You just. never. know….
I’ve always wondered how I would react in the face of an actual emergency. Would I panic? Would my mind go completely blank? Would I know exactly what steps I should take? Would I be able to remain calm? So many things I’ve always wondered. I’m sure every “emergency” would ignite a different response based on how severe, who was affected, if I could help, etc. You just. never. know!!! That is until you DO, actually, know that you should pick up the phone and call 911!
when it might be important.
I was busy making dinner and heard the phone ringing in the bedroom. While I normally try to get into the room in time to see who’s calling I don’t generally hear it before the answering machine kicks in. This time I heard it on the first ring, got to the room and realized it was NOT an annoying telemarketer like it usually is and picked it up on the third ring. The tenor of the voice on the other end of the line was definitely not one many people would like to hear. It was my mom, distressed and clearly in pain, telling me she had fallen while painting and could not walk. She’d bravely, half army crawled, half crawled on all fours from her main bathroom to the master bedroom…a distance of probably 20 feet to get to the telephone and the only number she had memorized was my home number.
Too many questions
Of course my brain was a little frozen, still processing the fact that my mom was lying on the floor and was unable to get up. I wanted to ask a million questions but knew I needed to sift through to the most important ones. First, where was dad? Second, did you hit your head and are you feeling like you might pass out or having a hard time breathing? Once my mind had wrapped itself around the fact that she was not dying I knew she’d need to get to the hospital and she would need to be moved carefully in case there was any back or neck injury. I think for most people common sense kicks in.
What if 911 doesn’t pick up?
I kept her on the line and yelled for Sam to bring me my phone. My first call was to my dad because he was only a few minutes away at Joel’s…I did this for two reasons…one, because Joel is a paramedic and VERY calm and collected in all situations and two, because I knew my dad would want to get to mom as fast as possible. I think my conversation went something like this, “Dad, you need to go home NOW, I’m calling 911 because mom has fallen and she can’t walk”. Needless to say, Joel told me after, he’d never seen Dad move quite so fast. I still had mom on the line…”mom you still with me!”…”yes Elise, I’m okay, I’m still awake.”. Next I dialled 911! It’s funny how you expect something when you’ve watched too much TV. I thought someone would pick up after the first ring, “911 what’s you’re emergency?”. Hmm, it actually works more like this…one ring, two rings, three rings…do I hang up and try again…four rings…seriously what if I was about to pass out…five rings…”hello, police, fire or ambulance”…”ambulance”…”thank you”, click…”hello what number are you calling from?”…”what’s the nature of the emergency”…”what’s the address”…then the conversation went more like I expected and the whole time I’m standing there with two phones to my ear. One ear to the very kind emergency personnel and the other ear to my incapacitated mom, while I’m trying to relay information, check in with mom to make sure she hasn’t passed out or found any other bleeding injuries, etc.
In all honesty, I surprised myself. No tears, no hysterics, no panic, just deal with the moment.
I met Joel, Dad and my mom, who was in a significant amount of pain, at the ER where a long wait ensued…a story for another post. Thankfully after xrays confirmed that there were no breaks or cracks in her back or hips she was sent on her way with strict orders to rest up and that there would be a significant amount of bruising, which did show up glaring and nasty the next morning. Needless to say the duration of her wait in the ER included a number of texts flying back and forth between me and my siblings, keeping each other updated. Mom felt silly but in all truthfulness accidents happen.
Count your blessings
Situations like these can easily take on a whole different flavour…Broken bones or bashed heads! We were thankful that this was minor, that she was protected and that we have a great medical system to care for us. But more than that I think we were all reminded of the value and importance of caring for each other. While we rolled our eyes over three of us standing over her hospital bed, awaiting X-rays, and my other two brothers sending texts to find out what was up, it showed that we care. It showed my parents that we were there for them, just as they have been there for us many, MANY times over the course of our lives. It showed that when physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental health is compromised we want to be there for each other, we want to support, reassure, love, care, and nurture each other back to the place of restored health. It was a great reminder to me that family is important and that depending on each is okay.