September 11, 2006

Honor a Living 911 Hero Meme

Adoro tagged me for her Honor a Living 911 Hero Meme

The Rules:

1. Honor a living hero
2. Preference given to Firefighters, Police Officers, Paramedics, EMT's, Dispatchers
3. Not everyone is acquainted with someone fitting into these categories. If this is the case, then honor someone else, a hero in your life who is willing
to "give all" in some way. It can be a priest, a pastor, a teacher, a relative, a friend...etc.

I honor the unknown paramedics who came to my family home to help my loved ones in need. We had to call an ambulance twice to my childhood home.

The first time was in the mid-1980s. My Dad has had chronic back problems most of his life. One morning, he literally could not get out of bed. He was experiencing lower back spasms. My Dad is a very stoic guy but I could tell he was in incredible pain. He was trying not to scream. He would let out this periodic low: oh. If you knew my Dad, you would know how extreme that is! Plus, he did not want my brother, Mom and I to worry. My Mom called an ambulance and I sat with Dad by his bed.

The paramedics came but the stairway was too narrow for the gurney or a cot with Dad on it. They had to come upstairs and somehow get my Dad on his feet. They had to 1/2 drag him upright down the stairs. My Dad always slept in his briefs. Conscious of his dignity the 2 gentlemen dressed him as much as they could and put a jacket on him. They talked to my Dad and to all of us in a very reassuring way.

They got Dad to the ambulance. At the hospital they gave him a cortisone shot and sent him home with some pills. They also had him do exercises.

Ultimately, it was all o.k. and Dad never had an episode like that again.

I'm not doing the situation justice. The mid-80's were a really terrifying time for my family. My only sibling and brother was diagnosed with cancer in 1984. The family and my brother were constantly at the hospital. In fact, the paramedics thought they were coming to the house for my brother. We actually never had to bring my brother to the hospital in an ambulance but we were at the hospital so much that they "knew" us. So, when my Dad, who was The ROCK in my brother's care, went down it was really frightening for all of us. But, the unknown paramedics were a God-send with their calm kindness, their thoughtfulness.

My brother died in 1989 at the age of 17.

My Mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in the early 1990's. By late 1996 the cancer had returned and spread to her bones. She was completely bedridden and unable to walk or move from February 1997 until she died in November. My Dad and I cared for her at home with the help of several nurses, doctors, home health aides and hospice volunteers (in fact, I add them to this list too!). One day in the late summer she got really bad and her doctor wanted to see her in the hospital. When I say really bad, I mean it, because her downhill slide was really horrible at times. We had to have an ambulance transport her to the hospital because she could not bear to be moved. They had to take her whole home hospital bed with her in it. She was in the hospital for a few hours while her doctor examined her.

During the long months of my Mom's illness, my Dad, her spouse of 30 years, had to keep himself busy to keep from going mad. He decided to terrace the back yard and he made several new garden beds which he then planted. My Dad was no gardener. My Mom was a huge gardener. I think he did it for her because he was hoping she would get better.

We took pictures of the new backyard and showed them to Mom but it was not the same as her actually seeing it.

Later the same day, Mom came home from the hospital in the ambulance. We got to the house and I asked the paramedics if they would wheel her bed around the house (we lived on a corner lot) so Mom could see the garden. They looked at each other, because clearly they'd be liable if something happened if they did anything other then take her from the ambulance to the house. Please. My Mom who was really lethargic perked up and said she really wanted to see the garden too. They shrugged and then smiled.

They wheeled my Mom around the house in her hospital bed dragging the I.V. pump and she got to see the yard. She exclaimed: it's so beautiful! It was her first time outside in over 6 months. It was a beautiful day. I was crying. In fact, I'm crying now. It would be her last time outside before her death.

Thank you, thank you, unknown Angels of God.


Blogger Adoro said...

Oh, wow. I'm crying, too. Thank you for telling this story!

September 11, 2006 8:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cathy, thanks for sharing that.

September 11, 2006 8:52 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Wonderful post!

I'm so sorry to hear of your family tragedies, Cathy. I have you and them in my prayer list.

I lost a sister when she was 22. It still hurts after a very long time.

I watched paramedics work once when my Mom had a stroke and heart attack in front of me. At first I was upset that they didn't move as fast as I would have. But I would have dumped her on the sidewalk.

These professional paramedics worked steadily and methodically with no wrong moves and got her to the hospital in time and we were blessed with another seven years with her.

September 11, 2006 9:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cathy, that is such a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it. I think your dad is a hero himself.

God bless,

September 12, 2006 1:12 AM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

georgette: I agree that my Dad is a hero too. At some future date, I will blog on my Dad.

Thanks for the comments and prayers, all.

September 12, 2006 5:04 AM  

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