in its holster. I had a feeling the call was in my jurisdiction, so I quickly dried my hands and fumbled for the beeper; I was right.
“MVA – Car vs. ‘Child on bike’ – Minor Injury.”
These calls are common in our youngster-rich neighborhood, but thankfully most conclude with only minor scratches and bruises. In any event, an accident involving a child and a car needs immediate attention, and so I deputized my wife for bath duty:
By the power vested in me by the State of New York, I hereby pronounce you ‘woman in charge’. You may now give the kids a bath.
I got to the scene to find a kid standing on the side of the road, pale-faced and crying.
The conflicting reports began. Conflicting is too timid a word; the story was downright odd.
The taxi driver seemed very annoyed, “The kid just rode into the middle of the street without looking! I tried to stop in time but it all happened too quickly.” Then he began to mumble to himself, “Kids nowadays…”
The boy, on the other hand, insisted that he had been riding on the sidewalk and had not been hit by a car at all, but rather had “fallen.”
Something about the boy’s wide brown eyes, and nervous blinking told me that he was lying and desperately didn’t want his mother to know that he had been cycling on the main road.
Furthermore, I have yet to meet a taxi driver that would admit to hitting a little boy on a bike if it hadn’t really occurred!?
I looked the boy over, took some vitals, heard witness reports of the kinematics of the accident and came to the joyous conclusion that the boy would go on to live a long and prosperous life.
The mother soon arrived and excitedly hugged the child, thankful that he would be coming home for supper in one piece. She declined transport to hospital and just before she left, youngen in tow, I silently slipped a pack of winkies into his top shirt pocket. He smiled; grateful for the candy, happy he had survived the accident, and relieved his mother hadn’t told him off (yet).
When I got home, my four year old asked me flippantly, “So, what was it?”
He is an expert on all types of calls, you see.
I told him what had happened.
“Did you give him winkies?”
I assured him I did.
“Good job, Daddy!” he said proudly.
We smiled knowingly at each other as I slipped his pajama shirt over his head.
… and they lived happily ever after.